Welcome to our first Crime Writers’ Interview! Our goal is to bring to you, our readers, some new and interesting authors and books for your reading pleasure.
Because books are not toasters. We don’t just buy one every few years. They are more like clothes. (Or for some of us, food!) We need a sustainable supply.
So please help us welcome our first interviewee, Katherine Bolger Hyde.
Katherine has been immersed in books her whole life as a reader, writer, and editor. She lives in the redwood country of California with her husband, youngest child, and two obstreperous cats. In addition to several children’s books, she has authored two books, so far, in the Crime with the Classics mystery series, which she will tell us about shortly.
Kass (on behalf of misterio press): Let’s start with a somewhat open-ended, “tell us about yourself” question. What two or three things do you feel people need to know in order to understand who you are?
Katherine: First of all, I’m a card-carrying nerd. I have always been happiest with a book in my hand. I taught myself to read at age 4, majored in Russian literature in college, and have spent my career as an editor. Books are my life.
Secondly, I do have a lot of other interests, from knitting to designing my dream house to singing in my church choir. When I was younger and fitter, I led a Renaissance dance troupe for a couple of years. So I’m a nerd but not a narrow nerd.
And finally, I’m a bit like my character, Emily Cavanaugh, in that I live with one foot in the twenty-first century and one in the nineteenth (or earlier). I take advantage of modern conveniences (including, unlike Emily, technology), but I don’t believe that change necessarily equals progress.
Kass: Why crime fiction? What is the appeal of mysteries for you, rather than say romance or science fiction?
Katherine: I write what I love to read. While I appreciate the best works of most genres, the only modern one I’ve ever found addictive is mystery. I also dearly love many classic authors, which is why I chose to incorporate the classics into my mystery series. What appeals to me most about both, I think, is that they delve deeply into human motivations, which I find fascinating.
Kass: What was your favorite book/author as a child? Why was it your favorite?
Katherine: I couldn’t possibly pick just one—my favorites shifted as I grew up. But one book that still moves me after all these years is the picture book “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton. Perhaps because I didn’t have a stable home as a child, that story with a house as its main character touches something in the core of my being—it always makes me cry.
Kass: What type, i.e. subgenre, of mysteries do you write? Why does that subgenre appeal to you as a writer? Do you also prefer it as a reader?
Katherine: My published series, Crime with the Classics, is a cozy/traditional series, but my current work in progress is a much darker standalone—sort of a cross between a police procedural and a psychological thriller. I also have a plan for another cozy series that will have a paranormal element.
I enjoy writing traditional mysteries because there’s a lot of scope for humor, atmosphere, and character development, and I don’t have to live in a really dark place for all the months it takes to write a book. As a reader, my first love is the traditional mysteries of the British Golden Age—writers like Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and Patricia Wentworth.
Kass: What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process—first draft, editing, researching? Why is that?
Katherine: First drafts are the most difficult for me. Researching is fun, and editing is second nature to me since I do it for my day job. But the initial process of converting the story in my head into actual words on paper can sometimes be excruciating, especially when I get to a point where I’m not sure where the story needs to go. On the other hand, when the writing is going well, it’s the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.
Kass: Boy, can I relate to that! So where are you in your writing career? Tell us a little more about your stories.
Katherine: At this point I have published three children’s books and two adult mysteries—Arsenic with Austen (Minotaur, 2016) and Bloodstains with Brontë (Minotaur, 2017). The mysteries feature a retired literature professor, Emily Cavanaugh, who inherits a mansion in a little town on the Oregon coast, where her first love from high school, Luke Richards, is the sheriff. While Luke does the police work, Emily uses the insight into characters and situations gained from her love of literature to ferret out the culprits. Each novel borrows elements of character, situation, tone, and mood from the classic author it features.
Kass: I love that premise. I know one of our authors, Vinnie Hansen, has read some of your work, and now I can’t wait to read these stories.
Folks, you can find the first book in the series, Arsenic with Austen, on Amazon HERE, and Bloodstains with Brontë, just released in December, is available HERE. You can connect with Katherine on Facebook or her website.
Katherine, we wish you the very best of luck with this series and all your future stories!
Katherine: Thanks for this opportunity to chat about books! It’s one of my favorite pastimes.
Passions run as dark and stormy as the coastal autumn weather in Bloodstains with Brontë, the second volume of Crime with the Classics. Emily hosts a fund-raising murder mystery dinner on Halloween night. All goes well until the supposed corpse turns up actually dead—with Emily’s young housekeeper, Katie, standing over him, bloody knife in hand. Emily’s loyalty to Katie crashes against her duty to the truth as she fights to save Katie from a murder charge.
Thanks, folks, for joining us for the first of many Crime Writers’ Interviews. We hope to have one for you at least once every 4-6 weeks.
Any questions for Katherine? Thoughts on her Crime with the Classics premise? What was your favorite children’s book?
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