When I got an invite from mystery author Linda Rodriguez, whose blog you can find here, to participate in TNBT, I had three reactions. One, I felt that little frisson of joy that happens to me any time someone does something that makes it seem like I’m a Real Writer, i.e., one who’d be writing a book. Two, I thought, Next Big Thing, ha. And three, I recoiled in horror because I never talk about a work-in-progress until I’ve penned the words ‘the’ and ‘end’.
I solved problem #2 by asking a writer I know for whom the words Next + Big do suit whether she’d like to trade blog posts with me. And Kathleen Kaska agreed, even though her post makes me a little green–a third book in her historical, musical, fashionable mystery series one month from coming out, and a fourth in the works. And how did I solve #3? Well, the answer to that will be over at Kathleen’s blog next week.
But for now let’s turn to the biggest reason I asked Kathleen to Blog Swap. I wanted to know what her next book is about!
Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s when women were caught between the dichotomy of career and marriage; when fashion exploded with a never-before-seen flair; and movies and music had the country dancing with gusto. Her first mystery, Murder at the Arlington, won the 2008 Salvo Press Manuscript Contest. This book, along with her second mystery, Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the largest book group in the country. The third book in the series, Murder at the Galvez, will be out on December 7.
What is your working title of your book?
MURDER AT THE DRISKILL
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the fourth book in my Sydney Lockhart mystery series. Sydney is a reporter and her assignments take her to different locales, each in a historic hotel. In this story, she’s back home in Austin, Texas, so I selected the Driskill Hotel as the venue for murder. I’m excited about this book because Austin was my home for twenty-five years. My research allowed me to discover what the town was like in the 1950s before it grew to a city of almost a million.
What genre does your book fall under?
This series can best be described as a cozy mystery with a noir feel. I’m a big fan of the hardboiled mystery writers like Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, and Dashiell Hammett. When I began writing my books, I modeled my protagonists after those wisecracking, tough guy detectives, but I wanted my main character to be a woman.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Sydney is a tall, sassy redhead, and I think Drew Barrymore would be perfect. Sydney’s cousin and pain-in-the butt sidekick, Ruth, is a perky little fashionista who often pretends to be a dumb blonde. Reese Witherspoon comes to mind for Ruth. And for Sydney’s sexy, detective boyfriend, there’s only one choice, Leonardo DiCaprio.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This is a synopsis for Murder at the Galvez, which will be released on December 7.
Another hotel, another murder, another attempt on reporter Sydney Lockhart’s life takes place at the Galvez Hotel while she investigates the eighteen-year-old unsolved murder of her grandfather.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m thrilled to announce I just signed with a new publisher, LL-Publications.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m currently working on the first draft of Murder at the Driskill and it is taking more time than usual. I can finish a draft in about eight months, but I’ve had a very busy year with two new releases and the reissuing of three of my out-of-print mystery trivia books all in a span of eight months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My Sydney Lockhart mystery series has often been compared to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Although set in the 1950s in various locales rather than modern-day Trenton, Sydney and Stephanie have one main characteristic in common; they are both too brazen for their own good.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love writing humor because that’s what I love reading. Crafting mysteries has always intrigued me. After publishing three nonfiction books, I began working on my mystery series. Agatha Christie has been my biggest inspiration as well as the hardboiled authors I’ve mentioned.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The series is set in a decade that proved to be a pivotal point for women in terms of lifestyle choices. I write about an independent woman, struggling to make it in a man’s world, not an easy feat back then. Also, the places I write about are real. The readers have an opportunity to travel back in time and discover what life was like in these historic hotels. In my first book, Murder at the Arlington, which takes place at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I write about the world of gambling and gangsters, which went underground after the town was cleaned up in the 1940s. Each hotel has a story to tell. All I have to do is to sniff it out.
Turn in to two more mystery writers and learn about their latest books and their inspirations.
Look for Peg Herring’s interview on November 19. Peg writes the award-winning Dead Detective Mystery Series.
Peter Townsend, author of Ghostly Images, shares his interview answers on November 26.
Before bringing Sydney into the world of murder and mayhem, Kathleen Kaska published three mystery-trivia books in the Classic Triviography Mystery Series. Two of them are finalists for the EPIC award in nonfiction.
Also this year, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, was released by University Press of Florida and has been nominated for the George Perkins Marsh award for environmental history.
When she is not writing, Kathleen and her husband spend time traveling the backroads and byways around the country, looking for new venues for her mysteries, and bird watching along the Texas coast. It was her passion for birds that led to the publication of The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane.