Kate has enjoyed a life-long love affair with mysteries, and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella. She then wisely took a break from writing. When Kate realized that she could use her own off-beat sense of humor in her work, she began writing seriously again. Kate loves animals and they find their way into her writing. The incident with the crazy skunk in California Schemin’ (March 2011) is a true account. For the record, the dogs would rather stink than be washed with peroxide, baking soda or dishwashing soap ever again.
Kate is in the house!
Hey, Kate, how many books have you written?
I wrote Moonlighting in Vermont, a mystery which was released by Mainly Murder Press in 2009, and its sequel, California Schemin,’ due to be released in March of 2011.
Which authors influenced your writing?
Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and Enid Blyton.
So, Kate, where do you call home?
Although born and raised on the west coast, I currently live and write in rural Vermont surrounded by children, dogs, cats, horses, interesting neighbors and good friends.
Take it away, Kate!
People often ask me where I got the idea for my first book; Moonlighting in Vermont. Well out here in the boonies, in a town not too far from my home is one of the only five star hotels in the country. Not many of the locals could afford to stay there, the rooms start at one thousand dollars a night. But quite a few of us work there. It’s convenient, and they pay above minimum wage. I was in housekeeping, a turn down maid. They didn’t actually call us maids, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember my exact title.
The kind of people who do stay there are among the rich and famous. The reason they pay so much to stay at that resort is that they are promised several key things: no reporters or photographers, gourmet meals and no fan girls or boys hanging around them. The only staff they were supposed to see was the wait staff in the dining room, the front desk and the drivers, oh and sometimes they saw us turn down techs if they had room service instead of eating in the dining room. But we still weren’t supposed to talk to them.
Sometimes they talked to us though, and each one of the rich and famous that I came in contact with was kind and courteous. They appreciated the services we supplied, and probably the opportunity to relax and be themselves. They were friendly and frankly curious about us.
But those times were few and far between. We were meant to be invisible and to that end the place was built with a lot of hidey holes. There were rooms in the main building, and there were the halls and staircases that the guests used. But we used secret corridors and subterranean passageways and stairs and a hidden elevator. In the cottages scattered around the property there were secret rooms hidden behind bookcases or walls. In fact the select guests that saw us emerge from one of those rooms were surprised and delighted to find that their cottage has secrets.
For me those passages and rooms held possibility. From the moment I came to work there my mind turned to murder. There were just so many opportunities. So many places to hide a body. So many ways to disappear into the woodwork – quite literally.
And so when I foolishly bragged to a friend of mine that I could write a novel, and she dared me to do it, I had my setting. The hotel was already waiting in my mind. And I joyfully killed a character to maintain my reputation as a woman of my word. That book is Moonlighting in Vermont.
As writers I think it behooves us to keep an eye on our surroundings. You may not work in a place with secret passages, but there may be an idea waiting there all the same. You just need to open yourself up to it.
Thanks, Kate! Good advice.
For more information, check www.kategeorge.com