Thursday, 21 November 2013



Writers chatting to each other on writing. Tedious or devious? Let’s have twenty questions, and find out. In this guest-spot, Kathleen Kaska delivers the answers...
   Though this series of posts supports the READ TUESDAY sale, not all authors are able to host a sale on the day. We're getting closer to the big day. Kathleen can't arrange a sale in time for READ TUESDAY.
   Beyond that, I'll add that I hope to feature unpublished authors in these sessions soon...

1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

Firestorm by Nevada Barr. 

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

Elizabeth Peters. She passed away this summer and was one of my inspirations for the creation of my Sydney Lockhart mysteries.
   Her sense of humor and zany characters really appealed to me. I’ve read all of her Amelia Peabody books, some several times. Ms. Peters was also an Egyptologist, a profession I often dreamed of undertaking. 

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

A writer’s nest, laptop, Internet, good coffee, good wine, good gin.

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

Frankenstein. At least he smiles kindly at little girls picking flowers.

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?

My writing usually keeps me awake, but if I begin to doze, I know it’s time to quit. Nothing worthwhile ever comes from my foggy brain. And, no, despite what I answered in question three, I don’t drink alcohol while I write.

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?

I think evil twin is sort of cheating. Mixed up luggage provides a bit of intrigue.

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off his protagonist and almost got expelled from England. He was wise enough not to produce Holmes’ dead body.
   As a result, this decision made him rich once he decided to bring the Great Detective back to Baker Street. If it worked for him, it might work for me. 

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

The hero. Sydney would haunt me for the rest of my life if I let her die.
 9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?
No rituals; when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)

Once I wrote Davy Crooked rather than Davy Crockett. I thought it was funny, but all the defenders of the Alamo probably turned over in their graves.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

I have. Sometimes laughing is all you can do if you make a complete fool of yourself; believe me, I know.

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

I’m not too much into rocket ships or science fiction, except for time travel. So, here’s my classic work with an update: The Great Gatsby 1965: Daisy Receives Her Punishment.

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

The book.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

Not just one, but an entire box when I was rearranging my storage unit.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

Yes, but I prefer not to.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

I stay on track with my story otherwise I get dizzy.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?

No, but I have an entire list of children’s classics I still haven’t read. Although E. B. White is one of my favorite writers, I’ve never read Charlotte’s Web.

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

In the floor of a costume/prop room behind a theatre stage. This secret passage appeared in Murder at the Luther.

19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Chanda Lier. (Pronounced chandelier.)
20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

Hopefully, she will have a book in hand and ask me to sign it, which I will graciously do, but with my own name.

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.

   Kathleen's site: Kathleen Kaska.
   And Kathleeen's blog: Kathleen Kaska Writes.


  1. Thanks for having me as a guest, RLL. Great questions.

  2. All my guests were welcome. A great bunch. Some very funny answers. I mean that in a good way. And I've answered those questions too, several times over. It's tough. All in fun, reminding readers that we aren't robots. Whirr. Click.


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