Interview with mystery author Kathleen Kaska

Mystery author Kathleen Kaska is helping me wind up
the week with a conversation about her new book, Run Dog Run.
Kathleen Kaska is the author
two awarding-winning mystery series: the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in
the 1950s and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz
Her first two Lockhart mysteries, Murder
at the Arlington
and Murder at the
, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the
largest book group in the country. Her latest Sydney Lockhart mystery, set in
Austin, Texas, is Murder at the Driskill.
When she is not writing, she spends much of her time with her husband traveling
the back roads and byways around the country, looking for new venues for her
mysteries and bird watching along the Texas coast and beyond. It was her
passion for birds that led to the publication The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story
(University Press of Florida).
Welcome, Kathleen. Please tell us about your current
Run Dog Run
was my very first attempt at writing fiction. I wanted to write a story that
was not only engaging, but made people think about animal rights issues, a cause
I am passionate about. I had to rewrite the manuscript several times. My first
attempt was too heavy-handed and I realized I preached and editorialize too

My protagonist, Kate Caraway, is an advocate for animal rights. The story
begins with a major disruption in her life. She was forced to leave her
elephant project in Africa and return to the US. She returns to Texas to
recover and becomes involved with a prominent, but shady character who raises
and trains greyhounds.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have a passion for
animals. I used to be a member of Wildlife Rescue, Inc. when I lived in Austin,
Texas. I rehabbed and raised orphaned wildlife with the goal to release them
back into the wild if possible. It was a very rewarding experience. I chose to
write about the world of greyhound racing after I discovered the appalling
conditions that occur behind the scenes. I want people to be aware of the
issues involved and to consider adopting one of these beautiful dogs.
Excerpt from Run
Dog Run
She’d been
foolish and gone off alone, now she might have to pay the ultimate price…
The rocks
along the bottom of the creek bed seemed to disappear. Kate felt the ropy,
gnarl of tree roots instead.
The cedar
break. She was approaching the road and soon the water would pass through the
culvert. She knew that she would not make it through the narrow tunnel alive.
Her lungs screamed for air. With one final attempt, she grabbed hold of a long
cedar root growing along the side of the creek bank and hung on. Miraculously,
it held. She wedged her foot under the tangled growth and anchored herself
against the current. Inching her way upward, she thrust her head above water
and gulped for air. But debris in the current slapped her in the face, and
leaves and twigs filled her mouth, choking her. Dizziness overcame her ability
to think—exhaustion prevented her from pulling herself higher.
She must
not give in. Fighting unconsciousness, Kate inched her way up a little farther,
and at last was able to take a clear breath. Her right arm hung loosely by her
side, the back of the shaft had broken off in the tumble through the current,
but the arrow was lodged in her arm. Numb from cold water and exhaustion, she
lay on the bank as the water swept over her, and then, as quickly as it had
arrived, the flow subsided and the current slowed. If she could hang on a few
moments longer, survival looked promising. As thoughts of hope entered her
mind, Kate feared that her pursuer might not have given up the chase. Perfect, Kate Caraway, just perfect. You
screwed up again
, she chided herself as the lights went out.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m finishing my fifth
mystery, Murder at the Menger, in the
Sydney Lockhart mystery series. The setting is the 1950s and each story takes
place in an historic hotel. The Menger Hotel is located in San Antonio, Texas.
I’ve just completed a
hardboiled detective story, Death Without
. It takes place in Manhattan in the early 1940s. This was a stretch
for me, but I had great fun writing it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started off writing
travel articles. My first article was published the Club Mex newsletter. It was
about my trip to Cabo San Lucas.
Do you write full-time?
I am a retired teacher,
which allows me to spend most of my time writing. When I’m not writing for
myself, I write for a publishing company, Cave Art Press. I am also their
marketing director.
If so, what’s your work day like?
I get up at 5:20, work on
my own projects early, and then usually go for a run. On Monday, Wednesday, and
Thursday, I work at the publishing company.
What do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I spend time birding,
running, and enjoying my time with my husband. I started running marathons a
few years ago. This is an activity I do with my three sisters and two nieces.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a personal editor
whom I’ll call Evelyn. She resides in my subconscious and analyzes what I’ve
written while I sleep. Sometimes she wakes me up in the middle of the night to
let me know I misused a word. For example: “Are you sure you want to use the
word cockatoo? You can’t drink a
cockatoo, but you can drink a cocktail.
I’m just saying.” Or she’ll suggest a way to fix a writing problem. “You should
consider shortening the first chapter by leaving out the bird-watching story.
You can use that later.” Sometimes the message I receive is a reminder. “Did
you send the new cover-image for your guest blog post to Leslie?” Evelyn is
never wrong. I often wonder why she doesn’t tell me about all my errors and make even more
suggestions; then I realize that if she did, I’d never get any sleep.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The list is long: a
ballerina, and artist, a marine biologist, a teacher, an actress, a world
traveler, and an automobile mechanic.
Anything additional you want to share with the
Cave Art Press is looking
for submissions. We published nonfiction in the areas of military history,
adventure travel, memoir, and nautical and nature. You can check us out at
Thanks for being here, Kathleen!

One thought on “Interview with mystery author Kathleen Kaska

  1. Kathleen Kaska says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog today, and for helping spreading the word about my new book, Run Dog Run. If your readers are considering adopting a dog, I'd like to put in a good word for retired greyhound racers. They make wonderful pets.

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