Interview with mystery novelist Kathryn Long

Novelist Kathryn Long
joins me today to chat about her new mystery, Buried in Sin – A Mackenzie Blue Mystery.
Kathryn Long is a retired teacher turned dedicated writer. She loves filling
her days reading and writing mysteries. Her credits include romantic suspense, A
Deadly Dead Grows
and her self-published series, THE LILLY M. MYSTERIES. Buried
in Sin
is her latest release, published by Black Opal Books in March 2019.
She stays active on social media where you can find her on Facebook, Twitter,
and her blog. She also belongs to Sisters in Crime and International Thriller
Writers. Kathryn lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and pooch Max.
Welcome, Kathryn. Please tell us about
your current release.
I think the book blurb says it best…
Research assistant Sarah Mackenzie enjoys collecting information for her
uncle’s local history projects. But when she stumbles upon an open grave in
Cornplanter Cemetery, she’s startled to find the body reminds her of someone
she knew, someone she believed died ten years ago. Like opening Pandora’s Box,
the discovery is full of unpleasant surprises and definitely not the kind this
researcher likes to collect. To make matters worse, the local sheriff has
learned about Sarah’s strained relationship with the victim, and the clues drop
one by one to shift suspicion to her as the favored suspect. As the murders
escalate and one becomes three, Sarah confronts her fear and searches for the
truth, venturing into the world of Seneca Indian culture. Confronted with
mysteries from the past as well as the present, she must find their common link
in order to discover the identity of the Grave Maker and stop his killing
What inspired you to write this book?
Buried in Sin draws from both personal experience and my
fascination with Native American culture. I grew up visiting the area of
northwest Pennsylvania and the Kinzua Reservoir/Allegheny Forest where our
family has a cabin. So, the setting inspired me to write a story about it.
Since there’s a strong Seneca Indian connection to this area, especially in its
history, and along with my interest in such cultures, I felt those characters
and the Seneca folklore fit perfectly.
Excerpt from Buried in Sin:
“Ah, yeah. Hold on,” I said, once more moving
forward. A fresh grave in a cemetery. This wasn’t anything unusual. Somebody
who died would need burying. However, no one had been buried in Cornplanter’s
since the first half of the twentieth century.
My pace slowed to a crawl as I sniffed a foul odor. The
harsh chatter of crows perched in the tree above startled me, enough that I
lost my balance. I gasped, and my arms flailed wildly until I found my feet
planted on the ground once more. Counting to ten, I took a deep breath. Another
step. One more, and I reached the edge of the hole. “Okay, Mac, you can do
this,” I whispered before leaning in to take a peek. With a loud gasp, I
stumbled backward. Doubling over at the waist, I coughed and tried to hold down
the bitter taste rising up through my stomach and into my throat.
“What in blue blazes is all that noise you’re makin’?”
My legs weakened, and I crumbled to the ground. In
another minute, maybe longer, I put the phone back to my ear. “I have to go,
Uncle Chaz. There’s a body… in a grave. I need to call the sheriff.”
Chaz laughed. “What did you expect? Land sakes.
You’re in a cemetery.”
I shook my head, hard enough to make myself dizzy.
My voice came out breathy and weak. “This one’s different. I’ll talk to you
when I get home.” I ended the call despite his sputtering protest. My knuckles
blanched as I tightened the grip on the phone.
To be certain the long day with its heat and burning
sunlight hadn’t played games with my eyes, I walked back to the grave once more.
Another quick look told me this was no delusion. A man laid in the grave, a red-stained
hole through the middle of his chest. For a brief moment, though it seemed
insane, the face appeared strangely familiar. Somebody from my past. But that
was impossible, wasn’t it?
As I began to turn away, something else caught my
eye. A rather large, flat stone rested at the head of the grave, as if placed
there with deliberate intent. Curious, I edged closer to examine the stone with
steps distanced enough to keep from slipping into the hole. The smoothly polished
surface was marred by crude lettering engraved in its center. I bent to read
and puzzled over what I saw. “Sins of the soul,” I whispered aloud.
I forced my trembling hand to hold steady as I
pushed buttons on the phone to call the Warren authorities. A tiny whimper
escaped my lips as I stole another glimpse at the grave and tombstone. Twirling
on my heel, I faced the other way. I took several steps from the grave and my
heartbeat evened. As I waited for someone to pick up, my mind tossed around the
insane idea of how familiar the face was and the conclusion it pushed me to
I fought the urge to look again, but it taunted me,
as if I needed convincing to give me some kind of reassurance. Instead, I
continued in the other direction and moved toward the front of the cemetery
where Jacob Bluehawk rested. There I stopped. Taking one hand, I rubbed it harshly
over my face, struggling to erase the image of the body. Reese Logan was dead.
He’d died almost ten years ago. He wasn’t the man in the open grave.
What exciting story are you working on
I have a contemporary romance coming out early next year, titled When
I Choose
. Right now, my agent is subbing the cozy mystery I wrote, BOARDING
WITH MURDER. The movie, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE inspired me with its old Hollywood
charm and the eccentric sisters—though, at least in my story they aren’t poisoning
and burying bodies in the basement! Besides that, I have a second book that will
follow Buried in Sin, tentatively titled, PLAYED BY MURDER.
When did you first consider yourself a
Around the age of fifty! Yeah, I’m a late bloomer. At least that’s when I
wrote my first novel-length story and got it published. Actually, I think I became
serious about writing back in high school when I joined the Writers Club. Of
course, I’ve been creating stories and poems since I knew how to put words on
the page.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I’m a retired teacher, so you’d think I would write full-time. Yet, there
are so many things going on in my life that keep me writing part-time. I love
spending every chance I get with my family, especially my two grandbabies, and
traveling to most any place I can, including to our cabin in Pennsylvania. And I
don’t mind admitting, I love binge-watching shows on Netflix, mysteries mostly.
As for my “work day”, I enjoy the freedom of retirement and find it difficult
to schedule a regular routine for writing. That said, when I do start a
project, my energy is like an elephant stampede! I’ll spend several hours a day
to reach the end. If my creative flow is on task, I average 3,000 to 5,000
words per day, three to four days a week, and can finish a novel manuscript in
three months. That includes the rereading/editing I do each day. During the
process, I basically ignore daily needs like eating or sleeping. LOL And my
hubby knows better than to disturb me. Seriously though, the writer fairy godmother
must like me because it all works out.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I don’t know if this is interesting or just plain quirky, but I like to tape
index cards all over my office, (they must be colorful, like florescent orange
is my favorite), one for each chapter with bullet points and a time-stamp so I
can refer back to them as I write the story. Believe it or not, that quirk can
be a time saver.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
Ooo, great question! Let’s see, I’d say my first memory of this would be
when I was in middle school. I so wanted to be an archeologist. And mind you,
this was way before the Indiana Jones movies came out.
Then in high school, I changed and wanted to move
to Paris and be one of those U.N. interpreters who spoke both English and
French. Guess that’s why I majored in French in college. Of course, I never made
it to France or spent my days digging up bones for a living, but I can sure
write about them if I like!
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I think I’ve rambled on long enough, right? Seriously, enjoy reading and,
if you’re so inclined, let the author know how you felt about the book by
writing a review. Good or bad, we love feedback
Thanks for being here today!

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