Donis Casey, In the Hot Seat

Donis Casey will be appearing with Carolyn Hart and Hannah Dennison at The Poisoned Pen Tuesday, October 4 at 7 PM. I asked the author of All Men Fear Me and the other Alafair Tucker mysteries to sit in the hot seat for an interview. Thank you, Donis.


Donis, would you introduce yourself to readers?

I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in English, and earned a Master’s degree in Library Science from Oklahoma University. After teaching school for a short time, I enjoyed a career as an academic librarian, working for many years at the University of Oklahoma and at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. I left academia in 1988 to start my own business and after more than a decade as an entrepreneur, I decided to devote myself full-time to writing. I am the author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s and featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children. I have twice won the Arizona Book Award, been a finalist for the Willa Award and am a seven-time finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. My first novel, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book.The ninth Alafair Tucker Mystery, The Return of the Raven Mocker, will be available in January 2017 from Poisoned Pen Press. For the past thirty years I have lived in Tempe, AZ, with my husband.

Alafair Tucker is one of my favorite mystery characters. Tell us about Alafair.

Alafair Tucker is a woman in her early forties who lives with her husband Shaw and their ten children on a prosperous farm in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, during the booming 1910s.  She never sets out to solve murders, but all those pesky kids keep getting involved in unsavory situations, and need their mother to help get them out of trouble.  Fortunately, Alafair is the kind of woman who will do anything, legal or not so legal, for her kids.

I started writing about Alafair a dozen years ago almost as an act of defiance—well, maybe as atonement, too. I spent much of my youth trying not to be a “traditional housewife”, and it seems to me that many women, especially young women, have the mind-set that in order to be a person worthy of respect you have to compete in the business world. (cough-Lean In-cough). It’s almost like we believe in that Groucho Marx adage, “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.” When you really see what kind of life our foremothers lived, how smart and innovative and accomplished they had to be, you can’t help but be awed.

So I write about it, even knowing how people still think of traditional women. Women included.

Would you tell us about All Men Fear Me, without spoilers?


My first Alafair book The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, took place in 1912. In the eighth story, All Men Fear Me, occurs in 1917 at entry of the United States into World War I. Not all Americans are happy to go to war. After the country schedules the first draft lottery in April of ’17,  a violent clash occurs between rabid pro-war, anti-immigrant “patriots” and anti-conscription socialists who are threatening an uprising rather than submit to the draft.

Alafair is caught in the middle when her brother, a union organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, pays her a visit. Rob Gunn is fresh out of an internment camp for participants in an Arizona miners’ strike. He assures Alafair that he’s only come to visit family, but she’s not so sure. On top of everything, Alafair’s eldest son enlists, and a group calling themselves the “Knights of Liberty” vandalizes the farm of Alafair’s German-born son-in-law.

Alfafair’s younger son, 16-year-old Charlie, is wildly patriotic and horrified by his socialist uncle. With his father’s permission Charlie takes a part-time war job at the Francis Vitric Brick Company. Soon several suspicious machine breakdowns delay production, and a couple of shift supervisors are murdered. Everyone in town suspects sabotage, some blaming German spies, some blaming the unionists and socialists. But Charlie Tucker is sure he knows who the culprit is and comes up with a plan to catch him red-handed.

And then there is old Nick, the mysterious guy in a bowler hat who’s been hanging around town.

Most of the books in this series are set in Oklahoma. Tell us about your Oklahoma connection.

I am a fourth generation Oklahoman, born and raised there. Since Oklahoma is certainly considered a “fly-over” state by those East- and West-Coasters, I was never too keen to admit my origins when I was traveling (though when I talk, English-speakers certainly can tell something is up with my accent.) But when I moved away from Oklahoma permanently, I was amazed at how little most people know about the fascinating history of the state. Years before it was admitted to the Union in 1907, Oklahoma was actually a foreign country, the Indian Territory. It slowly came to be taken over by white Americans, mostly cattlemen, then opened up practically overnight with a series of land runs in the western half of the state. It’s an amazing ethnic mix, wildly rich, full of outlaws, rife with stories to be told.

What authors influenced you?

I’ve always had eclectic taste. I especially love historical and sci-fi—and mysteries of course. But my writing was really affected by Ellis Peters, Ursula LeGuin, Mary Renault, Josephine Tey. As for people who are currently writing, I find myself studying Timothy Hallinan, Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny. I’m leaving out plenty of other authors I admire and stealthily steal from.

Donis, I know how much I miss Arizona. Where do you take visitors?

I like to show visitors my home town of Tempe, with its beautiful treelined downtown, the ASU campus, the lake park. I like to take people to Old Town Scottsdale, too. We always drop in at Poisoned Pen, of course. I live close to the town of Guadalupe, which was featured in one of my books (The Wrong Hill to Die On) and has a beautiful and historic Pascua Yaqui church. If my visitors are here for a while, a trip to Sedona can’t be beat. We took my brother and his wife up there last year and they’re still talking about it. Oh, then there is Tucson and the Sonoran Desert Museum. It’s hard to believe how beautiful a lot of Arizona scenery is until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. (p.s. we miss you, too.)

Other than author, what is the most interesting job you ever had?

I very much enjoyed being a Government Documents librarian at University of Oklahoma and at Arizona State. Not the part where I was an academic middle manager. I loved the documents that the Government Printing Office sent to the universities over the decades. All the Congressional hearings, like HUAC and Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, documents from the War of the Rebellion“, now known as the Civil War, travel and living guides for diplomats posted to every country in the world, biographies of all the First Ladies, World War II propaganda posters, how to raise rabbits, regulations and instructions on how to build a shedyou name it, the government is in on it!

Running a Celtic import shop for ten years was kind of cool, too.

Heres my favorite recent quote. Neil Gaiman said, Trust your obsession.“ Did you ever have an obsession that you had to turn into a story? What was it?

Yes, actually, I have written such a thing though I haven’t tried to have it published yet. I wrote a novel one might call “magical realism”, because I’m obsessed with the nature of reality and I believe that what we think of as “magic” is really “realism”.

I deal a little bit in magical realism in the Alafair books.

I just finished Ann Hoods novel, The Book That Matters Most. A character admits that the book can change throughout our lives. Is there a book that mattered most to you? Why?

So many books. When I was little, I got into Lucy Fitch Perkins’ Twins series, which made me a voracious reader and also made me wildly curious about other cultures—a curiosity which has lasted to this day. Speaking of children’s books, I must have read The Angry Planet a dozen times when I was a young teen. That book gave me a lifelong love of science fiction. Beau Geste made me a romantic. But the book that really changed my conception of the world was Autobiography of a Yogi, by Yogananda. I saw it on the bookshelf of the guy I was dating and he lent it to me. I was amazed. Whether I believed it all or not, the book made me realize that there are so many entirely different ways to look at reality than I had ever imagined. (p.s. I married the guy.)

The last book that knocked my socks off and made me proud to be a writer was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

What is on your TBR pile?

At the moment—The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis, Jeffrey Siger’s Santorini Caesars, Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron, The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I’m currently re-reading Walter Mosely’s This Year You Write Your Novel.

Thank you, Donis. It’s always fun to get to know authors a little more. You can find out more about Donis on her website,  And, you can order Donis’ books through the Web Store.


Carolyn Hart, In the Hot Seat

I feel honored every time Carolyn Hart writes to me. That’s how I felt the first time I hosted her at the library. My gosh! Carolyn Hart! I still feel that way.

Carolyn Hart

Carolyn Hart is the author of more than 56 novels, and a Mystery Writers of America (MWA) Grand Master. Hart was one of ten mystery authors featured at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington D.C. in 2003 and again in 2007. In March 2004 she received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. She has twice won the annual Oklahoma Book Award for best novel. In April 2004 she spoke at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on mysteries in American culture. She received the Ridley Pearson Award at Murder in the Grove, Boise, Idaho, in 2005 for significant contributions to the mystery field. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Amelia Award from Malice Domestic. In 2014, she was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. She is the winner of three Agatha Awards for Best Novel, two Anthonys and two Macavitys.

In other words, Carolyn Hart is one of the treasures of the mystery field. And, she’ll be appearing at the Poisoned Pen Tuesday, October 4 at 7 PM along with authors Donis Casey and Hannah Dennison. Carolyn will be discussing and signing her book, Ghost Times Two.


Today, though, I have a Q&A with Carolyn. She took time to sit In the Hot Seat and answer questions. Thank you, Carolyn.

Carolyn, I’m sure most readers recognize your name. What would you like to say to introduce yourself?


I love mysteries, kind people, and cats.

Would you introduce Bailey Ruth?


Bailey Ruth Raeburn, late of Adelaide, OK, is a fun-loving, energetic, impulsive emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good intentions. Bailey Ruth delights in returning to earth to help people in trouble.

    In her debut, Ghost at Work, she helps move a body then feels compelled to solve the murder.

     In Merry, Merry Ghost, she protects an orphaned little boy during a Christmas transformed by joy and marred by sorrow.

     Bailey Ruth deals with a fractious recipient of her aid, a fraudulent medium, and a heartbroken mother in Ghost in Trouble.

     A cocky young man’s late aunt steers Bailey Ruth to earth in Ghost Gone Wild, but Heaven has no idea Bailey Ruth is on the case.

    In Ghost Wanted, Bailey Ruth’s Heavenly supervisor Wiggins is distraught when a kind ghost at the college library is blamed for malicious pranks. Bailey Ruth’s search for an elusive spirit reveals a long ago love story and a present day romance.

    When a teenager wishes upon a star in Ghost to the Rescue, Bailey Ruth lands in her mom’s hotel room just in time to thwart the unwelcome advances of a man who wants more that good work from an employee.

How did you come up with Bailey Ruth as a character?


    I love the Topper Books and Blithe Spirit. I wanted to write about a cheerful, smart, engaging ghost. I didn’t have Bailey Ruth in mind when I started Ghost at Work but suddenly she came around a golden cloud, redheaded, mischievous, unpretentious, lively, a former English teacher, later in the Chamber of Commerce. She loves her hometown of Adelaide, OK., a fictionalized version of my husband’s hometown of Ada, OK, in the rolling hills of south central Oklahoma. She’s been great fun to get to know. She makes me laugh.

Tell us about Ghost Times Two, without spoilers.

In Ghost Times Two, Bailey Ruth encourages Jimmy Taylor, a young, fun-loving ghost, to climb the Golden Stairs to Heaven. Jimmy doesn’t want to leave his beloved Megan, especially since a young lawyer (Jimmy says he’s a dweeb) hopes to win her love but when Megan is suspected of murder, Jimmy helps Bailey Ruth save her, even if she ends up in a new love’s embrace.  


You’ve been writing mysteries for quite a number of years. What authors inspired you?


    Mary Roberts Rinehart, Agatha Christie, Phoebe Atwood Taylor,  Josephine Tey.

What has changed for the better in the publishing world since you started?


    The mystery world is much more interconnected through both the Internet and writers’ organizations. It is a delight to know personally so many wonderful mystery writers I admire and respect.

Here’s that dinner party question, with a twist. What mystery authors would you like to host for dinner, along with their heroes? Why?


    Selwyn Jepson (1899-1989) and Eve Gill. Jepson served in the British military in both WWI and WWII, the latter in SOE. He preferred to recruit women as agents: “Women, as you must know, have a far greater capacity for cold and lonely courage than men.” Eve Gill exhibits the qualities he admired, audacity, coolness, courage ““ and she is fun to boot.

    Pamela Branch (1902-1967) and Sam Egon. Glamorous, sophisticated Pamela Branch is the author of four of the funniest, most exhilarating mysteries ever written. Each book was a standalone. I am especially fond of Sam Egon, the enterprising editor of a failing magazine in Murder’s Little Sister, my favorite of the Branch titles.  They would make any dinner party absolutely memorable.

    Constance  (1899-1980) and Gwenyth (1903-1986) Little and Aloysius P. Graham.  The Australian sisters could take any mundane fact situation and launch it into sheer hilarity. Each book was a standalone. One of my favorite’s is The Black Goatee.  Aloysius P. Graham has a novel solution to the housing shortage after WWII. His can-do spirit combined with his penchant for indiscretion would make any dinner an adventure. 

    Juanita Sheridan (1906-1974) and Janice Cameron and her foster sister Lily Wu. Juanita Sheridan’s life was even more exotic than those depicted in her novels. She sought adventure, found it. Her series detecting duo of Janice Cameron, a writer, and Lily Wu, her elegant, brilliant, and perceptive friend, are the kind of women you’d like to have at your side when trouble erupts.

    Nury Vittachi and Feng Sui Master C. F. Wong.

    Bailey Ruth loves mysteries and often visits the Celestial Bookstore where she has met Selwyn Jepson, Pamela Branch, Constance and Gwenyth Little. and Juanita Sheridan. Since I know most of the current authors, I’m inviting an author I will likely never meet (on earth). Nury Vittachi  is a journalist and columnist in Hong Kong. Feng Sui Master C. F. Wong stars in books that are both funny and touching. I would love to have C. F. Wong at the dinner table to share anecdotes from Some Gleanings of Oriental Wisdom.

My favorite recent quote is from Neil Gaiman. “Trust your obsession.” Did you ever have an obsession that you had to turn into a story? What was it?


As a child growing up during WWII, the war dominated our lives. I was inspired by the courage of ordinary people caught up in horrific times. The result was three novels. Escape from Paris is the story of two American sisters trapped in Paris after France fell to the Germans and their efforts to aid escaping British airmen even though the Gestapo was only a step behind. Brave Hearts is a story of love and despair against the backdrop of the  bombardment of Corregidor and the fall of the Philippines. Letter from Home occurs on the home front in the summer of 1944. Two girls are caught up in a crime that will change their lives.

I just finished Ann Hood’s novel, The Book That Matters Most. A character admits that the book that matters can change throughout our lives. Is there a book that mattered most to you at one time? Why?


 Little Women. Jo is always and ever my favorite heroine.

What is on your TBR pile?


Mignon F. Ballard   Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel

Rhys Bowen    Crowned and Dangerous

Delight awaits me.

And, delight will await you if you have the chance to meet and listen to Carolyn Hart on October 4. Don’t forget, you can pre-order a signed copy of Ghost Times Two through the Web Store.

Karin Slaughter, Livestream

Karin Slaughter is currently on tour for her latest Will Trent book, The Kept Woman.

Kept Woman

If you missed her appearance at The Poisoned Pen, you can see her interview with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, via Livestream.

If you want a little more of Karin’s humor, check out the interview with her, “Karin Slaughter, In the Hot Seat”.

And, of course, you can get signed copies of The Kept Woman through the Web Store.

Coel & Krueger at The Poisoned Pen

Now there’s a duo to make the reader of western mysteries very happy, Margaret Coel and William Kent Krueger. They appeared together at The Poisoned Pen to talk about their latest books.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Winter’s Child is the last of Margaret Coel’s Wind River mysteries. And, in Manitou River by Krueger, the  new Cork O’Connor thriller, the lives of hundreds of innocent people are at stake when Cork vanishes just days before his daughter’s wedding. You can hear the authors talk about their books through our Livestream, as Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, interviews them.

Before (or after) you see the Livestream, check out the photos from the event.

Left to right – Margaret Coel, Barbara Peters, William Kent Krueger
The interview


The book signing line

If you would like signed signed copies of Winter’s Child or Manitou Canyon, they’re available through the Web Store.


Craig Johnson at The Poisoned Pen

Craig Johnson is on tour for the latest Longmire mystery, An Obvious Fact.


There are fun pictures from the event at The Poisoned Pen, hosted by bookstore owner Barbara Peters. But, to really hear Craig’s storytelling, you must watch the Livestream event.  His humor just doesn’t come through in the photos. I hope you take time to watch Craig and Barbara.

Craig and his wife, Judy, in the back room before the event
The audience waits
Barbara Peters waits
Craig’s Entrance
Craig and Barbara



The Storyteller



Do you want a signed copy of An Obvious Fact? You can get it through the Web Store.

(And, you really should watch the Livestream event.)

Michael A. Kahn & Zombies

Michael A. Kahn’s latest Rachel Gold novel, The Dead Hand, is now available through the Web Store. You can order a signed copy. It has a fascinating premise.


Here’s the description as it appears on our website. “Dead hand” is the English translation of the Latin term “mortmain,” which the law dictionary defines as “the influence of the past regarded as controlling the present.” For Rachel Gold, a more accurate term would be “zombies.” In particular, the wealthy zombies who seek to control the living—and especially their families—from the grave through legal documents prepared before they died.

In The Dead Hand, Rachel represents two women—one a widow, one a divorcee—in a pair of nasty zombie lawsuits, the outcome of each of which hinges upon a clause in a dead man’s document.

Rachel’s client Cyndi Mulligan is the young trophy widow of the late Bert Mulligan, a billionaire entrepreneur whose last will and testament left his estate to Cyndi’s daughter. The challenge comes from Bert’s angry first wife and her angrier only son. Their claim: Cyndi’s daughter—born eleven months after Bert’s death—cannot possibly be Bert’s child.

Rachel’s other client is Marsha Knight, the ex-wife of the wealthy founder of a women’s lingerie manufacturer. She’s been sued by his widow, who seeks to invalidate Marsha’s divorce settlement and, in the process, impoverish her through invocation of the ancient and nearly inscrutable Rule against Perpetuities.

As the trial date approaches in each lawsuit, the threats to Rachel and her two clients begin to escalate. Zombies, as Rachel discovers, are hard to kill, and so are their lawsuits.


Better yet, Kahn wrote a piece about “zombies” for Crimespree magazine. It’s shared here, with permission.

The Law of Zombies

By Michael A. Kahn

Zombies had grabbed the attention of lawyers and judges centuries before The Walking Dead premiered on AMC. I refer to a special species of zombies—the ones introduced in Chapter 7 of my newest Rachel Gold mystery, The Dead Hand:

Their lawyers call them “high net-worth individuals prepared to shoulder the responsibility for providing wealth for future generations and essential funding for important causes even after they are no longer with us.”

Benny calls them zombies.

And since zombies are already dead, they’re hard to kill.

Let me explain:

As a lawyer by day, I try to feature one curious legal concept in each of my novels. Past examples include the Dead Man’s Statute (a quirky rule of evidence) and the Qui Tam Action (a nasty species of lawsuit with roots in medieval England.

In a delusional moment as I pondered the plot of what became The Dead Hand, I decided to hinge the tale on an arcane law known as the Rule against Perpetuities. As with other zombie laws, the Rule seeks to limit the ability of dead people to control property and people (especially heirs) from the grave via various legal documents created while they were alive.

The key adjective there is “arcane.” As Rachel Gold explains:

The Rule against Perpetuities.

You first hear of it in your Property class as a One L. You try to master it in your bar review course after graduation. You forget it after you sit for the bar exam. And if you’re like most lawyers, you never think of it again. Ever.

I was one of those lawyers. For three decades of my career, the Rule against Perpetuities was just a distant, blurry, unpleasant memory. Thus when I decided to feature it in The Dead Hand, my first challenge was to figure it out.

Easier said than done. Although the Rule is just one sentence long, lurking beneath those thirty words are so many lethal trapdoors that some courts have held that an attorney who drafts a conveyance that violates the Rule against Perpetuities cannot be found guilty of malpractice.

So I arranged lunch with a friend of mine who is a trust-and-estates lawyer. After we gave the waiter our orders, I told him why I’d asked him to lunch.

He stared, eyes wide. “Are you serious?”

I assured him I was.

“Good grief.”

He leaned back in his chair, stared down at the table, and shook his head. But then he looked up with a smile. “Well, you won’t be the first.”


“You ever see the movie “˜Body Heat’?”


He chuckled. “I admit that only a trust-and-estates nerd would catch that plot twist. While the rest of you were salivating over Kathleen Turner’s body, we were geeking out over the will she’d forged, which was declared void for violating the Rule against Perpetuities, meaning she would inherit everything.”

Over the next hour, he tried to explain the Rule to me.

“The key phrase in Rule,” he said, “is “˜a life in being.’ Whatever grant you make in the will or document, the Rule says that it has to vest within 21 years of the death of some specified person who was alive at the time of the creation of the document. If not, the grant is void.”

Sounds simple, albeit a little odd. But the problem is that the Rule deals with unknown future events. It asks whether there is a possibility, no matter how remote, that the interest will fail to vest before that 21-year period expires. If so, the grant fails entirely.

As a result, any attempt to apply the Rule leads you down a rabbit hole of what-ifs and hypotheticals. Infamous examples from Property Law textbooks include the Case of the Unborn Widow, the Case of the Precocious Toddler, and the Case of the Bottomless Gravel Pit. Each violates the Rule in a manner you could never imagine—and that I still didn’t grasp as lunch ended.

Nevertheless, I was convinced that I’d found my quirky plot driver. As I drove back to the office, memories from my first-year Property class began returning. What was that hypothetical our professor used? Not the Case of the Unborn Widow. Hmmm . .  oh, yeah! The Case of the Fertile Octogenarian.

And that very night I opened a new document on my computer, leaned forward with a smile, and typed at the top of the first page “Chapter One.”

Margaret Coel’s Last Wind River Mystery

Margaret Coel recently announced Winter’s Child would be her last Wind River mystery. Here’s the announcement from her newsletter.

Dear Readers
Winter's ChildThe FINAL novel in my Wind River series, Winter’s Child, arrives on September 6! Yes, you read that right. After twenty novels, I decided it was time to bring the mysterious adventures on the Wind River Reservation with Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley to a close. Or, rather, allow them to close out their own stories. Will I miss these two people (I think of them as real people, not characters)? Oh, definitely. Will I miss all the other people, like the Bishop and Elena, the elders, even some of the villains? I know I will. How could I not, when I have spent so much time with them? It is like waving goodbye to friends on the train as the train pulls away from the station and leaves me standing there, sad but grateful that, for a time, all these fascinating people had graced my life.

But….there is still Winter’s Child, Vicky and Father John’s last adventure in crime solving. Let me tell you a little about it. When an Arapaho couple set out to adopt the white child left on their doorstep as an infant, they turn to Clint Hopkins, a well known adoption lawyer, and Clint insists upon bringing Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden into the case. But before they can meet, a black truck appears out of a blizzard and runs Clint down.

Vicky and Father John find themselves drawn into the mystery surrounding a white child growing up Arapaho. Where did she come from? Who had left her on a doorstep? What secrets did Clint Hopkins uncover that had gotten him killed?

Then Father John’s niece, Shannon O’Malley, arrives at St. Francis Mission to research the 19th century captivity story of Lizzie Brokenhorn, the white woman who had spent her life as an Arapaho, and soon Father John begins to suspect that the lives of two white girls, separated by more than a century, may be connected.

As he and Vicky edge closer to the secrets hidden in the past, they find they have moved into the sights of a killer—a killer willing to kill again to make certain the secrets remain hidden.

I hope you will enjoy this final mystery on the Wind River Reservation as much as I enjoyed writing it. Certainly, at the end of this long series, changes are about to occur. But how do those changes affect the deep and lasting devotion that Vicky and Father John have for each other? For the answer to that mystery, dear reader, you will have to read Winter’s Child.

Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel


You can order signed copies of this final book, Winter’s Child, through the Web Store.

Karin Slaughter, In the Hot Seat

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter appears at the Poisoned Pen at 2 PM on Sunday, Sept. 25 on her book tour for her latest crime novel, The Kept Woman. Fortunately for those of us who won’t be able to make it, she took time to sit In the Hot Seat and answer questions. Thank you, Karin.

Karin, you’re so well-known. I’m sure you’ve had all kinds of introductions. How would you introduce yourself?

“Wow, it’s just starting that someone so young has written so many books!”

Will Trent is the lead character in your latest novel, The Kept Woman. Would you introduce him?

Knowing him so well, I’d think that he wouldn’t want to be introduced. If it was a social situation, I wouldn’t say he’s a cop because people act weird when they find out people are cops. I’d just say he’s a friend and hands off ladies because he’s taken.

Please summarize The Kept Woman without spoilers.

Kept Woman

Like all Will Trent books, it starts out with  him being really, really happy…and then something horrible happens.

Although this is part of a series, you’ve said people can start here. What makes The Kept Woman a good starting point?

After Unseen (the last Will Trent novel) I was at a reset point with the characters and relationships, and I think that what you find in The Kept Woman is a new beginning, not least of all because Sara has a new job and everyone is trying to figure out where they belong in the story.

Why do you write mysteries and thrillers?

I honestly just think of myself as a writer. This isn’t to say that I don’t adore mysteries and thrillers, but that’s kind of a category. Gone With the Wind has a violent murder. Gone Girl is a classic thriller. When enough people who think they are really smart like a thriller, they call it fiction. Me, I just like a good story where something happens.

Other than author, what’s the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

I was an exterminator, but the company was actually a drug front, which it took me about a year to realize. I was very naïve!

Neil Gaiman said, “Trust your obsession.” Did you ever have an obsession that you had to turn into a story? What was it?

Pretty Girls, my last novel, came to me in a dream. I was taking medication for my back, and anyone who knows me will tell you I am not much of a drinker or drug-taker (I’ve never even smoked a cigarette) so the narcotics for the pain gave me these incredibly vivid dreams, and one of them was the opening for Pretty Girls. I was actually in the middle of writing a different book and I became so obsessed with the story that I had to put that one on hold. Oh, and also with The Kept Woman I guess I am obsessed with these jocks who keep getting away with raping women. Or maybe it’s not “obsessed” so much as disgusted, and it keeps happening again and again so my disgust seems to have an ever-renewable resource.

Since I’m a librarian, would you tell us about your passion for libraries?

I would say first: thank you for your service! What you do is very important, especially to folks like me. Every author I know got their start in the library. As for me, I didn’t come from a reading family, so the library was amazing for me. Also, it was a place where women were positive role models. I lived in a town where little girls were told they could be a teacher until they got married, then they would be a mother. The librarians were the boss of the library! How cool is that?

What’s on your TBR pile?

I have just started Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson. It’s about the Attica prison riot, and the parallels to what is currently happening in privately run prisons is both startling and terrifying.

Thank you, Karin. As I said, Karin will appear at the Poisoned Pen on Sunday, Sept 25 at 2 PM. You can order signed copies of The Kept Woman through the Web Store.

Bruce DeSilva & Reed Farrel Coleman

Bruce DeSilva, author of The Dread Line, and Reed Farrel Coleman, author of Robert B. Parker’s Debt to Pay, recently appeared at The Poisoned Pen.

If the smiles on their faces are any indication, Arizona Republic reporter Robert Anglin, who interviewed them, had some interesting questions.

Left to right – Robert Anglin, Bruce DeSilva, Reed Farrel Coleman



Coleman & DeSilva prepared to sign books

Why just check out the photos? You can also see the entire program through our Livestream link.

And, you can buy signed copies of DeSilva’s The Dread Line and Coleman’s Robert B. Parker’s Debt to Pay through the Web Store.