In this fourth week of January 2014, I hereby call to order the 29th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate. If you missed our last meeting, feel free to get caught up.
Club members, this week meet Kate George.
Kate George is the author of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series. She was born in Sacramento, California, and has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide fodder for her stories. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and three rescue dogs. Feel free to visit Kate’s website and email her.
And the answers are…
Who named you Kate and why?
My mom named me Katherine. I’m not sure why as both my brothers would have been Sarah if they’d been girls. I was never, ever called Katherine except when I was in trouble. I was always Katie to my mother and Kate to my family as I got older.
How did you become an author?
I was discussing Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series with two of my friends and boasted that I could write a similar book. (Forgive me Janet!) My friends said “oh yeah?” and I said “yeah!” So then they made me do it. That book was Moonlighting in Vermont the first of the Bree MacGowan Series.
What was the muse for your first completed/published book?
I worked at a very secluded, very posh four star hotel. It was full of secret passages and hidden rooms and my imagination just went wild. It seemed the perfect place to set a murder – so I did!
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the fourth of the Bree MacGowan Series, New York Kind of Dead is the working title. It’s the second time I’ve used this as a working title and I’ve learned not to definitively state a title before the book comes out!
I’m also working on a paranormal romance called Glimmer Girls. It’s about a half mermaid, half human coming of age in a human world. And having to choose what your life will be.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Laying flooring in our old farmhouse. None of the floors are level! It took a lot of creative figuring.
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?
Who is your favorite literary character?
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.
What’s your favorite quote?
Life rewards action
Don’t postpone joy.
(It depends on the day.)
If you weren’t an author, what profession would you like to try?
Actress. architect, fiber artist. Costume designer.
If you could do one thing in your life over, what would it be?
I would have finished college the first time around instead of the third time around.
Now to read!
From Kate George’s Crazy Little Thing Called Dead:
I haven’t had a lot of experience with diapers, but I do know that you don’t usually find them taped to dead men’s chests. I’m Bella Bree MacGowan, and while I’m happy to report strange happenings like this in the Royalton Star Weekly, I would have passed on the early morning haircut if I knew I was going to be present at the discovery of the diapered dead dude. But there he was on the floor of my favorite hair salon, Planet Hair.
“What in the world?” Claire, Planet Hair’s owner and stylist extraordinaire, froze midstride in the doorway. I gently pushed past her and realized I should have stayed outside. A middle-aged man in a mismatched suit was face up on the floor. I don’t suppose there are many places dead men look at home, but surrounded by marigold walls and purple trim, it was like finding a corpse on a merry-go-round.
I knelt down and put my fingers to his neck, searching for a pulse. I’d felt skin like this before, cold and kind of… well, dead… and this guy’s heart hadn’t been pumping for a while. His dress shirt wasn’t buttoned all the way up and as much as I didn’t want to look at this guy I couldn’t help but see there was something unusual on his chest. There was a line of grey silver duct tape and under that, a row of line-art duckies. I’d seen ducks like that before—on my cousin’s infant. It was a diaper. I got an instant case of the creeps running up my spine.
I looked up at Claire and shook my head.
“There’s a dead guy in my salon? Shit.” Claire is a tough chick, but finding a body can shake a person up.
“We need to get out of here.” I shooed her out the door and dragged my cell phone from my pocket.
I didn’t dial 911. My best friend’s husband, Tom Maverick, was the Commander of the Vermont State Police Barracks in Bethel, Vermont. I called him directly and let him sort it out. After Tom I called Randy, the photographer we used for the Royalton Star.
“Dead body at Planet Hair. Get over here now.”
God help me, a little shiver of excitement ran through me. If I had anything to do with it, the paper would come out tomorrow morning with a shot of the dead guy on the front page. A scoop for the paper would be excellent. On the other hand, my stomach was starting to clench. Dead bodies had a way of wrecking my life.
Claire and I waited out on the covered sidewalk in the humidity. My leg was jiggling with nervous energy as I willed Randy to get here before the police. I was sweating even though it was only eight-thirty and we were standing in the shade. Claire looked at her watch, glanced back into the salon and then gazed at me with her eyebrows raised.
“You’d better call your clients, this is going to take all day,” I said.
“My appointment book is in there with the dead guy.” Claire frowned.
It was fifteen minutes before two state police cruisers pulled up alongside the building. There were no lights or sirens. This was what I liked about Tom; he kept the fanfare at a minimum. Tom tended to be a low-key kind of guy, for a cop. He extracted himself from the first car and came over to me, while Officer Steve Leftsky and his partner hopped up onto the boardwalk and disappeared into the salon. Tom sat on the top step next to me.
“I should have known you’d be here. We’ve had two bodies in the past five years and you’ve found both of them.”
“Three. You forgot Lily Wallace in California.” Not that I wanted to remember the blood mingling with her hair in the river, but seeing a body fall from one of the tallest bridges in the United States isn’t something you forget in a hurry.
“That’s right. Body number three. You holding together?”
“I’m fine. At least there wasn’t any blood this time. Could have been a natural death for all I know.”
“Yeah. Not likely.”
Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.
Other great Kate reads: