Monday, April 1, 2024

Author interview with Kathleen Marple Kalb

Now Tweetables' 2-year anniversary celebrations have finished, I'm delighted to restart my author interviews with the lovely Kathleen Marple Kalb. She first published in 2020 and writes mysteries which fall into the light/ cozy, historical and contemporary genres. So let's meet her!

'I like to call myself an anchor/author/mom…not in that order. 

Author of mysteries, historical and contemporary, long and short. Long-time weekend anchor at New York City’s top all-news radio station, 1010 WINS -- weekday stay-at-home mom to an amazing teen and wife of a cancer survivor, who’s a fellow journalist and a UCONN professor. (Go Huskies!) 

And yes, I really was born Miss Marple…I’ve spent my life showing my driver’s license or union card to prove it!'

I love this! Has she got a tweetable for us (tweet here):

'Not your grandma’s #cozymysteries! Smart feisty heroines, diverse casts, character-driven plots, and a touch of romance, @MysteryMarple is bringing classics with a modern twist!'

As at April 2024 she will have 7 traditionally published books available, so what inspired her to become a writer?

'From the time I “borrowed” my grandfather’s classic mysteries as a kid, I knew I wanted to write stories like that…but with people like the ones I know, not old English folks!'

What does her daily writing routine look like?

'I write whenever I get five minutes and a flat surface for the laptop! On a typical school day, I do usually get a good block of writing time, but that’s often upended by work or family schedule changes. My best trick is writing down little notes and emailing them to myself so I can work when I have time.'

She sounds like she has a very busy life!  What does she enjoy the most about writing?

'I get to make it all come out right. In my “day job” on the radio, I see a lot of tough stuff. One of the best things about writing cozy mysteries is the sensibility: something bad happened, and a team of terrific, quirky people is going to fix it – without any major damage to the folks we like. A really nice escape!'

What does she find the hardest part of writing / publishing process?

'Getting published for sure! 

I’ve been querying and submitting since 2016, and I have about 300 rejections overall, counting three times through the query process and starting a short story career. 

Eventually, I came to the realization that a rejection means simply: “NO, today,” on one piece of work, which gives it a lot less power. Not that it doesn’t hurt – but it doesn’t rule me.'

What a great attitude and it's obviously paid off too!  What's the best money she's ever spent as a writer?

'Annual dues for Sisters in Crime, the national, New York/ TriState and Connecticut chapters. A wonderful, inclusive, and supportive group with all kinds of craft, writers life, and marketing help, online and in person.'

How many unpublished and half-finished books does she have currently?

'Two on submission. Four more at varying stages under series contracts. Plus a few other things!'

Gosh! So how long does it take to write a book?

'I can go from proposal (Three chapters + synopsis) in a month…but I prefer a little longer!'

I wish I could do that!  What does Kathleen find the most difficult when writing characters very different from herself?

'Really understanding their lives. I try to write characters inspired by people I know…and I’m lucky to have a wide range of colleagues and friends who’ll talk about even the uncomfortable stuff with me. Hopefully that makes my diverse casts realistic and relatable. 

(Important note: I write first-person, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable inhabiting an LGBTQ+ person or someone of color – there are enough real under-represented voices who deserve attention.)'

That's such an interesting point. Does she read reviews of her books? If so, how does she deal with bad and good ones?

'I do. I’m incredibly grateful for the good ones. I won’t lie – the bad ones hurt. Especially when someone completely misses the point of the book and just takes potshots, calling me a lousy writer and such. 

I remind myself that I can’t be that bad a writer if I made it through the conventional querying and submission process…several times.'

Good for you! So onto her book A FATAL RECEPTION which you can pre-order here.  Can she give us a synopsis?

'Gilded Age trouser diva Ella Shane and her Duke are at long last headed for the altar…but they’ll have to handle a murder, a shipwreck, a questionable Polish prince, and any number of other complications on the way. 

Continuing the highly-praised series featuring a Lower East Side orphan who found fame and fortune as a singer of male soprano roles, the latest instalment follows Ella and her surprisingly diverse cast of family and friends through mystery and misadventure…and into the greatest challenge of all for an independent-minded woman and her Victorian swain: matrimony!'

Oh wow, this sounds brilliant fun! Does she have a tweetable for us (tweet here):

'The Diva Who Duels is back…and heading for the altar! In A FATAL RECEPTION, Ella Shane and her Duke face murder, shipwreck, dollar princesses and more before they say their vows. Coming in April from @levelbestbooks!'

I asked for an extract and she's picked one from the Epilogue (with no spoilers!):

'I walked over to him and very carefully took the whisky glass out of his hand.

Gil stared. “Do you want-”

“I want you.”

I took the last of the whisky as a shot and set the glass on the mantelpiece with a firm click. “Close your eyes and think of England if you have to.”'

What was the hardest scene to write in this book, and why?

'The Epilogue, of all things. 

It’s the wedding night scene, after more than two hundred pages of pre-wedding nerves (mostly the Duke’s), and the couple is alone at last. Finding the balance between funny, passionate, and romantic was tough…but I think I hit it!'

What kind of research does she need to do for her series?

'For a Gilded Age historical, I’m researching all the time! There’s always something, from shoes to soap to social mores that has to be nailed down. Plus, I walk the neighborhood, which is near my workplace in New York. But I research while I write, and I get ideas when I research – it works both ways.'

It's part of a series, so what order should people read her books?

Excellent. So there you have it - an amazing lady with a great collection of work. If you'd like to find out more about her, please use the links below:





Threads: @kathleenmarplekalb


Pre-order here: AFatal Reception: An Ella Shane Mystery - Kindle edition by Kalb, KathleenMarple. Romance Kindle eBooks @

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