Interview With Buried In Sin Mystery Author Kathryn Long @klongauthor


Buried in Sin mystery novel

Let’s welcome mystery author Kathryn Long, whose most recent novel is Buried in Sin, A Mackenzie Blue mystery. Kathryn is a hybrid author who has both traditional and self-published books. She loves writing and reading mysteries. Being a late bloomer as an author has given her plenty of interesting life experiences to draw from when writing.

Do you outline your books or wing it?  Describe your process.
I’ve been both a planner and a pantser, but for the past several projects I’ve leaned toward outlining extensively. Impulsive writing tended to paint me into a corner where I had to rewrite, and it cost me lots of time. Definitely, this was a hard lesson to learn! When outlining, I start with a rambling summary of the story that goes on for pages and pages. Then, I take that and write chapter summaries. (I can’t handle the traditional outlining format.) Finally, because I’m horrible with time elements, I use index cards to jot down brief actions of each chapter with dates on them so I won’t mess up. I tape those along my bookshelf and refer to them while writing.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?

It’s a constant itch for me to edit as I write. Must be the teacher in me who can’t leave the writing alone. I tweak a lot. Of course, I do major editing and rewriting after I’ve completed the manuscript. Then, my agent has her turn. And, finally, the editors put their mark on it! It takes a village.

What inspired your latest release?

Buried in Sin draws from both personal experience and my fascination of 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.

What had you written already?

I self-published a mystery series that sort of fits in the cozy genre. I call them the Lilly M. Mysteries with the first titled Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes. Then, I traditionally published a paranormal mystery titled Dying to Dream, followed by a romantic suspense, A Deadly Deed Grows. Besides Buried in Sin being released this year, I hope to follow up as a series. I already have book two written. I also have another title, When I Choose coming out soon. It’s more of a contemporary romance/women’s fiction story. Right now, my agent is pitching a cozy mystery series to publishers. We shall see what happens. I’m definitely keeping busy!

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?

Oh yes. I’m at that age where I’ve done plenty! I’ve been a bookstore manager, temp secretary, and high school teacher for children with disabilities. Writing became a full-time endeavor when I retired a few years ago.

Do you have or belong to a writing organization?  Which one?

I have been a member of Sisters in Crime, both nationally and locally, for several years. I recently started my membership with International Thriller Writers. SinC has given me opportunities to connect with other writers, especially in the local chapter, and to participate in author events and conferences. Writing can be such a solitary experience. It’s rewarding to get the opportunity to talk shop with other like-minded folks! I also belong to a small group of authors. We brainstorm together once a month where we give each other support, writing/story suggestions and tons of morale boosting. All these opportunities keep me sane!

Tell us about your hero or heroine.  Give us one of his/her strengths and one of his/her weaknesses.

The heroine of Buried in Sin, Sarah (Mac) Mackenzie, is a twenty-something fact-finder who researches for her uncle’s articles. She’s a true geek who spouts off random trivia facts when nervous or excited. She’s compassionate and caring, especially for her uncle who is diabetic and confined to a wheelchair. At the same time, she’s a bit too timid when it comes to commitment in relationships, which evolves throughout the story.

What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?

I’m not really fixed on reading in the genre I write while I write. First and foremost, I love reading mysteries of all kinds from cozies to psychological thrillers. However, I do venture into other genres, like women’s fiction. I love Jane Green, Kristin Hannah, and Alice Hoffman. Currently I’m reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This story has a little of several genres! And when in an adventurous mood, I can always go back to reread The Hobbit, which happens more often than I’d like to admit!

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

Well, I do play the guitar, though I’m not great at it. I’ve even dabbled in song-writing. To play like a pro would be a dream come true!

What music “soothes your soul”?  Do you listen to music as you write?

Rhythm and Blues will always soothe my soul. My current playlist includes H.E.R., Ella Mai, and Estelle. But then I also love rock like Black Keyes or Florence and the Machine. I’m very eclectic. Let’s just say I like good music. I can’t listen, though, when I’m writing, but can when I edit. It’s hard to keep my head out of the music and to stay in the story.

For more about Kathryn Long, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Buried In Sin:

Research assistant Sarah Mackenzie loves working for her uncle, collecting information for his local history projects. However, when she stumbles upon an uncovered grave in Cornplanter cemetery, it’s like staring into the face of a ghost. The body reminds her of someone she knew, someone she believed died ten years ago. Her discovery leads to more unpleasant surprises and definitely not the kind Sarah likes to collect.

The local sheriff learns about Sarah’s strained relationship with the victim, and the clues keep dropping to shift suspicion to her as the prime 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 to discover the identity of the Grave Maker and stop his killing spree.

Buy it on Amazon.

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