Wednesday 11 November 2015

Author Interview: Kassandra Lamb

In the interview seat today we have the lovely Kassandra Lamb. Writing and psychology have always vied for first place on Kassandra's Greatest Passions list. In her youth, she had to decide between writing and paying the bills. Partial to electricity and food, she studied psychology. Now retired from a career as a psychotherapist and college professor, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe with her protagonist and alter ego, Kate Huntington. The magic portal to this universe (i.e., her computer) is located in Florida, where Kassandra's husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.

Hello Kassandra, welcome to Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom.
Thanks for having me, Shona!

Was there anything particular that inspired you to start your journey of being an author?
I’ve always loved to write–I even enjoyed writing test questions for my students when I taught college, something most professors hate. I started the first book in my series, Multiple Motives, about 15 years ago. But I kept going back and re-writing the beginning. I never seemed to get past the 5th chapter.
Then after I’d retired, I got an inspiration one day for yet another new opening for the book. I sat down with the intention of taking about 15 minutes to dash out the idea so I wouldn’t forget it. Six weeks later, the first draft was finished, and I’ve been writing full-tilt ever since then.

What would you say is the hardest part of writing/publishing a book for you?
Letting a book be truly “done.” I have to resist the urge to read through it one more time. There’s always something to be tweaked, but there comes a point where I have to force myself to say, “The End” and let my baby go forth into the world.

If you could only read four books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Phew! That’s a tough question. I’m not big on re-reading books. I’ve done it sometimes, mainly books I read as a teenager and wanted to revisit from an adult perspective. I think if I was limited to having to re-read four books again and again, I wouldn’t read at all. *gasp* I’d probably spend all my reading time writing new stories of my own instead.

Do you and your main character share any personality traits?
Yes and no. Kate Huntington has a lot of my traits but she’s a much better person than I am. We’re both psychotherapists (I’m retired :-) so naturally we’re both astute about people. She’s also compassionate like me, but has far more patience with people than I do. And she has a temper, but she controls it better than I do mine.

If you could live in any book what book would it be?
I can’t imagine living inside the world of a book today. The trials and tribulations that book characters go through are so much worse than my daily challenges (which of course, is what makes the books interesting). But as a kid, I absolutely wanted to be a member of the Ingalls family and live in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s world of the Little House books. I loved her stories!!

Where do your ideas for your books come from? Dreams? Music?
Occasionally from a dream. But a lot of my ideas actually are products of my paranoia. I start worrying about “what if’s.” My latest book, for example, was inspired by the many times I worried about losing a client to suicide when I was a psychotherapist. It’s a therapist’s worst nightmare.
The idea for the second book in my series came to me while I was in the shower. I wondered what I would do if someone accused me of plagiarism. And thus the character of Aunt Betty, the elderly, bestselling author of historical romances, was born. She’s accused of plagiarizing another author’s ideas, then the other author ends up dead and she’s the prime suspect. And Kate Huntington gets sucked into trying to clear her.

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep writing. Don’t give up on your dream. But also listen to the feedback from other authors. It takes awhile to hone your writing skills, but you will get there eventually.
Thanks again for having me on your blog today, Shona!!

Suicidal Suspicions, A Kate Huntington Mystery (Book 8)

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family is threatening to sue for malpractice, and Kate can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

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