Monday, March 28, 2016

Welcome Kathryn O'Sullivan!

 ROCCO welcomes….Kathryn O’Sullivan!

Kathryn O’Sullivan writes the Colleen McCabe mystery series (Minotaur Books) set on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Neighing with Fire, a Pacific Book Awards Finalist in Suspense, is the latest book featuring Fire Chief McCabe, her Border collie, Sparky, and the colorful characters of Corolla. Kathryn is a winner of the Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel for Foal Play, creator/writer/costume designer of the online Western series Thurston, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and a beach and animal lover.

  • Welcome Kathryn!  Tell us a little about your background
Thanks for inviting me, ROCCO! I’ve been curious about people and what makes them tick my entire life. As a child, this took the form of snooping on neighbors (much to my mother’s dismay) or eavesdropping on grown-ups at dinner parties. I was lucky to grow up in a family and town with interesting people – perfect for a future writer!  My inquisitiveness evolved into an interest in human psychology in college and graduate school and a job as an elementary school counselor. Now I channel that curiosity about human nature into helping my students at the community college and writing novels, plays and screenplays. I especially enjoy that as a writer I can explore the inner lives of characters and control the outcomes - unlike in the real world.
  • Tell us a bit about your books. Are you a horse lover?
My mystery series is set in the charming seaside village of Corolla, North Carolina located on the northern end of the Outer Banks. The books feature Fire Chief Colleen McCabe, Sheriff Bill Dorman (her romantic partner), Colleen’s Border collie, Sparky, an eccentric cast of town locals and Corolla’s endangered wild horses. I fell in love with this area and the horses when my family vacationed in Corolla when I was a teen. I enjoy featuring real locales in the books – especially those that have been suggested by my readers. As you can tell by the titles (Foal Play, Murder on the Hoof, Neighing with Fire), there is a horse theme. Corolla’s wild horses are endangered. Right now there is a bill before Congress to help them. I hope that by featuring the horses in my books, I am bringing attention to their plight and the amazing work of the folks at the Corolla Wild Horse Fund who are trying to save them.
  • How do you “get to know” your characters
There are elements of people I know or have known in every character. It’s fun to use the traits and quirks of real people and exaggerate them. The qualities I admire are given to characters I want readers to love and the qualities I find unpleasant are given to the villains. And I always try to put myself in my character’s shoes and ask, “If I were this character, how would I think, feel and behave?”
  • How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
When writing a mystery, you must have a murder or two, a quest for the killer(s) and complications along the way. I have a general sense of the story and how the relationships of the regular characters are going to develop but I am definitely a pantser. This can be wonderful but also terrifying because you can write yourself into a corner. When this happens, I find it’s good to go for a walk and experience the world. I also like to pick my husband’s brilliant brain. When I was writing Murder on the Hoof, for example, I had Colleen enter a room and see something that would have a major impact on the investigation. I had no idea what that “something” was. My husband suggested that it might have to do with the science of ear identification (yes, there is such a thing) and I was off to the races.
  • Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
The two are intertwined. The main character’s overall goal or objective (to solve the crime) and her pursuit of that goal are what give the story its plot.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The biggest challenges for a lot of writers – aspiring and published – have to do with the “business” of being a writer:  writing query letters and synopses, finding an agent or editor who is interested in your work, publicity and marketing of your work, juggling personal and work lives with writing time, handling rejection, making enough money to cover book signing trips, etc. I’m lucky to have won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. Finding an editor that believed in my work was an amazing, powerful experience. (Thank you, Toni Kirkpatrick!) My inspiration and motivation comes from my husband, family and friends. Their support means everything.
  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I recently emailed my agent a proposal for Gone with the Whinny, book 4 in the Colleen McCabe series. I am also working on a rewrite of a science fiction novel that I co-wrote with my husband, a short play and an idea for a new mystery series.
  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
During the school year, I squeeze writing in as much as I can around my full-time teaching schedule and duties. Once the school year is finished, I become what Donna Andrews has called a “binge writer.” I write almost every day for as long as it takes to make my quota. (Yes, some days I stay in my pajamas.) I try to complete a book per summer.
  • If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor and a book on the flora and fauna of the area so I would better appreciate the setting.
  • What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
1. Don’t be afraid to express your unique voice. Nobody else sees the world exactly the same way you do or has had the same experiences. 2. Read your work aloud. You will catch awkward phrases/mistakes and improve your dialogue. 3. Go to conferences and meet writers, bloggers, readers, librarians, bookstore owners, editors and agents. 4. Enter writing contests. 5. Think of all reviews and criticisms as feedback. Use what helps you to improve your work and ignore the rest. 6. Don’t give up. Every successful person has had many setbacks. Your hard work will pay off!
  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not sure if this is crazy or stupid. As a young person, I thought that if I slathered on the baby oil and sunbathed enough I would succeed in getting my freckles to connect into a lovely bronze tan. I failed at the tan and ended up with multiple skin cancer surgeries (thankfully no melanoma!). I guess what I did was crazy and stupid.
  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
My books are fun beach reads meant to transport you to the beautiful Outer Banks. My mystery readers might be surprised to discover that I also write more serious stories – mostly as plays and screenplays.
  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
I can’t think of one!
  •  Where can we learn more about you and your work?
My books are available in hardcover and ebook. Readers can learn more about my books and other works, upcoming events, giveaways, etc. at:

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  I love both but have had cats all my life.
Beach or Pool?   Beach as you can tell by the Outer Banks setting for my series.
Steak or salad?  Salad. I stopped eating red meat in the last year.
Favorite Drink?  Non-alcoholic: Water. It may seem boring but I truly appreciate how lucky I am that I can turn on a faucet and get clean water. Alcoholic: Key Lime Martini.
Favorite Book?  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Favorite TV Series?  I enjoy Downton Abbey, House of Cards, Longmire, Forensic Files, Fargo and True Detective. I also have a soft spot for reality shows where people have an opportunity to display their creative talents like FaceOff and So You Think You Can Dance.
Favorite Movie?  I don’t have a favorite but I can repeatedly watch “Caddyshack.” In addition to its silliness (The gopher dance is priceless.) and bawdiness, the movie has a heart and tackles class and cultural issues.
Favorite Actor: I tend to appreciate specific actors in specific roles, but if I had to pick one I’d say Cary Grant. He was handsome, yes, but also quite funny. Grant and Katherine Hepburn are hilarious together in “Bringing Up Baby.”
Favorite Actress: Like the men, they tend to be role specific. Some of my favorites are Barbara Stanwyck, Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada, although what I’d really like is a Key Lime Martini.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii.
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be . . . stage and screen icon Mae West. I wrote a play about her and would love to know if I got her right.
If I had just one wish, it would be . . . that all children grow up in loving, healthy homes.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world . . . I wouldn’t. I like being me - imperfections and all.

Giveaway time!
Kathryn will give away two (2) hardcover complete sets of the Colleen McCabe series (includes Foal Play, Murder on the Hoof and Neighing with Fire). To two lucky commenters!
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, March 31!


  1. Looks like an awesome series! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity! I have friended you on FB and shared the contest on FB.

  2. Friended on Facebook
    Shared on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter
    Subscribed to your blog
    Thanks for the chance!

  3. These books sound so good! Thanks for the opportunity. :)

  4. I love the interview as I have never read this author so excited to read. The books sounds so good. Remember readers that reviewing the books helps the authors in so many ways! We have to get the word out so that cozy mysteries don't vanish from the shelves especially in print.

  5. Enjoyed your interview. Shared on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the chance.

  6. Following you on twitter. Can't get Facebook to go to your page for me to follow.

  7. I am always looking for great reads! These seem just the right choice.
    * Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
    * Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point)
    * Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
    * Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point)
    * Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)

  8. Enjoyed the interview. I love this series and would sure like to win print copies of the books.

    I am following your blog. Shared the giveaway on FB.

  9. Following blog . seascapelife at (Gmail) dot com

  10. Love your blog, Rocco. Following on Facebook, Twitter and on your blog. Kathyn O'Sullivan is a new to me author and would love to read the series.

  11. I have read the first book in this series and it was wonderful! Can't wait to read the other two!

  12. Another fine interview.
    We are FB friends and I linked this to my page
    I visit regularly
    I don't tweet or have a blog

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  13. Thank you for the interview. This is a new to me series.

    blog and facebook

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  14. Thank you for including Kathryn O'Sullivan on your blog today. I am not familiar with her books but will definitely be checking them out. I am a friend on facebook, follow your blog, and shared posting on facebook. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Thanks for the chance to win.
    FB friend
    Shared on FB

  16. Awesome interview, would love to win these books! I Follow your blog, follow you on Twitter and tweeted about the contest. (@bbbaddict) pp92596 at outlook dot com

  17. Thanks, ROCCO, for the interview. I subscribe to your blog, I follow on Facebook, shared the interview and contest on my Facebook (

  18. Thanks for the chance! I shared this on Facebook and I am your friend on Facebook. This sounds like a great book and I loved the interview.

  19. Great giveaway, thanks. I would really enjoy reading this series. I love the Outer Banks and horses, what could be better than both in a series. Following your blog, following on Facebook and Twitter and shared on Facebook.