Friday, April 15, 2016

ROCCO welcomes author Katherine Hall Page to the blog!

Photographer: Jean Fogelbe

Katherine Hall Page was born and grew up in New Jersey, graduating from Livingston High School. Her father was the Executive Director of The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and her mother was an artist. Page has an older brother and a younger sister. Early on the family developed a love of the Maine coast, spending summer vacations on Deer Isle. She received her BA from Wellesley College, majoring in English and went on to a Masters in Secondary Education from Tufts and a Doctorate in Administration, Public Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard. College had brought her to Massachusetts and she continues to reside there. Before her career as a full-time writer, Ms. Page taught at the high school level for many years. She developed a program for adolescents with special emotional needs, a school within a school model, that dealt with issues of truancy, substance abuse, and family relationships. Those five years in particular were rich ones for her. This interest in individuals and human behavior later informed her writing.
Married for forty years to Professor Alan Hein, an experimental psychologist at MIT, the couple have a thirty-two-year-old son. It was during her husband's sabbatical year in France after the birth of their son that Ms. Page wrote her first mystery, The Body in the Belfry, 1991 Agatha Award winner for Best First Mystery Novel. The fifteenth in the series, The Body in the Snowdrift , won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Ms. Page was also awarded the 2001 Agatha for Best Short Story for "The Would-Be Widower" in the Malice Domestic X collection (Avon Books). She was an Edgar nominee for her juvenile mystery, Christie & Company Down East. The Body in the Bonfire was an Agatha nominee in 2003. Page's short story, "The Two Mary's" was an Agatha nominee in 2004. The Body in the Lighthouse (2003) was one of three nominees for The Mary Higgins Clark Award. The Body in the Boudoir was a finalist in the 2013 Maine Literary Awards. Her series cookbook, Have Faith in Your Kitchen, was nominated for an Agatha in the non-fiction category, making her the only author to be nominated or win in all four Agatha categories. The Body in the Birches is out now from William Morrow in hardcover, paperback, large print, E-book, and audio editions.

and now we welcome...Katherine Hall Page!

  • Welcome Katherine! Tell us a little about your background
Thanks ROCCO. I was born and grew up in northern New Jersey (and yes, do not pump gas—it’s against the law in Jersey!). My father was the founding director of the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and my mother was a professional artist. I have an older brother and a younger sister, which I always thought made me a middle child; but recently someone told me that the term is more accurately “oldest daughter”! I came to New England for college and have never left. My husband and I have been married for 40 years and we have a son. Writing was a mid life career change after many years in education as a high school teacher and administrator. I feel blessed to have two such rewarding vocations.
  • Tell us a bit about your Faith Fairchild series and the latest entry? Where did the idea come from?
My husband, who is a professor, took a sabbatical and I wrote The Body in the Belfry on a manual Underwood friends loaned me the year we were living in France. I had always wanted time to write the kind of mystery I liked to read—a good puzzle, suspense, a little comic relief, and plenty of food. My ideas come purely from my own imagination.  Madeleine L’Engle’s description of writing as “taking dictation from one’s imagination.” sums it up for me. The Body in the Wardrobe  is the 23rd book in the Faith Fairchild mystery and Sophie Maxwell, a character I introduced in the last book, The Body in the Birches,  is back. Faith travels to Savannah where newly wed Sophie is living. Lots of mysterious happenings as befits that city, as well as terrific low country food.
  • How do  you feel about receiving Malice Domestic’s Life Achievement Award?
Stunned, thrilled, proud, amazed—repeat roughly a hundred times and it may come close to how I felt when I got the news and continue to feel.
  • How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
One of the delights of writing a series, especially one as long as this, is that my main characters have been with me for the duration. They are truly embedded in my mind at this point. I should point out that it wasn’t until my editor asked my agent “When can we expect the next book in the series?” after she accepted Belfry that I had any idea I was off and running on a series. Had just thought it would be the one book.
  • How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
Never have been a “winging it” person so, yes, I do plan each book. I start by writing a synopsis, which changes as I write the book, but I know whodunit. I also start each workday by rewriting what I have written the day before. A kind of jump-start. My editor doesn’t see the manuscript until it’s done, but we talk about the synopsis at the start-where the book will take place, what perils Faith will have to endure yet again.
  • Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
This is like having to choose a favorite child! Both!
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The greatest challenge is to keep the series fresh and at the start I alternated the books  so an “Aleford”—the fictitious town west of Boston where Faith lives—is followed by a “someplace else” book. These locales have ranged from places in Europe to the coast of Maine, Vermont, and now Savannah. Writing is hard work, as Mary Roberts Rinehart titled a book on her craft, but it’s something I have always loved to do. No better motivation than that. It’s also how I earn my living too, of course.
  • Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I was fortunate to see a notice in a publication I receive that an agency was looking for manuscripts when I returned from that year in France. I sent the manuscript and she both liked it and sold it immediately. Serendipitous especially as her first name is “Faith”!
  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I am doing research for the next book, out in 2017, The Body in the Casket. It features a Broadway producer, so I am having fun reading biographies, autobiographies, and accounts of how shows make it to the Great White Way.
  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
Since I started when my son was small, my workday was governed by when the big yellow school bus picked him up and brought him home. It’s still my routine with glamorous breaks to do wash etc. plus I always take a walk, even a short one, to clear my head. I try not to work weekends.
If you could take only three books with your for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Yipes! Only three! Jane Eyre, The letters of Virginia Woolf, and Proust because I have been meaning to get around to reading him and this would definitely provide the opportunity.
  • What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Write every day. Even if it is only a few sentences in a journal.  And then read as much as possible across as many genres as possible. I don’t know any writers who are not passionate readers as well.
  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Got married (thank goodness)
  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m very good at basketball .
  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
It’s a question I’ve heard asked of various chefs: What would your perfect meal be? (We don’t have to say it’s the last!)
Answer: To start, an assortment of small plates covering a wide range of cuisines: gravlax with mustard/dill sauce, hush puppies, deviled eggs, Chinese steamed soup dumplings, caviar on brioche toast points. More, but have to save room for butter poached Maine lobster with steamed fresh asparagus and thickly sliced Jersey tomatoes with fresh basil leaves. A cheese course: runny St. Marcellin, Sunset Acres fresh chevre, and Brebis (sheep) from Spain with 2 kinds of bread-a basic baguette, then a whole wheat with walnuts. For dessert an assortment of fruits in season and if I can possibly eat another bite: Faith Fairchild’s chocolate bread pudding. And only a very cold, dry champagne to drink
  •  Where can we learn more about you and your books?
I have a terrific website: thanks to my IT son  and I am on Facebook. I miss getting snail mail letters from readers, but happily people get in touch on FB and the site, which has a contact page where you can send as long a note as you wish!

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?   Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Do not need the warning. I say Samantha, my 7-year-old Tabby is the daughter I never had. Always cats since Pinky, my first when I was three. But Samantha, well she makes me sound like a crazy cat lady. I really do expect her to speak.
Beach or Pool?   Neither. Ocean
Steak or salad?  A big salad. Maybe with steak in it.
Favorite Drink?  Prosecco (Cosmos too)
Favorite Book?  Jane Eyre
Favorite TV Series?  BBC’s To The Manor Born
Favorite Movie?  North By Northwest
Favorite Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
Favorite Actress: Maggie Smith
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Dirty Martini
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _Queen Elizabeth II
If I had just one wish, it would be__that not a single child or adult go to bed hungry —and have a bed
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one

Giveaway time!
Katherine will give away a signed first edition of The Body in the Wardrobe to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* 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 open to US residents only, closes midnight, April 17!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It amazed me that anyone with a Malice Domestic lifetime award has escaped me.I am now totally interested in checking Katherine Page Hall out.And here is another "foodie".
    I fallow on twitter
    I tweeted
    I follow the blog
    I am a friend on fb
    I shared on

    I love your blog...thank you. As an amateur writer, I enjoy hearing from author about their writing experiences.
    * 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)

  4. We just read your books in my in person book club. We loved your books. Can't wait to read this new one.

    follow, facebook and I shared with my bookclub.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  5. Follow on twitter @loriharvey3
    Follow on fb merri Marie house
    Follow blog
    Thanks :)

  6. I always like how Rocco gently suggests to answer the cat/dog query carefully. Thanks for the intro and chance to win!
    I am a follower via email.

  7. Following you on your blog,facebook and twitter. Great interview with Katherine Hall Page. Looking forward to reading "The Body in the Wardrobe".

  8. Following you on your blog,facebook and twitter. Great interview with Katherine Hall Page. Looking forward to reading "The Body in the Wardrobe".

  9. Your blog is a wonderful way to meet new writers and the many characters in their books. "The Body in the Wardrobe" sounds very interesting and so I've added it to my book want list. I'm a friend on Facebook.

  10. Doesn't every proper person talk with their cats? Note, that is "with", not merely "to".
    I've linked the page to Facebook
    I visit here reguarly I don't tweet or have a blog
    libbydodd at comcast dot net