Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Kate White

Kate White is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels of suspense: ten standalone psychological thrillers, including the newly released The Last Time She Saw Him, and also eight Bailey Weggins mysteries.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I really love the title of my newest book, The Last Time She Saw Him, because it gets a potential reader into the story right away, and in some ways it’s a microcosm of the novel. In the book, Kiki Reed has a brief conversation with her ex-fiancĂ©, Jamie, at a party, and then minutes later he’s found dead outside. Kiki soon becomes convinced he was murdered, but since the cops aren’t on the same page, she has to do everything in her power to make them see the light. Thus, she spends a lot of time thinking about the last time she saw Jamie. Was there something he said or something she saw that could provide a clue as to who murdered him?

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I love writing the beginning of a thriller (and I usual change that the least). The book is all new to me, and I’m usually beyond excited to start my protagonist off on her journey. In The Last Time She Saw Him, I liked describing the sights and sounds of the party, the interactions between guests, the `really disturbing conversation that Kiki overhears, and then. finally, at the end of chapter two, the shocking sound of a gun going off.

As for endings, I like thinking about the last chapters because I always try for incredible twists, but writing those chapters is, if you’ll excuse the expression, murder for me. I get so impatient because I’m eager for the protagonist to figure it all out and find resolution. Also, in the case of The Last Time She Saw Him, the ending is scary, and I was scared at times thinking about it. Those dark woods, the ominous sound of twigs snapping…. I’m not there, of course, but it feels like I am.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I think there’s a little of myself in every protagonist I’ve created. I just find that makes the character easier to write. All my protagonists have been women with careers, and in general they’ve had careers I’m familiar with in some way. In The Last Time She Saw Him, Kiki is a career coach, and though I’ve never done that, I’ve written several bestselling books on career success, and I’ve given career advice to many people who have come to me. I used a lot of what I’ve learned in the scenes about Kiki’s work. Tip: job interviewers want to see enthusiasm almost as much as anything else, so during an interview consider sitting a little bit on the edge of your seat. Don’t try to be cool as a cucumber.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

I’m an avid bird watcher and I’ve gone bird watching on all seven continents. But as much as I like seeing a type of bird for the first time and viewing my favorites again and again, I also love what I think of as the spaces between birds, when I’m waiting quietly for a bird to reveal itself. This kind of experience always helps my brain to refresh and become inspired. I’ve even named some of my characters after birds—like Robin and Phoebe.
Visit Kate White's website, Facebook page, and Instagram page.

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--Marshal Zeringue