Posted on 12/11/2020 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing author Kassandra Lamb, who writes mysteries and thrillers (and romantic suspense under the pen name of Jessica Dale).
Lamb is a retired psychotherapist/college professor turned writer. She spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters.
The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
KASSANDRA: The most rewarding part of writing is that readers really like my stories, and that was pretty surprising as well.
You're always too close to your own work to trust that it's good, so when readers like it, that's such a thrill and a relief at the same time.
The most surprising part, though, was discovering that I am what is called a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I get an idea, I do the barest of outlines, and then I sit down and write.
I am uber-organized in the rest of my life, so I was amazed to discover that, to keep the creative juices flowing, I have to just write, and trust that the words will come.
The most challenging — marketing. It is the bane of every author's existence.
SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to trade places with?
KASSANDRA: In my Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mystery series, I adore the character of Marcia's best friend, Becky.
I'd love to be her. She is drop-dead gorgeous but more importantly, she has this carefree, joyful personality. And yet she is wise and insightful.
And although I love Marcia, I would not want to be her. She trains service dogs for a living, for military veterans — a truly noble vocation. And she loves it, for the most part.
But the part she isn't as fond of, which is why I wouldn't want to be her, is that there is a lot of boring, tedious repetition involved in training animals.
She complains some about it, but I could never do it at all. I'm just not that patient.
SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to become romantically involved with?
KASSANDRA: Don't tell my husband but when I first developed the character of Skip Canfield in my Kate Huntington mystery series, I had a big crush on him.
He's tall and handsome and physically strong, but all those attributes came about after a late growth spurt in high school. Prior to that, he was the smallest, weakest kid in his class and he got picked on.
So his internal image of himself is not always the big hunky guy that he is; the scrawny kid that he once was still lurks in his psyche. It's kept him humble.
He's a sweet, good person and a dedicated family man.
SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?
KASSANDRA: I've received many emails and reviews that have touched my heart, but there were two that almost brought me to tears.
The first one came from a young widow who had just read the first book in the Kate Huntington series, Multiple Motives.
She said that Kate's grief process (*spoiler alert* Kate's first husband is the murder victim in this book) really helped her to grieve her own husband.
Just thinking about that review still makes me misty eyed.
The second one was recent: a review of my latest Marcia and Buddy book, from a veteran who himself has a service dog.
He enjoyed the story but particularly loved reading about the dogs. He said he'd read and nod as the dogs helped their veteran owners.
Wow! First, that meant all my research paid off; I got it right. But it also meant so much to know that he was touched by my writing.
SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?
KASSANDRA: My editor and others have told me that I'm particularly good at writing dialog. I didn't realize where this skill had come from until I wrote a short guide for novice writers, Someday is Here!.
As I analyzed what made dialog good and how a writer could develop the skill of writing it well, it dawned on me that my career as a psychotherapist was responsible for that skill in me.
In that role, you have to listen to people very carefully, while simultaneously noticing body language, tone, etc.
After twenty years of listening to folks in that intense way, I really know how people say things, what gestures they use, etc.
I'm very grateful for that earlier career, and for my teaching career, which I also loved. But I am so thrilled to finally be fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a writer.
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Categories: Author Interview