Interview With Author Kathleen B. Pellegrino

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Although my latest book BERYL KENT AND THE BLEEDING MAN is finished but unpublished as of yet, I have written other works and own all rights and copyrights. My love of the mystery genre began when I was eight years old stealing ‘who dunnits’ from my Dad’s suitcase after his return from business travel. Imagine my curiosity at that age when the blonde bombshell was bleeding from her bosom caused by the carving knife the perp felt compelled to put there. I did not always know what I was reading but I knew someday I would and kept reading. I have read over two-thousand such crime novels to date.

My professional life as the third woman engineer to graduate from Boston University’s engineering college, as a CPA, Licensed Construction supervisor, and full Professor of Economics and Business at Westfield State University, taught me many skills, not the least of which is the value of all human endeavor. But serving as a Commissioner on the Springfield Police Commission inspired me to use police procedure in my crime novels. I have walked behind the police as they entered homes with domestic abuse complaints and seen first-hand the sorrow of children crying as the dad held a knife to their mother. Mystery writing in my mind offers the reader a safe-space for examining the horrors of life that are real. Reality is far more fearsome than anything I write.

I have and am willing to promote my books through my author website, social media, and presentation. As a professor, I am comfortable before a live audience.

My books are most similar to Harlan Coben’s “THE STRANGER”, Robert Parker’s Jesse Stone’s series, Carolyn Graham “Midsomer Mysteries” series, and Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache’s series. In all these novels other than Louise Penny’s, the settings are in suburban cities or towns or villages as in my Captain Beauregard’s series. My stories are centered in a smaller Massachusetts fictional city/town of West Side. The city, whose fictional legal existence is still a town, has a diversity of economic levels and social view-points. However, crime in the form of sociopaths’ actions appear to sprinkle the town with disaster. Police Procedure offers some limitations in the solving of serious crimes as well as does the required interrelationship of state, county, and federal overlays. Victims, witnesses, police personnel, and settings ring similar to the above listed books by other authors.

How are my books different? I give an overview of good police practicing and I say practicing, much like other professionals practice their craft in law and medicine. I share in each book a social construct existing in the town and the police offering insights into sociopath/psychopathic actions far beyond normal policing expectations. Characters often speak for themselves giving a view of their ideas differing from other characters or the police. Social issues prevail. Language is true to this part of the U.S. Thinking is required and interesting plots are offered .

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Real life and its horrors suffered by ordinary folks inspire my creative side. I only need to sit in a shopping mall, at the beach, in a park, or at a party to feel the pressure that a story is there. Maybe, it is in a character. Maybe it is in the setting. Maybe it is a fact gathered that is previously unknown. I feel compelled to write and write in the mystery genre.

# How do you deal with creative block?

To date I have not suffered from writer’s block. I have had to endure sifting through multiple ides for a central theme and then choosing.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

In mystery writing the author is responsible for bringing the astute reader to a conclusion. There may be red herrings all over the place, but there must be a viable path to the solving of the crime or situation. Even Sherlock left a path to follow.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

While writing a book, at least to date, I slowly formulate my idea of the central theme for the art in the cover. Graphics, I lead to the professionals.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I hate bad reviews. It is not easy to take them in stride, but if I hear repetition in criticism, I attempt to make changes.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

My creation process has not changed in process, just in speed and an additional reverence for details.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The worst and most surprising things I encountered during the entire process of completing my books are: need for multiple editing beyond professional edits; recognition of my bad habits, i.e. overuse of semi-colons and the word ‘that,’ and the long and tedious road of publishing whether Indie or publisher.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I cannot write solely for my reader, simply because my readers are diverse in the ideas. Whenever I have an audience of readers, I am confronted with 20 to 40 different versions of my books; some of which I never intended. Therefore, I write the book as the character reveal to me the plot.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I have no creativity tricks that are odd or not used by other writers. Out of sequence is an artistic method that sometimes if not overused allows for more interest. Details in police procedures in western Massachusetts are researched, but they are not tricks.

# What are your plans for future books?

I will keep writing. I have been prolific in writing mystery despite my endeavor initiated later in life.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I am ordinary. I have lived an ordinary life as a wife, mother, grandmother and more. I have loved my life. My professional life has been extraordinary, not by design, but by happenstance. I was a dreamer as a child. Testing at Boston University suggested I should go into pure math as a major or law; neither of which called to me. Instead, I followed in my dad’s footsteps and majored engineering, much to my mother’s dissatisfaction.

On my sixth wedding anniversary, I brought home my fourth baby and was busy for a bit. I went on to graduate school, sat for and passed the CPA exam, which along with engineering was at that time not career paths for most women. I earned my full professorship in Economics and Business through my twenty years at Westfield State University, with previous experience as a professor at Springfield Technical Community College.

I served as a commissioner on the City of Springfield’s Board of Police Commissioners for several years, exciting my interest in police procedures. I served as Executive Director of the City of Springfield Parking Authority, which at the time was bordering on bankruptcy and had deteriorated facilities. My engineering and business backgrounds served me well in that position.

I then sat for and received my license for Massachusetts Construction Supervisor and rehabbed commercial and residential historic buildings.

Socially I have tried art, music, gardening, water sports, yoga, nature/environmental classes. Tried, enjoyed, but did not rise to the top. I am by nature quirky.