Behind the Scenes with the Detective’s Daughter

Jessie: In NH spending the week with our Wicked Accomplice Kim Gray who wants you all to know her Facebook account has not been hacked.

As some of you may know, I have several children which has taught me how to ensure homework IMG_0936gets done. A couple weeks ago it came to my attention that our very own Kim Gray had some writing homework she wanted to finish. Of course I bossily suggested she toddle northward and spend the week under my eagle eye churning out pages and and getting the job done. She readily agreed and has been here for some days. I thought it would be fun to take this opportunity to ask her some questions about her writing life and what it was like to be a detective’s daughter.

Jessie: So Kim I’ve heard you have had a brush with fame. Tell me about your inclusion in Kathy Lynn Emerson‘s book How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries.

Kim: Several years ago, at Malice, I won the opportunity to be interviewed by Kathy for her book. She wanted to know why I read historical mysteries.

Jessie: I am not surprised to hear this as you bring such an affectionate tone of times gone by to your Detective Daughter’s posts. Have you considered writing historicals yourself?

Kim: Yes. I am currently working on a novel set in the early nineteen hundreds. I like the strength of the women during that period. And I also love that it is a time when so many things are being invented and yet the average person still didn’t have access to those advances.

Jessie: Soon after I met you I was delighted to discover we shared an enthusiasm for books by Dorothy Cannell. I understand Dorothy herself was instrumental in your early writing career.

Kim: She was. I met Dorothy at the Malice Domestic Conference several years ago. She encouraged me to tell her what I was working on at the time. She asked me if I knew it was a gothic romance and mentioned how much she loved that genre. At the time I was intending to submit the story to the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers. Although I did not win that year she encouraged me not to give up and to believe in myself and my writing. I took her advice to heart and few years later, in 2009, I did win the grant.

Jessie: I understand the grant was awarded for the first three chapters of a novel but you also write short stories, don’t you?

Kim: I enjoy writing short stories because I can investigate characters that would like to use in longer length works. It helps me to put them in different positions than I might in a novel. As a matter of fact, Lottie and Linda, were the main characters in the story I submitted for the Malice grant. They were also the protagonists in my short story Boardwalk Bound which appeared in the anthology The Boardwalk.

Jessie: So what’s next for you?

Kim: Over the past few months a group I am proud to belong to, The Dames of Detection, have taken on the business of Level Best Books. Level Best Books is a publishing company which specializes in mystery anthologies. The previous editors, Mark Ammons, Kat Fast, Barbara Ross and Leslie Wheeler put several years of hard work and creativity into building Level Best into a recognizable, quality anthology featuring stories which went on to be nominated for prestigious mystery awards. We are very excited by this opportunity and are eager to publish our first anthology which will release in November, 2016 at the New England Crime Bake. Level Best is currently accepting submissions for mystery short stories from New England authors or stories about New England. Check our website for details.


Readers, do you like to read short stories? Have you ever received encouragement from one of your idols that helped you to pursue your dreams?

21 Thoughts

  1. What a great idea, Jessie! We get to learn about Kim’s writing life and introduce her as a new editor of Level Best Books. My favorite anthologies are Level Best. I’ve been introduced to New England writers through them, and I believe my first was Barbara Ross. I no longer recall why I left them behind in Marblehead. For whatever reason I’d forgotten how good short stories can be. I’m still trying to write my first!

    Best wishes on this great editing adventure. I think you will be wonderful.


  2. What a delightful interview! And I know you’ll be a great Level Best editor, Kim. Kate Flora was one of my idols who kept encouraging me to keep writing. So I did.

    1. Thank you, Edith! It is really exciting to meet the people you admire and I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when Dorothy took such an interest in my writing. I find that the mystery writing community is filled with generous and encouraging people. I have been most fortunate.

    1. Yes you are absolutely correct. I attended Seascape and had a positive experience. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be guided by Hallie and Roberta and to meet such wonderful women who have become some of my best friends. It was there I met you, Barb, Liz, Edith and Ramona DeFelice Long. I recommend this retreat or a similar one to all new writers. It not only helped my writing skills, but introduced me to other opportunities such as Crime Bake.

  3. I love this interview. One thing that is missing is the fact that these two women are truly funny. I imagine there was much laughter involved along with hard work.

    Kim, Jessie bosses me around too. Thank heaven for that.

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