To celebrate the publication day of her 3rd book in the true crime series Kids Who Kill, I am delighted to welcome Kathryn McMaster to Bits about Books. She is not only the author of true crime novels, meticulously researched, she also is a superpower for indie authors! The author’s preferred genre to read and write is.. no surprises.. true crime – something her father instilled in her. Find out more about Kathryn McMaster in this Author QA!
Kids Who Kill
True Crime Series
The Kids who Kill series is written by the bestselling author and researcher, Kathryn McMaster. This nonfiction true crime series covers murder cases of young killers.
Kathryn McMaster specialises in true crime and unsolved murder cases while digging deep to explore the dark side of the human mind.
Kids Who Kill Case 1: Joshua Phillips
Eight-year-old Maddie is everyone’s friend.
Then she disappears. Her body is found a week later.
The killer is her friend. He claims it was an accident.
But was it?
Kids Who Kill Case 2: Eric Smith
Derrick Robie’s mother never thought of warning her four-year-old son against children.
One morning, Doreen Robie makes a decision she will almost instantly regret.
Less than fifteen minutes later, her child is dead.
His killer is thirteen-year-old Eric Smith.
Kids Who Kill Case 3: Cristian Fernandez
Cristian Fernandez is just twelve. The same age his mother was when he was born.
He is accused of murdering his half-brother, two-year-old David. While he awaits trial, his mother is being held in the same jail for aggravated manslaughter for delaying medical help for the toddler for more than eight hours.
As the trial plays out one starts to wonder who really is responsible for the killing. Was it Cristian Fernandez or was it his mother?
In addition, is Cristian Fernandez’s admission of guilt because he was guilty or is he covering up the crime his mother may have committed?
“Why fall in love with life, if at the end I will marry death?”
The Kids Who Kill Series is published by True Crime Press
Q Why did you write a book?
I have written for many years, taking part in various writing groups over the years, and have many half-finished manuscripts in boxes all over the house. When self-publishing became possible and I retired, I then had the time and the opportunity to write and publish. If I don’t write, I become cranky.
Q Do you write every day?
I don’t. My life is really busy, far busier than when I was in management. What with running a farm, a veggie garden, and an online business for authors, I have far too many interruptions and chores to do before I can take time out to just write.
Q Do you work to a plot or do you prefer to see where the idea/story takes you?
Because I write true crime the plot, the characters, and the timeline are already there. I just need to make sure that I have researched the story thoroughly before I put it all together. I am meticulous with my research, making sure I have left no stone unturned. I want to tell the whole story, from start to finish, but in a way that is still interesting to the reader and keeps them turning the pages.
Q How long does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? It really depends on the case that I am studying, how long I have to wait to access court records/transcripts, how much information is readily available, and if the families of the victim or the murderer are willing to talk to me. Often, the research will take as long as writing the book, if not more so.
Q What’s the worst thing about writing a book
I think getting half-way through a really good case, that would be of high interest, only to find out that the court records you were hoping to access are sealed for some reason or another, and then you have to rely on secondary resources. I don’t like doing this and have just found this out with my fourth book which I am currently researching. If I cannot get access to records, I may have to put this story on hold. This is incredibly frustrating.
Q What’s the best thing about writing a book
Finding out that those who read your books enjoy them. There is no point in writing in a vacuum. Authors write to be read. However, not all books written are good or enjoyable, so despite the gruesome nature of what I write, people have said that I kept them reading and they enjoyed what I had written. This is all one can ask for as a writer.
Q Why did you choose your particular genre
While growing up we had many true crime books in the house. It was the only genre my father would read. I was reading these clandestinely at an age when I should have been reading Nancy Drew. Murder fascinated me. To the point that when I finished my basic degree I went on to study criminal profiling and forensic science (criminal investigation). Writing any other genre would bore me silly and I enjoy combining my love of research with my writing. Writing true crime allows me to do this.
Q If you had to write in a different genre, which would you choose?
I guess if I were to choose another genre it would be historical fiction set in the Middle Ages. This is an era that is of great interest, I enjoy history and again this genre would involve a great deal of research to make sure that it was authentic. I have long toyed with writing medieval crime fiction. I really enjoy the Cadfael series written by Edith Pargeter, who writes under the name of Ellis Peters.
Q Which book character do you wish you had written?
None. Each book is different each author has their own style. This is what makes us unique as storytellers. I want to be remembered for my own books, not a character that someone else had thought of and created.
Q What do you think are the best and the worst about social media?
Social media is wonderful for meeting people online that you would never have had the opportunity to meet. I have even met some of these people in real life who have come to visit. The downside of social media is that it is a huge timewaster. If I count the amount of time I spend on social media each day, I could have written another book, per year. So, it is both a blessing and a scourge.
Q What’s next?
I need to access that research for book 4 which deals with the shocking case of a fourteen-year-old murderer, Sandy Charles. If not, it means re-looking at book 5 which I have started and spending time developing that case for the next book.
A few questions, just for fun…
Q If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Write. It would be a sheer pleasure to spend just eight hours researching and writing without having to answer Facebook messages, telephones, feed family members, deal with the farm or clean the house. It would be my perfect day.
Q If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?
Well, I would have to put my writing aside and be hospitable. As I live in the pretty Casentino Valley in Tuscany I would take you up to Valenzano Castle that has been there for 1000 years. I would then take you to lunch where you could experience our lovely Tuscan fare. After that, I would invite you into my home for coffee and cake and we could put the world right.
Q If you could be anyone for the day, who would you be?
I like being me. I am comfortable in my own skin. I may not be the most gregarious person on this planet, but I don’t have any aspirations to be someone I am not.
About Kathryn McMaster
Kathryn McMaster is a writer of true crime set in America and historical crime fiction set in the UK, transporting you back to a different era. Her true crime books are well-researched, unbiased and based on court records, interviews and newspaper articles.
With her novels she crafts stories around unsolved murders of the Victorian and Edwardian eras highlighting poor policing practices with a rudimentary knowledge of Forensic Science that allowed the guilty to walk free, and the innocent to hang.
Kathryn’s books are further enhanced by her in-depth knowledge and training in Psychology, Criminal Profiling and Forensic Investigation which she draws on to analyze each crime in the Afterword of her novels.
She has long had a fascination with crime and the criminal mind, looking at the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’, and the dark side of the psyche.
Where to find Kathryn McMaster:
Author website: http://kathrynmcmaster.com/
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmcmaster.author/
Amazon Author Page: author.to/KathrynMcMaster