Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of ten works of fiction—six Bailey Weggins mysteries and four suspense novels. For fourteen years she was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate full time on being an author.
Her books have received starred reviews from a variety of publications and she has been covered everyplace from The Today Show to The New York Times. Her first Bailey Weggins mystery, If Looks Could Kill, was named as the premier Reading with Rippa selection. Kate is also the editor of the recently-released Mystery Writers of America cookbook.
Her new novel The Wrong Man follows the mild-mannered owner of a Manhattan boutique interior design, Kit Finn. While on vacation in the Florida Keys, Kit resolves to do something risky for once, and when she literally bumps into a charming stranger at her hotel, makes good on her promise and acts on her attraction. But back in New York, when Kit arrives at his luxury apartment ready to pick up where they left off in the Keys, she doesn’t recognize the man standing on the other side of the door. She soon realizes she’s been thrown into a treacherous plot, deeper and deadlier than she could have ever imagined.
Kate stops by In Reference to Murder today to talk about writing her new book:
What I Learned at the Morgue One Morning
There are probably very few people who have sat in the viewing room of a morgue and realized that it was the perfect place for them to be at the moment, but I guess I’m one of them. It happened last October when I was doing research for my new book, The Wrong Man. I’d arranged to stop by the Miami morgue and not only check out the viewing room but also interview a couple of people who worked there, who, by the way, turned out to be incredibly helpful. The end result: I was able to write a scene for my book far more accurately than I would have otherwise.
I know there are some mystery and suspense writers who don’t believe in doing a lot of research and I can understand that. There’s a certain purity (and fun) to letting your imagination run wild and just making it up--based, of course, on a certain amount of knowledge from years spent living on the planet. Plus, writers are aware that readers generally (and generously) allow them some poetic license. When I interviewed Lee Child recently at the 92nd Y in New York City, he said that he doesn’t research but relies on all the data he’s collected in his brain over the years. And what a brain that is!
And of course research can sometimes get in your way. While talking to Harlan Coben for same series, he pointed out that research is often an excuse for not plopping your butt in the desk chair and just writing. So true.
But I have a confession: I absolutely love researching. There’s something about the process that I find both fascinating and also relaxing. Maybe because it’s methodical, and there never seems to be a lot of pressure when I’m doing it. My pulse rate goes down when I research and I find myself in almost a Zen state. Plus, on more than a few occasions, it’s spared me from making a big mistake in my writing.
Take the morgue visit. When you view a body in some cities (like New York), you stand on the other side of a window. (You’ve probably seen that on old Law and Order episodes.) That’s how I originally planned to set the scene in The Wrong Man. But I wanted to be on the safe side so I scheduled a trip south and that’s where I learned that in Miami, family members of the deceased are shown photos instead. I was so glad I discovered that piece of info.
But to me what’s most exhilarating about research is that it sometimes provides details that can turn into fabulous plot points, stuff you might not have discovered if you hadn’t set off exploring. Lately I did some research on twins for a future book, and four or five Google pages down I discovered the most intriguing piece of information, something I’d never heard of. It has the potential to be an incredible plot twist.
Oh, I’d tell you what it is but then I’d have to shoot you—because I intend to use it in one of my next books!
To learn more about Kate White and her latest novel, visit her website where you'll also find purchase links and her tour schedule.