Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tammy Kaehler

Before trying her hand at fiction, Tammy Kaehler established a career writing marketing materials, feature articles, executive speeches, and technical documentation. A fateful stint in corporate hospitality introduced her to the racing world, which inspired the first Kate Reilly racing mystery. Kaehler works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.

Her new book is Dead Man’s Switch, the debut Kate Reilly racing mystery.

Last month I asked Kaehler what she was reading. Her reply:
After being at a racetrack last weekend to sell my own brand-new racing novel, I had to come home and reread Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. Every reader I had conversation with at the track referenced this book, and with good reason, because it talks about racing accurately. Of course, in addition to that, it’s a fantastic book. It does everything I hope I can do with my racing mystery: entertain, impact the reader emotionally, and give some insight into the racing world. I am in no way comparing myself to its author or my book to his—we and they are very different. But this book is an inspiration for me—proof that anyone who’s ever said or thought “people don’t want to know about racing” or “people who like racing don’t read” are dead wrong.

I’ve also been reading my new first edition copy of one of my favorite Dick Francis novels, Trial Run (it might be my sixth time through the tale; I’m not sure). The series of horseracing novels that Dick Francis wrote have been my favorite mysteries for decades. More, they were my inspiration as I conceived the idea of a series of mysteries about a female racecar driver. I own all of his books in paperback, and they were the only books I allowed myself to read while I was writing the first Kate Reilly Racing Mystery six years ago. It wasn’t that I wanted to (or could) mimic his language or tone, but I wanted to keep firmly in mind my goal of balancing a good story with racing detail.

Lastly, the book I’m reading on the e-book reader I keep in my purse for lunch breaks or waiting rooms is Fish Tales, a collection of short stories published by the “great unpublished” (GUPs or guppies) sub-group of Sisters in Crime (to which I belong). All stories have something to do with fish or water, befitting a group that calls itself guppies and talks about flipping its fins in celebration of each other’s success. What I’ve been enjoying so much about reading Fish Tales is seeing the variety of talent that exists in my support group—writers who are just waiting to be discovered by agents and publishers. The future of mysteries looks good!
Visit Tammy Kaehler's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Man’s Switch.

My Book, The Movie: Dead Man's Switch.

--Marshal Zeringue