Monday, July 28, 2014

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.

Kaehler's new novel, Avoidable Contact, is the third Kate Reilly racing mystery.

Earlier this month I asked the author about what she was reading. Kaehler's reply:
I tend to read a lot of female authors, because I belong to an organization that puts on a Festival of Women Authors every year, and I’m constantly reading to evaluate potential guests. My current list is no exception….

I’m in the middle of Lian Dolan’s Elizabeth the First Wife in order to recommend the author for our event. It seems that Dolan and I graduated from the same college, only five years apart, and we have a mutual contact who recommended Dolan’s books so highly, I had to pick one up. At the halfway point, I’m glad to report that the advance praise I heard is accurate. Elizabeth is a funny, lighthearted novel about relationships (romantic and otherwise) and self-discovery, set in Pasadena, California, and Ashland, Oregon. I’m really enjoying Dolan’s voice and her wry wit.

The second book I’m working on—one chapter at a time, during my lunch hour at work—is a flash-back to my college days as a linguistics and anthropology major: That’s Not What I Meant! by Deborah Tannen. I manage and mentor a number of people at my day job, and I’ve been trying to help many of them communicate better in recent months. I’ve read Tannen’s book before, and I know it to be one of the best books on communication style out there, but it was time for a review. As I expected, the author is helping me remember all the reasons why it’s so hard for different genders, different cultures, and different personality types to communicate. Beyond the value for my day job, I have a feeling her words will inform some pivotal miscommunication in my next mystery novel.

And the book I just finished (which is still with me) is The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal (a two-time Edgar nominee). I was eagerly awaiting this book’s release in July because I flat out love the series. Maggie is an American mathematician–turned spy and code breaker for the British during World War II (she starts off as a secretary to Winston Churchill). If you think that makes Maggie sound like a smart, tough cookie, you’d be right. But MacNeal also does an incredible job of giving us an amateur sleuth who’s vulnerable and not always good at everything she’s called on to do—in other words, a woman who’s doing her best in some very (very!) trying situations. I highly recommend the series.
Visit Tammy Kaehler's website and blog.

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--Marshal Zeringue