Please welcome Kris Calvin to the blog! Here new book, One Murder More, just came out, and she kindly answered a few of my questions about it, and more!
Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about One Murder More and what inspired you to write it?
I’m a former local elected official and have worked as CEO of a nonprofit that lobbies on children’s health issues. Being engaged in politics from the inside inspired me to write a political mystery novel—I wanted to offer characters that didn’t stereotype, but rather acted in the broad and conflicted range of behaviors that I see daily in legislators and those around them. In One Murder More, a beautiful young aide to the governor is found stabbed to death. Lobbyist Maren Kane’s colleague is arrested for what the police view as a crime of passion, but Maren believes power and money are far more likely motives in Sacramento. She launches her own amateur investigation, piecing together clues in the hopes of finding the true killer. There is a diverse cast of suspects and sidekicks—think Agatha Christie meets House of Cards.
You have a background in politics, but have you always wanted to write? Will you tell us more about yourself and that progression?
I’ve always read a lot. As an adult I get through two to three novels a week. And my work and stint in elected office have required me to be proficient at nonfiction writing: policy analyses, briefs and blogs. But until recently, I’d not pictured myself as a fiction writer— I’m not one of those people who felt I “had a book in me.” Then a few years ago I read Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories, a complex mystery that weaves together several distinct stories. I don’t know if I had some creative need, percolating below the surface, but Atkinson’s novel struck a nerve. I recognized that I had stories to tell from my political life, and that fiction—in particular, a mystery—might be the best way to do that.
Did your background help in your research for One Murder More?
I didn’t so much research it, as utilize the knowledge and experience that I have from years in politics and advocacy.
One of my favorite authors is John Lescroart—I believe he has 18 New York Times best-selling mysteries to date. His writing is representative of what draws me to suspense and crime fiction/mysteries. As to the genre in general, my undergraduate training is in psychology, and I did a couple of years of graduate work in counseling. I think at their best, suspense authors succeed in triggering psychological responses that permit us to experience feelings in a safe place that might unsettle us outside of the covers of a book. I like the controlled darkness of it, the step into risks that can’t really touch me.
What do you like to see in a good book? Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?
I crave action and a relatively fast pace. Extensive narration or setting get me started thinking about my “to do list” for the day instead of the next chapter
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
I wish this weren’t my answer, but it is. The first Harry Potter book. Before the larger-than-life hype, before the movie. It’s a good story, great characters, and fun.
What are you currently reading?
Just finished John Lescroart’s latest, The Fall. Currently re-reading Spring Warren’s Turpentine, hoping she’ll write a sequel.
What’s next for you?
The next book in the Maren Kane Mystery Series, A Timely Murder. It takes Maren from Sacramento to Vegas, and (so far) in draft form includes a dirty political campaign, arson, a kidnapping and lost treasure. I don’t outline, so some of that may fall out and I’m sure there’s more to come. But I’m having a good time in the early chaos of it. The best part about being a writer is the writing.
About One Murder More:
In Kris Calvin’s debut mystery One Murder More, a beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in California’s Capitol building. Maren Kane, a lobbyist for a fledgling Sacramento-based toy company, is in the midst of a legislative fight that could make or break her career. She doesn’t have time for a coffee break let alone involvement in a murder investigation.
But when police arrest Maren’s colleague for the crime, she’s certain they have the wrong man. The cops suspect a crime of passion―love gone wrong. Maren knows that in the capital, money and power drive all things tragic and scandalous. Sex and love are little more than window-dressing.
But will she be able to prove her theory―and free her friend―before she becomes the next victim?