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ABOUT THE BOOK
Just when everything seems about perfect, someone leaves the barn door open and all hell breaks loose. At least, that’s what it feels like for Kate Fox. Born and raised in the Nebraska Sandhills, smack in the middle of eight interfering and boisterous siblings, related to everyone in the county by one degree of separation or less, Kate’s managed to create her perfect life. A shattering phone call hits Kate like a January blizzard. A local rancher is murdered and her husband, the sheriff, is shot. When her husband is suspected of the murder, Kate vows to find the killer.
Curious about the rugged home of Kate Fox? Check out Connealy Angus Ranch and don’t forget to explore Baker’s Nora Abbott Mysteries.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What initially got you interested in writing?
I wasn’t one of those people who always knew I wanted to be a writer. I wrote a poem in grade school that won an award and when my older sister found out, she set me down and explained that she was the writer of the family. A college professor told me I had a facility for the language and out to think about being a writer. But I thought I’d have a fine career in business.
It didn’t turn out that way. I ended up marrying a rancher in the isolated Nebraska Sandhills. To stay sane, I started writing and then, I couldn’t quit.
How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?
I wrote my first book with the idea that I had always been a big reader, I could certainly write. Ha! I finished that book but even I could see how awful it was. I discovered Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in Denver, and started attending their yearly conference. That’s where I learned to write and decided to try to get good enough to be published.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
First and always, I want readers to do that magical thing–like when space ships in Star Wars go into warp speed–where they are transported into the world of the story. Reading novels has made me so happy and I’d love to give that to readers.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Like yoga or long distance running, I love having done it. For me, writing is like solving this big puzzle. You start out with all these ideas and you need to figure out how to fit them all together and add more stuff to come up with a story that moves along and hangs together. While I’m going through it, I can get frustrated. I stomp around declaring that I’m not smart enough. But, so far, if I bash my brain long enough, it all sifts into place and it feels like magic. So, yeah, that’s pretty rewarding.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
I think it’s exactly what is the most rewarding. Beating the plot into submission is really hard. *whine, whine, wine *
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
The big two that Stephen King recommends: write every day and read all the time. I’d also add to keep learning. I learned how to write from going to conferences. And also, one I wish I’d have told my younger self—be gentle with yourself. Writing is a long game. Hardly anyone gets there immediately. It takes lots of words, lots of effort, endless education. Keep working but don’t expect immediate success.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
Just ask my kids, I’m one of the most boring people you’ll find. I love the outdoors, so I spend a lot of time hiking, swimming, cycling, camping, kayaking, and scuba. The other topic I can glaze a listener’s eyes with is my Weimaraner. Jezebel is just over a year old and if you ask, I’ll tell you how adorable she is… and won’t stop.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
You can contact me through my website: www.shannon-baker.com
I am the worst Twitterer ever, but my handle there is: sbakerwriter
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shannon Baker writes the upcoming Kate Fox mystery series. Stripped Bare (Sept. 6, 2016; Forge Books) features a sheriff in rural Nebraska and has been called “Longmire meets The Good Wife.”
A fun, adventurous read, Baker’s novel has been compared to well know character series from aforementioned Craig Johnson’s Longmire to Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder and the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box. Kate is determined, smart and funny and one thing’s for certain – mystery readers who are fans of character-driven stories in a western setting will love the landscape brought to life in the Nebraska Sandhills.
Baker also writes the Nora Abbott Mysteries, a fast-paced mix of murder, environmental issues and Hopi Indians inspired by her time working at the Grand Canyon Trust. Her first book in the series, Tainted Mountain, earned Baker a spot as a finalist in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and in 2014, she was recognized as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ (RMFW) 2014 Writer of the Year.
She serves on the board for RMFW, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and is also an active member of International Thriller Writers, and Western Writers of America. Baker has also been a featured keynote speaker for Friends of CU Libraries.
Having grown up with a father who worked in big retail, her family moved around frequently – living in California, Colorado, and Missouri. She married a rancher and moved to the Nebraska Sandhills for nearly 20 years, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. After escaping Nebraska, Baker continued the nomadic life, moving seven times in ten years; and while it may seem schizophrenic, it helped to create the incredible western settings in her novels.
Baker has since settled in Tucson, Arizona with her favorite person, and her Weimaraner, Jezebel. A devout fan of the beautiful Arizona sunsets, Baker still is, and always will be a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red!