Interview with Kristen Houghton

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Well, I was always a story-teller and that’s what writers do; we tell stories. I was the little girl who could keep her friends interested for a couple of hours by telling all different types of stories. My imagination was, and is, very fertile and active. In high school I created a sort of soap opera and each day during study hall I would hand out the next part of the story. I made sure to always leave a cliffhanger of sorts with each new part to stir up anticipation.
What is your writing process?
Surprisingly, since I am not this way in some other areas of my life, I am a very organized writer. I like to write beginnings, middles, and endings in my stories in that order. This gives me a story timeline and lets me get inside the minds of my characters as if I am going through what is happening to them. Let's say that everything is going along smoothly in the beginning of the story and then something unexpected or traumatic happens, how does that impact one or more characters and how do they react? But I do sometimes write endings or future parts of a story if an idea comes to me. My filing system on my computer is well-labeled with stories, story ideas, and articles.
Is laughter important to have in your writing?
Very much so; laughter can help to heal so many things in life and I try to incorporate it in my humor stories. For instance my book "No Woman Diets Alone – There’s Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut" is all about humor in relationships. The stories in the book depict issues that can be fraught with stress, such as dieting, buying a house, planning a vacation, friends who can drive you crazy,etc We all relate to those. I insert a healthy dose of humor that makes it believably funny.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love reading and don't get to read as much as I would like. I read Inferno by Dan
Brown, because I enjoy his character Robert Langdon and because it references
Dante's Divine Comedy, which I have always loved. I also read Sara Paretsky's V.I.
Warshowski novel, Breakdown.

Two weeks ago I finished reading The Associate by John Grisham, an author whose work I've
been reading since his first novel, A Time to Kill.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A Kindle Fire, a Christmas last year from my husband.
You are a journalist. How did you get into that business?
I began writing articles, with my byline, for free for an online magazine. It was a good experience because my name and work did get noticed and I learned a great deal from the editor-in-chief. While I was there, a paying magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to write a weekly column for them. That was the San Francisco Examiner. My column covered everything from politics, to issues affecting women, to healthy, successful lifestyle. I’ve done work for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, the Style Channel, and HBO documentaries.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My character Catherine Harlow is a NYC private investigator. I'll let her tell you about herself.
From "For I Have Sinned" © 2013 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved:
"My name is Cate and I'm the Catherine in Catherine Harlow, Private Investigations, P.I. license number 420731-6632. I was named Catherine Sophie-Victoria Christina Marie Harlow; my parents got carried away naming their only child, I will admit. They were in their forties when I was born so finally having a child was a big thrill to them. The only places you’ll find this name, however, are on my birth and marriage certificates and my divorce decree. While I like the name Catherine, I prefer Cate spelled with a "C". But I'm easy; either name is fine with me.
"By all accounts I consider myself a lucky woman. I have my own fairly successful business, Catherine Harlow, Private Investigations, am healthy, have some good friends, and have survived having my head bashed in during my missing person case last year. There's only a small scar near my temple to remind me of it.

I put a pedophile priest in prison and reunited a sister with a brother who had been missing for ten years. It was a satisfying ending to a convoluted case.

My ex, homicide Detective Will Benigni and I have a kind of friends-with-benefits relationship meaning that we probably could not ever live together again as husband and wife but we can still enjoy the highly charged sex part of it. Then there’s Giles Barrett, M.E. We had a nice thing going for awhile and I still see him but we’ve decided to cool any intimacy between us for now. I think that Giles is waiting for the “Will rush” to run its course and feels that after that, we, Giles and I, will get back together. Who knows really?
Life is as good as I can make it.

You can read all about my adventure in "FOR I HAVE SINNED" penned by my good friend, author Kristen Houghton. All we need is the right publisher and it's a go.

Right now I'm into my next case and it's a surprising one with a definite twist...I am very good at what I do."
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing the characters in my mind come alive on the computer screen. Relating to other people is a plus for me as a writer. People, even complete strangers, talk to me and tell me things about their lives. I can take something they tell me that may seem simplistic and embellish it to make it a more interesting and readable story. I did that with an incident that happened to a couple on their way to my friend’s wedding. I turned what I was told into a horror story which is in the just released anthology book, The HorrorZine. The couple was pleasantly surprised and the story received rave reviews.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the most wonderful people in the world! The fact that they enjoy reading my books and short stories fuels my energy to write.
What are you working on next?
A series about a female private investigator. I am so excited to be writing this series. The first book is finished and just waiting to be published.
Who are your favorite authors?
My reading tastes are eclectic, I just love reading. Everything is there, from the classics by Shakespeare, Austin, Dickens to Victorian English dramas such as John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, to the classic horror of Stephen King and Anne Rice. I also love The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series and anything written by Amy Tan especially The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Reading is my escape and my pleasure.
Published 2013-10-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Cate Harlow Private Investigations Boxset
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 330,150. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
From author Kristen Houghton comes the boxset of the best-selling A Cate Harlow Private Investigation series. Readers requested and we complied! All four books in the series in one beautiful boxset.
Sins of the Father: A Cate Harlow Private Investigation
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 95,650. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Private Investigator Cate Harlow finds herself involved in two cases that seemingly have nothing to do with each other; she soon discovers they may be bizarrely connected. While working the cold case of a boy who went missing ten years ago, she receives an early morning call from her ex-husband, a homicide detective, informing her about a recent murder; the horribly mutilated body of a priest!
Do Unto Others: A Cate Harlow Private Investigation
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 75,740. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Cate Harlow’s ex-husband and the love of her life, NYC Detective Will Benigni, has been shot and is in a dangerous dance with life and death. His captain tells Cate that this was no random act of violence. This was an outright murder attempt on Will’s life. As Cate delves deeper into the mystery, she finds herself embroiled in a story of jealousy, violence, and revenge.
For I Have Sinned A Cate Harlow Private Investigation
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 85,320. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Private investigator Cate Harlow receives an early morning call from her ex-husband, a homicide detective, informing her about the horribly mutilated body of a priest with a hand-written message in Latin Dante's Divine Comedy, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."
Grave Misgivings A Cate Harlow Private Investigation
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 83,970. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR Cate Harlow has a terrified new client. A woman named Jennifer Brooks-Warren has come to Catherine Harlow, Private Investigations in desperate need of help; a contract has been put out on her life.Making it all the harder for Cate is the name of the person responsible for taking out the contract killing in the first place. It's none other than Jennifer Brooks-Warren herself!