Author Spotlight Saturday Part 1 ~ Kate James & Elizabeth Heiter

Please welcome Kate James and Elizabeth Heiter to Genuine Jenn this week! The ladies had a blast so be prepared for some fun! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedules to chat with us!

Thank you for hosting us on your blog, Jennifer. It’s a great pleasure for us to be here!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?

Kate: Writing is a second career for me. If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I had a business career before I decided to focus on writing. I first thought about writing when I was in university. I got caught up in my professional life, and my first attempt at writing a novel, a half-finished manuscript, is tucked away in a storage box somewhere in our basement.

In 2010 my husband and I were on vacation in the Caribbean. On a whim I wrote a short story and entered it in a contest. My story placed 52nd, which doesn’t sound like a significant accomplishment unless you consider that there were over 12,500 entries across all genres. My husband knew I had always wanted to write, and seeing how much I had enjoyed writing that story, he gifted me a personal laptop for writing for my birthday that year. I had thought that I didn’t need another laptop, as I had a perfectly good one (for work) already, but it made a huge difference. That was when I started writing my debut novel, Silver Linings!

Elizabeth: I’ve always known I wanted to write – and specifically, that I wanted to write mystery/suspense novels. Even as a kid, I was scribbling in notebooks the beginnings of what were intended to be full-length novels. I didn’t finish one until high school, when I co-wrote my first young adult novel, with the friend who’s my critique partner to this day.

I was inspired to write my current psychological suspense series, The Profiler books, after I read a biography by a former FBI profiler. I was fascinated by the idea of a character who would go to a crime scene (or look at a case file) and instead of taking the usual investigative route, would look at the behavioral evidence and the psychology of the perpetrator to find that person. From that, dedicated FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, driven by her tragic past to be one of the best in the Behavioral Analysis Unit, was born!

Kate: Elizabeth and I are fortunate to work with one of the best editors in the business, Paula Eykelhof. I’m thrilled to have met Elizabeth through Paula nearly two years ago.

What was your inspiration for writing books about law enforcement?

Elizabeth: I’ve always been fascinated and awed by the jobs that law enforcement officers do. It’s a natural fit for a suspense series, because then you have a reason to throw investigations at them book after book! I picked the FBI because I wanted a character who would work at the federal level, and who I could send all over the country (or world) if I wanted. And as I had the chance to meet former and current federal agents, it only strengthened my desire to write about these fascinating people who choose to put their lives on the line to protect others.

Kate: I have tremendous respect and appreciation for law enforcement personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, and I love all animals, with a particular fondness for dogs. In that context, the K-9 trilogy was a natural outcome for me.

I have to admit, having a lot of fun doing the research was a great motivator, too. I know Elizabeth can relate to that comment!
PC Hilton of York Regional Police in Ontario is a K-9 officer and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting Max.
Max has his own police badge and “business cards!”
PC Hilton also gave me some “light” reading material! Elizabeth: I totally agree! The research is one of my favorite parts! Before I started my Profiler series, I read a ton of books on the FBI, profiling and serial criminals. And with each new book, I tend to find things that interest me to work the plot around, so I can do more research!
The lounge area at the FBI Academy at Quantico. The green vests belong to regular Special Agents and the blue ones are for HRT (the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team). I loved visiting Quantico and it gave me so much knowledge for the books!
Me at the range at Quantico; FBI weapons specialists taught us how to fire various weaponry used by Special Agents (including tactical agents) in the field. (When I chose to wear heels that morning, I was unaware they were going to let us shoot!)

Elizabeth, what three words would you use to best describe Kate’s When Love Matters Most?

Elizabeth: Rather than me coming up with the words, I borrowed them from a review by RT Book Reviews: action, tension and romance.

Kate, what three words would you use to best describe Elizabeth’s Seized?

Kate: Ripped-from-the-headlines (to cheat a little and make that one word!), intense, and suspenseful.

Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?

Kate: My next release will be the third book in my K-9 trilogy. The working title is When I Found You, and it’s scheduled for release on July 1st. It’s the story of K-9 Unit captain Logan O’Connor and San Diego International Airport chief of security, Ariana Atkins. Here’s a teaser:

Is she part of the solution . . . or the problem?

Security breaches at San Diego’s international airport are putting passengers at risk, and bringing the competence of the airport’s chief of security, Ariana Atkins, into question. With explosives being the weapon of choice, Police K-9 unit captain Logan O’Connor and his bomb detection dog, Boomer, might be the airport’s best line of defense. But is the airport targeted or does the perpetrator have another motive? And when it comes right down to it, can Ariana trust Logan with her life . . . and her love?

Elizabeth: I’m about to get revisions on my fourth Profiler book, STALKED, which continues to follow FBI profiler Evelyn Baine and Hostage Rescue Team agent Kyle “Mac” McKenzie. A little hint of what’s up next for Evelyn:

The secrets we keep can be deadly…

When a teenager goes missing, leaving behind a note that foretells her own death, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is put on the case. The suspects are numerous: the girl’s estranged parents, her too-smooth older boyfriend…even a possible human trafficking ring out of a nearby college campus. But the closer Evelyn gets to the truth, the harder someone works to make sure his secrets stay buried…even if it means he has to bury Evelyn, too.

What was your very first book that you wrote?

Elizabeth: The first book I finished was a young-adult action-adventure story written in high school by me and my friend and critique partner, Robbie Terman. Robbie writes contemporary romance now, but back then, we worked together to create a story that was part Hardy Boys, part Indiana Jones, and a whole lot of action!

Kate: Other than the partial manuscript I mentioned above, my first book was Silver Linings. It was published by a small Canadian publisher. I was thrilled when it was bestowed first place honors by readers in both contests I had entered with it.

Other than your own, what are your favourite books?

Kate: Elizabeth’s!

Elizabeth: Aw, thank you! I have to admit, Kate’s books are some of my favorites, as well. I read a lot of suspense and romantic suspense, and Kate manages to blend the mystery with not just a strong romance, but also a whole lot of heart.

When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?

Elizabeth: I do. I tend to put my entire list on shuffle (about 3,000 songs!). I like to start with something that has a strong, fast beat to get me moving and then once I get into the story, I tune it out and just run with the words!

Kate: If my husband is home, he always has music playing. If I’m on my own, I prefer quiet . . . other than the soft snoring of our dogs, of course!

Elizabeth: I’ve got a little bird chorus in the background myself! (I have a parrot and two lovebirds, and people sometimes tell me over the phone that it sounds like I’m working in the Amazon!)

Kate: In the spring and summer, I love to hear the birds chirping outside! It’s not quite the same, but I find it happy and soothing!

Who is your favorite character in your books?

Kate: I’m not sure I have a favorite. Wouldn’t that be like picking a favorite child? I can say that reader reaction has been very favorable to Rick Vasquez from When Love Matters Most. Here’s a quote from a recent review:

“I really fell in love with Rick. He turned the heartbreaking start to his life into something beautiful. Rick is a strong protector. His choices are influenced by his own past and it leads him to be compassionate and make a difference in the lives of those who really need him.” 

Oh, wait! I do have an answer. To avoid favoritism amongst my own characters, can I pick Kyle (Mac) McKenzie from Elizabeth’s The Profiler series?

Elizabeth: Thanks again, Kate! I have to say, I adore writing Mac! He’s completely focused when it comes to his job (the HRT’s motto is servare vitas – Latin for “to save lives”), but in his personal life, he’s easygoing and quick to joke. When he first met Evelyn, she looked so serious and stern that he couldn’t help going over and teasing her. Very quickly, the joke was on him, because he fell fast and for all of Evelyn’s skills getting into the heads of serial killers, when it comes to social cues, she has no clue. But as the series progressed, she started to take an interest in return, and I love the way they balance each other!

We have been having so much fun, we decided to break this into two. Come back tomorrow to read more from Kate and Elizabeth!

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~


  1. Thank you for hosting us on your blog, Jennifer.

    Elizabeth and I had a lot of fun answering your questions, and we look forward to visiting with you again tomorrow!

  2. Thanks so much for having us here, Jennifer! Kate & I had a blast chatting for your blog!

  3. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Great interviews! It's always interesting to learn how successful writers began their careers.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Dale, and taking the time to leave a comment.

      We're glad you enjoyed reading the interview. As Elizabeth noted above, we really enjoyed doing it!

  4. Thanks so much, Dale! :)


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