TK: Definitely a question mark. I’m curious how the world works and why people do what they do. I know that’s what led me to write fiction and, particularly, to write fiction about racing. I first encountered racing because a company I worked for started sponsoring a team and needed extra hands at the track. I didn’t know anything about it, and I was curious. That set my whole author journey in motion, because I was so fascinated by what I was learning and experiencing that I had to share it with others.
But I often also find myself (sometimes inappropriately) asking people why they’ve done something or dwelling too long on the causes of a problem or a conflict at work. The reason for that is not because I want more gossip or mean to pry (really!), it’s because I’m curious about motivations, emotions, and decisions. I suppose I haven’t outgrown a two-year-old’s habit of asking “why?”
BBB: If you could switch bodies with a certain author, who would it be and why?
TK: I don’t spend much time thinking about who else I’d rather be—and I wouldn’t want to give up my life on a permanent basis! But I wouldn’t mind spending a couple days as J. K. Rowling. I’ve always loved the way her voice and character names live and sing inside the reader’s mind, and I’d appreciate some insight on how she does that. I also wouldn’t mind understanding how she keeps big, complex, book-spanning plots organized!
BBB: Where would you go if you had a time machine and why?
TK: Another tough choice! I certainly wouldn’t go back to any previous point in my life, as I’m pretty happy where I am. And, frankly, I like modern conveniences (such as indoor plumbing and ordering take out) too much to go very far back in time! But I’d enjoy spending some time in the late 1940s and 1950s. I love the architecture, car design, and clothing of those years. But more, I’d like to experience our society in a time when we were more united toward a common goal and common understanding.
BBB: What are five things you cannot live without? List them in the order of most importance.
TK: (I’m going to take you literally at “things,” because my husband and parents would otherwise have to comprise most of the list.) Books, fruit, chocolate, email, and my ereader. Yes, I know I effectively have “books” on there twice. I’d have listed “books” again if I’d had one more spot!
BBB: Please tell us more about Avoidable Contact and the storyline that drives it.
TK: Avoidable Contact finds Kate Reilly, a 25 year-old professional racecar driver, at the start of her second full season racing a Corvette in the top levels of motorsports. As the book opens, the green flag is about to drop for the 24 Hours of Daytona, one of the iconic endurance races in the United States. Kate’s taking part in pre-race ceremonies when she gets startling news: her boyfriend and VP of the racing series is in critical condition, the victim of a hit-and-run. Kate stays at the race—not only is it her job, but also, she can’t help Stuart while he’s in surgery or in a coma—but it’s a tough, emotional time for her. When she’s not behind the wheel for her stints in the 24-hour race, she’s trying to uncover who’s after Stuart and why … as well as who might be behind some of the other nefarious activities in the paddock.
BBB: How many more books will there be in Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series?
TK: I’m going to keep writing about Kate until I run out of ideas or run out of great races and tracks to take her to. There’s an incredible amount of racing around the world—tracks in wonderful settings, as well as different kinds of racing, from sportscar and NASCAR to Formula 1 and rally cars. And drag racing. And hill climbs. And motorcycle racing. The list goes on! As long as I keep being inspired, I’ll keep writing.
BBB: What sets Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series apart from other books in the same genre?
TK: My books are traditional mysteries, but a couple aspects set them apart from the rest. First, they’re the only series out there giving readers a first-person, inside look at the racing world—particularly an inside-the-helmet perspective on what it’s like to race a car. Second, they’re about a female succeeding in a traditionally male-dominated world. Now, there are plenty of examples in mysteries of strong women working on an equal footing with men, but most of them tend to be in law enforcement, and—I think—they’re less often about amateur sleuths. And I’m pretty sure there aren’t many about a women literally competing against—and beating—men on an equal footing.
BBB: What types of characters can readers expect in your world?
TK: I hope readers can expect a wide variety of likeable, flawed, and/or interesting characters. The racing world is a microcosm of the rest of society: every age, background, socioeconomic group, talent, and, increasingly, gender and ethnicity (it’s traditionally been very Caucasian, but since racing happens all over the world, the top levels are getting more and more diverse). After making sure my characters are intriguing and lifelike, I’m trying to convey what it’s like to be immersed in a world where everyone’s goal is a win and everyone’s passion is riding the edge of performance and control. It’s a particular brand of crazy—from the drivers to the crews to the fans!
BBB: If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
TK: Mystery Author Entertains, Helps Readers Understand and Enjoy Racing
BBB: What’s your worst pet peeve?
TK: Obsessive pen-clickers. It makes me crazy to be in a meeting with someone who clicks their pen non-stop. The noise burrows its way into my skull and sets me on edge in the blink of an eye!
BBB: Which storybook/cartoon character do you like the most from your childhood?
TK: I was always a big fan of Inspector Gadget, a cartoon about a bumbling detective who had various bionic gadgets built into his body. What I liked was that Inspector Gadget always had the right tool when he needed it—and, of course, in true traditional mystery fashion, he always managed to fumble his way to solving the case. Similarly, I was later a big fan of McGyver. Apparently, I appreciate characters who are prepared and yet also resourceful!
BBB: If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
TK: I’d be Elizabeth Benet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Sure, society was stacked against women in her time, but Elizabeth was smart and unfraid to stand up for herself. She knew what she wanted—or more correctly, what she didn’t want—and she didn’t settle for a situation (or a person) that would make her unhappy. In the end, by staying true to herself, she got her Prince Charming after all. And seriously, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy?
BBB: Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours. (writing or otherwise)
TK: I’m an enormous fan of “breakfast for lunch,” which is what I call it when I go out to lunch for eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, and so forth. Part of the reason that’s a go-to meal for me is that I’m allergic to gluten, so breakfast is an easier meal to get gluten free than many lunch options. But in general, I’m not stuck on the idea that certain foods belong to certain meals. I eat cereal for dinner or rice and vegetables for breakfast … it just depends on what’s in the house and what sounds good.
BBB: What’s coming up for you for the rest of 2014 and into 2015??
TK: Over the next year-plus, I’ll be writing the next Kate Reilly Racing Mystery (expected release in late 2015), which I’m going to set at the Long Beach Grand Prix, as well as in Los Angeles and Hollywood. I’ll attend a couple mystery conventions along the way—Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, this November in Long Beach, CA, and Left Coast Crime next March in Portland, OR. And I’ll also attend a few races in 2015, though I’m not sure yet exactly which ones. Maybe I’ll get to the Indy 500 again, or perhaps it will finally be the year to travel to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Of course, throughout all of that, I’ll be at my day job during the week and carving out every spare moment to think about racing and mysteries!
Read a 4 star review of Avoidable Contact by clicking here.
Buy a print copy of Avoidable Contact from Amazon by clicking here. Buy a Kindle copy of Avoidable Contact from Amazon by clicking here.
Books in the Kate Reilly Mystery series in the order they should be read: Dead Man’s Switch Braking Points Avoidable Contact
About Tammy Kaehler
Tammy Kaehler’s career in marketing and technical writing landed her in the world of automobile racing, which inspired her with its blend of drama, competition, and friendly people. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike praised the first two Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries, Dead Man’s Switch and Braking Points, and she takes readers back behind the wheel for the third time in Avoidable Contact. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.
11 Quick Things About Tammy
Favorite Food? Peaches
Favorite Color? Purple
Favorite Movie or TV Show of all Time? The West Wing
Favorite Drink? Black tea with cream
Favorite Book? anything by Dick Francis
Favorite Season? Autumn
Favorite Online Hangout? Facebook
Favorite Animal? Dog
Favorite Band or Musician? Oingo Boingo
Mode of Travel? (Trains, Planes or Automobiles) Planes (I should say automobile, right?!)
Favorite Vacation Destination? Europe
Connect with Tammy
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Prize: A $50.00 Amazon Gift Card
Sep 26, 2014
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