Friday, November 1, 2013

Cathi Stoler's KEEPING SECRETS Debuts Today

Cathi Stoler's latest novel, KEEPING SECRETS, debuts today. I caught up with Cathi and asked her a few questions...

1) Was there a specific event that triggered this story for you? 

Actually, it was the cumulative effect of seeing news story after news story about identity theft and people taking over other people’s lives that made me decided to write Keeping Secrets. It seemed like the problem had reached epidemic proportions and that very few people understood how to protect themselves from becoming victims. I wondered about motivation. Was it money, which is a theme I explored, or something else, such as someone simply wanting to leave his or her own life behind? How would this impact a significant other, someone who had no inkling that the person they loved was a fraud? Using Laurel Imperiole, a magazine editor, to take up this thread, allowed me to show that even someone who was smart and should know better, could be fooled.

 2) What’s your favorite part about writing and what's your least favorite?  

My favorite part about writing is coming up with the plots for my novels and lots of twists and turns. I enjoy planning the way in which my characters will fit in and how interact with each other. Who’s really a friend? Who’s an enemy? Who’s being evasive? I like to have my characters grow and develop within their rolls in each story and be affected by the events they’re part of, just as someone would be in real life. It’s interesting to see where that leads them—and it’s not always where I first expected.

I also enjoy creating specific voices for each character—a little smart-mouth and sassy for Helen, a more concerned voice for Laurel and serious but put upon for Aaron. Staying true to each character’s voice is very important to me and helps make them appear more real and believable, or at least I hope so.

My least favorite part about writing is finding the time to sit down and do it. I have a full time job, so I have to write at night and on the weekends. Sometimes, it’s just hard to be disciplined.

3) Did you visit any of the locations in the book? How did that help inform the story?  

I’m a native New Yorker and know the city well. Every place I mention is familiar to me and I tried to describe them as I see and experience them, even though I’ve changed most of the names of the well-known business depicted. Using a very popular, French bistro in Soho for one of the major scenes allowed me to bring the reader into the kind of frenetic activity that would actually be taking place there. It’s so busy and so crowded that while all the main characters are present, none are aware of what the others are doing, which allows the tension to build. I did visit Doylestown, Pennsylvania, as well, since it is important location in the story, and again, while I changed the names of the business there, I tried to let the feeling of the town come through.

5) Tell us about your favorite character in the book? 

Helen McCorkendale has become my favorite character. I think it’s because I see her as a quintessential New Yorker, someone who loves the city and all it has to offer. She’s smart, funny and old enough to know the score. She’s comfortable with herself, honest and loyal to her friends, but a bit devious in her role as a PI and won’t stop at fudging the truth to get the information she wants. She can be totally impulsive, which in this story gets her into a world of trouble. But, when she’s on a case, she’s on it non-stop and watch out if you’re in her way. 

Here's the description of KEEPING SECRETS:

Laurel Imperiole, a reporter for New York’s Women Now magazine, has just received a series of emails from Anne Ellsworth, a young woman in fear for her life. Anne has discovered that her fiancĂ© has several aliases and is terrified of what he will do if he finds out. Laurel, who empathizes with Anne, sees an opportunity to rescue her and write a story on hidden identities that will help her readers avoid similar predicaments. Helen McCorkendale, a private eye and close friend, agrees to investigate both Anne’s fiancĂ©, David, and Laurel’s banker boyfriend, Matt. Laurel had planned to use Matt as the good guy in the story—the one with nothing to hide—but Anne’s situation and Matt’s sudden strange behavior are making her paranoid. Soon Helen and Laurel find that they have stirred up a hornet’s nest buzzing with vengeful Mafiosi, greedy bankers, and dirty politicians. In desperation they turn to Aaron Gerrard, Laurel’s ex-boyfriend and head of New York’s Identity Theft Squad, for advice. Aaron, who has never forgiven Laurel for “betraying” him by concealing information important to one of his cases, reluctantly agrees to help. The women discover that everything is connected, and everyone has something to hide. Will the secrets Laurel and Helen disclose keep them alive or seal their fates? Keeping Secrets is the second book in the Laurel and Helen New York Mystery Series.

Cathi Stoler was an award-winning advertising copywriter. TELLING LIES, her first mystery/suspense novel from Camel Press, takes on the subject of stolen Nazi art. Other novels in this series include KEEPING SECRETS (November 2013), which delves into the subject of hidden identity, and, THE HARD WAY (April 2014), a story of International diamond theft. She has also written several short stories including FATAL FLAW and MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, published online at BEAT TO A PULP, OUT OF LUCK, in the Sisters in Crime MURDER NEW YORK STYLE Anthology and MAGDA, in MALFEASANCE OCCASIONAL: GIRL TROUBLE. Her novella, NICK OF TIME, will be available on Amazon in November 2013. Cathi is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. You can contact Cathi at

1 comment: