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Author Talk: December 5, 2017

Eileen Brady is a practicing veterinarian for over 20 years, so it’s only fitting that the protagonist of her debut mystery series shares the same profession. CHAINED is the third installment, and revolves around Dr. Kate Turner’s investigation of a murder that took place 10 years ago. The victim was Flynn Keegan, the handsome blond “Golden Boy” of Oak Falls, a town in New York's Hudson River Valley, where the series is set. In this interview, Brady talks about how her literary career got started, the feedback she receives from her readers (who she calls “wonderful”), her love of all animals, and her plans for future novels, which includes the next book in this series.

Question: Your series is set in New York's Hudson River Valley, but you now live in Arizona. When did you relocate to the other side of the country, and do you miss the seasons of the East?

Eileen Brady: My husband and I lived in the Hudson Valley for many years, in Olivebridge, New York, near the famous town of Woodstock. We relocated almost 20 years ago because we became tired of fighting sleet, ice and snow. I do miss the seasons, especially watching the daffodils come up through the snow and the reds and golds of fall leaves. However, the desert has seasons of its own, which are just as compelling.

Q: This is the third novel to feature veterinarian Dr. Kate Turner, a profession you practiced for more than 20 years. What was the moment that you knew you wanted to use your veterinary experience as the basis for a mystery series?

EB: My writer's critique group didn't think much of my first mystery attempt, but they always enjoyed my animal stories. I thought Why not combine real veterinary medicine with murder? My mysteries also have plenty of humor in them, as I relate fictionalized accounts of some of my favorite funny clients. Let's face it --- we all need a laugh sometimes.

Q: Have you always been a reader of mysteries? Please name three mystery authors who have most influenced your writing style.

EB: I've always loved mysteries and credit Agatha Christie for helping me to get through veterinary school. Whenever I worried about an exam coming up, I opened one of her books. The way she snuck in her clues and red herrings are masterful. I also enjoy Clive Cussler for his far-ranging multiple plot lines and Michael Connelly for his clean spare prose.

Q: What kind of feedback do you receive from your readers? Does it tend to focus on the animal element of the stories? The romantic subplots? Or something else?

EB: First, let me say my readers are wonderful. They especially like my lead character, Dr. Kate Turner, because she is a strong, independent woman. In previous books I've hinted at a romantic subplot, but in this new book I introduce a man from her past to complicate things. I've also had readers thank me because their animal had similar symptoms to something I described in my books. They took their pet to the vet, and sure enough it was diagnosed with the same disease. I strongly believe in providing educational veterinary facts mixed in with the fun.

Q: Does the Kate Turner series have the next couple of books already sketched out? Do you also aspire to write a mystery that features a different protagonist?

EB: I'm writing the next book in the series as we speak. The working title is PENNED, and in it Kate and her Gramps team up to find an FBI most wanted murderer who might be hiding in the village of Oak Falls.

As far as writing other types of books go, I've been outlining a thriller, plus I have a women's fiction idea kicking around in the back of my brain.

Q: How much research did you conduct for CHAINED before you decided you were ready to start writing?

EB: I start a book with a beginning and a rough idea of the ending, then tailor my research as I go along. For CHAINED I wanted to write about a cold case, and my murder victim felt very real right from the beginning. The reader learns about Flynn, the victim, as Dr. Kate does, through conversations with people who knew him.

Q: Can you reveal which animal species you most enjoyed treating during your career as a vet?

EB: It sounds corny, but I love all animals. Always have and always will. Different species have intriguing personality traits, just like people do, and part of the pleasure of practicing veterinary medicine was interacting with them. From the box turtle whose shell I put back together to my lame horses, hissy cats and drooling dogs, I've learned something from all of them! We should celebrate their intrinsic differences, which makes our planet so remarkable.