Author Spotlight – Kristy Tate
The Rhyme’s Library
Crazy Aunt Charlotte is missing again. Blair Rhyme, Rose Arbor’s young librarian, doesn’t bother to check Charlotte’s regular haunts — the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars lodge, the Four H-Club, or the bins behind Milton’s Fish shop – because Charlotte is dead. Blair discovered her body amongst the boxes of what-nots and whatevers in the library’s basement.
Unfortunately, when she returns to the library with the police Charlotte is missing. Again.
Desperate to prove that she doesn’t share her aunt’s mental illness and that Charlotte really has been murdered, Blair tangles with a former lover, a disturbingly handsome stranger and a wacky cast of Rose Arbor characters.
At first Blair tries to dismiss the skin-pricking sensation of being watched, but as small disturbances grow increasingly threatening, she must confront the enemies, real or imagined, that drove her aunt to madness and death in the Rhyme’s Library.
The Rhyme’s Library was a semi-finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Awards, mystery category.
What’s your favorite cliche and why?
I like it’s raining cats and dogs—maybe because I’m from Seattle, or maybe because someone once told me that long ago people kept their pets on their thatched roofs which would become slippery when it rained.
What’s the corniest title you can think of for your book?
Won’t You Come Home, Crazy Charlotte?
Who’s your favorite character in literary history? Why?
I love the Robert and Elizabeth Browning. Elizabeth suffered with poor health and I love Robert writing, pleading with her to “grow old along with me/the best is yet to be…our times are in His hand.”
How did you decide on your characters’ names? Do they mean anything special?
Originally Blair was named Claris, but my critique group thought that Claris was an old, stuffy name, so she became Blair. I try to not name my characters after family members, friends or acquaintances, which is hard to do, because I have a giant family and know tons of people. I think it’s okay to give likeable characters common names, even if I have friends with the same names, but I would never name a villain or even an irritating character after people I know.
Your favorite 1-2 sentences from your book:
Blair brought her finger down on a random word, brobdingnagian. She wrote the word and definition on the chalkboard above the circulation desk and came up with her own sample sentence. Drake Isling is a brobdingnagian twit. Because she gave each of her library patrons a chocolate for every sample sentence they gave, she took one for herself, even though Brobdingnagian was technically tomorrow’s word.
brobdingnagian \ brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\ adjective:
of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous.
Blair brought her finger down on a random word, brobdingnagian. She wrote the word and definition on the chalkboard above the circulation desk and came up with her own sample sentence. Drake Isling is a brobdingnagian twit. Because she gave each of her library patrons a chocolate for every sample sentence they gave, she took one for herself, even though Brobdingnagian was technically tomorrow’s word. Today’s word was tenebrous: dark; gloomy. Tenebrous describes both the weather and my mood, she thought and then realized that she deserved a chocolate for her second sample sentence. My thighs will be brobdingnagian if I don’t stop eating these chocolates. Another sentence— another chocolate.
Outside, the wind whistled and moaned around the library, tossing branches and bending trees. A near human-like scream tore Blair’s attention away from the open dictionary, but after a moment of wind listening, she returned to her work, collecting words and definitions for the upcoming week. Opprobrious, vitriolic, and vituperative—she looked for derogatory terms that could easily be made into Drake-descriptive sentences.
If the storm knocked out the electricity she would close the library early. Stop eating chocolates, she told herself, drive to the university and confront Drake in front of the students lingering after his American Lit class. She knew that there would be a handful of coeds hanging around Westchester Hall waiting to talk to him, hoping to walk with him to lunch. She knew that because she used to be one of them. Ten years ago when she was a freshman in college she waited after Professor Islington’s class with trumped-up questions.
Well, not anymore. She’d never wait for Drake again. After today, of course.
The lights flickered a warning. Wind storms and power outages were common in tiny Rose Arbor. Candle light, a roaring fire and a good book during a storm were enjoyable at home, but she wasn’t going home—or was she? Gathering up her things, she debated her plan. Confront Drake or wait out the storm in front of a fire with a Mary Stewart novel? Fight sluggish traffic, wind and rain for the hour drive to Bellingham or cuddle under a quilt and read? With wavering
resolve, she locked the front doors.
Moments later, the door rattled. Was it someone knocking, or just the wind? It took a second to unlock the heavy wooden doors. Blair peered into the rain. Gray skies cracked with lightning. She was about to go back inside when she saw a huddled figure at the side of the porch.
Dressed in a ratty brown coat and mud caked jeans, Will Harris crouched in the flower
bed, his head bent low to the ground. A regular attendee at the library’s story hours, Will lived on a farm just outside of town with his brother and grandmother. His rapt attention to her stories, his quiet lisp, and unkempt hair, made Blair both love and pity Will. Not even school age, he typically walked to the library unattended.
Blair ran to the edge of the porch and yelled over the storm’s noise to him. Rain pelted his matted hair and rolled down his shoulders. He knelt between a rhododendron bush and the side of the library with his face inches from the mud and his hand inserted into a drain pipe.
Blair came around the porch, pulled her sweater tight across her chest, and ignoring the weather, she knelt beside Will. A tiny, whining meow echoed inside the storm drain. Blair lowered her face toward Will and he gazed at her, his big brown eyes welling with tears.
“Miss Rhyme,” Will stuttered her name between gulping back sobs, “Bacon, my brother Todd’s dog, killed all of Midge’s kittens but this one here and my grandma won’t let any of the cats in the house.”
Blair frowned at the rusted pipe. It could probably be cut by a sturdy pair of gardening shears, but she guessed that the easiest, rescue would be to unclog the drain.
“Can you keep him? I can’t take him home,” Will said.
She wasn’t sure she wanted a kitten, but she did know
she didn’t want to squat in the rain After giving a Will a quick pat on the shoulder, she went to the office to fetch a shopping bag and umbrella.
Will trailed after her, still talking. “Everyone knows how you live alone and have nobody but your crazy aunt. And now they say she ain’t talking no more and of course, there’s only whispering at the library. No real talking going on ‘round here-”
Of course people gossiped. They buzzed about anything and anyone and Aunt Charlotte was
interesting. Parading through town in her nightie, throwing apples at passing cars, spray painting neighborhood dogs, Charlotte provided entertainment the town couldn’t get on the local cable stations.
“Of course, cats can’t really talk,” Will said.
Kristy Tate is the author of many novels, but only six are published. Her debut novel, Stealing Mercy, was been on the Amazon’s top 100 list of historical romance for more than fifteen weeks and spent two weeks as number one.
Kristy studied English literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU’s International Center in London. Although a long time resident of Orange County California where she lives with her family, Kristy’s heart belongs in her hometown of Arlington, Washington, AKA Rose Arbor–the fictional setting of her popular Rose Arbor series.
For updates on Kristy’s upcoming novels, please visit her blog at kristystories.blogspot.com