Friday, December 10, 2010
Guest: Kerrigan Byrne
Mary: Welcome to the Mysteries and Margarita’s blog today. Can you tell us a bit about you?
Kerrigan: Thank you for having me. Mysteries and Margarita’s are two of my very favorite things. You’ve combined two absolute goods! Let see, about me. I’m 27, married to a romance novel hero for going on 7 years; I have 3 lovely step daughters. Aside from my job, I belly dance with Desert Gypsy Dance Company and teach tribal fusion in my town on Wednesday nights. And when I have a moment to sit down I write my little heart out.
Mary: What genre do you write? And why?
Kerrigan: I mostly write Paranormal Historical Romantic fiction, I suppose. I’m working now on a series project I call “Origins”. I think that over the course of my life, I’ve seen a lot of things that are pretty real. In fact, people always ask me why I don’t write mysteries or thrillers. I tell them, “It’s the same reason I don’t watch Law and Order.” Aside from the fact that Jerry Orbach isn’t on it anymore, I just get enough of that in my life. I like to escape to a world where I can bend the rules and so can my characters.
Mary: You have an interesting job. A lot of us who write mystery or suspense would love to have the material you must have access too. Can you tell us a little about what types of things you encounter?
Kerrigan: Well, I’ve worked in the legal field for the last 8 years. First as a Legal Secretary for a private firm where I learned to file divorces, pay taxes, run a business and a trust account. Then, I moved on to getting a seemingly innocuous secretary job at the County Attorney’s Office in the Special Investigations Unit. I was the youngest secretary there at 21. District Attorney Investigators take care of the crimes that city and county investigators can’t, namely, Officer Involved Shootings, political corruption, internal affairs and high profile investigations, and white collar crime. Needless to say, my duties were ridiculously varied. I started just doing bank charts and financial analysis on some high profile white collar crime cases. Not surprisingly, Utah is the white collar fraud capital of the states. The only polygrapher in Utah County worked in my office and I got to understand, firsthand, the science behind the polygraph and I find it fascinating. I had access to Federal, state, and local information data bases and I could pretty much find out any information about anyone’s background I wanted. It really is scary how much the government knows about you and how much information they can collect.
Due to budget cuts, the County Attorney’s Office decided that the Investigation Secretaries should also be the Evidence Technicians. I saw my first dead body at 23 and since then, I’ve worked 3 shooting scenes (two with casualties) and 4 separate autopsies, two murder search warrants, and countless white collar search warrants. They even used me in one undercover operation where they were after a Surgeon who was swapping prescription drugs for sexual favors. I’ve testified in a jury trial, and filed a lot of court paperwork, so I understand the system nominally well. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I’m letting you know that you can use me as a resource if you need me.
Because of my family and my want to write, I decided to get a less stressful and demanding job with the county. Last year, I moved to the County Jail to run their Medical Office. I enjoy the job quite a bit and the hours are much better.
Mary: I know you write Paranormal but do you ever use something you’ve heard or seen at work?
Kerrigan: I sometimes use tactile sensation when it comes to describing dead bodies. Also, we’ve had to do extensive research on combat psychology, reflexes and what constitutes a “righteous kill” in a Democratic nation. That research has been very helpful to me in my writing. Also, working with a bunch of cops gives me some GREAT perspective into the mail psyche. It’s great research working with a bunch of alpha males in uniform. ;)
Mary: What do you find the hardest with writing? Do you have a five year plan or something?
Kerrigan: The hardest thing about writing, for me, would be finding the time. I have to say, I did struggle with some of the technical aspects of the craft, at first. I kind of approached it thinking ‘Hey, I have a story, write it down, how hard can it be?’ So, I got a wake up call very quickly.
Mary: Are your family and friends supportive of your writing?
Kerrigan: My husband is extremely supportive of my writing. Most of my closest friends are also writers. However, I do get heckled by some “intellectual” friends or extended family about how I should write “real” books instead of romances. I ignore that kind of nonsense.
Mary: I know you belong to Romance Writers of America. Do you belong to any other writing organization? What do you find helpful with RWA?
Kerrigan: I don’t belong to other organizations. RWA is the best I’ve found so far. The ladies are amazing and there’s such a variety that I learn new things every day. I’ve found it to be the best resource.
Mary: What would you like to have been told or advised of before you started on this crazy writing journey? And do you think it would have altered your decision to write?
Kerrigan: I would like to have been warned about how harrowing the publishing process is. I’m not the best at networking and I find it rather terrifying. However, it’s part of the game and I’m determined to learn it.
Thank you, Kerrigan, it has been a blast getting to know you. Drop by again to the Mysteries and Margarita’s blog.
Thank you for having me here! I am a M&M reader for life. Best of luck to you, and I can’t wait to read your scintillating mysteries. Please contact me any time with legal questions or research you may need done at KerByrne@gmail.com, and I’ll see what I can do for you!