Interview with Katee Robert
I am beyond thrilled to welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert to the Okie Dreams website. Katee’s latest book, The Surviving Girls, released at the end of May and quickly became one of my favorite crime reads of the year. Read on to learn more about Katee as well as hear her thoughts on her newest release, her current book series, and the fascination people seem to have with serial murder. You can also find out what’s coming up next from this fabulously talented and wonderfully prolific author.
Meet Katee Robert
Author of The Surviving Girls
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it ‘a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Q & A
Hi Katee! Thanks for being here today! For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us a little bit about you and your newest release, The Surviving Girls?
KATEE: Thank you so much for having me! The Surviving Girls is a story about two women who survived a sorority house massacre when they were in college. Fast forward twelve years and they’ve moved on as best they can. But the past comes calling and there’s a new killer out there who seems to be determined to finish the task the Sorority Row Killer started—and he’s gunning for the survivors.
Why did you choose Sorority Row murders for the third book in the Hidden Sins series?
KATEE: I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would look like to be a survivor of a notorious killer, and how someone would deal with that. They survived, yes, but now they’ve seen the worst the world has to offer. They know the monster in the closet isn’t make-believe. What would the life of someone like that look like if they decided they weren’t going to hide away? If they were going to fight?
And so Lei and Emma were created. They took on a life of their own almost immediately, so then it was just a matter of getting it put to paper.
Did you base Lei, Emma, or Dante on anyone in particular? What about Travis Berkley?
KATEE: I try really hard not to base any of my characters on real people. They’re real to me, so they end up just as complex as real life people, and I don’t want reality clouding that. That said, Travis Berkley is probably two parts Ted Bundy, one part Richard Speck (his crimes are what I used as inspiration for the original massacre).
What kind of research did you do for The Surviving Girls? Or the Hidden Sins series on whole?
KATEE: I am 100% on some kind of watch list as the result of this series. Each book has its own thing that I become a mini-expert on by the time I’m through drafting (cults for The Devil’s Daughter, Glacier National Park for The Hunting Grounds). For The Surviving Girls, it was cadaver dogs. I’ve always wanted to incorporate them into a book because the whole process of training a dog to find clandestine graves is nuts, and the fact that they can is even more nuts to me. Everything Lei’s dog, Saul, does in the book is based in real-life examples of what cadaver dogs (and working dogs in general) are capable of.
Do you naturally gravitate toward crime and suspense reads yourself or do you prefer fantasy and fiction reads?
KATEE: I rotate through. I can’t read what I’m currently writing, so I am usually cycling through YA (specifically horror and fantasy), fantasy, and suspense novels. I’m really picky about my suspense, though, because there are certain things I just can’t handle reading. Lisa Gardner is my one consistent suspense author because she always takes me right up to the edge of what I’m okay with, but she never tosses me into the deep end.
Are you hooked on any current true crime TV Shows or podcasts?
KATEE: I am a hardcore My Favorite Murder junkie. I don’t watch a ton of true crime shows, but I just binge-watched Wild Wild Country and it was crazysauce.
Why do you think people are so fascinated with serial murder and the men (and women) who commit these violent acts as well as those who seek to solve them?
KATEE: I think it’s because they’re so alien to how most people operate. The average person can probably admit that there are certain circumstances that can drive anyone to murder in the moment, but stranger-on-stranger murder is so much harder to imagine committing. Throw in the fact that there are often ritualistic aspects to how the bodies are left or patterns in general, and it’s like a puzzle we can’t help but poke at.
What’s coming up next for you? Any more suspense reads in the works?
KATEE: I have a mermaid novella showing up this summer, and then there will be a MMF ménage romance in the fall. I’m working on some stuff I can’t talk about quite yet, but you’ll definitely see suspense from me in the future! I love it!
Learn more about the
Hidden Sins Series
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER
THE HUNTING GROUNDS
THE SURVIVING GIRLS