Interview: Katherine Prairie

Please welcome Katherine Prairie, author of the Alex Graham mystery series.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Up early to watch the sunrise and a morning of effortless writing with a cat or two for company. After that, a walk on the beach or a hike in the mountains followed by a glass of wine in front of a fireplace. I’d finish the day with good conversation over dinner with friends and then head to the airport for a flight to some exotic locale!

Thirst web  200x300Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
“How hard can it be?” is a question I ask far too often. And of course I usually discover that whatever new challenge I’m tackling is MUCH harder than I thought!

Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
Without a doubt, Michael Crichton because he showed me that science could be woven into fascinating suspense stories. Once I figured out that I could combine my passion for science with writing, I knew where I was going.

Do you listen to music when you write?
I have a playlist of dark music that I use when I’m writing tense scenes. Typically, songs that leave me a little on edge or those that have a somber tone.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Dark chocolate with cranberries because the plot for Thirst is dark and rich with more than a few surprising bits.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Nothing ignites a story in me like science and politics. Water knows no boundaries and I was intrigued by the politics of the Columbia River Treaty, a unique agreement between the U.S. and Canada that manages the shared Columbia River. Even more intrigued when I discovered that 3 dams were built in Canada for the U.S. and those dams are considered critical infrastructure to the U.S. government. Add in newly signed agreements that allow the two countries to combine their security response and controversy over terms as the treaty heads into its final years, and I was hooked.

What themes do you regularly visit in your writing?
A common thread for me is the psychology behind crime. What would cause an average person to commit murder, set off a bomb or steal?

Tell us about your main character
Alex Graham followed in her dad’s footsteps to become a mining geologist. Not a typical choice for a woman and she’s out to prove herself, especially to her dad. She’s smart and independent but her relationships are complicated.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Diane Sawyer, the investigative journalist, for her curiosity, intellect, political savvy and sense of humor. She has said that her curiosity has made for a most interesting life and I believe Alex, who’s in her early thirties, is on the same track.

Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian astronaut in space, for her scientific passion and bravery – I can’t imagine what courage it takes to strap yourself into a NASA shuttle and blast off! She and Alex share the challenge of working in male-dominated professions and the desire for discovery.

Peter Hillary, mountaineer, for his adventurous spirit, determination, generosity and resilience in the face of tragedy. Like Alex, he’s led a complicated life in the shadow of his famous father, Sir Edmund Hillary, despite his own accomplishments on Everest and beyond.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Michael Crichton, Patricia Cornwell, Elizabeth George, Daniel Silva, Steve Berry and Tom Clancy. Science, politics, espionage, conspiracy and murder investigation all in one evening!

What’s next for you?
I’m working on the next Alex Graham novel.


Katherine Prairie, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveler with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.


15 thoughts on “Interview: Katherine Prairie”

  1. Wonderful interview, Kathy! Thirst sounds fascinating, and I love that you found a way to combine two of your passions! 🙂


  2. Good morning and thanks for the warm welcome! One of the things about writing a story based on real events is that it’s always changing. More than once, a breaking news story on the Columbia River or something from Homeland Security sent me back to the keyboard to make a change to Thirst!


  3. I’m totally going to read this. I love mysteries that involve an expertise I’m unfamiliar with — means I learn something. Great interview!


  4. We are also big Michael Crichton fans in my house, and your book sounds as if it’s right up my alley. Can’t wait to check it out! Also, would love to attend that dinner party.


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