by Ali Vali
Every time I hear that Kathi is trying something new, I’m taken back to the very first GCLS gathering in New Orleans. I had just turned in the rough draft of Carly’s Sound, and after my first talk with Len Barot, The Devil Inside and The Devil Unleashed were accepted as well so I was feeling pretty good as I parked my car and headed toward what turned out to be a great gathering of great women.
I was sitting alone at the bar talking to the bartender, who’d generously poured me a free beer, rewriting a scene in the first Devil book because my editor Shelley wanted to know what happened to cousin Danny, instead of my vague he’s dead line, when everyone was called to the common area for lunch. After picking up my sandwich, I chose an empty table and took a seat. It didn’t take long before someone asked if the two chairs next to me were taken, and even if they were, there was no turning down that great smile.
After an hour I walked away realizing quite a few things, the most important being that Kathi Isserman and I were going to be great friends. That big smile draws you in but it’s her heart and willingness to share her talents that makes you feel lucky to have her in your corner. The other important thing I learned was that Kathi came with an equally great partner so in this case it was a win/win situation since I got to meet KI Thompson as well. They are the cutest couple I know, and it brought me great joy to hear they had gotten married earlier this year.
That moment in time started my relationship with Kathi, but I think it also expanded my relationship with Cain Casey when I finished that scene Shelley wanted. The Devil series was so totally unplanned that it still surprises me that so many people like this character considering what side of the law she walks on. When I decided to write I went about it in the same way that I pick books to read or movies to watch, and chose topics that interested me or things that I enjoyed. Contrary to what my partner thinks, I’m not that blood thirsty, but Mario Puzo’s The Godfather stuck with me after I saw the movie. It was one of the first R rated movies I saw, and afterward my dad and I talked about how, even though Michael and Vito were killers, their lives and business revolved around family.
It was that love of family and loyalty to those you care about that I wanted to write since I hadn’t found a book of this genre to read, so I started Cain and Emma’s story. A story that was supposed to be told in those first two books, but like I said, to my surprise Cain is appealing despite her reputation and her actions. To me the alluring part of Cain is that she doesn’t follow the rules as set by the government, but she does when it comes to matters of the heart. The freedom to take care of your problems in her usual “permanent” way is what makes her fun to write, but the romance element of their story is what made me decide to write another one.
As for the cliff hangers, I realize they’re no fun when you’re the reader, but to tell the whole story takes hundreds of pages unless you want the vague “he’s dead” line, and there’s a limit to how many hundreds of pages Ms. Barot is willing to give me per book. All kidding aside, Radclyffe is in my opinion the best publisher to work for because of her support and the support of the Bold Strokes team. My editor Shelley Thrasher, and my beta readers Kathi and Connie will never settle for vague and in the end it makes a more complete book.
Thanks to everyone who’s contacted me about the new book—I’m taking everyone’s suggestions for future deaths into consideration, and I look forward to seeing everyone in October if you’re headed to Ptown.