Sometimes life can cause us to feel stressed and anxious. What to do? Ridgewood’s Kate Kaschenbach solution: brew a pot of coffee, nestle into her home office, turn on the computer and type away into the wee hours of the night.
Kaschenbach, mother to Liliana, 10, Colton, 7, Minka, 5, and Jagger, 2, self-published her first fictional mystery novel, Jane Street, in July of 2017.
A fast-paced read Jane Street is a gripping murder mystery that takes place in New York City. Filled with intrigue, suspense and interwoven with factual historical events from New York City’s past, Jane Street introduces readers to Verity Townsend.
Townsend, the Director of Development for a children’s charity, is about to realize her dream: building a home on Jane Street for the orphans of the Children’s Family Fund. During construction, however, the body of a young interior designer, Chloe Kingston, is found on site. Everyone involved in the charity is a suspect.
Jane Street is known for its tragic past. It was the location where Alexander Hamilton, the famed American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers, took his last breath after being killed in 1804. But what do Hamilton, Jane Street and Chloe’s death all have in common?
Verity, who has a medium gift, receives clues from Chloe via nightmares to identify her murderer. Can Verity decipher the clues and find the killer?
“I have always been attracted to mystery novels,” said Kaschenbach, who is originally from the Boston area. “Both my parents are avid readers and when I was growing up we would have family reading time. My mom always read mysteries – almost exclusively, so I naturally followed suit.”
The first mystery novel from Kaschenbach, who goes by the pen name Kate Kasch, took 8 months to write. It was published shortly later.
“Instead of waiting years to release a novel, I was able to release it immediately,” said Kaschenbach, who is both a full-time writer and mother. “As long as you have a quality product and are willing to put the work into the marketing, it is a great option.”
The book is available for sale on Amazon. In its first two weeks of sales alone, it quickly climbed the ranks of Amazon’s book list for 2017.
“Since I was a little girl, I have always had an interest in writing. I studied journalism in college, however, it was a study abroad program in Europe where my passion for fiction blossomed,” she said. “While there, I took two writing classes, one of which was a mystery writing class. I was hooked.”
Kaschenbach is also “hooked” on ghost stories and haunted locations.
“Yes, I was that girl who always brought my Ouija Board with me to the sleepover party,” said Kaschenbach.
It was her love of ghost stories that led her to New York City’s famed story of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
“I then started researching Alexander Hamilton and his history, and this was before ‘Hamilton’ hit Broadway,” she said. “I read that he died on Jane Street down in Greenwich Village and that people claim to have seen his ghost down there as well as a couple other locations – check out Trinity Church graveyard at night if you’re looking for a good spook. From there, I realized I wanted to write about a woman with clairvoyant gifts who can use that communication with the dead to solve murders.”
Just like that, the character of Verity was born.
“She is my opposite – except for her shopping addiction,” said Kaschenbach.
Verity returns in Jane Street’s sequel, The Dakota.
During an extravagant party for the who’s who of fashion in the infamous Dakota building, a famed photographer is thrown from a balcony plunging 10 stories to her grisly death.
Verity’s best friend, Tessa, is arrested for the crime. With mounting evidence against her friend, Verity once again finds herself on the hunt for a killer. Can Verity prove Tessa’s innocence and stop the real murderer?
The Dakota is currently three-quarters of the way finished, according to Kaschenbach. It will be released in the coming months.
“There will definitely be a third book in the series,” said Kaschenbach. “It will take place at either 14th West 10th Street, also known as ‘The House of Death’ or, after reading Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids,’ I am considering the Hotel Chelsea.”
At this time, Kaschenbach has no specific number of books in mind for the Verity series.
She does have a specific plan as to when she’s releasing her Christmas romance.
“Last November, I got a little caught up in the holiday season and decided I wanted to write a Christmas romance. It was so much fun to write and I am really happy with the final product,” she said.
Restoring Christmas will be released in July.
“Because who doesn’t love a little Christmas in July?” questioned Kaschenbach.
In Restoring Christmas, readers are introduced to Adrienne and Gretchen Harkins. Torn apart by tragedy, the sisters have been living estranged lives in New York City. That is, until a mysterious red envelope shows up on both their doorsteps with news that forces them to reconnect and return to their hometown.
In order to save the house they grew up in, the sisters have to work together to restore their home and their relationship, and they only have five days to do it. Can they pull off a Christmas miracle or will they lose their home, their family and true love in another Christmas disaster?
With nearly three novels under her belt, Kaschenbach said her secret is staying organized.
“I have found the best way for me to get the most accomplished in a day is to have a schedule and to stick to it,” she said. “Almost every minute of every day is designated for something specific, whether it’s exercise, taking a shower, writing or driving my kids to an activity. This way I never feel overwhelmed by too many items on the to-do list and not knowing where to start.”
Another secret: have a great editor. Kaschenbach’s mom, Linda Beith, has done the first edit on all of her books.
“Since she lives in Rhode Island, I don’t get to see her often. So, having this joint project was extra special. It has been so much fun working together. It helps that she really knows the mystery genre and has a grasp on what readers expect.”
Kaschenbach’s mother-in-law, Adele Kaschenbach, served as a second editor for Restoring Christmas.
Her mother and mother-in-law may have been her first readers, but they aren’t her only.
“Being a published author is a dream come true,” she said. “I hope my books bring people an escape, an escape from laundry, work, kids, responsibility, screens, social media – all of it. Just pick up one of my books and get lost in the story.”
By Jessica Humphrey-Cintineo