Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing. The first book in the series, Scene of the Climb, features the rugged landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge and a young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme.
Her work has appeared in a variety of regional and international publications including: The Columbian, The Vancouver Voice, Seattle Backpacker, Portland Family Magazine, and Climbing Magazine.
Kate lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.
I’ve been devouring every cozy mystery that I could get my hands on for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite things about the genre is that they also serve as travelogues, taking readers to quaint villages and exotic locations all over the world. I’ve wandered the English countryside and lounged poolside in Nice while reading mysteries. They’re great escapes and perfect for curling up on a lazy Sunday or reading on the beach.
When I decided to try my hand at penning my own, I knew I had to write about a place that I knew. I know Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. I’ve lived here my entire life and not only was I excited to write a cozy mystery, but I was equally excited to get a chance to introduce readers to this corner of the globe. Sticking with the theme of writing what I knew, I decided to set the first book in the ruggedly beautiful Columbia River Gorge. My family and I spend our weekends hitting the trail and exploring the many hikes and climbs that the region has to offer.
One weekend we were hiking at Angel’s Rest, a two-thousand foot peak with stunning views of the Columbia River and carved hillsides of Oregon and Washington. As we were getting our gear together a car pulled up next to us. Huge burly Oregon hiking men with beards and sturdy backpacks got out of the car followed by a young woman wearing bright pink hiking boots. I knew immediately that I had my character!
Who was that young woman? How did she end up with that crew? And where did she get the pink boots?
As we made our way up switchbacks and past waterfalls on our way to the summit, I wondered what would happen if someone fell from the top, but it wasn’t an accident. From there the story and the setting for my new mystery Scene of the Climb came together.
The young woman in pink hiking boots became Meg Reed, a young journalist who has been couch surfing in Portland because she can’t find a job. When she has a chance encounter with the editor of Northwest Extreme, an outdoor magazine, she claims that she’s an intrepid adventurer in order to land the gig. In reality she’s terrified of heights, a total klutz, and her idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
Her editor at Northwest Extreme sends her out to Angel’s Rest trail to cover an adventure race filming on location. Meg prefers vintage fashion and artisan coffee to scaling cliffs, but she’s desperate to prove herself. So she laces up her kicks and hits the trail. Once she finally huffs her way to the top, she sees a body sail off the summit. Everyone thinks it’s an accident, but Meg quickly finds herself wrapped up in a murder investigation. From there things just go from bad to worse for her.
The book is a work of fiction and follows the traditional mystery format, but it also takes readers outside and into nature. It includes a scenic loop tour and an adventure guide with some of Meg’s tips for surviving in the great outdoors. I love the idea of being able to follow Meg on her adventures whether you’re reading the book from the comfort of your couch, or out on the trail.
Meg and her friends meet at their favorite local pubs and puzzle over the clues with pints of Oregon’s famed microbrews. Hopefully readers will get a glimpse of the Pacific Northwest’s wild untamed spaces, and a taste of its eclectic culture as Meg fumbles her way through her first assignment and a murder.
The next book in the series, Slayed on the Slopes, comes out in April. Meg will be heading to the top of Mt. Hood in a blizzard. Let’s just say that she might get left out in the cold.
Wishing you happy reading and travels this holiday season!