Cathryn is the author of over thirty psychological suspense novels, including the ALEXANDRA MALLORY series featuring a sociopath you can’t help but love. Readers have called the series “addictive”.
The things that cause torment in real life—obsession and revenge, guilt and envy and longing—are endlessly fascinating in fiction, and Cathryn never grows tired of writing stories about characters struggling to overcome the worst.
Cathryn also writes ghost stories because who knows what lies beyond our senses—The Haunted Ship Trilogy and the Madison Keith series of novellas.
When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading, walking on the beach, or playing golf, going way out of her way to avoid hitting her ball in the sand or the water. She lives on the Central California Coast with her husband and her cat, Cleopatra.
In my own words . . .
I’m obsessed with the why behind human behavior. In real crime, too many times, the why is left unanswered. My fiction tells the stories of ordinary people driven to commit crimes, especially homicide. You could call them why-dunnits rather than who-dunnits.
So why Suburban Noir? Even as a child, I was aware of the dark side of suburbia. I started life in a suburban town in New York and grew up in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, California. My first inkling that I had a cynical view of suburban living was my immediate and visceral disdain for minivans with fake wood paneling. To me, it was symbolic of the desire to pretend you’re something you’re not.
My cynicism blended with an insatiable curiosity about why people behave as they do, and grew into stories of psychological suspense and psychological horror that eventually ended up in a hybrid genre that I like to call Suburban Noir. By the age of ten, I wanted to be a fiction writer, and I wrote my first novel – The Mystery of the Missing Mansion. I wrote for years, learning the craft, working to uncover my voice. When I discovered Ruth Rendell through her novel, The Bridesmaid, I knew I’d discovered the kind of stories I wanted to tell — novels with “subdued tones, stultifying atmosphere, and … psychological obsession” as the Library Journal said about The Bridesmaid.
A reader told me I make “the mundane menacing”. That’s exactly right, because the mundane is menacing. Think, for a minute, about nerves rubbed raw by bad drivers on a fifty-minute commute, or expertly sharpened kitchen knives, or the gooey white of an undercooked egg. You’ll see what I mean.
In 2015, I began to notice a strong bent in my writing toward what I’ll call feminist fiction, for lack of a better term. Looking back, I see that all my novels have feminist themes — an elderly woman fiercely clinging to her independence (Alone On the Beach), two very different women fighting to hold their own in a male-dominated corporate world (Getting Ahead--reissued in 2020 as The Assistant), and more recently, the character of Alexandra Mallory. She is an unapologetic, if often self-serving, feminist and sociopath — a rather unsettling blend.
When I’m not writing, I eavesdrop and read fiction. In the winter I curl up by the fire with a glass of wine, a bowl of popcorn, a novel, my husband, and Cleopatra. In the summer, I do the same, without the fire.