Cathryn Grant’s fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines and been anthologized in The Best of Every Day Fiction and You, Me & A Bit of We. Her short story, “I Was Young Once”, received an honorable mention in the 2007 Zoetrope All-story Short Fiction contest.
Her psychological suspense fiction reveals the motives and desires that lead to suburban crime. She’s the author of five novels, the Madison Keith Suburban Noir Ghost Story series, Flash Fiction for the Cocktail Hour, and a variety of short fiction. She’s currently working on her sixth novel — Faceless – and the ninth Madison Keith novella — Empty Home.
In my own words . . .
I’m obsessed with the why behind human behavior. In real crime, too many times, the whyis 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 station wagons and mini vans with fake wood paneling. To me, that 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 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 writer, and I wrote my first novel – The Mystery of the Missing Mansion. I wrote for years, trying to learn the craft, to find a 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.
When I’m not writing, I work in marketing for a Silicon Valley company and read lots of fiction. In the winter I curl up by the fire with a glass of wine, a bowl of popcorn, a novel, my husband, and two cats. In the summer, I do the same, without the fire, and try to play golf without hitting my ball in the sand.