Friday, January 25, 2008

BookEnds Talks to Kathryn Lilley

Kathryn Lilley
Dying to Be Thin
Publisher: Signet/Obsidian
Pub Date: October 2007
Agent: Kim Lionetti

(Click to Buy)

As a preteen, I had two passions: Nancy Drew mysteries and Pralines 'n Cream ice cream. So it was perhaps inevitable that I grew up to write a mystery series called The Fat City Mysteries. And like my protagonist, Kate Gallagher, I once worked in TV news, and had to lose 90 pounds in order to land a job on camera.

Awards: IMBA Bestseller for October 2007

Web site:

In Dying to Be Thin, TV news producer Kate Gallagher enrolls in an exclusive diet clinic so that she can get a job on camera. But when the head diet guru turns up—murdered and fondued—Kate loses her appetite. And now that the menu features murder, Kate has a breaking story on her hands!

BookEnds: What is your favorite thing about this book?
Kathryn: One of the things I love about Dying to Be Thin is that the protagonist, Kate Gallagher, who is “a woman of a certain weight,” is presented as something of a man magnet. This quality is unusual in mass-market fiction. Usually, women who are struggling with their weight are relegated to the back row, in terms of career and sex appeal. But Kate is gorgeous, and she knows it! By the end of the novel, she has not one but two love interests!

BookEnds: What else are you working on?
Kathryn: In addition to the next book in the Fat City Mysteries, I have a paranormal thriller that I’m working on. It’s very uncozy and unchick-lit. The story is so dark, it scares me.

BookEnds: Do you see yourself in any of your characters? If so, who and how?
Kathryn: Kate Gallagher is very much like me, only stronger and quicker with a comeback. She’s like my Bionic Woman sister. If Kate were really my sister, I’d love her to death, but I’d really hate that fact that she’s so much cleverer than I am.

BookEnds: Many writers have stories of rejections. What are yours? What was your most memorable rejection?
Kathryn: Fortunately, I didn’t have many rejections. But my most memorable one came from an agent who had requested an exclusive. She took a while to read the manuscript, and then she eventually sent me an email along the lines of, “Dear Kathryn: I really wanted to like this story. But I just didn’t like the character; I didn’t like the story; I didn’t like the voice. In fact, I just didn’t like anything at all about it.”

Sigh. That rejection was really tough.

And one time there was a critique group that wouldn’t accept me as a member, and then someone in the group copied me on a sarcastic email. That bummed me out.

I should say at this point to wanna-be authors that you should never take rejection or criticism personally. And you should never be bitter. And you should never say, “Neener, neener!”

BookEnds: Do you have a manuscript that you’ll never let anyone else read? Tell us a little about it.
Kathryn: I wrote a screenplay called First Lieutenant that was optioned multiple times by a major celebrity’s production company. It was based on a true story about the first African American to graduate from West Point Academy. While the story itself had many merits, looking back on it, I feel that my screenplay was not blockbuster material. If I had to drag it out of my desk drawer today, I would have to do a Page One rewrite on it. No one sees it again until then.


Christine Wells said...

Kathryn, congratulations on the release of Dying to Be Thin! It sounds like it has just the kind of black humour that appeals to me. Can't wait to read it.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thanks, Christine!It was great fun to write. I just finished the second book in the series, called A KILLER WORKOUT, which will be out in the fall of '08.

Christie Craig said...


You book sounds great. Congratulations on the release. Thanks for sharing.

Christie Craig

Joe Moore said...

Kathryn, congratulations and best wishes on DYING TO BE THIN.

Aimlesswriter said...

Ooooo, I want this book. I think I can relate to your character and I'm tired of reading about perfect women. I know books are suppose to take us out of our real lives but a world where all people are perfect is And I love a good murder!
That agent who gave you the --I didn't like this and that- letter was just mean. I can understand them giving good advice but that kind of letter is uncalled for. Give me a form letter please. An agent once said my execusion (sp?) needed work. That I liked. It helped me to look at my work with a clearer eye. I do keep a list of who sent nicer rejections (even if they are forms) and the ones who give me a sliver of paper with a no thanks on it. The nicer ones stay on my list, the others are crossed off. I want to work with nice people.
Congrats on your book! I can't wait to read it.

amanda h said...

Hi Kathryn,

I loved Dying to be Thin. I just finished it two weeks ago (part of my post X-mas book buying bonanza with my Amazon gift certificates!)

I have to say, I really want a whoopie pie. Or as we say down south, a Moon pie!

Congrats and keep them coming.

Anonymous said...


What a great post. Your book sounds like it's right up my alley...hopefully, I'll be near a bookstore today because I need a good "airplane" story.

Congratulations on your publish!


Diana said...

Your book sounds fun! I am going to have to read it - christine wells said it best when she wrote, "it has just the kind of black humour that appeals to me."

Nadine said...

I love the premise of Dying to be Thin! I'll have to check it out!

How horrible that someone from the critique group copied you on a sarcastic e-mail. But look how well you have done and how far you have come! I bet they are all jealous and wished they had invited you to join!

Angie Fox said...

What a fun premise, Kathryn. I'm looking forward to reading it. When will your paranormal be out? I'd like to take a peek at your dark side too. :)

Anonymous said...

You say you "didn't have too many rejections." I take this to mean this is your first novel, you were able to find an agent fairly quickly, and then sell to a publisher soon after--yes?

Kathryn Lilley said...

Hi Anonymous! Before this series, I did have some good training in the mystery-writing craft--I wrote several YA girl-detective mysteries under a nationally known pseudonym. But this is the first series under my own name.

Jeanne Ryan (Serenissima) said...

Hi Kathryn - Your book sounds juicy. Hope it's a big hit. Thanks for sharing.