I think it’s a safe bet that playdates set up by dads–especially when the children being set up are in fact adults–might not always work out for the best. But a couple of years ago, my dad and I had a conversation about his friend’s daughter that went something like this: “She’s a writer. You’re a writer! She lives in Boston. You live in Boston! Go have dinner.”
So Kate Racculia and I went out on a date and it turns out that not only is she a writer (and a damn fine one, too), but she is also a delight, and shares many things in common with me, such as cats, murderous writing tendencies, and a fondness for the word “spleen”.
We have been friends ever since. And now we are publisher-mates! Her new book Bellweather Rhapsody comes out today (!) from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (!) and sounds SO COOL (!!!). Here she is to chat about murder, David Bowie, and postnasal drip.
Give us the Bellweather Rhapsody spiel.
Bellweather Rhapsody is a mystery, a ghost story, a love story, sort of a musical—basically, it’s a bunch of my favorite genres rolled into one big fat tribute to Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game.
The time: 1997. The place: the once grand, now moth-eaten Hotel Bellweather in the Catskills, as it hosts the annual Statewide student music conference. Hundreds of talented teenagers, chaperones and conductors have descended on the hotel, and on the first night, young musical prodigy Jill Faccelli disappears—was it a prank? Was it suicide? Or, after a huge storm leaves them all snowbound, are they actually trapped in the hotel with a murderer?
Being as cryptic, spoiler-free, and out-of-context as you can, what is your favorite scene in the book?
It involves David Bowie, a Chevy Nova, my high school auditorium (in my head, at least), and a dead body. No spoilers!
Pick a character and tell me how you came up with their name.
Harold Hastings is the Bellweather’s concierge, a role he has been very happily playing for decades, and he took his last name from the dead end street in Eastwood where I grew up—Hastings Place. At the Syracuse signing for my first novel, neighbors from my Eastwood days suggested that I use the name somewhere. Always be careful what you wish for from an author, because SHE JUST MIGHT DO IT.
And now it’s time for me to blatantly steal from Inside the Actors Studio. What is your favorite word?
Traditionally, spleen; today, for kicks: ululation
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
A purring cat
What sound or noise do you hate?
That guy who lives on the other side of my apartment courtyard who spends the morning horking up his postnasal drip
What is your favorite curse word?
Basically anything British: bollocks, wanker, arsehole…oh, you only wanted one?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I should have been a librarian.
What profession would you not like to do?
I do not, and never will, possess the mettle to be a doctor.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Hey, we were just about to start the movie – you coming?”
I’m guessing God loves Dumb and Dumber. Just a hunch.
Kate Racculia is a writer and researcher living in Boston, Massachusetts. Her first novel, This Must Be the Place, was published by Henry Holt & Company in 2010. Her second, Bellweather Rhapsody, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in May 2014.
She was a teenage bassoonist. In her hometown of Syracuse, New York, she played in her high school band, the Lyncourt Summer Concert Band, the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra, and various NYSSMA festivals. Her bassoon was named Nigel.
Kate studied illustration, design, Jane Austen, and Canada at the University of Buffalo. She has her MFA from Emerson College, and teaches novel and genre fiction workshops at Grub Street, Boston’s non-profit creative writing community. She has been a bookseller, a planetarium operator, a coffee jerk, a designer, and a proposal writer. She posts many pictures of her cat on the Internet, is a total sucker for a saxophone solo, and has every intention of growing up to be Jessica Fletcher.
More good news – Kate is giving away a signed and personalized copy of Bellweather Rhapsody, PLUS a handsome mini set of Tarot postcards featuring six main characters from the novel. Mark your page, tell your fortune, send a friend the creepiest postcard they’ll ever receive!! To enter, fill out the form below; and to gain up to three additional entries, you can also A) follow Kate on Twitter @kateracculia ; B) Tweet about the giveaway and link back to this post and/or C) leave a comment below sharing the one song you literally must dance to whenever you hear it. Good luck!
Giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner, Christina C.!