Interview with Novelist Kathryn Schleich (Salvation Station)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Kathryn Schleich: In Salvation Station, three separate story lines come together, all being related. The initial mystery focuses on Captain Linda Turner’s obsession to solve the murders of a pastor and his two small children. The spouse is no where to be found. The second story line concerns a televangelist, Rev. Ray Williams, about to shutter his poorly performing Road to Calvary TV program, when he is approached by a mysterious woman claiming God spoke to her in a dream giving direction on how to save the program. The third story line concerns long-time program devotee, Ruth Perkins, and the tumultuous relationship with her only child, Emma, who sees the pastor as preying on the vulnerable. There is crime and mystery while commenting on the dangers of accepting religion blindly as truth.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Crime, mystery, and suspense.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Tough women.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, an Alfred Hitchcock murder/mystery.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

So many songs, so little time! Current favorite songs are Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”, “Born This Way”, “Shallow”, and “Pop Art”, Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and the theme from “Skyfall.” As well as almost anything Prince and Ella Fitzgerald.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

More than one. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Moo by Jane Smiley, and The Dry by Jane Harper.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I was married to a Catholic Deacon for over 20 years and witnessed first-hand the hypocrisy and dangers of religion. There is a very dark, sordid side to faith, especially when people just want to be told what to believe. On the crime side, my brother died under suspicious circumstances, and the more i dug, the weirder it became and I spent a lot of time working with law enforcement. I was confronted by true evil, so it’s relatively easy to draw on a real sociopath for the antagonist. People know evil exists, but what they’re not expecting is for it to come into their lives.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Michelle Obama. She is gracious in the face of racist and nasty comments, incredibly smart, funny, and an amazing role model.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My volunteer work, especially with the Wilder Foundation is St. Paul, Minnesota. I’m particularly proud of my endowment to provide every child enrolled in a Wilder program with all the necessary supplies to begin the school year.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I wasn’t sure Salvation Station would ever be published, and I wanted to witness the work in a different form besides being written on the page.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write what you are passionate about and be patient, as hard as that can be. Immediately after entering the Novel Festival I found a publisher, for which I am truly grateful. Live the golden rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.

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