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Interview with Kate Sorensen, public relations specialist in Mark S. Bacon’s new mystery, ‘Desert Kill Switch’ 



We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Sorensen from Mark S. Bacon’s new mystery, Desert Kill Switch. 

Kate Sorensen is a fortysomething public relations VP living in Nostalgia City,  Ariz.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Front cover - Full Cover DKS v3 (1)Thank you so much for this interview, Kate.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Let’s start with movie star qualities.  That’s what Mr. Bacon said I had.  I am a tall blonde in reasonably good shape.  I jog.  I work out.  You know, I really don’t want to talk any more about this right now.  Maybe later.

Now, about my job. In the Nostalgia City mystery series I’m the head of PR for a giant new theme park that’s a re-creation of an entire small town as it would have appeared in the mid-1970s.  Unique. Expensive.

But we’ve had a few glitches since the park opened.  Maybe more than just a few.  So, I have to fend off an army of news reporters who want to know who was killed, who was injured in the park. I’ve been in public relations for more than a dozen years now and I know how to do it.  It’s not all spin.  It’s being honest and treating reporters with respect.  In that regard, Mr. Bacon has accurately portrayed my work.  Now the investigative stuff on the side, that’s a different story.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Okay.  First of all, I’m six feet two and a half inches tall.  Yes, I played basketball in college.  I averaged 19.5 points per game as a senior at USC.  I think Mr. Bacon might have put just a little too much emphasis on my height.  At times I’m a little self-conscious about it, but playing basketball influenced me in important ways.

My height was a concern when I was growing up. I think Mr. Bacon covered that aspect nicely.  My personality formed when I began to recognize who I was and become proud of it.  And actually, my height is a pivotal issue in this book when I try to do some undercover investigating.  (But I can’t say more or it would spoil the plot.)   Maybe the fact I’m over six feet wasn’t overemphasized after all.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

When I played division one college basketball, the pressure was on—all the time.  Of necessity I developed a way of looking at anxious situations.   In addition to nerve-wracking, my games were also exciting.  So I focused on the excitement.  “You’re not anxious, Kate,” I would tell myself, “you’re just excited.  You’re ready to go.  You can handle it.”  Fortunately I’ve been able to transfer that way of dealing with stress to my professional life.

Worse trait? 

Handling jokes about my height.  “How’s the weather up there?”  “Wow, have you always been this tall?”  “How’s the view?”  I’ve heard these and many others.  But I’m trying to learn to just smile and move the conversation forward.

Dealing with relationships is sometimes a challenge.  If a man is intimidated by my height, things won’t be going well.  I don’t always make allowances for someone else’s insecurities.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I’d pick Adrianne Palicki, who plays Tyra Collette in the TV show “Friday Night Lights” and is a veteran of several other series.  She’s about six feet tall and very athletic—as she showed in the Wonder Woman TV movie. As an added coincidence, she played basketball in high school.  And above all, she’s a versatile actress I’d be proud to see playing me, Kate Sorensen.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Bruce is my boyfriend.  He used to play Arena football.  We’ve been living together for more than two years.  When I got the job offer to move from Las Vegas to Nostalgia City in Arizona, Bruce was a little reluctant to go.  I couldn’t quite figure it out.  But in this book, Bruce and I—sorry, I can’t explain any more.  “Love interest” as you call it is a complication for me in Desert Kill Switch.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

About the time the Chechen mobsters threatened to sexually assault me and a young woman I was protecting.  Then they were going to kill us and leave our bodies in the desert.  I would have to turn this disgusting, scary situation into just “excitement.”

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Maybe this answer is too easy, but it seems like the most obvious one.  I would not want to be the young man who is found dead, alone, on a deserted desert road near Nostalgia City in the first chapter.

Of course there are some sleazy characters in the book too, who I would not want to be, but dead?  No.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I work hard to try to solve the mysteries in this book while dodging several people who have it in for me. My co-star is Lyle Deming, an ex-cop who also works at the Nostalgia City theme park.  In the end of this book, I’m in serious trouble.  I need help.  Does Lyle show up in time.  Not really.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Mr. Bacon has already finished another Nostalgia City mystery.  As he makes revisions, I’d suggest, he consider making me just a little less accepting of pot smoking.   Sure I smoked it in college—didn’t everyone?  But now we’re adults.

Thank you for this interview, Kate.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Absolutely.  The third mystery, where I again share the challenges with Lyle should be out in a little more than a year, depending on how swift Mr. Bacon’s publisher is.


Author Mark S. Bacon 5052 - smlrMark S. Bacon began his career as a southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland, and later for a Los Angeles advertising agency.

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Denver Post, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Desert Kill Switch is the second book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City, an award winner at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He  taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, University of Redlands, and the University of Nevada – Reno.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.

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