True crime with Kathleen Fine

Sixteen-year-old Emily Keller is charged with causing the deaths of four family members, but what really happened that fateful night—and who’s responsible—is anything but straightforward.

With a Master’s in Reading Education and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, Kathleen Fine is fully ready to share her young adult debut novel with the world! Kathleen is a member of the Maryland Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Author’s Guild, and she spends most of her time writing, reading, selling real estate, spending time with her family, and traveling to the Outer Banks!

As a big true crime and murder mystery fan, I was SO excited to talk to Kathleen about her novel! I love all things thriller, crime, mystery, etc., and I know that Kathleen really knows her stuff, so this interview was super high on my to-do list.

Girl on Trial is a ‘falsely accused’ murder mystery that follows 16-year-old Emily Keller (or, as the media knows her, Keller the Killer) as she struggles through the nation’s biggest trial of the year.

You can read more about Kathleen and check out some of her short stories on her website:, and her blog on Instagram @kathleenfineauthor where she posts short stories and book reviews.

Until then, enjoy this wonderful conversation!

As your debut novel, Girl on Trial, is being prepared for publication, what aspect of the process has been your favorite or most surprising? What are you looking forward to?

Hm, I would say my favorite two parts are being involved in choosing the book cover design and being involved in choosing the narrator for the audio book since I am an avid audio book listener! Those two things made me pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming! I am also looking forward to holding a hard copy of my novel in my hands!

What’s your favorite sentence in Girl on Trial?

How was a broken person supposed to help a broken person?

You’re a member of International Thriller Writers, and Girl on Trial, a crime and suspense novel, will be out in October of this year. I know you don’t necessarily get to choose your publication date, but is the nearness to Halloween significant? As a thriller fan, do you enjoy celebrating Halloween?

It does work out nicely that my novel is being published around Halloween since the story is set in the beginning of the school year and during Halloween. Although I like Halloween, I am more of a, “Husband murders wife” sort of thriller reader rather than, “Zombie comes out of a grave” sort of thriller reader 🙂

What made you want to write a “falsely accused” novel? What was the inspiration for this book?

I’ve had the premise of this novel in my head for the past fifteen years or so. I started to experiment with alcohol at an early age and so understand firsthand the effects that peer pressure can have on a teenage girl. When I think back to those years, I sometimes wonder: what if? What if I had made this choice or that decision? There were so many terrible outcomes that could have occurred in my life. I wanted to write this novel to show my readers a “what if.” 

Are you a true crime fan? If so, what’s your favorite way to consume true crime stories?

YES! I love all things true crime, including documentaries, podcasts, and of course, novels! When it comes to true crime, I don’t discriminate and consume all forms!

With the justice system being so essential to this novel, what did your research look like while writing it?

I had to research a lot of Maryland laws and so spoke to a prosecutor in the Homicide division of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. I also had to research the procedures of manslaughter trials, specifically for a young adult being tried as an adult.

How was a broken person supposed to help a broken person?

Kathleen Fine

What or who is your favorite villain in any book, movie, or show?

DEXTER! I love him. He is such a perfect example of how there is good and bad in each of us!

How would you answer the question, “Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person?”

I would say no. I believe everyone is imperfect. Everyone is flawed. Everyone makes bad decisions. It’s just a matter of how considerable is the bad decision you made and did you learn from it?

If you had to write a spinoff based on one character, which character would you pick?

This is a tough question because I could write a spin-off of each character! It’s easy to say the main character, Emily, since she is only seventeen at the end of the novel and has so much life ahead of her. But it would be fun to pick a different character like Emily’s mom, Debbie, or her friend, Hannah, and write a spinoff from their point of view and what happens in their new journey since they both have big changes in their lives at the end of the book.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not? If you did, what name would you use?

If I ever wrote under a pseudonym, it would probably just be my initials, K.M. Fine. But I figure, why not put all of myself out there?

If you only had one book to keep you occupied on a deserted island, which one would it be?

Wow this is a hard question! Can I say the one I’m in the process of writing now so I can constantly add/edit it? That would definitely keep me occupied! If not, I’d probably pick something more entertaining and escapist like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter.

Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person?

Girl on trial

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?

It’s always a compliment when someone tells me they wish they could read more of my writing and if I can make them cry, laugh, or feel a strong emotion, that’s always a bonus. Here are a few recent reviews from short stories that made my day:

  • I loved your story! The flow, the characters, and of course, the imagery were all fantastic! You have a wonderfully delightful way of writing that is not only well polished, but very engaging! Everything from the first line to the last had me hooked! I only wish there was more to read! Great job!
  • This is so beautiful! You are an amazing storyteller. I only hope I can ever be this good!
  • I am weeping right now. This is so good.

What are some of your favorite books and/or writers?

Favorite Books: All the Light We Cannot See by: Anthony Doerr, A Man Called Ove by: Fredrik Backman, Sarah’s Key by: Tatiana de Rosnay, and The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak

Favorite Writers: Liane Moriarty, Celeste Ng, Sally Hepworth

Where can people find you and your books?

My Website:

Camcat Books:

Amazon Preorder:

Barnes and Nobles Preorder:

Be sure to check out my book, The Registration, if you haven’t yet!

In the near-future, everyone has the legal right to murder one person in their life and while waiting in line to offer a name for The Registration, Lynell Mize hears her name called and now has 14 days to survive.


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