From the Booking Desk:

Kathy Boone Reel was one of the first strangers to ever tell me in person that they were a fan of BOLO Books. It was at the Bouchercon Jungle Red Writers panel the year after I launched the blog. Kathy saw me sitting in the front row with my trademark orange shirt and came over and said “are you with BOLO Books?” to which I had to reply, “well, I pretty much *am* BOLO Books.” We had a great laugh and she told me how much she enjoyed my coverage of the crime writing community. Since that moment, we meet up at every Bouchercon that we can, and we stay in touch regularly online and over at the JRW blog. Eventually, Kathy jumped into the book blogging world herself (with The Reading Room, linked below), so if you don’t know her, you certainly should. Let’s see how she answers our incisive questions.

Name: Kathy Boone Reel
Location: Owensboro, KY

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

I could go with my mother who passed away over twenty years ago and gave me the love of reading and the ability to value it in my life, but I’m going to go with someone who is currently in my life, although she hasn’t been for too long. My eight-year-old granddaughter Isabella is my best inspiration for joy and love in my life. “A little child shall lead” is a real thing for me. Being a child, Isabella has that awe and wonder about life that is infectious every time I am around her. She loves to read, but she also loves to get out in nature and learn about the world that way, too. She is always up for learning something new, and I love that it isn’t always the conventional. She is on the chess team at her school and consistently comes in on top or close to it during competitions. She approaches playing chess like everything she does, with confidence and a belief in herself that if she wants to do something, she can learn how to do it. All of that inspires me to be more daring and go for what I want. I’m not great at it yet, but she is a shining light in going forward. She often seems wise beyond her years, cheering me on to do something that’s good for myself. And, she is compassionate and kind. If she has something, she is quite willing to share and wants the person with her to enjoy it, too. That’s a lesson our world certainly needs now. I have truly gotten a new lease on joy through this beautiful child, and I can’t wait to see where she takes me next.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Narrowing this answer down to one person is torture for me. First off, I hate people feeling excluded or hurt from listing top anything, from top reads of the year to recommending a favorite series to going to dinner and everyone not being there. I wish that I could choose people I admire who have touched my life or reading life or been a shining example in different ways. But, I will conform to the letter of the request and choose one. I’m going to go with Kaye Wilkinson Barley. There is no friend that is more loyal or supporting than Kaye when you become her friend. She constantly keeps me in stitches with her witty sense of humor, and she looks for the joy in situations. If you can’t have a good time with Kaye, you just can’t have a good time. She is outspoken about her beliefs and stands on issues, pulling no punches and taking no prisoners. I have to laugh at that because Kaye is such a lovely, charming person and her outspokenness is never mean spirited, just plain spoken. I love that she can curse and still sound like a lady. She has all the wonderful attributes of a Southern woman, right down to the “come sit a spell and talk with me,” and it’s a blast to sit a spell with Kaye. She reads widely and is strongly supportive of authors and their hard work. She is an author, who has a way with words that will entrance and enchant. She is a lover of art and poetry, and she has introduced me to quite a few artists I now follow. She also led me to the poet Mary Oliver and even sent me a copy of poems by this poet when I needed some comfort and peace. Did I mention that Kaye is a great friend? So, Kaye daily inspires me with beauty, grace, humor, and joy. I think that pretty much qualifies her as an excellent choice for this question.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

Ruth Galloway. Domenica de Rosa (Elly Griffiths) is the author of the Ruth Galloway series and a wonderful person I’m happy to call friend. Dom knows just how much I’m invested in Ruth, as I keep telling Dom ways to get Ruth and Nelson, the baby daddy of Ruth’s child, together permanently. That it involves the demise of another character, Nelson’s wife, doesn’t bother me, but, apparently, Dom has more compassion, or she just wants to cause me distress. Hahaha! It might be that the restraining order would be against me coming into contact with the wife, Michelle. The temptation to give her a little push if she’s standing near a cliff might be too great for me to ignore. I’m just such an avid supporter of Team Ruth that I feel I should help Ruth to live the life she deserves. Dom, we will need to talk again in St. Pete about these matters.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

I enjoy surprising my granddaughters when a song comes on the radio, and I’m familiar with a popular or cool artist. My appreciation of music, art, and performers is quite eclectic and most of my family isn’t too surprised anymore. I truly do enjoy all types of music– jazz and blues, salsa, rock, instrumental, musical theatre, classical, country, and even blue grass. I love finding or being introduced to new artists, which brings me to a group whose music I just discovered and might surprise people that I like. It started with the MasterCard commercial of Bo Diddley’s 1962 “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” using different artists doing covers of the song. The Chicano band from East L.A. called The Track Band definitely caught my attention in that video (see the full length version at http://www.complex.com/music/2018/01/sza-cant-judge-abook-by-its-cover-commercial).

My personal catch phase is (or should be):

My natural inclination is to think of something witty and humorous to say here, but there is a phrase that I try to live by and/or remind myself of when interacting with others. The phrase “treat others as you yourself would want to be treated” is a goal for me, but I can go even one better than that. “Treat others as you would want your children or grandchildren to be treated.” When I taught school and when my children were students, I always tried to remember that these were someone’s precious children who were entrusted to teachers to nurture and watch over, as well as teach. I can’t say it was always easy to view a student as someone’s treasure, and in fact, I had an easier time dealing with students who were economically and socially disadvantaged, but it is important to remember that we all really want to be treated well, with respect and compassion.