Kassandra Lamb: Psych Prof Turned Mystery Writer, Still Educating While Entertaining
I’m so delighted to welcome Kassandra Lamb as a guest on my blog today. Kassandra’s newly released To Bark or Not to Bark is the twelfth book in her Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mystery series. Below is Kassandra’s essay about her books, followed by a blurb about To Bark or Not to Bark, her bio, contact links, and buy links.
Personally, I love fiction stories that teach me about something new—an historical era, a culture I’m not familiar with, a vocation I know little about, a place I’ve never been. I love the idea that I am painlessly adding knowledge to my memory banks…expanding my mind, if you will, without any real effort.
So, since I spent most of my life expanding people’s knowledge of their own psyches, it seemed only natural that I would include some tidbits about psychology in my stories.
In my first series, the Kate Huntington mysteries, Kate is a psychotherapist turned college professor, following a similar career path as I did in real life. (Her similarity to me ends there; she’s much more passionate and patient than I am).
Many of the mysteries in that series revolved around her fictional clients, and those stories readily gave me a way to illustrate the causes and symptoms of various disorders, slipping in that info while entertaining.
My cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, stars a service dog trainer who trains dogs for veterans with PTSD and other psychological issues related to their service. Not only do I show the disorders affecting the vets, but I also showcase how the dogs are trained and how they help their veteran owners function better in life.
In my latest book in this series, the border collie mix, Dolly has been trained to “clear the room” for a veteran with agoraphobia, stemming from being ambushed in a supposedly vacant building. As a result, he is phobic about going through doorways and has not left his house in over a year.
Dolly helps him by going into a room first and identifying if anyone is in the room (even if they are hiding). If a person in the room is someone whose scent Dolly recognizes, she sits in front of them for a moment without barking. If the person is a stranger to the dog, she sits and barks once.
(If you are interested in how the dog was trained to clear rooms, that is illustrated in the book before this one in the series, One Flew Over the Chow-Chow’s Nest.)
Of course, this story involves a murder, along with a locked room, arson, ghosts, secrets and greed—all the components, and then some, of a good mystery. But also during the course of the book, we see the agoraphobic Marine becoming more comfortable with going through doorways, with Dolly’s help, and he is once again able to leave his house, go to the park, etc.
I do try very hard to dole out tidbits about the training, the work with the veterans and about the disorders they suffer from in a way that does not slow the pace of the mystery. So far, I think I have succeeded as I get lots of positive comments from readers saying they enjoy seeing how the dogs are trained and the tasks that they do.
Those comments always warm my heart, because that is my ultimate goal, to painlessly educate while entertaining!
ABOUT TO BARK OR NOT TO BARK:
Service dog trainer Marcia Banks tackles a locked room mystery in a haunted house, while training the recipient of her latest dog.
The border collie, Dolly has been trained to clear rooms for an agoraphobic Marine who was ambushed in a bombed-out building. But the phantom attackers in his psyche become the least of his troubles when Marcia finds his ex-wife’s corpse in his master bedroom, with the door bolted from the inside.
Was it suicide or murder? Marcia can’t see her client as a killer, but the local sheriff can.
Then the Marine reports hearing his ex calling for him to join her on the other side of the grave. Is his house really haunted, or is he hallucinating?
Bottom line: Marcia has lost a client to suicide before. She’s not going to lose another!
In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs—and being partial to eating—she studied psychology. Her career as a psychotherapist and college professor taught her much about the dark side of human nature, but also much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter. Now retired, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in North Central Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
BOOKBUB PROFILE: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kassandra-lamb
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Kassandra-Lamb/e/B006NB5WAI/
OTHER USEFUL LINKS:
Landing Page on my Website: https://kassandralamb.com/books/to-bark-or-not-to-bark-a-marcia-banks-and-buddy-mystery/
OTHER AMAZON LINKS:
AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B3WNQY1Z
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0B3WNQY1Z
AMAZON AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0B3WNQY1Z
GOOGLE PLAY: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=UHh4EAAAQBAJ
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Lynn!
Don’t tell me, Did the dog do it?
LOL… No, but he helps get them out of a tight spot a time or two.
As a veterinarian, I love seeing animals featured in our stories!
Me too, Millie. And I love writing stories with animals in them. In my new series, I’m giving my reluctant protagonist a kitten whose human mom is one of the murder victims.