from the seventh Kate Shugak novel


Kate looked from the garage door lying flat on the ground to the cache crumpled up on the opposite side of the yard and sat down hard on the doorstep, the rifle clutched in her hands, waiting for her heart rate to drop below 200. “Breakup,” she said.

Fun fact: Breakup has been called a caper novel by those who would know better than me, so it will surprise you to hear that it was written from rage. I was 70 pages in to the first draft when I realized that Kate just wouldn’t do what it said right there in the outline she was supposed to do. I had to start over and I was so pissed off that I look back now and wonder if I was trying to kill her. And then Mandy’s parents, who were supposed to be villains, turn out to be heroes. Everybody turned on me.

Chatter Kate Shugak

Dana View All →

Author and founder of

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Ah, Breakup. Far and away my favourite Kate book. Never before had I laughed out loud while reading a book. Just one damn calamity after another. Brilliant.

    • Thank you, Paul. One of the best compliments I ever received was from a woman who wrote to tell me that “Breakup” made her blow Diet Coke out of her nose in an airport lounge.

  2. I agree with Paul. Laughed out loud. Whenever I’m in a “mood”….cranky, I pull out “Breakup” and it just makes my mood better from page one to the end.

  3. I am wondering why you were surprised at your pissedoffedness at Kate’s disinclination to follow your outline. I love that book. The plot work has always struck me as sheer evil snicker!

    • When you’re on the hook for two books a year and you’re writing at a white heat to make your deadlines, 70 pages is a lot to delete from what you had planned to be a 200-page book.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: