Knowing how people think and the history behind many cultural events can give you an interesting perspective as a writer. If you’re creative and love storytelling, becoming a novelist may be something you should try. Kay Kendall talks about her career writing mysteries.
(Photo Courtesy of Kay Kendall)

(Photo Courtesy of Kay Kendall)

What degree program did you study?

“Liberal arts all the way — B.A. in English & Russian, double major; M.A. & Ph.D. (all but dissertation) in Russian history from the University of British Columbia.”

What does your current job entail? 

“After a career in public relations, I now write historical fiction–mysteries set in the 1960s.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“When I write my mysteries, I get to dole out justice to the bad guys and make things come out right. I also live in my head so I’m back in the sixties, and that’s way more fun than present day–with ecological disasters and ISIS and warring political parties in DC. Most of my day I spend back in the sixties, and I love it.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“I use my English major for my writing skills, and my Russian history background gives me interesting characters to add to my stories.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education? 

“Building up to my switch from PR to fiction writing, I took several writing seminars that were quite useful.”

Any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a similar career?

“Writing books–whether non-fiction or fiction–is more time-consuming and intense than you would ever believe possible. You need to be driven or called to do this work. If you don’t love writing and rewriting endlessly, then don’t do it. If you think you are going to have a bestseller and be famous and that’s what drives you, then forget about that. That’s as likely as going out to Hollywood and expecting to become the next Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. Engage in a writing career if you have to, if you love it. I do, so it’s wonderful, but…it is super hard work and the work has to be its own reward. Most likely you will NOT get rich.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at


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