PSWA Member Kathleen Ryan

Marilyn: First, Kathleen, tell us about your background.

I retired from the SCPD in 2007 after 21 years. I worked in Patrol, Public Information, and Crime Stoppers. I handled the media during the tragedy of Flight 800 in July 1996, and the Katie Beers kidnapping in December & January 1992.

Before that, I was a music teacher (I received my B.A. in Music Education from C.W. Post College, Long Island University), but I also had many other jobs...I was a waitress, a gal Friday, I worked in a deli, a bakery, I delivered mail, I was an assistant choral director at USDAN in Dix Hills (where artists like Mariah Carey and Natalie Portman spent their summer.)

Marilyn: I have a feeling there's more. I've met Kathleen at the PSWA conference, and she just bubbles over.

Kathleen: You're right, In the early 80s when teaching jobs were scarce and I taught music privately, I also worked for the Street Pulse Group; I used to poll radio stations across the U.S. and ask for their play list. My boss, who wrote a column in Rolling Stone ("On Target"), had a business to recommend to record buyers which records to buy and which ones to hold off on; he was monitoring consumer buying habits and trends. It was a really fun job. I still remember some of the songs and bands that were so popular at the time. My boss wanted me to work for him in Connecticut when he left Long Island, but I turned it down. He went on to co-found SoundScan, VideoScan, & BookScan. I'd say he was quite a trend-spotter! Maybe I should have followed him to CT!

Marilyn: And what are you up to now? I'm sure it's plenty.

Kathleen: I have a story in The Southampton Review, "The Watcher" (it won the PSWA Creative Nonfiction Award last year), which is available online:

Also, my story, "Playing with Matches" will be in W.W. Norton's Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories Told in 25 Words or Fewer, which is available for pre-order on Amazon ( and Barnes & Noble (

(Marilyn's note: You'll have to copy and paste those URLs in your browser, I'm afraid I'll make a mistake trying to copy them to make them click through.)

Kathleen: I have a story called, "Fraternization" in Six Sentences: The Love Book that's available for purchase: I also have a story called, "Autumn Reckoning" that will be in the forthcoming Six Sentences: Volume 3.

Marilyn: Tell us more about your true crime memoir.

Kathleen: I recently blogged about visiting certain locations in Southampton concerning the victim in my true crime memoir: I am almost complete with polishing.

I hope to take advantage soon of having my one-time review by an editor via PSWA, and then I'll be querying. I have a couple of agents interested in reading the manuscript already.

Marilyn: Thank you, Kathleen. I'm hoping for the best for the true crime, I'd like to read it. And, I'm looking forward to seeing you again in Las Vegas at the PSWA conference.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today.


Mason Canyon said…
I knew you were awesome Kathleen, but I never suspected you had such an interesting background. From music teacher to the SCPD, now that in itself could be a story.

I'm sure the agents will love your manuscript. Best of luck.

Thoughts in Progress
M.M. Gornell said…
I met Kathleen at PSWA last year, and immediately liked her. It's like that with some people... I've read some of Kathleen's stories and she's an excellent story teller--with minimal words! A gift, I think. Yum, Yum, a Deli and'll have to tell me more, Kathleen at this year's PSWA. Much success with your novel, you must be getting excited!
Thank you, Marilyn, for having me on your blog today.

Hi Mason,
I think I've managed to pack several lifetimes into my 48 years so far! Thanks for your good wishes!

Hi Madeline,
It was a joy to meet you last year, and I've enjoyed learning more about you & your work via blogs, emails, comments, etc. Thank you for all of your kind words! I look forward to seeing you again in June!
Michelle Perin said…

It's so nice to get to know you better.


Thank you for bringing her to us.
Margot Kinberg said…
Marilyn - Thanks for hosting Kathleen! Isn't she terrific - and talented?!

Kathleen - You've had such a fascinating background! I didn't know we share a real interest in music, and that you taught music. That's wonderful. I truly look forward to reading your book when it comes out.

And folks, I can vouch for it: Kathleen's writing is worth reading. Please, please click-and-read her stories. You won't be sorry!
Thanks, Michelle, for stopping by today. I look forward to seeing you in Vegas in June!

Hi Margot,
Thank you for your incredibly kind words, Margot! I appreciate them so very much. Yes, we have that love of music in common. Music, writing & reading; does it get any better?
Johnny Russell said…
Thanks to Marilyn, its really fun getting to know a little about the members. I played a little saxophone five nights a week in a night club before I became a cop. With both our backgrounds in music, and the help of someone on the drums, Kathleen you and I can start a band.LOL!
Gay Degani said…
Really nice interview, Kathleen. Found out some things about you I didn't know! BTW, what is the PSWA??
PSWA stands for Public Safety Writers Association which Kathleen and I both belong to--with our conference coming up in July. You can check it out at

Hi Johnny,
Sounds like we are kindred spirits! Thanks for commenting today ~ so glad you could stop by.

Hi Gay,
PSWA is the Public Safety Writers Association. You can read more about us here:
Thanks for asking ~ it helps promote the awareness of our group!
Good interview, Marilyn! Thanks for sharing it. The Women of Mystery are very proud to call Kathy one of our own. As you can tell from her answers here, she's bright, talented, and on the verge of making a big splash. She's also fun!
Nan Higginson said…
Catching up with Kathy Ryan is quite a challenge - but, fortunately, for me, we have a good share of time for one-on-one conversations since we both ride the LIRR to the SinC NY/TriState meetings.

One thing I love about Kathy and her writings is that her excitement is contagious. She's a great pal and a wonderful inspiration. She keeps on going come hell or high water to produce a fascinating read whether it's 20 words long or 370 pages long.

Kathy has found her niche - she's learning to pop out a full length, wildly complex True Crime book while jumping into quick fiction. Amazing woman, extraordinary writer.

Thanks, Marilyn, for bringing out so much of Kathy's writings and the path she's blazing through to great success in writing.

~Nan Higginson
Dear Elaine and Nan,

I am so touched by your comments, my dear "Sisters" and fellow "Women of Mystery." Thank you for reading Marilyn's interview and writing these wonderful words. Your support means the world to me. The friends I have made since embarking on my dream to write are absolutely precious. The writing community has so many supportive, encouraging, and generous members, and I am blessed to know each of you ~ I am the privileged one!
Great interview, Kathy. I want to hear more about your music side one of these days. And you know I'm fascinated by your crime memoir and looking forward eagerly to the book. :)
Thanks, Liz, for stopping by Marilyn's blog today to read the interview. You're another writer with a musical background ~ and you've managed to tie them together, too! Very entertaining.
Thank you for all of your enthusiastic support, too!
joann kullack said…
Wonderful interview, Kathy. You are an amazing woman and an inspiration to us all.
Thanks for visiting, Joann, and your very kind words. I hope to see you at the writers group meeting Tuesday night!
It was so great to see how many folks took the time to comment! Even more than when I had my contest. This says something about your, Kathleen.

Hy Pryluck said…
Marilyn: Thanks for your interview with Kathey. I know her from our monthly writers' group, but it's always interesting to learn new things about the people you think you know! Kathey, can't wait for your novel. Hy Pryluck
Just read my comment, boy I do make a lot of typos. I meant to say the fact that you received so many comments says a lot about you.

Thanks for visiting Marilyn's blog today, Hy, and leaving such a lovely comment. I enjoy our writers group meetings immensely, and you've been a terrific new addition!

Thanks, Marilyn, for your kind comments, too. Don't worry about typos, we all do it and we all figure out what it is we're trying to say! I am touched that so many fine folks stopped by to read your interview with me. I appreciate it!
Elena said…
What a revealing interview, Kathy! You're not only a talented writer and a phenomenal blog wiz, but also a music teacher. Congratulations on the forthcoming anthology and best wishes for your memoir!

Ed said…
Hi Kathleen,

Fascinating lady! Sounds like you have a road map to where you're now going. I'm looking forward to meeting you at the 2010 PSWA Conference.

Never give up your dreams!!!
Hi Elena,
That's what makes these interviews fun ~ when you learn something you didn't know about a writer. Thanks for all of your good wishes!

Hi Ed,
I look forward to meeting you in Vegas, too. I will stay focused on my dreams, that's for sure ~ something a cancer survivor does, when given that second chance, as I have been given.
Wow, I didn't know most of this stuff about Kathleen. Thanks for the scoop!
Thanks, Charles, for stopping by. So glad we both have stories in the upcoming Hint Fiction Anthology! Can't wait to hold it in my hands!

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