Saturday, January 9, 2016



Life is good for Kit Marshall. She’s a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Circumstances back Kit’s claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won’t be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there’s the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford. Kit’s tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer’s agenda will be to end her life. Book 1 in the Washington Whodunit series.


Colleen, how did you get started writing?
I’ve been a mystery reader since I was six years old. One day, I took a walk in my Washington, D.C. suburban neighborhood and came up with the plot for Stabbing in the Senate. When I got home, I wrote it down as an outline. I told my husband about it, and he encouraged me to try to write the book. It took me two years to complete the manuscript, but I did it!

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Creating a world in which I control the fictional characters. Washington, D.C. is an unpredictable place and not much is totally in your control. But when you write fiction, you’re in charge of your characters’ destinies and I like that.

How long is your to-be-read list?
Too long!  The problem is that now I have less time to read because I’m always writing or promoting my book in my so-called “free time” outside my pretty demanding day job at the Library of Congress.

What books do you currently have published?
Stabbing in the Senate is the first in the Washington Whodunit series. Stay tuned for more installments. I also published a book on the presidency with Texas A&M press when I was a professor at George Mason University.

You have a day job . . . how do you find time to write?
It can be challenging. I only have time to write about an hour a day during the week. It takes a lot of discipline to make sure I stick with it. I don’t spend a lot of time just lounging around. I’m always working – from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm. I’ve kept these hours since graduate school so I’m used to it by now.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I admit I really like Facebook. It’s a way for me to keep in contact with friends who don’t live near me. I’m on it every day – first thing in the morning and in the evening before bedtime.

What scares you the most?
Snakes! They truly terrify me.

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
Yes. Just ask my colleagues at the Library of Congress.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I like time alone but I get my energy from people, so I am likely an extrovert.

What's your relationship with your TV remote?
I’m constantly hiding it so my dog doesn’t steal it and chew it up! He’s destroyed at least ten of them.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, I worked at an amusement park called Kennywood. In the morning before the park opened, I’d often test the “bungee” jump ride at the park. I look back at that ride, which is still at the park today, and I wonder how I mustered the courage to do that.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
I wish I had studied abroad in college. I loved attending Boston College and spending time with my friends there, so I never pursued a year or semester abroad program. Looking back on it, spending extended time in a foreign country would have been an amazing opportunity.

What would your main character say about you?
She might be a little intimidated at first, but I think she’d grow to like me!

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
One editor said that Stabbing in the Senate seemed like Nancy Drew went to Washington! She said it as a negative comment, but quite frankly, I love Nancy Drew.

Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, he’s dead, so it would be pretty amazing.

What's your relationship with your cell phone?

I’m on it all the time. My iPhones are an extension of me.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Six to seven.

What is your favorite movie?
Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Do you sweat the small stuff?
Not as much as I used to. However, quite frankly, if you don’t sweat the small stuff, you’re not going to be very successful. Small stuff matters.

What are you working on now?
Book 3 of the Washington Whodunit series.

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? Frosting
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Chevy Chase
Emailing or texting? Hard choice. But probably texting.
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet
Plane, train, or automobile? Plane


Colleen J. Shogan is the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. She is a former Senate staffer who started reading mysteries at the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American government at George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. Stabbing in the Senate is her first novel.

Connect with Colleen:
Website  |  
Facebook  |  
Twitter  |  Goodreads

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