Multi-genre author. Penname K.C. Ridge
Kathleen Cranidge enjoyed a varied work history before her career in management with the Canada Revenue Agency. She lived most of her life in Ottawa, two years in Saudi Arabia, and a tent in Baja for a month for the love of yoga and the ocean. She and her husband spend most of their time near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.
Her debut novel, Christmas on Union Street, is the first in the Union Street Mystery series. Claire’s Cell is a fiction prison story, inspired by her time working inside the notorious Prison for Women in Kingston, Canada.
Kathleen’s first loves were Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, and the Narnia series. Her favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird. When not writing, she sometimes paints like a five-year-old, plays pickleball like a champ, or likes to pretend, and will never say no to a walk, and never be the one to say let’s stop.
Tell me about your books
My first novel, Christmas on Union Street, is book one in the Union Street Mystery series.
Ali, criminology student and amateur sleuth, running from a romance and hoping to avoid the holidays, is looking for a room to rent in a hurry a week before Christmas. Due to low vacancy, she chooses an attic bedroom with a houseful of quirky tenants, an eccentric landlord (Gina), and a mystery.
There's a mysteriously preserved bedroom below Ali’s that belonged to Nathalie, who fell to her death the year before. As strange events unfold, Ali questions if Nathalie fell, jumped, or was she pushed?
Ali treks between Gina's and the diner where she's picked up shifts waiting tables. Everyone she meets seems to have a secret. And curiously, everyone links to Nathalie—even Joe, the cook at the diner. As her suspect list grows, Ali finds herself falling for Joe—but what's his secret?
Meanwhile, Ali must find a guest for Gina's Christmas Eve dinner. As tradition goes, everyone invites a stranger or someone who has nowhere to go that evening. There's one person left to ask—the last person who saw Nathalie alive...
Book two, Valentines’ Day on Union Street to release January 2022.
My latest novel, Claire’s Cell, written under penname K.C. Ridge, is more suspense bordering on psychological thriller.
Claire heads into a life sentence at a notorious maximum-security prison, not knowing if she murdered her husband. She doesn’t remember anything about that last morning in their kitchen. She is unreliable in court due to her addiction to prescribed medication from the effects of a car crash, which she doubts was an accident. As a child, Claire had episodes of sleepwalking. Her mother is a botched witness, withholding any memory of Claire sleepwalking as a child. Why is her mother lying?
Imprisoned among murderers and guards, Claire gradually pulls out of the horror of her circumstances, overcomes her addiction, and starts to remember events after her little sister disappeared, the dreadful decline of her mother, and flashes of memory lengthen from those last moments with her husband.
Did she kill him?
When and how did you start writing?
As a child, I read a lot. Over the summer holidays, I would read a book a day and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. That will last a lifetime, and hopefully more time for it will return. I also enjoyed writing stories and dreamed of becoming an author. And I did it! Maybe not the big time, but I am grateful to have any audience, no matter its size. I began to write more when I was in my twenties. While working at Prison for Women, I was hit with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and had to take an extended period off work. During that time, I knew I had to keep moving, and I knew I needed an outlet, so I began writing. I sent off a pile of short stories, “mail-and-stamp” times, and shuffled to the mailbox for rejections. Out of about twenty rejections, only one was a form letter. The encouraging feedback motivated me. When I returned to work, I didn’t have much time to write. I picked it up again about five years ago, hoping to publish.
What inspires you?
Everyone around me, everyone I get a glimpse of, and the history of those who I know nothing about. Also, dealing with what unsettles me. Writing is a wonderful form of processing. In the past, I was often inspired to write as an outlet when I was going through an emotional period. I was the emotional one in my family. The youngest of four, I rarely had my fair share of “voice-time” or I shied away from it, so writing was a way to find my voice. I get a little edgy when I am not writing, so I guess it is still an outlet for me. The reasons I need it may vary, but truly is a gift. Sort of a therapy I have access to, that really motivates me. Also, anything creative I do is a huge physical pain reliever.
How does a story begin for you? Is it an idea, a conversation, a title, or an image?
Often something someone says or a snippet of a conversation I overhear is how a story idea begins. If a story interests me, it heals me and I fill in more what ifs and add a surprise or twist, embellish the idea or personality traits that intrigue me. When I cannot relate to character, I love to explore that, as it is so fascinating to imagine a unique perspective.
You write in different genres is the experience the same or different?
I listen to music when I write. I cannot imagine writing without something playing in the background. The music changes based on the genre. When I wrote Claire’s Cell, most of the time I had loud rock music playing in the background. Christmas on Union Street, wait for it…Christmas music, and hot chocolate at my desk. I had a hard time returning to my prison novel, as I had come off of writing a light, cosy mystery. Writing is an emotional experience, so the genre has an impact. I have to be in the right place to explore darker themes.
What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment? And which was your biggest challenge?
Before, to be honest, I would have said having my first book picked up by a publisher as the ultimate accomplishment, but it is not. I am grateful for it, as it gave me more confidence, but my greatest accomplishment is having the courage to keep writing even with a wee audience. It is hard to put yourself out there. I love writing. I cannot imagine life without it, but I have moments when I think wouldn’t I be better off doing something more productive with my time? But like most writers I know, we don’t have the luxury, so to speak of giving it up. We want to keep going. So, that is my biggest challenge, to keep at it despite not being a number one bestseller. I also know, if I were there, I would always crave the top spot on the bestseller list, so might as well keep learning to let go and enjoy the process.
What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?
I will release Valentine’s Day on Union Street, the second book in the Union Street Mystery series, January 2022. My WIP, Christmas off the Tracks, is a Christmas-themed romance which takes place in Banff at a fictional luxury inn on the Bow River that once housed railroad workers in the early 1900s. There will be an element of mystery. I can’t be helped. And a little history of the town and CP Railway. I am looking forward to escaping into it as we near the holidays. I also have plans for a compilation of short stories, and then I will plan the third book in my Union Street series.
What is your ultimate dream as a writer?
To enjoy the process. Of course, it would be nice to have that bestseller, but I want to continue to grow as a writer, hopefully share something that moves at least someone other than me, but if it’s just me, I’ll take it, too.