Putting pen to paper

Marie Sutro

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Six years ago, when Marie Sutro and her husband, Dave, moved to Chico from the Bay Area, she saw it as an opportunity to set aside her corporate job and concentrate on one of her passions: writing. After completing several smaller projects, Sutro buckled down and penned her first published novel, Dark Associations, which hits stands Tuesday (Jan. 10). Based in the Bay Area, the crime novel follows the main character of Kate Barnes, a San Francisco Police Department detective, as she tries to take down a serial killer who is targeting women in her own social circle. Sutro will be holding a book signing at Barnes & Noble (2031 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) on Jan. 21. For more on her and info on purchasing Dark Associations, go to www.mariesutro.com.

How did you get into writing?

I have been a bibliophile my entire life. Growing up, my mom had this rule: After you were a certain age, you couldn’t sleep in her bed, you had to sleep in your own bed—which is a legitimate mom rule. But she was an avid reader and we negotiated a rule that if I brought a book in, I could stay for a little while and hang out. I really fell in love with mysteries at a young age—Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys. Then, as I got older, it became more hard-hitting mysteries.

Any favorite authors these days?

I kind of run the full gamut of authors in the crime field, whether it’s Harlan Coben, Lee Child, any of those folks. And I’ve always had the favorite—I was one of those geeks in high school who just loved Shakespeare. I’m still an ardent Shakespeare fan. And then on the little bit harder side, Stephen King.

I’ve always loved Stephen King, too.

He blew me away with his stories. That’s always been, in my mind, that threshold as a writer. If you can create a world that only exists in your mind and get everyone else to buy into it. I would read Stephen King and be scared. If you can evoke that kind of emotion in people …

Where did you get the inspiration for your book?

My main character is in the SFPD. One of the things we all have in life is, what are you going to be when you grow up? My father, when he was younger, had served in the SFPD as an undercover cop. My grandfather and great-grandfather had also served in the SFPD. So it was kind of this family history, and it was always in the back of my mind—should I go into the SFPD? I didn’t do that—I didn’t sign up; I decided to write up.

Can you tell me a little about your main character?

She’s a very strong female. I’ve always been inspired by strong female characters. Growing up in the era that I did, seeing people like Sandra Day O’Connor nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, and other women paving trails in history, was very inspiring. I wanted to do justice to women who go out there and push really hard every day.