• Kimberly Baer

Interview With Katherine Watson From Kat Out of the Bag

Hey, everybody—Libby Dawson here. Author Kimberly Baer has graciously let me hijack her blog for a day. Kim’s book The Haunted Purse is about the crazy supernatural things that happened to me after I bought an old purse at a thrift store, back when I was a high school sophomore. These days I’m a college freshman majoring in I-have-no-idea-what. To help me figure out my educational future, I’m taking a variety of classes, including Intro to Journalism. One of our first assignments: interview a stranger.


I wasn’t exactly thrilled when Dr. Paxton gave us that assignment. I mean, how do you walk up to a total stranger and ask if you can interview them? But then I lucked out. In the same way that fate led to me to the paranormal purse that changed my life, it also led me to a kind and fascinating lady who agreed to be my interview subject: Katherine Watson. We met in a vintage purse shop and got to talking, and it turns out we have some things in common—a passion for purses and a tendency to get mixed up in dangerous mysteries, for starters. Even our last names are kind of alike: Watson, Dawson.


You can read about Katherine’s adventures in author Wendy Kendall’s books, Kat Out of the Bag and Purse-Stachio Makes a Splash. And there will be even more books, assuming Katherine doesn’t get murdered anytime soon.



I’m proud to share my interview on Kim’s blog. Katherine Watson is an amazing person leading an extraordinary life. I want everybody to know about her—not just the people in my journalism class.

Libby: Hi Katherine! It's a surprise to meet a purse designer in a vintage purse shop.


Katherine: Oh Libby, vintage purse shops are a treasure trove of artistry and women's history. You might like to stop by and meet Amber sometime. She's a college student who manages my purse museum gift shop. She's a wristlet gal. In the book Kat Out of the Bag you'll read how Amber stumbles on her own cold case mystery when she and her boyfriend Michael find a note in a donated vintage purse.


While Michael and Amber partner on their cold case, I'm busy investigating a murder with, and sometimes at odds with, local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner, Hobbs. Jason ends up learning some things about me and about purses as the mystery deepens.


Libby: It’s so cool that you own a purse museum! Tell me about it.


Katherine: I created a purse museum because it was a passion that my great grandmother had and shared with me when I was a young child. It was from time with her that I realized that inside every purse there's a treasured story of the woman who carried it, and those stories are important. After successfully building my business headquarters in Los Angeles, I ended up temporarily back in my hometown of Bayside. I decided that was the time to create a purse museum in honor of my great grandmother and all the women whose stories would be told in the exhibits. Never did I imagine that the Mayor, my dear friend Brenda, would be murdered at the Gala Opening.


Libby: Moonjava helps you out at the museum, right? She sounds so interesting! Will you sum her up for this interview (assuming it’s possible to sum up a person like Moonjava)?


Katherine: Moonjava is a long ago flower child/hippie of the 1960s, still. She's also the museum historian. She loves the idea of showcasing history in creative exhibits. She shares her daily meditation with anyone who will listen, often with interesting repercussions.


Libby: How did you get interested in designing purses?


Katherine: Looking back, it seems inevitable. I was sewing and making purses and bags from elementary school years. I played with them in dress up with friends, and made them some, too. I was also a Nancy Drew books fan and needed clue clutches to carry a camera, paper and pen for notes, and other things to help with my own neighborhood investigations.


I have reveled in a passion for purses for many years. I enjoy all kinds. You name it and I'll claim it. My curiosity and wildly growing personal collection led me to investigate the world of purses.


Why do women love purses? I had my suspicions, of course. I followed many clues. I devoured everything there was to read about designers. I researched art appreciation. But it was when I interviewed everyday women about their favorite purse and learned about their incredible lives and families that I knew I was hot on the trail to uncovering the mystery of a passion for purses.


I met with a variety of women who enjoyed purses. Their favorite purse, the one they told me all about, was often a special gift, maybe from a family member, loved one, friend, or mentor. Sometimes their purse was a style similar to another woman's whom they'd known. Often it evoked a cherished memory, like an aunt who had a purse pocket with surprise candy treats for kids. There was a sisterhood here.


For some women their favorite purse represented a cause that they supported wholeheartedly. They were wearing their heart on their arm, or sometimes cross-body.


No matter how contemporary, these stories had roots in history. Yes, a woman's purse tells a story that's unique and at the same time shared.


Oh, and happy National Handbag Day, Libby, and to everyone! I know it's actually on October 10th , but I like to celebrate all month! What are you carrying? You can see that today I'm carrying my tote that's a shiny patent leather in a glorious apricot color with this gorgeous large leather fashioned bow ornament on the front. Lots of room for all my essentials, including my Kindle for mystery reading and also a couple of mystery paperbacks.


Libby: My favorite purse has cute little kitties all over it. What’s your favorite purse like?


Katherine: I love kitties! What a fun purse! I adopted a stray cat that was a poor, skinny, shivering kitty and she's now my pampered pet. Her name is Purrada.


But here's a photo of my favorite purse in my favorite color. It's a gorgeous leather and has two delightful small zipper pockets outside on each side. The broad leather shoulder strap with chain accents is so comfortable. The inside has two slip pockets on one side and a zipper closure on the other. The inside is surprisingly roomy. The picture also shows the book about my mystery, Kat Out of the Bag, and Jason Holmes' K-9 Pawdner Hobbs is looking on.



Libby: Nice photo! Hobbs doesn’t look the least bit embarrassed to be posing with a purse. And this is a nice segue to my next question. You went through something really harrowing and heartbreaking in Kat Out of the Bag. What can you tell us about that experience?


Katherine: When I hosted a gala for my Purse-onality Museum, I never expected the next day's headline to read: “Murder at the Gala Premiere.” I had to investigate. I owed it to my friend Brenda, and to her family.


I discovered clues and studied suspects, and I consulted with Moonjava and my grandmother Pam and her fun friends, who have some very interesting perspectives.


Just think, the developer acted very suspicious, especially at the party. The local news reporter was looking to create a legendary story and had a personal grudge against the Mayor. There were some antagonistic moves by members of the city council. The head of the library volunteer group felt cheated out of grant money by the Mayor's recent decision. There were also a couple of people new to town, like the charming mystery novelist, and even Michael, Amber's boyfriend, came under my scrutiny. Well, what would you uncover in that crowd? I've been so delighted to hear from readers of the book how much they enjoyed the story and enjoyed trying to figure out who did it.


But at one point I became motivated by something other than Brenda's memory. I began to have my own worries. I didn't want to become the next knock off.


Libby: That must have been so scary! I’m glad you survived. And to think that’s not the only mystery you’ve been involved in! Can you tell us about your adventures in Purse-Stachio Makes a Splash?


Katherine: My author had so much fun writing about my first mystery, she wanted to write a prequel about a chilling cold case that I stumbled on during the summer before. It was a missing girl case in Bayside that I solved with my friend Brenda.


It all revolves around what is now Ginardo's Ice Cream Shop. Delicious! And the homemade pistachio made by the owner, Arturo, is delicioso! Brenda dares me to make a purse out of pistachio shells. That's certainly a challenge! But once I get the scoop on this dear missing girl, Tracy Ryan, I become very curious. The clues indicate the killer may still be in Bayside, and now I'm worried about Arturo's daughter Christine. I'm determined this killer will get their just desserts.


Libby: Ice cream…just desserts—I love it! Now let’s move on to some general questions. What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?


Katherine: Oh no! That's a nightmare. You'll want to read about it in Kat Out of the Bag because how awful was the date that Jason Holmes and I went on one evening. It all started when he took me to the Endless Highway Biker Bar.


Libby: A biker bar?! LOL! Ahem, sorry—I’m guessing you didn’t find that very funny. Tell me this: aside from going on that date with Jason, what’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Katherine: It's certainly what I did during the Kat Out of the Bag mystery when I thought I had figured out who murdered Brenda. I thought I could handle it, and I took the next step. I've never faced danger like that before.


Libby: What job would you be terrible at?


Katherine: I'd be a terrible dancer.


Libby: What superpower would you like to have?


Katherine: I'd like to have super hearing so I can eavesdrop on interesting conversations.


Libby: What’s the best advice you ever received?


Katherine: I receive a lot of advice, especially from Moonjava and her meditations. The best, from my great-grandmother: You are fulfilled when you do the impossible for someone else.


Libby: If you had a warning label, what would it say?


Katherine: Caution, I stop to admire all purses.


Libby: Who would play you in a movie about your life?


Katherine: I'd love to see a movie about me, how fun! Anne Hathaway would be a great actress for the role, and I'd love to be on staff as the accessory and fashion advisor.


Libby: What’s one thing you will never do again?


Katherine: I am claustrophobic. If I could, I'd make sure I'm never caught in a small space.


Libby: Thank you so much for the interview, Katherine! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. I have a feeling that many more mysteries lie in your future. Just be careful, okay?


Remember, everybody—as Katherine told us, October 10 is National Handbag Day. Do something to celebrate—“adopt” a new purse!

A note from the author – Wendy Kendall

I wrote Kat Out of the Bag for the fun of mysteries, for the fun of creating the characters, for the women who are making history right now, and to honor memories of the women who have gone before.


Kat Out of the Bag is available on Amazon

Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash is available on Amazon


Book Blurb – Kat Out of the Bag


When celebrated international purse designer, Katherine Watson, hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day's headline to read: 'Murder at the Gala Premiere.' But after a dead body is found during the event, that's exactly what happened.


Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they'll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer's next knock off.


Excerpt – Kat Out of the Bag


“There's an officer nearby. We'll alert him. Hold the line.”


Katherine was worried by the operator's monotone. Did she understand the urgency? Katherine watched in disbelief as the shadow figure moved toward the shed attached to the waterwheel. Too late, she thought to get a picture after the person disappeared inside the shed.


“Oh no,” Katherine muttered. She spoke into the phone, “Hurry, I think it's the killer, maybe looking for something left behind? Hello?” Had the operator hung up?


“Yes, the officer is on the way. Please stay on the line.” The operator's voice now sounded bored.

A sharp ray of light from inside the shed cut through the darkness. The light jumped around. Sweat collected on Katherine's upper lip as she imagined the killer looking through her things for something, maybe critical evidence. Fear gave way to irritation at the invasion. Irritation gave way to anger. Someone had to stop that killer from removing whatever incriminating thing was so critical it had driven a return to the scene of the crime. Katherine wanted to scream. Where were the police? Maybe MJ was right about them. She pressed against the french doors. The light in the shed went out. Her breath caught in her throat. The silhouette walked out of the shed toward the alley leading to the maze that burrowed throughout Bayside and beyond.


Katherine spoke gruffly and fast, “Hello. Where's your officer? The suspect is getting away.”


“Ma'am, please stay calm and hang on the line. They're on the way.”


Katherine unlocked the door to the yard and whispered to the 911 operator, “I'm in pursuit.”


Links and Social Media Information

Website – Wendywrites.org

Blog – ApassionForPurses.blogspot

Facebook– Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter - wendywrites1

Podcasts – Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries . . . A Novel Talk . . . The Cozy Mystery Quartet

Columns – Recommended Reads and Kids Are Bookin' It

Esse Purse Museum

#cozy mystery, #mystery, #purses, #handbag, #sleuth




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