A Sit-Down With Colleen McCabe by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Foal PlayI’m generally distrustful of media types, Dru, but word has it you’re one of the good ones – yes, I asked around – so thank you for inviting me to chat. You probably want to talk about seeing me on the news in that ridiculous video at the chapel or how Corolla was overrun by the FBI or maybe about those rumors that the wild horses and I played key roles in a recent murder case or two. Let me simply say that Corolla is a charming seaside village that just happened to have a little trouble recently and I officially had nothing to do with any of it…well, except that was me on the news riding piggyback on Crazy Charlie in the church. I have to admit, that one is a little tough to explain.

I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Colleen McCabe and I’m the Fire Chief in Corolla, North Carolina. Yes, that’s right. I’m a woman fire chief. Some of my guys had a tough time when I first came on board but now we’re like family and I trust them with my life. My favorite colleague is Jimmy Bartlett, my veteran captain. He’s like a brother which means we know how to tease one another unmercifully. As much as I love the guys, it will be nice to have some women – and a woman’s bathroom – at the firehouse soon. My job at the station keeps me busy and no matter what you hear I don’t butt my nose into police business. You can ask the sheriff. Wait, on second thought, don’t.

Corolla is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We’re famous for our wild Spanish mustangs, Whalehead Club, Currituck Lighthouse, and idyllic beaches. If you’ve never visited, you really should come. I’ll even get the guys to take you out in the engine.

We’re a small community so at some point you’ll run into Myrtle Crepe, my cantankerous former third grade teacher, and her best friend Nellie Byrd. They oversee the Lighthouse Wild Horse Preservation Society with Myrtle’s pudgy forty-year-old son, Little Bobby. Just warning you, Myrtle can be a royal pain. I try to avoid running into her as much as possible. Nellie’s a sweet woman though and, well, Bobby, I can’t help feeling sorry for him.

If you rent a house when you visit, chances are it was built by Antonio “Pinky” Salvatore. Some think Pinky is a gangster but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that. Pinky often burns debris just to get me to come to his construction trailer and flirt which makes my best friend, Bill Dorman, jealous. Bill is the Currituck County Sheriff and not a bad looking guy if I do say so myself. We’ve worked on a number of cases together but on occasion he accuses me of intruding on his investigations which really ticks me off. Between you and me, sometimes Bill needs my help. Bill and I share a genuine affection for one another. Maybe someday we’ll be more than friends…but don’t print that. That’s strictly off the record.

My day begins with an early morning run with Sparky, my Border collie and constant companion. He’s a good dog but can get into mischief if he gets bored…and he hates getting a bath. I also have a cranky Siamese cat named Smokey that has an annoying habit of sleeping on the dining room table. I enjoy jogging in the morning before the rest of the world is up. It’s wonderfully peaceful and I usually see a deer or chipmunk or, on rare occasions, a bald eagle.

After a jog, breakfast, and a few chores I head to the station. A day at the firehouse varies depending on the season. Winter is quiet and sometimes a little dull but the tranquility reminds me of the Corolla of my childhood and it’s beautiful when it snows on the beach. The spring and fall are my favorite times of the year. There aren’t as many tourists but the place is still bustling with wine and art festivals and other activities. The busiest time of the year, the season I dread, is summer. Fireworks, partying vacationers, ocean riptides, you name it…summer brings them all and all make me nervous. This summer has been particularly demanding with the house explosion and all the murders but I promise you it’s perfectly safe to visit. Really.


Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, I have one (1) copy of FOAL PLAY to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends June 16; US entries only.


Meet the author
Kathryn O’Sullivan is winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, a playwright and creator/writer of the Western web series THURSTON (www.thurston-series.com), and a theatre professor at Northern Virginia Community College. She lives in Virginia with her husband, an award-winning director and cinematographer, and their rascally rescue cat, Oscar. She is currently working on Role Play, the second book in the “Colleen McCabe” series. To learn more and watch the trailer for FOAL PLAY, please visit her website at www.kathrynosullivan.com and find her on Facebook.

40 responses to “A Sit-Down With Colleen McCabe by Kathryn O’Sullivan

  1. I must agree. Off-season is the best time for the beach. I’ve never been to Corolla, but I’d like to, especially to see that snow. It must be beautiful.

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  2. Debbie Carney

    Sounds wonderful, I would love to win

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  3. I am definitely putting this book on my tbr list! Thanks for the contest 🙂

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  4. another new-to-me author!!!
    thanx for the introduction!!! & for the giveaway!!!

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  5. Barbara Jones

    I’ve spent many summer vacations at the Outer Banks so I am anxious to read this. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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    • Barbara, I first discovered the Outer Banks on a summer vacation. The other seasons are quite lovely as well. During the off season, you can sometimes walk for miles on the beach and not see another person. Last December, my husband and I were doing just that and spotted a pair of bald eagles.

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  6. I like the idea of a female Fire Chief…count me in! Dee

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  7. Have it on hold at the library. Looking forward to a cool beach read. Thanks.

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  8. Thank you for the chance to win

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  9. jill george

    I love the beach and North Carlolina The book sounds great cant wait to read it

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  10. I love beach novels and the vacation we took to Caswell Beach, NC was the best ever. Would love to win this book!!

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  11. Would love this!

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  12. Nancy Bradford

    Sounds like this will be a real fun book.

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  13. This book is funny and almost as much fun as a trip to the beach. You go, Kathryn!

    Dru, don’t enter me for the free book. I’ve already got a copy. And I loved it.

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  14. You’ve drawn me in…. the last fire story was a new Chief for a volunteer fire dept., so I’m all primed for this one.

    Put me on the list Dru. I want it.

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  15. I enjoyed meeting this female fire chief! Thanks for the info on a new to me book!

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  16. I love that the main character is a fire chief! I want to read this cozy!

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  17. I never saw snow on the beach, do know that the Atlantic beaches are different than my gulf beaches. You got a good eye for picking great books, that a good many of us , would never have known about reading. I will be adding, “Foal Play” to my reading list.

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    • Teresa, Snow on the beach is a rare treat. It snowed several times in Corolla this past winter. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund has pictures of the horses in the snow on the beach. Your gulf beaches have beautiful sand and gentle waves which I also love.

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  18. Thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments!

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  19. That sounds delightful. I’d love to visit. Guess the book is as close as we get, huh?

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  20. Jan Mackinem

    Oh, this novel sounds delightful and I’m am adding it to my reading list!

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  21. A woman fire chief & horses. I’m hooked. Can’t wait to read it! Thank you for offering the chance to win a free copy of Foal Play (that’s next to impossible for a mystery reader to type “foal” instead of “foul”). I’m really happy to see that you’ve onto a 2nd in Colleen McCabe series!! Have a feeling that this series will be “hot” on my TBR new authors list! Please enter me in the giveaway.

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  22. I’m truly looking forward to getting my eyes on the first Colleen McCabe book that is mentioned here, and so I hope that the second book is going to be out shortly as I love to read from book 1 up to the current one, and with two of them it should go quickly. That is not so easy when I have found an older series with like 18 books in it to read before I feel that I can read the latest one in print as I am funny about that, I want to know everything from the beginning!!!! The subject and story line in Foal Play is right up there with some of my favorites already as I can tell that just by reading about the book in blogs, etc. so I will be adding this series to my list of MUST READS right now. Would love to be the recipient of this giveaway. Thank you for entering me.

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  23. Well, Corolla sounds like a really nice place and who wouldn’t like the Spanish mustangs. Too bad about those pesky murders, I guess I’ll just have to read the book and see how they all turn out. Thanks for the giveaway. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

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  24. Lisa Garrett

    I would love to know more about Corolla!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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    • Lisa, Corolla is located at the northern end of the Outer Banks. They have a charming historic section with a chapel, schoolhouse, the lighthouse, Currituck Heritage Park, long beaches, and the wild horses. There’s also a wonderful independent bookstore that is open all year – Island Bookstore – if you ever get a chance to go.

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  25. Barbara Tobey

    I want to read more.

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  26. I worked in Fire Prevention (in the 70s/80s) as a secretary. I don’t even know if there were any female firefighters back then. I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the contest. judydee22002@yahoo dot com

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    • Judy, Sounds like you had a fascinating experience in the 70s/80s. There are a lot of women EMTs and firefighters now and, yes, even chiefs! I’ve got a great deal of respect and admiration for firefighters. Good luck with the contest!

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  27. Thanks Kathryn for stopping by and letting us see Corolla, North Carolina.

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  28. Contest is closed.

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  29. Debra Woloson

    I’m adding this to my gotta read list.

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