How I Got Published: Katherine Prairie

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Katherine, a geologist and IT specialist, graduated from the University of Alberta and then went on to work in the oil and gas industry. Add a passion for computer programming and a M.Sc. in engineering hydrology from the University of British Columbia and you might call her the ultimate science nerd!

She stepped away from the international petroleum industry to fulfill a life-long dream of writing mysteries. And so Alex Graham, the intrepid mining geologist with a penchant for trouble, was born.

Katherine is an avid traveller with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.


Like every debut author, I queried and pitched agents, searching for someone who believed in my story as much as I did. And like every author who’s gone down this path, I faced a mound of rejection letters. But I also received more than a dozen requests for the full manuscript, so I knew Thirst showed promise.

I attended the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference, without a doubt the best incubator for emerging mystery authors. Through their workshops I learned how to craft a compelling story, and they opened the door to feedback sessions with authors Michael Connelly and Cara Black. I wrote and re-wrote, and with each round of edits, Thirst became a better novel. But I still couldn’t find an agent.

It’s hard not to become discouraged, and the Sisters in Crime, an amazing group of writers who tirelessly support and encourage each other, helped keep me going. I signed up for a mentorship program offered through the Crime Writers of Canada and spent three months working with the very talented author, R.J. Harlick. And I pitched some more, but I also started looking at small presses.

I found an exceptional editor, Kit Schindell to help fine-tune Thirst before submitting it to these smaller publishing houses. But as we neared the end of the final edit, I realized that I didn’t need someone else to publish my book.

It wasn’t how I expected things to go, but indie-publishing proved to be the perfect match for me. I started my own small publishing house, Stonedrift Press and I’m excited to finally have Thirst in reader’s hands.

They say it takes a village to raise a child; I believe it takes a community to bring a new author to market. I wouldn’t have had the courage to publish without the community of authors and editors who generously shared their knowledge with me – they are the reason I’m published.

Now I’m working towards opening Stonedrift Press to other authors, and adding to the writing community! 


Thirst web

Explosive violence rocks Canada’s Slocan Valley after the shooting deaths of three teenagers in a bombing attempt at the Keenleyside dam. A joint U.S.-Canada military force locks down the Valley to protect Columbia River dams critical to both countries but martial law incites more violence.

Geologist Alex Graham refuses to let politics stand in her way. She evades military patrols to slip into a restricted zone in her hunt for a silver mine to claim as her own. But her plans are derailed by an intentionally set fire that almost takes her life.

Someone wants her out of the Slocan Valley.

When Alex discovers a gunshot victim in an abandoned mine, she fears she could be next. But she s never been one to wait for trouble to come to her and she tracks a suspicious man seen once too often in the lonely mountains.

All eyes are on the dams, but the true threat lies elsewhere.

“With compelling characters and an extraordinary setting, THIRST is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last word.” – R.J. Harlick, author of the popular Meg Harris mystery series.

You might want to check out Katherine’s interesting piece on voice in Kristina Stanley Mystery Monday series.


16 thoughts on “How I Got Published: Katherine Prairie

  1. This is such an interesting series. Thanks for this, both. It’s good to know that you found support in the company of other writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating journey to publication here. I love how you share the successes of author and their journeys here Carol, giving us all inspiration, especially for us Canadian authors.
    What a jump from the petroleum industry to writing books. Congratulations Katherine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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