Happy New Year! I hope yours is off to a wonderful start. I’m writing from Uruguay, where we live for much of the winter now. There’s so much I love about being here but one of the best parts is being able to write my books in my small home office (right) with the sound of parrots yakking in the background (I’ve got a nest right outside my window). For some reason I’ve never fully understood, I’m more productive as an author in the heat.

Right now, by the way, I’m finishing up a Bailey Weggins mystery, which will be the eighth after EVEN IF IT KILLS HER, which came out in late October.

I decorated my office here simply but with elements I’m a little nutty for. Ever since I saw the movie Casablanca, I’ve been obsessed with overhead fans and I love having one in this room. (Maybe it makes me feel as if something intriguing could happen to me at any second.)

I don’t just write in my office. I mediate in here first thing in the morning, and late in the day I read in the armchair or even take a nap (often when I’m trying to study my Spanish!).

Do you have a spot that you love to call your own and feel particularly happy and/or productive in? I’d be so pleased to learn about it (you can share with me at Kate@katewhite.com)


THE LAST MRS. PARRISH by Liv Constantine. I take a book in my carry-on when I fly just in case the iPad I’m also toting craps out on me. This is the suspense novel I packed for my December trip to Uruguay. We had a three-hour flight to Miami, a couple hour layover there, and then about nine hours in the air to Montevideo. This turned out to be a terrific airplane read—compelling, intriguing, and a very satisfying ending for readers. I actually finished the last chapter on the car ride from the airport to our house.

WATCH ME DISAPPEAR by Janelle Brown: I whip through a lot of suspense novels, as I’m sure you do, too, and sometimes I don’t even remember the titles or the plots. That won’t happen with this book. I not only absolutely loved it, but I now can’t get it out of my mind. We learn of Billie, the woman who vanishes, through the husband and daughter left behind, and wow, she is such a complex, incredibly well-drawn character. I’m a bit haunted by this book and highly recommend it.

[cover] [cover]


When I’m in Uruguay as I am now, my cooking tends to be much less complicated than when I’m back in the Northeast. It’s partly because I’m still not fully comfortable with the stove in my house here, even after nine years (there are only two shelves and one is actually the base of the oven, directly above the fire), but also because certain staples I generally rely on for meals (like Buffalo mozzarella, sour cream, and Feta cheese) aren’t available in this part of the world.

Not a problem, though. I love the simplicity of the meals I fix here—grilled meat or fish, homemade coleslaw, roasted vegetables, and always ensalada verde with this delicious local lettuce that’s a little bit like Bibb but slightly crunchier.

And when our kids visit or friends come to stay, I enjoy setting out a really simple, Zen-like breakfast—bread, fruit, and plain yogurt.

All of this is a good reminder to someone like me who has a tendency to make things waaay too complicated in the kitchen at times, spoiling the fun for myself.