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Thursday, January 14, 2016


Kathy McIntosh is a reformed hi-tech marketer and former columnist on words and writing for The Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider. Her novels combine odd-ball characters, fun escapades, light romance, and suspense to make readers laugh as they’re nudged to consider what we’re doing to our environment. Learn more about Kathy and her novels at her website and blog

I’m thrilled to be here and share a few words about Idaho, the setting for my Havoc in Hancock novels. I’m a former Valley Girl from Southern California who lived, on and off, more than 35 years in Idaho.

For eight years we lived outside the state capitol, Boise, five miles up a steep, narrow dirt road, until I grew weary of plowing the driveway at 4 a.m. (Above is our home after a typical snow.)

Idaho is a great state. It is nicknamed the Gem state (not the Great Potato state) for its abundance of natural resources and its amazing scenery, including the deepest river gorge in North America—Hells Canyon of the Snake River.

Stretching from the Canadian border south to Nevada and Utah, Idaho borders Oregon and Washington on the west and Montana and Wyoming on the east. No, it’s not Iowa, a common misconception.

With all that land—14th largest in the U.S.—Idaho has a population of only about 1.6 million. Read my Havoc in Hancock novels and you’d think most of them are kooks. That’s probably not true. Although I lived in the southern part of the state, I set my books in North Idaho, because of its beauty and its unfortunate history of oddball residents. The Aryan nation established a stronghold there, and it was in northernmost Boundary County where the Ruby Ridge confrontation took place in 1992. Nowadays, extremists are less visible than tourists but still show up.

My first novel is about the fight to stop the development of an African safari camp in North Idaho. Zebras and African lions are not native to Idaho, but I’ve been asked. You will find moose, elk, deer, cougars, bears, eagles, hawks, wild turkeys, and lots of other wildlife.

My parents loved the outdoors, and I grew up exploring the West. I passed that love on to our daughter, who became an environmental activist and who introduced me to my books’ favorite character, Roadkill, who really exists and really wears clothes he’s tanned from the hides of animals found roadside.

We moved to Arizona in 2014, gladly swapping snow shovels for sunglasses. I’ll be sending Roadkill south to the Sonoran desert for his next adventure.

Foul Wind
A bad wind's blowing from the new energy project known as Windfall Works, carrying the stench of pig poop along with rumors of financial shenanigans, blackmail and murder. Feather Sullivan can't believe her prissy sister Roxanne is involved. But when Roxanne disappears, leaving behind her dead lover and several furious investors in the energy project, Feather and her mother, often at odds, endure hungry hogs, sinister strangers, and a PI with killer instincts and drop-dead looks, to sniff out the murderer.


Kathy McIntosh said...

Thanks very much for having me as your guest today. If only one of my characters could have shoveled that snow for me!

Anne Louise Bannon said...

What fun. I've only been through Idaho a couple times, but it is a beautiful place. Your book looks like fun, too.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Anne Louise,

Idaho is indeed a beautiful state. Driving distances always amaze people. Thanks for commenting.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


It sounds like setting has become a unique character in your novels. Idaho and its people sound fascinating. I've never been to your state but I would certainly love to visit. I'm certain your books are a wonderful read!

Kathy McIntosh said...

I agree setting is important, and it is important to my characters. I am setting my next novel in the desert and it will definitely play a critical role.

Thanks for stopping by.