Kathryn Hill of Conyers recently published “Express Malice,” a crime novel set in Atlanta. (Special Photo)
CONYERS — Kathryn Hill mulled over the idea for her murder mystery/crime novel, “Express Malice,” for almost 15 years before she finally settled down to start writing it. To gauge her progress, Hill let her fellow book club members read the first 65 pages.
“They’re good friends, so I knew they would be brutally honest. They’re also prolific readers. I can tell you in three days they all said, ‘We need the rest, you can’t just give us 65 pages,’” said Hill.
The club members approved of the rest of her book, which she completed in 2012, and from there, Hill searched for publishers. While her efforts to procure a publisher ended with a decision to self-publish, that hasn’t affected the book’s success, said Hill.
Since its release in June, “Express Malice” has sold over 500 copies. Hill said she’s sold some at book signings in Conyers and in Colorado, where a friend set up an event. The book is also available, in hardback, paperback and electronically, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Set in Atlanta, “Express Malice” centers on a young judge whose sister and brother-in-law are murdered. The judge takes it upon herself to investigate the killings, and also to care for the couple’s teenage son.
The judge learns that, unbeknownst to her, her sister has led a double life, and had a “sinister” side, according to a press release about the book. The story grows even more gripping when the judge herself is trailed by the killer.
Hill said she is reticent to talk much more about the plot, for fear she’d give too many important details away.
“It has a surprise ending to it,” said Hill.
In writing the story, Hill drew from her legal background. At age 15, she began working for an attorney in Decatur during the summers. She went on to earn a degree from Atlanta Law School and a master’s degree in taxation law. She worked for several years in the legal field.
While she came up with the idea for the plot of “Express Malice” herself, she also relied on her experiences in law to flesh out the story.
“There are some true facts that have been placed in that book,” said Hill.
A resident of Rockdale County since 1968, Hill raised her family in Conyers and operated a local events planning company for several years. She and her husband, a retired Delta pilot, have four children and eight grandchildren.
Hill has served on the boards of Rockdale Emergency Relief and the Rockdale Career Academy for several years.
“You have to try and put back as much as you take, so I really enjoy the volunteer work,” said Hill.
She is collector of antique books and her favorite genre, not surprisingly, is crime and legal thrillers.
Hill said she’s had fans ask her when the sequel to “Express Malice” is due out and she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of writing a second installment.
“Everybody has a book in them and it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do and decided that 2012 was the year to finish it,” said Hill.