Chatham alumna, Kara Voorhees Reynolds, releases a Kindle crime novel


Photo Courtesy of Kara Reynolds

Kara Voorhees Reynolds works full time at a law firm, is in the middle of publishing her crime fiction novel, and is a proud Chatham alumna. She graduated in 2009 with a major in print journalism and a minor in literature. She spoke of her old professor, Heather McNaugher, and her talent for teaching. Reynolds only had Dr. McNaugher for three semesters, but she made quite an impact. Reynolds commented, “Heather McNaugher is amazing–she changed my academic career.”

While at Chatham, Reynolds worked on the Communiqué, writing mostly fashion columns. Also she was the first Chatham student to intern at the Post Gazette.

Photo Courtesy of Kara Reynolds
Photo Courtesy of Kara Reynolds

After her experience at Chatham, Reynolds advised, “Just go for every opportunity you can because once you graduate, it’s really really adult out there and there is no creative writing class where they say, ‘Hey, let’s write a limerick’.”

Thinking back to her time on the Communiqué, Reynolds remembered a particularly controversial article she wrote about skinny jeans. While the article was not meant to be controversial, readers felt that the article was propagating eating disorders and sparked interest in the Chatham community. Reynolds elaborated, “It was a great time because, even though they hated it, people were reading what we were writing.”

Now 27 years old, Reynolds is undertaking her first publication.  She has written a manuscript that is soon to be published on Kindle Direct Publishing.  This means Reynolds’s manuscript will be available for purchase on Kindle.

The manuscript, titled “Men at Night”, took seven months to write, mainly on the weekends while her husband worked. An old Chatham friend proofread it for her, and she began submitting it to publishers. She explained that it was a difficult task because there needs to be a publisher in the right genre that wants the manuscript. Certain publishers only publish books within certain ranges or genres. Cookbooks and teen romance novels are only a few of the genres possible. In Reynolds’ genre of crime-fiction, only fifty publishers exist in the United States.

Commenting on her manuscript, Reynolds explained, “This is not ‘Lovely Bones’, it’s not one of those books.”

She received two requests for the manuscript–one publisher formally declined and the other never contacted Reynolds again. Then her husband suggested she publish the book through Kindle Direct Publishing. She published the book under the name Kara Voorhees with cover art for the book designed by her college friend, Caitlin McCabe.

The main character of the manuscript is a police officer and a chain smoking Vietnam War veteran. He has been living an easy life for the past 25 years, and is on the verge of retirement. Before the cop retires, he becomes involved in a case that he must solve. As the book opens, the main character is thinking about his next smoke. While he seems to be the good guy, he’s no hero. The book tracks the one last thing he has to do before he retires, his, “swan song.”

While it is a story about crime, Reynolds explained the book has a thriller aspect too, saying, “I don’t shy from the gore!”