Katy Munger is a North Carolina-based mystery author who has written under several different pseudonyms. She is the author of the Dead Detective series, writing as Katy Munger (Angel Among Us and Angel of Darkness) and as Chaz McGee (Desolate Angel and Angel Interrupted); the Casey Jones crime fiction series writing as Katy Munger; and the Hubbert & Lil mystery series, writing as Gallagher Gray. She has also been a book reviewer for the Washington Post and served as North Carolina’s 2016 Piedmont Laureate.
The Dead Detective series is available in all book stores and e-book formats. It is a serious series with some comic overtones that takes a deeper look at life and death than most commercial mysteries. The Casey Jones series is a humorous, semi-hardboiled series set in North Carolina featuring an unlicensed female private investigator and numerous recurring sidekicks. The Hubbert & Lil series takes place in New York City and has been described as using a “cozy with attitude” approach.
A LONGER VERSION, FOR HARDCORE FANS ONLY
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii’s Star of the Sea Hospital on December 29th several centuries ago. My first excursion was a trip to the hospital roof at the tender age of one day to view the Chinese New Year fireworks exploding in the night sky. I like to think that this first, star-spangled glimpse of the world exploding above me gave me a taste for the surprises of life in all of its unpredictable, multicolored glory.
My very large family (six kids, two parents, a live-in grandfather, dogs, birds, and assorted parasites) moved to North Carolina in the '60s. We lived in a series of tumble-down lodges and crumbling mansions in Greensboro and, ultimately, Raleigh. It was a loud, dramatic and emotional upbringing. Saving grace: a constant parade of interesting people from all over the globe ringing the doorbell to visit my parents, giving me an appreciation for people who dare to be different.
I came of age in the early '70s amidst a family that thoroughly embraced the counterculture. I attended Broughton High School in Raleigh, then ended up at UNC-Chapel Hill for an erratic four years, an experience rendered hazy by the usual '70s influences. I did manage to graduate from its creative writing program, with many thanks to Marianne Gingher, Max Steele, Daphne Athas, and the wonderful Bill Hardy.
I moved to New York City on St. Patrick’s Day shortly after I graduated from college in search of adventure, finding it in a crazy, shallow, and thoroughly enjoyable town. Despite a succession of bad haircuts and scruffy but artistic boyfriends—not to mention late nights at jazz bars and New Wave clubs—I worked on Wall Street, where I became the black sheep of my family by discovering an interest in finance. At the age of 30, I began my career as a writer, making my debut under the pen name Gallagher Gray. Somewhere along the way, I met and married my first husband, a lovely man who once called me “maniacally cheerful," but who was also a rock musician. My reaction to the unabashedly misogynistic world of rock music inspired both a reluctant divorce (loved the man, hated the world he lived in) and the first Casey Jones adventure. My Southern roots were showing in more ways than one. Sixteen years in the fast lane of New York City gave way to a deep homesickness for the kinder and gentler South. Sure, it’s just a veneer of politeness but, honey, I’ll take the veneer. So I celebrated the new century by moving back to North Carolina and settling down in a modest and unassuming Durham that had not yet exploded into a hipsterian landscape of luxury high rises and unaffordable houses. Yes, the joke was on me: New York City apparently followed me down to Durham.
In warp speed, I found myself with an irrepressible daughter and now absolutely perfect adult child, a confusing not-quite-marriage that involved a ceremony and a lost marriage license and, oh, really, it’s too much to go into. But I just want to point out that, technically speaking, I’ve only been married and divorced once, okay?
Until recently, I never worked solely as a writer. Instead, I balanced my love for creative writing with a career in political activism, marketing, and nonprofits. Then finally, this year, I was able to reach an exciting and well-deserved milestone—retirement—and transition into writing full-time. It's a new chapter for me that felt out of reach for a long time, and it still feels a little surreal that I can finally focus on my biggest passion of all (aside from North Carolina barbecue, of course).
I’ve enjoyed getting older and developing a different perspective on what’s important in life. I spend my free time seeing friends, traveling, listening to live music, and falling in love with hopelessly self-absorbed musicians. It’s not like my life does not have its patterns. But I am happy and well—and very lucky to have so many amazing friends and readers. My life is good. I hope yours is, too.