posted on October 10, 2019 by Donnell Ann Bell

A Thriller Writer’s Brush with … Kitchen Remodeling

Author Kylie Brant is on my auto-buy list, and personally I think she delights in terrifying her readers. But there was one endeavor that arguably terrified her. Please welcome the award-winning best-selling Kylie Brant to my blog.

By: Kylie Brant

I’ve long joked that my husband and I could never build a house together—the process would be homicide-inducing. But last year, we did tackle a big home improvement project: a new kitchen. We both survived; the only scars are emotional.

First, our respective talents: Hubby is the guy who once attempted to nail a quilt over our curtainless sliding glass door, ‘just for now’. I’m the gal who once selected gorgeous wallpaper for our open staircase, without considering that the peach I’d chosen for contrast in the hallway was going to look orange without natural light.

Picture me pulling down strips as hubby puts them up, as he grits between his teeth, “You picked it, you’re living with it!” I did. For at least a decade. I never made *that* mistake again!

But you get the picture. Joanna and Chip, we’re not.

We approached the project with our usual mindsets. Hubby muttering, “We’re not doing this. We are NOT doing this.” And me, blithely saying, “Maybe YOU aren’t, but I am!”

It was at this point that I realized how much home improvement resembled writing. Because initially, all I had were *ideas*. No real inkling yet how they were all going to come together, or how much I’d have to morph some of them to fit the final product. My dream was to have a kitchen that matched my 1908 house, as far as possible from the early ’80s cringe-worthy ‘remodel’ done before we bought the place:

Then came research (my favorite thing!) While writing may lead me to sites discussing ways to deflesh bones or how to remove a tattoo from a corpse, the remodel research was much more sedate. Marble, granite, or quartz? Wood flooring or tile? Island choices. Cupboard inserts. Lighting ideas. Houzz was my new best friend. That and granite sites. Sooo many pretty pieces to choose from.

I spent the winter looking at pictures, selecting items I liked, and starting a Pinterest page dedicated to my choices. Sometimes I’d send links to my husband, but he rarely looked at them. He was still deep in denial mode. Like if he didn’t acknowledge it, it wouldn’t happen.

The months of research were also spent coming to terms with the fact that there was only so much I could do. The size wasn’t going to change (other than combining two spaces into one.) Walls were not going to be moved. A window was removed though—once hubby realized it was going to be the only spot for the TV.

Early on in the process, I settled on copper and navy as the colors. I sent hubby several links of granite I liked, and lo and behold the only one he approved of was my favorite: an exotic piece of granite quartzite with both navy and copper in it. He also helped pick out the copper ceiling tiles. Other than that, he ducked decision-making at every turn, LOL. That was fine with me.

I lined up the contractor and the cabinet maker and got schedules and then all of a sudden things got real very quickly for my husband. Demolition was going to begin the day after Memorial Day, with complete gutting started on July 5 and cupboard installation the third week in July. I’d already found the granite and things were ready to go. Only a few weeks, I thought. I can handle that.

I think it was at this point that he looked at me one day and asked, “What’s our budget?”

“Our what?”

“Budget. What is it?”

“I don’t know, I don’t have all the bills yet.”

He just shook his head. Honestly, he knew better than even to ask .

You know how when you’re writing and everything is going great and then you hit a snag, one which you don’t know how you’re going to write yourself out of? Well, our snag came mid-July when the granite went to the fabricator.

I said, “What are all those white lines drawn on the slabs?” Those, I soon learned, were fissures. Below the surface imperfections that would crack if you cut across them. The granite would have to be piece-mealed around those fissures, meaning nothing would match.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

So the granite got sent back. And I hunted the country (online) for pieces just like it because the kitchen, recall, was going to be navy and copper. I had my copper ceiling, copper sink and copper lighting. I had my beautiful navy appliances (thanks to my local auto-body guy!) What I didn’t have was my navy and copper granite.

We even drove to Denver, Colorado one weekend to look at a piece I found there. Besides being twice as expensive, it had the same fissures our other pieces had had. We returned home. Things seemed bleak. It was now mid-August.

My beautiful cabinets were in. My appliances were in. The 1908 cabinets were refinished. My stained-glass windows were installed, as were my new sliding glass doors. But without counter tops, one doesn’t have running water. Do you know how annoying it is to haul your dishes downstairs to wash?

Very. It’s *very* annoying.

Then…it happened. Just like that perfect moment in writing when everything falls into place, I found the granite in a neighboring state. We went to look for it and found even prettier pieces. There was only one catch. (Because there had to be, right?) The shop wouldn’t sell it to people who weren’t customers. And we couldn’t be customers because they didn’t work on projects in our state. Le Sigh.

Long story short, my dad doesn’t call me the Great Persuader for nothing:). I convinced them to do the project and sell us the granite. Installation wouldn’t happen until mid-September, but at least it was going to happen!

And just like every book I ever wrote, when it was finished, it was perfect!
(Guess who spends the most time hanging out in the kitchen now? Yep. The guy who didn’t want to remodel.)



Down the Darkest Road is Kylie’s Dec. 10 release, book two in the US Deputy Marshal Cady Maddix series.

An obsessive killer, a witness with secrets, and a deputy US marshal with her own dark demons collide in this gripping mystery from the bestselling author of Cold Dark Places.

Dylan was only a child when he and his friend stumbled onto a crime scene deep in the woods. His friend was killed that night. And Bruce Forrester, the man who had chased the boys in the woods, disappeared. But he’s never stopped looking for the only living witness. Ever since, Dylan and his family have been on the run.

Deputy US Marshal Cady Maddix knows what it’s like to be haunted by a traumatizing childhood. She’s determined to track Forrester down and give Dylan the peace of mind he deserves. Only the more Cady delves into the case, the more pieces of a strange puzzle emerge—about Forrester, Dylan, and Cady’s own inescapable demons.

As Cady grows closer to separating the truth from the lies, someone is determined to stop her at all costs. And the consequences of putting the past to rest could prove deadly.



Donnell Ann Bell

Donnell Ann Bell

Donnell Ann Bell is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist who previously worked for a weekly business newspaper and a parenting magazine before turning to fiction. Her debut novel THE PAST CAME HUNTING became an Amazon digital bestseller, reaching #6 on Amazon's paid overall list. DEADLY RECALL, her second-single title, reached #1 as an e-book on Amazon's paid overall list. Additionally, BETRAYED and BURIED AGENDAS have been Amazon e-book best sellers. Traditionally published with Bell Bridge Books, BLACK PEARL was released in November, 2019, and she's back to work on book two of the series. To learn more about Donnell or to sign up for her newsletter, visit at

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