Guest Chick: Keenan Powell

Kathleen here, and I’m SO thrilled to welcome the talented, award-nominated and all-around amazing author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series, Keenan Powell. Take it away, Keenan!

Day Trip to Seward: Trains and Whales

Before I started writing Hell and High Water, I had a clear picture of the first scene. Maeve’s fed up with law, so she decides to take a summer job in Seward, a small village by the sea. To get there, she treats herself to a trip on the glass-domed train. So, I had to go. It’s research, right?

My ostensibly altruistic excuse was taking the family on a whale-watching excursion. We went in May, the time when gray whales begin arriving in Resurrection Bay, and before Seward fills up with tourists. I’ve never seen a whale in real life. It’s like a religious experience, I’m told.



The views from the train were incredible even for this almost-forty-year resident for two reasons. First, you can look around – which is heavily frowned upon when driving. And, second, the rails go where the roads do not. The train passed through land so pristine that moose grazed nearby and sheep perched on the mountain sides. Eagles and ravens flew over the glass dome carriage. And just before we pulled into town, it passed a jade green lake.

Sea lions

When we arrived in Seward, we took a very short walk from the train station to the piers. Not long after we had chugged out into the bay, we saw orca, puffin, and sea lions galore but only the occasional, very distant hump of a grey whale. I was sad. So was most of the boat. And then, lo and behold! just as we were about to dock, there she was, hanging around very close to Seward. It was a religious experience.

Whale tail cropped

If you ever get to Alaska, I highly recommend this day trip. Call me. I’d love to go again.

About Hell and High Water

Hell and High Water Cover

They don’t call lawyers sharks for nothing. Maeve Malloy has come to the conclusion that law is a tough business. Half the other lawyers hate you. Most of the law office staff hates you. The public hates you. All she wants is to be treated like everyone else.

Maybe, she wonders, she isn’t cut out for it. Maybe she should think about something else, like working in a library or selling cupcakes out of a bright pink van. Then one day she spots a help wanted ad. A tourist lodge on a remote island needs a dishwasher. It’s just the ticket, she thinks. Maybe she’ll even learn how to bake.

Just after she lands at Fox Island Lodge, the tail end of a hurricane moves into Resurrection Bay, cutting the lodge off from civilization. Maeve’s trapped with an ageing hippy cook, a stoned handyman, a biker chick hotel manager, a botanist, two nuns, and a couple of California tourists.

Then someone is murdered. The locals cop can’t get to the lodge because of the storm so he asks Maeve for help. Her cover is blown and she’s thrown back into investigating the who, why, and wherefor of death.

“Continuing to build after a strong start, Powell turns her beady eye and compassionate heart towards the corrosive nature of old secrets and the dangers of reckoning with the truth at last. Maeve Molloy’s third outing is atmospheric, gritty and completely satisfying.”

CATRIONA McPHERSON, multi-award-winning author of STRANGERS AT THE GATE

About Keenan Powell

Keenan Powell is the award-nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series. Her first publication was illustrations in Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, while still in high school.  Art seemed to be an impractical pursuit – she wasn’t an heiress, didn’t have the disposition to marry well, and hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. The day after graduation, she moved to Alaska. As a young pup, she provided criminal defense representation in a variety of cases spanning from the infamous federal walrus round-up case to murder. When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting or studying the Irish language.




28 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Keenan Powell

  1. Thank you so much for being here, Keenan!

    This is incredibly beautiful. I’ve gone whale-watching here in Oregon, but only from land so the whales, wonderful that they are (I lurve them), are but distant lumps. Now I want an up-close and personal experience. In Alaska. With you.

    I’m lucky enough to have an ARC of HELL AND HIGH WATER and am just about to dive in. It sounds amazing!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for having me guest today. I’d love to go whale watching with you! Hope you enjoy the book. Sending one’s latest book into the world kind of feels like dropping the youngest off at kindergarten. I hovered across the street watching her every movement until she disappeared into the building, praying she did well.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. It was good to meet you in person too Mark. Did you take the train to Denali and/or Fairbanks? I really want to do that someday. In the winter, they have an aurora train that runs at night. Now, that would be really cool.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m trying to remember where exactly the train trip was. We went to Denali, and I believe the train trip was all the way from the coast (where we got off the cruise ship) to Denali, but don’t quote me on that.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. It’s very plausible. The train runs from Seward to Fairbanks passing through Anchorage and Denali. It’s common for cruise tourists to take that train all the way to Fairbanks, with stops, and then hop on a plane home.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! Whale watching in Alaska is definitely on my bucket list — and now I know who to call for the tour! Congrats on the new book, Keenan, and thanks for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Huge congrats, Keenan! Your new Maeve book sounds so amazing and I am ordering immediately. Thanks very much as always for hanging out with us. (You never got sick of law, right?)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. The description is so vivid and the pictures are amazing as well!

    This summer, we were staying in Gloucester, MA, and were sitting out on the little hotel porch facing the ocean when suddenly the cars started veering off of the road and people jumped out and ran to the shore and pointed at two two whales playing in the water right in front of us! Our pictures were terrible–just barely discernable humps and little spouts of water–but it was absolutely breathtaking to watch in real life. Religious indeed.

    Congratulations on the newest Maeve, Keenan! I love this book/series (and you). xo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I swear, some day I will make it to Alaska and do all these wonderful things. I may have to go alone because The Hubby doesn’t want to travel for that long. If that’s the case, I’ll definitely call you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cool. Please do! The flight with check in and layovers is only around 15 hours. Well worth it, I think, every time I’m in the middle of endless metropolis and asking myself “where are the trees?”

      Liked by 2 people

  6. On my bike rides along the coast in Santa Cruz, whenever I see people pointing out to sea I stop and look, as it’s likely a whale or dolphins–always an amazing sight!

    Robin and I took the train from Fairbanks to Anchorage during the springtime and it was gorgeous! Highly recommenced!

    Congrats on the new book, Keenan; it sounds terrific!

    Liked by 3 people

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