Known for: Karen Kijewski is the author of nine successful mystery novels, all with "Kat" in the title and mostly set in Sacramento, featuring Kat Colorado.
Background: Kijewski (pronounced kee-EF-skee) moved to Sacramento in 1982 and supported her children by tending bar at the Sloughhouse Inn and later at A.J. Bumps. Her customers were politicians, professional athletes, businessmen, truck drivers and traveling salesmen. For eight years, she wrote during the day and tended bar at night. The bars were where she learned the quick comebacks that are so integral to Kat Colorado's language. She finished four books, which were rejected by every publishing house she approached. Then Kijewski started writing mysteries after hearing of a contest for first-time private-eye novelists, with prizes of $10,000 and the assurance of publication. Her first Kat book, "Kat Walk," won. The award allowed her to cut back on one bartending shift. She started writing full time after finishing her third Kat book, "Kat's Cradle" in 1991.
highlight: Kijewski told The Bee in 1997: "I won three awards with 'Kat Walk.'
It put me on the map. So after eight years of incredibly hard work, I became an
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.