Caroline Slate is
a New Yorker who grew up in the Richmond Hill section of Queens,
daughter of a dentist with a love for words and an avid volunteer
with a penchant for auctions and antique silver. She has a sister,
Her earliest ambition was to be an actress. She graduated from NYU’s Theatre Department where she played everything from Shakespeare to Miller to Coward to Osborne, and at nineteen married a classmate, whom she later divorced. But out of that marriage came her son Richard and daughter Joanna. During and after college she acted off-Broadway, in summer stock and on television, but when her marriage broke up she needed work that was steadier and closer to home. For seven years she worked in the New York City schools with speech-disabled children.
After she married a second time, she made an abrupt career change, a move closer to her acting roots, though hardly in the neighborhood of Shakespeare or Shaw. She became a traveling television spokesperson, pitching products and causes on news and talk show around the country. Within a year or two, she had switched to the more staid and lucrative side of public relations, representing banks and corporate interests, but also causes and issues close to her heart. She ran public policy for New York City’s Planned Parenthood and consulted to the Child Welfare League of America, the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges and the Council on Adoptable Children.
She divorced a second time and shortly thereafter married Eamon Brennan, a colleague at Hill & Knowlton, then the world’s largest public relations agency. In 1980 they both left to open their own public relations firm, Brennan & Brennan, serving a mixed group of corporate and issues-related clients. She also joined the board of directors of an educational media company that quite early tackled issues such as sexual child abuse and AIDS among teenagers. In 1985 the Brennans accepted what seemed like a brilliant offer to sell their firm to a much larger organization. Despite a senior vice presidency, the switch from running a business to having a job, did not sit well with her. Within six months she left to become a corporate headhunter.
Out of that experience came a first novel, published in 1991 under the name Carol Brennan: Headhunt, the story of a twice-divorced fortyish P.R. woman with job troubles and a murdered headhunter client. A sequel, FULL COMMISSION about fast-track New York real estate followed two years later. After that , two more books, IN THE DARK, 1994 and CHILL OF SUMMER, 1995, both featuring a hot-tempered film actress in career decline.
The murder of JonBenet Ramsey captured world attention, not only because of its inherent tragedy, but also because of what it said about fragmented American families at the close of the twentieth century. For Carol it summoned up years of personal experience: children she’d known and taught; her own children and stepchildren; her three marriages, two of them failed. Sexualized children, emotional isolation in the age of hyper-communication, the fragile nature of trust: THE HOUSE ON SPRUCEWOOD LANE began to take shape in her head. As it did, she knew this book was going to be different from the ones she’d written before. Its flawed characters would lead lives rooted in their own troubled pasts. Their psychological interplay would develop in depth, creating intrinsic suspense; the mystery aspect would be there, but not the main event.
For a new kind of book, a new name: Caroline Slate. Slate’s next book, as yet untitled, is the story of a jewelry designer whose life is everything she has ever wanted it to be, but within a year her father abruptly disappears in murky circumstances and shortly after, she kills her husband. Seven years later she is out of prison needing to find a way to live in the present and come to terms with a past filled with mysterious black holes.