Naomi Zebra

Naomi Kryske

Two flags best describe Naomi Kryske: the Lone Star flag of Texas, where she was born, and the Union Jack of Great Britain, where her work came to fruition. And she feels equally comfortable with both. Naomi Kryske lived just outside incorporated Houston while growing up, in a neighborhood where people felt no need to lock their doors and there was room for a stable (with a four-legged occupant!) in the back yard. Following her graduation from Rice University, she worked for a time in the advertising industry. (Her major, political science, equipped her to be a good citizen but didn’t lead to career employment.)

Following her marriage, she lived in Dallas, raised two sons, attended operatic performances, and covered the inside of the kitchen cabinet doors with Italian vocabulary words and phrases. She read while waiting in the carpool line. She propped a novel in the cookbook holder to read while stirring soup. She devoured biographies, literary fiction, mysteries, poetry, and anything else well written, including issues of The New Yorker. In the middle of the night, she wrote chapters for spy novels.

Remarriage made her a Navy wife and stepmother and exposed her to the periodic moves that are the blessing and the bane of military families. Her husband, Larry’s, final posting was as Commanding Officer of Naval Station Pascagoula, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. During their twelve years there, they shared the anxiety of other Coast residents during hurricane season, evacuating several times in advance of the arrival of forecasted storms.

So many Gulf Coast residents evacuated before Hurricane Ivan, in September, 2004, that the vehicles on the highways appeared to merge into one long brightly-colored and multi-wheeled stationary conveyance. Because the road meandered through primarily rural areas, radio channels held nothing but static. Imagination kept Naomi sane, and when she arrived in Dallas after more than twenty hours behind the wheel (a drive of less than eight hours on a normal day), she had the beginnings of a charming, traditional British detective story to record, complete with Scotland Yard detectives and Crown prosecutors.

Hurricane Katrina, in August, 2005, changed everything. The devastation was widespread, with entire communities obliterated and her home flooded, torn, and unlivable. Her shock, despair, and traumatic stress gave her insight into what the victim in her detective story would suffer. Hence her detective story and psychological trauma married, creating an intense crime/suspense novel with a twist: attention would be paid, not only to the procedures followed by police, but also to the emotional and physical struggles the victim of violence would encounter. Clues for real recovery would be revealed as the story unfolded.

Thus was born The Witness, the first of a series of novels set in London, involving the Metropolitan Police, and exploring the themes of trauma and recovery. Research trips happily necessitated traveling to London repeatedly, where she met with active and retired officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, questioned a Crown Prosecution Service solicitor about the judicial process, witnessed several Crown Court trials, absorbed London’s sights and sounds, and accustomed her ear to the cadence of the Queen’s English.

Following each journey, she returned to north Texas, where she and her husband became permanent residents. They are now members of Spring Valley United Methodist Church. Naomi sings in the Chancel Choir and is an active Stephen Minister. She shares her home with two cats, Big Ben and Clemmie, and a rabbit, the only Bentley she will ever own.