SMP: Kathy, welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?
Kathy: I am a flirt. I will talk to anyone who will listen, men, women, dogs, cats—doesn’t matter. I love sports, NBA and NFL, Jazzercise and karaoke.
SMP: Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
Kathy: I had inklings around age fourteen, but then boys got in the way. I didn’t truly start writing until 2006. And then I couldn’t stop.
SMP: When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
Kathy: When I finished my second story. (That’s the one under the bed.)
SMP: How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Kathy: It didn’t take too long, as it’s only thirteen thousand words. Two months, perhaps. I eventually revised it, and it’s now fifty-six thousand. Surprisingly, of the nine completed manuscripts I have only three did not fly from my fingertips.
SMP: Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
Kathy: I can block out almost anything. I usually have sports or The History Channel on. If there is an idea in my head ready to come out, then nothing stops the process. I’m amazed at that, actually.
SMP: What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
Kathy: I have one story (unsubmitted at this point) where the mother is a single parent. The little girl in the story cusses and thinks no one can hear her. The little girl has a remarkable likeness to my only child who is not thirty-one. She and the mother can read each other “like a book”. I would say that particular story is most similar in how she deals with her outspoken, precocious child.
SMP: Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that….”
Kathy: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Chicago Star Series. I met her at the National Conference in Dallas 2007 and asked her if she loved football. Surprisingly, she did not. I thought that I could definitely write something sports related in that vein, because I am a fiend when it comes to football. (I won the Superbowl in one of my fantasy leagues this year.)
SMP: Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
Kathy: Conflict is difficult, because they each have to still come out shining. But it’s essential to the reader’s interest. This is an interesting question, because I don’t think of setting the mood for my characters—they sort of just do it themselves.
SMP: What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
Kathy: I had just completed Maybe It’s You (SMP now has under contract). Just before I left for Nationals in DC a couple of years ago, my husband and I were having dinner. On occasion, I have to be careful not to dominate the conversation. I started to tell him my pitch, but stopped myself and asked him if he would like to hear it. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess.”
I had it memorized and recited it. After a long pause, he said. “You’re going to make it big someday.” I started crying—right there in the restaurant. And it was crowded too.
SMP: Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
Kathy: About 20 books that I have not read but offer their inspiration omnisciently.
SMP: Writers face many challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Kathy: Time is always a challenge. But as I mentioned in a previous post, you always make time for what’s most important to you. When you don’t, then perhaps what you didn’t get to wasn’t quite as important as you’d thought.
SMP: What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
Kathy: Typing 90 miles per hours, because you can’t get it on the page fast enough. Those voices in your head, you know.
SMP: What aspects of the writing process do you find most challenging?
Kathy: Pitching is not very fun.
SMP: How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
Kathy: Yes! I sit down and just start typing. As I go, I’ll create a spreadsheet of characters. I always have a folder for that story that includes whatever research and documents I’ve located on the Web for easy reference.
SMP: Who or what sparks the ideas for your stories?
Kathy: I can walk through a bookstore and it’s like a drug. My skin tingles, the hair at my nape raises….
SMP: Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
Kathy: I have a three book Cinderella series I’m completing and plan to self-publish. I recently completed a fourth but it will be categorized a little differently so I’ve submitted it. I also have a fifth started. These are all historical. SMP has contract two of my contemporaries. I have another one ready to submit, and a fourth one started in that series.
SMP: We asked Kathy to reveal herself. Here’s what she told us:
Kathy: Well, as I mentioned before I Jazzercise. In point of fact, I’ve been a member for eight years. Recently, I joined the Muscles Music class. The instructor is brutal. So I wrote a little murder mystery killing her off, called The Sharo Murder File. http://klwheeler.com/id28.html I’d been threatening for months! When I sent her the story, she wrote back and said it was very cleaver. Yes, she said cleaver. And when I told her that her response was funny, she was confused. She’d meant to say clever.
GENNA LYNDSEY is not a people person. A short, too-skinny, wild haired waif, with crazy hair and sturdy nerdy glasses lives through books. So it’s lucky she and her best friend own their own bookstore. Her college days taught her that dating was too unreliable to depend on others. It was then that she started resorting to obscure quotes to shield herself from others who ventured too close.
RICK JOHNSON, Fraud Insurance Claims Investigator, is assigned to look into an unusual number of claims filed by Genna Lyndsey. He suspects Genna of sabotaging her own property for insurance money. His investigation uncovers an adorable introvert determined to keep everyone at bay, while someone else resolves to put her out of business—no matter how great the risk.
SMP: Kathy, thanks so much for visiting with us today!
Kathy’s soon-to-be released debut novel, QUOTABLE, will be available at Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon and Barnes Noble.