Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kathleen is a best-selling author of more than thirty books. In all, over 850,000 copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad. She has been named as a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest every year since its inception in 2003, often for more than one book.

In addition to her prolific writing career, Kathleen is also a publicist at Books & Such Literary Agency. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, the Public Relations Society of America, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Authors Guild and is also a degreed paralegal specializing in criminal and family law. A native Texan, Kathleen has three grown sons and a teenage daughter.

Hi, Kathleen! Welcome to The Borrowed Book. Let's start with something basic. When did you decide to be a writer?

April 21, 1996. Seriously. That’s the day I went to Office Depot and bought a Canon Starwriter typewriter/printer. It showed four lines of work at a time, which is probably why I learned to write first and edit later. After writing two 100,000+word books, I decided I’d better find a writing group and see if maybe there were other strange people like me. Turns out there were!

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

That’s an interesting question. I think that trust of my work has always been there. What’s been a learning curve for me is how to combine what I feel works with advice I get from others. Ultimately, my editor gets the final say, which has been quite freeing. For authors who are not yet unpublished, I cannot stress enough that each of you need to find the balance between being completely unteachable and allowing others to change your voice. That balance is tough to find and takes time and practice to achieve.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

Yes. :-)

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I love to walk, which is good considering I have a small dog and live in a third floor condo with no yard. I also love to drive. There’s something wonderful about plugging in my Ipod and putting the top down on my Mini then heading out to the Hill Country for the afternoon. I always return in a better frame of mind.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

That’s a hard one. I could name three dozen favorites and not come close to a complete list. Growing up, I loved the Pollyanna books. My grandmother was orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic and grew up in the Buckner Home in Dallas, so reading about this little girl made me think of what Mimi must have been like at that age.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

I love the variety that voice can bring to a topic, so reading others is essential to a writer. A great book ups the bar for me and makes me try harder to craft just the right words and form just the right plot. Even a not so great book can challenge a writer to do better.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

I had so much fun writing ANNA FINCH AND THE HIRED GUN (Waterbrook)! In this continuation of the story that began with THE CONFIDENTIAL LIFE OF EUGENIA COOPER, Gennie’s best friend Anna Finch gets her own story. And what a story! In the course of trying to land a front page scoop, Anna tangles with Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and two Pinkertons who are determined to stand in her way. The fun thing about this book is I got to write this sentence: “A girl never forgot the first man she shot.”

That just about says it all!

Where did you get your inspiration for ANNA FINCH AND THE HIRED GUN?

That was a joint effort between me, Shannon Marchese, and Jessica Barnes. I love it!

Which character is most like you?

Anna is a writer, so in that she is like me. However, any resemblance ends there!

Who is your favorite character and why?

I had so much fun torturing – um, writing – Jeb Sanders, the Pinkerton charged with keeping Anna Finch out of trouble. Second favorite would be Charlotte Beck, daughter of Daniel (hero from book 1), who is almost 16 in this story and still quite a handful. I’ll be telling Charlotte’s story in book 3.

Did you know how ANNA FINCH AND THE HIRED GUN would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

Happily ever after is a given in any of my stories. Once I let them, however, each character dictates how that point is reached. The biggest surprise was not that Anna and Jeb marry but rather, well…you will just have to see!

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

That God has a sense of humor! He must to bring such unlikely people together.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Social media seems to be getting the most response on this book. I’ve posted quotes from the characters randomly throughout the process of writing and editing the novel, and it’s been so much fun to see what people think.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

The next novel is Charlotte’s story. It will be a bit different than the other two in the Women of the West series in that Charlotte’s going to do some traveling. That’s all I’ll say at this point.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Thank you for allowing me to talk about writing and reading and the fun part of both!
Want more? Stop by The Borrowed Book tomorrow for an excerpt from ANNA FINCH AND THE HIRED GUN by Kathleen Y'Barbo!


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