BUT...I'm thrilled to get to welcome Kathleen Y'Barbo to Tag(g)lines today! Kathleen is an award-winning author with more than forty books under her belt. Kathleen's next book, Flora's Wish, releases next month from Harvest House. (Sidenote: I love Kathleen's titles! Flora's Wish is part of a series called The Secret Lives of Will Tucker. How fun is that?)
Thanks so much for the fun Q&A today, Kathleen!
1) First of all, the cover for Flora's Wish is so beautiful! Is there something in particular that inspired this story or series?
The idea for Flora’s Wish came to me while sitting in a rocking chair at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Opened in 1886, the Crescent is largely unchanged from it’s original status as a destination for well-to-do city folks who like to “take the waters” and get away to partake of the fresh air and social climbing. I could just see the lovely ladies parading on the lawn in their finery, the gentlemen discreetly watching them.
And then along came a formidable Southern grandmother who would make Dame Maggie Smith sit up and take notice (Downton Abbey reference intended). With this fading flower of Southern pride and social correctness is her granddaughter Flora Brimm, a woman who has a bit of family trouble and four fiances who did not quite make it to the altar. Then a Pinkerton agent chasing a bad guy who just happens to be Flora's fiance stepped into the story. After that, I couldn't write fast enough.
2) Can you give us a little peek into Flora's Wish--a favorite scene or character to whet our appetites?
Flora is under house arrest and should, by all accounts, remain at home to await the Pinkerton’s return from his mission to find the villain Tucker in one of Natchez’s more seedy neighborhoods. Of course, I cannot write a stay-at-home shrinking Violet, not when she’s to be matched with Lucas McMinn. And thus, this is Flora Brimm's response:
What he did not know was that while she’d earned championship honors in chess at Dillingham Ladies Preparatory, she had also been named Thespian of the Year. An honor she would have won all over again had her classmates seen her performance as she played an obedient but defeated damsel.
As Lucas McMinn soon discovers, Flora Brimm is the antithesis of a defeated damsel, but then that’s what makes writing romances so much fun!
3) What do you hope readers take away from this latest novel?
First and foremost, I want readers to be entertained. All my stories have deeper meanings and, I hope, life lessons that can last beyond the turn of the final page. However, if a reader isn't having a grand time while turning those pages, then I've not done my job. Flora's Wish has two "life lessons" for me that I hope I've passed on to readers. First, our plans are not God's be they for solutions or revenge. Second, God always makes a way even when there seems to be no way.
4) You've written both contemporary and historical. Do you have a favorite between the two? Or does one or the other come more naturally?
No, I love them both! In writing historicals, I get to exercise my need to dig through history for interesting tidbits and exciting facts. In contemporaries I get to use all sorts of things friends and strangers have said and done. Both are fun!
5) I noticed on your website that you mentioned you were working fulltime as a gas and oil paralegal during the writing of your latest book. Do you have any sage advice for those of us pursuing a dream career (whether writing or something else) while also holding down a day job?
Yes, in the past I have worked as an oil and gas paralegal and a family law paralegal. Time management is key in the law office, and the same goes for writing. Scheduling is everything, so just as you would put appointments on your calendar, so you should also be putting writing appointments there. Extra time is there to be found, I promise, be it in getting an hour less sleep by awakening early or staying up later, by eating at your desk while you add an extra hundred words to your manuscript, or whether you just use vacation days to get away from life and the Internet and write. We make time for the important things, so make your writing dreams important!
I've written several blog posts about this, including one on writing while raising children (which I did for the first 10 years of my career), so check out my website at www.kathleenybarbo.com for more advice on this and other writing-related musings.
RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few. A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots (read about their real-life romance here!). Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.
Readers, let's chat! One of the things I loved in this interview is when Kathleen talked about wanting readers to have a grand time as they're reading. What makes a story a grand time for you?