My latest author to interview is Kathleen Valentine. Kathleen is the author of “The Old Mermaid’s Tale“, which we will be featuring here in the near future. Kathleen is such a good sport, because I send each author a list of about twenty or so questions and ask them to answer 7-10. Kathleen went above and beyond and chose to answer pretty much all of them! Thank you for sharing, Kathleen, and it’s such a pleasure to have you!
Where do you generally prefer to go when you write?
I write in my office which is in the back of my house overlooking an 18th century cemetery.
How long have you been writing?
Since high school really.
What is the last book you read?
Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
How many books, and in which genre, have you written?
Two novel of contemporary adult fiction, 2 collections of short stories, 2 books on knitting, and a cookbook/memoir
What inspired you to become a writer?
I grew up in a house full of books and always considered writers to be gods.
Who is your favorite author?
Tell us three random things about yourself.
I graduated from Penn State, I used to work at Enron, and I am an avid knitter.
Do you prefer to write on a laptop or a desktop computer?
What do you most enjoy about writing?
I love moral dilemmas. I always find myself most intrigued by people who are basically good but who are trapped in impossible situations – that is the background for all of my novels.
What steps do you take in starting a new book?
I read a lot, I have to read about 100 books for every book I write. I also write extensive character sketches and pages and pages of just random ramblings about the story I have in mind.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Someone once told me that the most interesting characters are the ones with a secret. This has definitely proven to be true for me in my work.
What are you currently working on writing?
I am currently finishing the first draft of a novel titled Depraved Heart. The story is about a man who was once a superstar NFL linebacker who married a famous ballerina who was the granddaughter of a fabulously wealthy art collector. Three years into the marriage the football player is arrested and convicted of the depraved indifference murder of his wife’s twin brother and sentenced to 25 years in prison. When the story opens he has just been paroled after 15 years and is returning to the estate his wife’s grandfather left to their daughter. His wife died shortly after the girl’s birth and he is now the executor of this huge estate and is about to be united with the daughter he has only known through letters and rare visits. Everyone is horrified that the grandfather would appoint the man who killed his grandson the executor of this estate and they want to know why this has happened.
What advice would you give a new writer?
First tell your story. Then edit and polish and edit and polish and edit and polish until your manuscript is as tight and as clean as it can be.
How many drafts do you usually have before deciding it’s done?
A lot! Five or six minimum. I’m very particular about word usage and character development.
What issues or challenges do you struggle with the most?
Timing. In order for a story to be interesting you have to be very conscientious about how information is revealed. I want to give enough information to tantalize but withhold enough to keep the reader turning the pages.
© 2019, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.