Interview with Kathryn J. Bain
The author who writes clean fiction with an edge.
|Catch Your Breath|
When I first started writing, I was going to do screenplays. I even wrote one about a hermaphrodite male who had a baby. It didn't come out too good. I also found out that you really needed to live in Hollywood or New York so you could easily make changes during filming. I like Florida, so I ditched that idea.
Then I was going to write a children's book. After all, it's only 30 pages, how hard could that be? Boy was I dumb. I actually did get published for a short story I wrote for children and a non-fiction piece on the web. But in the end, everything I read said to write what you read. Since my kids were all grown, I didn't read children's books anymore, so I started writing suspense. And lo and behold, I was discovered.
2. What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
I actually have to say there has not been one person who stands out that has helped me. I've had help from a lot of people. My writing groups have been very supportive. My critique group has kicked my backside to become a better writer, and my family and friends kept telling me to go for it.
This is terrible to say, but I usually come up with the crime first. Then I figure out what's the big problem going to stop them, and how will God get them through.
4. How do you come up with your story ideas?
I get story ideas from songs, commercials, people talking, basically anywhere and everywhere. The concept for Breathless came from the Toby Keith song, God Love Her. I loved the idea of the Bible on the motorcycle, so I started there, then added a stalker, a tattooed, long hair, motorcycle riding preacher, and a beautiful woman.
5. What is the most difficult or challenging part of the writing process for you?
I hate setting my scenes. I'm not very good at it. I know where they're at, why can't my readers read my mind?
6. What is your writing schedule like? Do you write for a set amount of hours or pages? Do you prefer to write in the morning or evening?
I get up at 5:30 in the morning, exercise for about twenty minutes, shower, then I write until 7:20 when I need to eat and get dressed for work. In the evening, I might revise a manuscript if I have one finished. But my best work is done in the morning.
7.What is your current work-in-progress, and can you describe it in a few lines.
I actually have two. One I've finished writing, and it's at my critique group. It's a suspense (non-inspirational, but clean) titled Repent. My heroine is an executioner for the government. I'm also working on an inspirational book titled The Aftermath. It's individual stories about how the murder of a child affects people ten years after.
8. Describe your writing space. That one corner of the house that is all yours.
It's nothing fancy. Just a desk with a 27" monitor. I use my monitor for my television also, so I can't be distracted by TV when I write. I keep it fairly clean. I can't work in a mess.
9. Do you have a personal writing goal?
To win a Pulitzer. Ha, ha, ha. Really, I'll never be disappointed if my name is never called. I'm not that deep, so I'll never get one. If you do hear my name announced, it's because I bribed someone on the committee. My ultimate goal is to earn enough money writing so I can do it full-time. Right now, I work as a paralegal part-time.
10. What are you most proud of accomplishing in your life?
I've raised two wonderful daughters. They're both good to other people. I'd like to think I instilled that in them.
11. What is the strangest thing that ever happen to you at a conference, workshop booksigning or presentation? What is the funniest?
I hear all types of weird stories, yet none of them happen to me. Could it be that I'm the weird story, and I just don't know it?
12. Do you ever experience writer's block? If so, how do you cope?
I've never experienced writer's block If I get stuck on dialogue or where I want to go, I get up and walk around and play the story out, talking to myself as one of the characters. I usually have an answer in five to ten minutes. Of course, my dog thinks I'm nuts, but as long as I feed her, she doesn't really care.
13. Do you plot out your books, or do you write by the seat of your pants? Do you have any writing tips you'd like to share?
I do a bit of both plotting and by the seat of my pants. What I do is come up with several ideas or scenes and write them out in paragraph form. Then I start to work around them. And I do write from chapter 1 until the end.
The best writing tip I can give is know who you're learning from. There are a lot of con people out there who have written books on getting published in fiction that have never been published in fiction. Also get in some writing groups, especially those that have published authors. You always want to hang with people who are where you want to be or that are higher in position than you. Unfortunately, I'm no longer allowed at the Ponte Vedra Inn or the doctor's lounge at St. Lukes Hospital.
14. Kathy, as a teenager, I loved The Girl of the Limberlost. It was my favorite book then, and I still love it today. Do you have a favorite book?
I never really had a favorite book. As a kid, I loved reading mysteries. I couldn't get enough of the Hardy Boys. Loved them.
15. On a person note, name three things you cannot live without.
My daughters, my dog, and dessert. (See how I did that. It encompasses chocolate, pie, cake, everything I love without having to choose one.)
16. What advice would you like to pass along to other writers?
Sit in the chair and write. It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to make sense, just do it. And turn off your phone, television and social networking sites. You can't get work done if you're responding on Facebook every hour.
Kathryn, thanks for a terrific interview!
Kathryn J. Bain has been writing for over ten years now. Her first release Breathless came out January 13, 2012. Her novella Game of Hearts was released on March 1, 2012. Her third book Catch Your Breath will be released later this year. She has two daughters, and is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime. Currently, she is the Public Relations Director and Membership Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law. She moved from Idaho to Jacksonville, Florida in 1983 and has lived in the sunshine since.
Please visit Kathryn at her website KathrynJBain.com
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