Monday, December 14, 2015


Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

After my son was born, I poured out my angst about motherhood into an essay…and it was funny. That story, Baby, Cordless Phone, and Me, was published by Expecting Magazine (an offshoot of Parenting) – three times (because their readership kept changing ;-). After that, I wrote more essays, and eventually, started writing fiction. I’m now the mother of three (that first kiddo is now 24-yikes!), married to Dan, and we leave near the beach in California. So most of my fiction is set on the coast.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

In addition to being a writer, I’m also a freelance editor for a few publishing houses, so writing does have to be squeezed in sometimes. That said, I’m a better writer in the afternoons and evenings. Wish it weren’t true—but it is and I know it. So it’s best to allow myself those times to write (and not waste time trying to in the mornings J)

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I use a laptop to write so I’m not stuck in one place. As for my method, I used to be a pantser, but it gave me anxiety not to at least have a plan. So what I do is start as a pantser, and then I stop and figure out where I’m going with the story. Who are these characters? What makes them tick? I’ve used Angela Hunt’s Plot Skeleton very successfully (you can find it online). Basically it’s a plan to come up with the “bare bones” of a story. That way I don’t over-outline and get bored, BUT I don’t end up down too many rabbit trails either. Win-win.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part of writing is actually stringing the words together until they sing. But it is difficult to sit so long! Sometimes I get stuck and won’t let myself up until I figure out a solution, but really, that’s counterproductive. I have to push myself to get out of my chair and go for a walk. It’s amazing what fresh air can do. I often come back with the problem solved!

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

Years (and years!) ago, I wrote a few chapters of an inspirational romance which was set in a cabin in the woods. I sent those chapters with a query to a publishing house, and the editor wrote back: "Could you send the rest?"

Of course! I wrote the rest of the chapters and sent them back—and the book was rejected.

Broke my heart, but I wrote another book. That one was rejected, too! Finally I wrote a chick-lit called Chocolate Beach, and that sale led to many other book contracts.

I never forgot about those original characters in the town of Cottage Grove, though. Admittedly, when I dusted off that manuscript, I realized it needed some work. So I called my mom, Elaine, a super-devoted mystery fan, and asked her to brainstorm with me.  The result was The Christmas Thief.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

My monthly (sort of) newsletter provides the initial bump in sales. These are loyal readers and they deserve to be the first to know when a book or a discount is coming up, so I always tell them ASAP. I also like to do print book giveaways through Goodreads. I find many new readers there and since GR organizes the whole thing—including providing a widget for me to share on my website–it’s really a win-win. The biggest bump in sales that I ever see, though, is when I place an ad in BookBub, a reader subscription service. Pricey, but for me it’s been worth it.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I recently released a novella for the holidays. The Christmas Thief is a cozy mystery that readers can curl up with and likely read in one night by a crackling fire. It’s all about one young woman’s dream being turned on its head. Here’s the back cover:

There's a thief in the small town of Cottage Grove, and Tasha's a suspect. Not exactly the dream she'd had in mind when she moved into her rustic fixer-upper cottage. Marc Shepherd wasn't part of her plans either. The Stetson-wearing contractor moved in next door, kicking up dust and threatening to cut down a beloved pine that shaded Tasha and her dog, Wolfy's, cabin. With Christmas around the bend, and a criminal threatening the community's peace, will Tasha solve the puzzle ... before it's too late?

Amanda Flower, USA Today Bestselling Author calls it “A perfect holiday season escape."

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I’ve been working on a story close to my heart, one that is “inspired” by a true story—my own. Currently the draft is done and my agent is shopping it, so hopefully I’ll be able to announce something on my website soon!

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I’d tell her/him that it takes more than talent—it takes tenacity. And it also takes skill. Skill can be learned and practiced, but tenacity has to be within a person. If she believes she has a story to tell and can dig up the persistence to go after it, to learn what she needs to learn and to write that story down, that’s all the talent she will need.

People often ask where I find ideas to write about, and I tell them ideas are in life, all around us. My own life, friends’ lives, the news … of course, my favorite thing to do is to find the nugget of truth and start asking “what if?” How about you, Kathryn? Where do YOU find ideas to write about?

A great question. I get them from others mostly, and my husband, primarily. He has a way of sending me ideas just when I need something new to write about. I also get ideas from the news, from television programs, from movies and from reading books.


Thanks for joining us Julie!

Learn more about Julie:


Thank you for your comment.