Author Kathleen Shaputis has channeled her dreams of living in a fairy tale to creating characters of her own. Today my fellow Crimson Romance author joins me to talk about her writing. Welcome, Kathleen. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been writing stories and plays since childhood. I wanted to be Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty, and live in a forest taken care of by three fairies so I could write all day. Well, life and my mother had other plans. Eventually I did get my forest, two acres in the Pacific Northwest and various contracts to write books, these treasures surrounded by a day job, adult children and grandchildren.
Your first book, Grandma Online, was non-fiction. What most inspired you about writing this book? A person or people? A place? Something else?
My passion is romantic comedies, yet I continually heard how non-fiction is easier to sell. “You should write non-fiction.” I balked against this suggestion for years until one day I woke up realizing I’m a computer tech and a grandmother. Most of my day is spent answering questions about software, hardware or how my grandson was doing. What if I wrote a book for grandmothers about the Internet? I nearly threw up within seconds of the thought as the force of energy overwhelmed me. I bought a book by Eva Shaw, How to Write a Non-Fiction Book and learned to create a book proposal.
How did you celebrate the publication of your first book?
I sold the pitch for Grandma Online at a writers’ conference to a publisher over a glass of wine during the networking session. Later I dashed up to my hotel room to shout out the incredible good news and no one was home. Not family or best friend. This was long before social media, so I sat alone with my Diet Coke watching Runaway Bride on pay per view.
You must have been ready to explode with excitement! How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I write as a pantser, I guess, someone who jumps into a blank page by the seat of his pants and hangs on as the storyline develops. I recently read a blog by Diana Gabaldon describing the style as non-linear, writing where the wind and characters take you.
I need to read that blog—I am such a pantser. But describing myself as a non-linear writer seems to lend my process such a sophisticated air. How do your characters influence your writing? Do you have disagreements with them?
The wee buggers have a mind of their own, they do. There I was, writing about a castle in Scotland with a nasty villain attacking my sweet protagonist, Celtic music playing on the stereo and a supporting character from an earlier published book, Gillian Nation, demands a role in this one. Not only did he want a part, he brought friends! The Diva Squad made themselves known and became an essential part in solving the murder.
I know what you mean. My characters have taken off in directions I hadn’t even thought of before they decided to take over the writing. Has writing changed how you read books now?
Definitely – beginning with the first line of Chapter One. What is the hook that must have grabbed an agent or publisher’s attention? Is it action or dialogue? What drives me crazy is a book starting out in a passive voice, so imagine my surprise, irritation, angst when one of the later Harry Potter books began “It was …” Seriously? Do we not make fun of Hemingway’s “It was a dark and stormy night”? Yet JK Rowling gets to … hmm, (settling my feathers) Ms. Rowling can do just about anything she’d like to do.
What are you currently working on?
The sequel to Her Ghost Wears Kilts as all the characters decided they were not done having fun together. Tentatively titled Frolic and Foibles this is a rough draft of the back cover text:
“Twas just weeks before Christmas and all through the haunted castle,” Rogue mumbled hanging the last ornament, her drafty palatial bed and breakfast was ready. Instead of focusing on the group of writers coming for a week-long retreat with a best-selling novelist, her thoughts strayed to the local luscious Brugh MaKenzie from town. Maybe she should order more mistletoe.
Twelve writers checked in for their expensive event, but only ten checked out.
Romance and murder tangle in this sequel to Her Ghost Wears Kilts. Rogue’s cavalry of ragtag sleuths include her Aunt Baillie, the resident ghost Lord Kai and Gillian Nation in tow with the Diva Squad who flaunt sequins and glitter wherever they go.
Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Kathleen. I wish you all best with your writing. Check out Kathleen’s books at her Amazon Author Page.