Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Interview with Author Kathy Otten

Today I have something very special to share with you all -- an interview with a wonderfully talented local author,
Kathy Otten.

Kathy, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
You are such a gifted writer, and I really appreciate you sharing your insights and information about your work with us.

So tell me, have you always loved to write?

I have been making up stories and writing them down as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I would divide loose-leaf paper in half, write on the bottom, color a picture on top, and weave yarn through the holes. Once I got in high school I began filling notebooks.

What was it that made you realize that this was more than just a hobby, and it was time to get serious about writing as a possible career?

My kids were getting old enough to drive themselves to work and games and I found myself with more free time. Someone gave me their old, used computer and I started typing some of my better stories into the computer. I realized they weren't as good as I wanted so I started buying books on how to write. The kids went off to college and I had even more time. There was no epiphany; just a slow evolution.

How do you go about developing characters and story ideas? Which comes to you first?

My characters come to me first. They lurk in the periphery of my mind until I pay attention to them. Most of the time it's the hero, sometimes the heroine. Sometimes they just stand there, sometimes they are doing something. I notice what they are wearing and what they look like as I see them in that moment. Once in a while they have a name. Most times I have to hunt for one. When I find the right name, I just know it. Then I start asking them the who, what, where and when questions. Among the questions will be something about that character's internal and external goals. I'll start pondering his/her answer until another character pops into my head who can both give him/her what they want and also be the force to keep him/her from getting what they want. After I have the characters, bits of dialogue and scenes will pop into my head while I'm driving or walking the dogs. I write them down and when I get enough of them I start putting them into some kind of order. Eventually, I end up with a story.

I've got to know, what was your first publishing experience like?

I had written a couple of short stories as a sort of personal exercise in Point of View. Once they were finished I didn't want to leave them in my file drawer, so I began searching romance magazines, looking for a home for my stories. But my short stories were Civil War romances and it was hard to find a market. Then about three years ago I found a little blurb in the Pennwriters newsletter, about an electronic romance publisher, The Wild Rose Press, who was open to submissions in everything from short stories to novel, even American historicals. I didn't even have a computer at the time and between the library and my daughter's lap top I submitted one of the stories, Redemption of a Cavalier. The editor liked it and after edits it was released in e-format in February 2007.

I know you're working on a new novel at the moment. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

Currently I'm polishing and fixing scenes for a historical, western romance novel about a troubled Deputy Marshal in Indian Territory and the fiesty outlaw he's sworn to bring to justice.

It sure sounds exciting! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Perserverance. Don't quit. Writing is hard. Handling rejection is hard. Rewriting and constantly honing the manuscript is hard. Sometimes you have to force yourself to sit down and write. And it can be a very lonely with nothing but the computer for company. But if you want it, you have to keep pluging away until something else comes along that you want more.

One last question. Where can we find your books?

My short stories, Redemption of a Cavalier and Someone to Share the Sunsets are only available in e-format through my publisher, My holiday novellas, A Christmas Smile and An Ordinary Angel (coming Dec. 9th) are available in e-format only from & My historical western novel, Between the Lines is available in both electronic and print formats. It can be purchased through any of the above websites as well as or ordered from your favorite bookseller.

Well, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing some of your expertise with us!
For more information on Kathy and her books, visit her website at:

Thanks again, Kathy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who
is trying to be something
they are not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spark Word

In honor of my son Elliott's sixth birthday today, the spark word of the week is:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Bring to life a commonplace object you encounter on a
daily basis, that is often overlooked until it is needed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Expert Advice

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.
~Hart Crane, American Poet

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who drastically changes their room color to symbolize the drastic changes they are making in their life.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Expert Advice

"Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on."
-- John Steinbeck

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about something that's
brand-spanking new.