Wednesday, June 20, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, KATHY LYNN HARRIS

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR OF, "BLUE STRAGGLER,"
KATHY LYNN HARRIS


 

Hi Kathy, the first question I have for you is, how was it growing up in Texas?

It was hot! That’s all I remember. Ha! Actually, growing up in rural Texas really helped shape me as a person and a writer. I was often surrounded by larger-than-life characters and awesome small-town storytellers. And even though I complain about that awful heat and the humidity and the mosquitoes and did I mention fire ants? … I have wonderful memories, too, like swimming in the Guadalupe River and learning to two-step before I went to kindergarten. 

Now you're not only an author but you also work for a relationship marketing agency. That sounds very interesting, can you tell us more about this? 

Sure! I work for Customer Communications Group, a Denver-based agency that focuses on developing customer loyalty and relationship-building programs. These programs can range from full-scale rewards programs to quarterly newsletters packed with custom content. I’m a program designer and consultant. Our clients include some great retailers, like Eddie Bauer and PETCO.

When did you first realize that you had a knack for writing and wanted to make a career of it?

Writing has always been something that came fairly natural to me. Even at a young age, I enjoyed writing, even kept a journal as early as second grade, and began winning essay contests and such in middle school. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make writing my career, though, until I got to college at Texas A&M and realized how much I loved my English and journalism classes, and how much I didn’t love, say, chemistry. (Even “cowboy chemistry” — considered the easiest of the chem classes at A&M — kicked my butt!)

It sounds as if you have a lovely home and way of life. Tell us more about your everyday life and what are some of the hobbies you have that you enjoy? 

I’m living a dream up here on the top of a mountain in Colorado in a log cabin. (I read way too many pioneer books in my youth!) Everyday life here is always an adventure, whether you are driving in blizzard conditions, watching your windows crack because it is 50 below outside (and warm inside), or scaring a very large black bear off the back deck. But it’s incredibly peaceful, too, and there is nothing like the air up here or the wildflowers in the summer or the bright blue skies against a meadow of fresh powder in the winter. My family and I take advantage of all of that as much as we can by hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, or just enjoying an evening picnic in the meadow by the creek.

Tell us more about your current novel and any plans you have for your next work and when we can expect it out. 

Well, thanks for asking! My current novel, which is an Amazon #1 bestseller, is titled Blue Straggler. It’s women’s fiction, though I detest those kinds of labels for the most part. It tells the story, in first person, of a 30-something-year-old South Texas native, Bailey, who is struggling to figure out who she really is inside and where she belongs. She ends up ditching her (overbearing) family and (quirky and enabling) friends to head to a small mountain town in Colorado to research a long-held family secret about her estranged great-grandmother. Along the way, she learns that Cool Whip and tequila are not essential food groups, meets some interesting characters, rents a barn to live in, drives a tow truck, gets caught up in a logging controversy and falls for a moody mountain man. It’s a fun ride, I hope! 

Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches on my next novel, A Good Kind of Knowing, which is scheduled for release this summer.

If you could name one person in your life that has had the most impact, who would it be and why?

Wow! What a great (and very hard to answer) question. I would probably have to say that my mother fits that bill. She’s this amazing, beautiful, spirited, tell-it-like-it-is person who was so ahead of her time in terms of self-reliance and independence. She’s the epitome of a strong Texas woman. She taught me so much about how to navigate life, men, motherhood and the business world. And she makes a mean Singapore Sling.

Living in Colorado now do you ever find that you miss Texas?

Oh absolutely. I was just telling a friend the other day that I think I am able to love Texas more from afar than I ever could living back there. Because here’s the thing: I miss my family and friends back home; these are good people who would do anything for anyone, once you earn their trust and respect. I miss the myth, the history, the largeness of Texas. I miss the farmhouses and cattle and horses and dancehalls and music and rodeos. I miss that someone will always stop and help you if you’re on the side of the road with a flat tire. I miss the food — the steaks and catfish and tex-mex. But if I’m honest, I never quite fit in back home; I need to be near mountains and I need to experience seasons other than Summer and January. (Texas humor)

Who are some of your favorite authors, ones that have inspired you?

Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Lorrie Moore, Melissa Bank, Amy Bloom, Pam Houston, Toni Morrison, Ann Patchett. And I can’t leave out a few good men, as well, like Cormac McCarthy, Michael Cunningham and Larry McMurtry.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

I think a couple of things are important. 1) Find a critique group that is a good fit for you and your work. Submit to the group often, think about the member input and refine your work based on what feels right to you. 2) If this is your dream, then don’t give up. It took eight years after the novel was written for me to see Blue Straggler in print.

Please leave us any links you'd like to share with our readers. Thank you again Kathy!

Thank YOU! Such great questions. Here are some ways folks can learn more about me and my work or be in contact:

My blog, You Can Take the Girl Out of Texas, but, can be found at: http://kathylynnharris.com/blog/

Twitter - @KathyLynnHarris
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BlueStragglerFiction
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/sho...thy_Lynn_Harris
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/kathylynnharris/

No comments:

Post a Comment