Friday, July 26, 2019

Featured Author - Kathy Douglass

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked on horror. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters, she knew it was time to put drop the horror and return to romance novels.

Her return was short-lived. She started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then she discovered Harlequin romances. They were short enough to read in a week and she wouldn't have to search her room before she went to sleep.

When her first child was born, she became a stay at home mom. Her second child soon followed, and reading was limited to children's books.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school. Kathy spent those hours renewing her relationship with romance novels. Soon she felt the urge to write the stories she wanted to read. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman's Heart, was released in February, 2017. Since then, she has released several more books with Harlequin.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I’d like for them to take away a sense of happiness as well as optimism that they can find a love of a lifetime. The thing I like most about romance is the guaranteed happy ending. I love the warm feeling that lasts even after the last word has been read. If my readers feel that same way after reading one of my books, then I have achieved my goal.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Lex Devlin. He’s appeared in several of my other Sweet Briar Sweetheart books and he’s one of my favorite people in the entire town. I love him so much. He’s just such a great guy. So sexy, so cool. So everything. It felt good to give him a book of his own where he got his happy ending.

What do you think the future of AA romances will be?

I think the future will be great. There are so many AA authors writing tremendous books in every type of romance. If you want suspense or paranormal, AA authors are writing them. If you want contemporary or historical, again the books are there.
The books also come in different levels of sensuality, ranging from sweet to spicy. There’s also a variety of settings. If you want small town, it’s there. If you prefer books set in big cities, they’re being written. AA authors are writing great books for every reader to enjoy and will continue to do so in the future.

What advice would you offer to someone whose book is about to be released?

Get the word out. If you have a newsletter, mention it in your regular newsletter in the weeks or months before it comes out. That way people will know to look for it. If it is available for preorder, add the link. On release day, send out a special newsletter announcing that it is available.

Tweet about it and mention it on Facebook and Instagram. Use whatever social media you have to the best of your ability. Don’t be afraid that it won’t work.  

It has been my experience that romance authors and bloggers are the best. They will share and retweet your posts to their followers and friends, so you’ll reach even more people.

Remember to tell your family and friends. They will be excited for you and tell everyone they know. The more people you tell, the better off you’ll be.

What three literary events would you recommend a writer in your genre attend?

The national RWA conference is a good one to attend. There are workshops and a major book signing that is open to the public. An author can make lots of connections with agents and editors as well as catch up with (or make) author friends. The other two really depend on the location and budget. There are local RWA chapters that have small conferences that are also valuable.

What literary event can we find you this year?

I’m hoping to attend the White Oak Author Fest in Crest Hill, Illinois on October 19. That’s all I have scheduled right now.

Who was the first author you ever met?

Judy Duarte. Many years ago, before I was published, I took an online course that she taught. A few months later, I attended the RWA conference in San Francisco. She was signing books and I went up and introduced myself to her. She gave me a hug and said she was happy to meet me in person. She is such a wonderful person.

What’s the most interesting change in your life as a result of being a published author? 

My life really hasn’t changed. I still do the same things I have always done.

What has surprised you most about being a published author?

The biggest surprise is that writing doesn’t get any easier. Every book comes with its own struggle. Even though it has worked out every time so far, I still have moments when I doubt that I’ll ever get the book right.

What about writing do you wish non writers would understand?

That writing is a job like anything else. Just because I don’t go into an office every day doesn’t mean that I’m not working.

Can you give us one do and one don't for those aspiring to be an author?

The do first. Do keep writing and revising. The more you write, the better you will become. Realize that you will have days when the words just flow and others when it is nearly impossible to figure out what comes next. Do your best and be kind to yourself on difficult days. 

Now the don’t. Don’t be fooled by the “rules” people create. For example, someone will say you have to outline. Someone else will say don’t outline. People will make up rules for everything. Some so-called experts act as if their way is the only way to write. That is not true. What works for them works for them. Only you know what works for you. When you find a process that works for you, follow it until it stops working.

What advice would you offer for someone who is having a hard time finishing the book?

I guess it depends on the reason. If it’s because the person doesn’t have a lot of time in their day, I would suggest trying to find time. Even five or ten minutes here and there can add up. 

If it’s because you’re stumped and can’t figure out what to write next, my advice is to go back a chapter or two and see if you can discover what went wrong. Sometimes we can have a character do something that isn’t natural to them and it stops the flow. If you can find that spot, you can fix it and hopefully the words will return. 

If it’s because you feel stressed, my advice is to break your goal into small bits so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Set an alarm for ten minutes and for ten minutes just write. Take a short break and do it again. Do whatever it takes to relieve the pressure.
Finally, tell yourself that you can finish the book. Look at what you’ve already written. You did that. You can do the rest. You can finish the book.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I attend Zumba a few times a week. It is great fun. I also love watching sports and reading.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

I know for sure that when I do my best throughout the day, I sleep much better at night.

Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you. I appreciate it.

To all aspiring writers: keep writing. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Your path won’t look like anyone else’s, but it’s yours. Travel it. 

Your stories are yours alone to tell. The world is waiting to read them.

They pretended to be lovers.

But there’s nothing make-believe about the baby on the way.

When Joni Danielson recruits her best friend, Sweet Briar mayor Lex Devlin, to be her fake boyfriend for a wedding, it’s a no-brainer. But their staged kisses lead to real passion—and heartbreak when Lex pulls away. Now Joni’s in a bigger bind: she’s pregnant. Can she and Lex once again fake it ‘til they make it—to a real relationship?

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