Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Same Six Questions - Kathy Lynn Harris

Hello and welcome to this first Spring edition of The Same Six Questions. I hope the weather wherever you may be is particularly Spring-like. My guest today is Kathy Lynn Harris. In her own words:

Kathy Lynn Harris, a native Texan, has written children's books, poetry, short stories, newspaper and magazine articles, and personal essays. Blue Straggler is her debut novel. Kathy likes to play in the snow year-round, which is easy since she lives in a log cabin in the high mountains of Colorado at 10,500 feet above sea level. Stellar mountain playmates include her husband, her son, and two fairly untrainable Golden Retrievers who own both couches.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes! My novel, Blue Straggler, is available as an ebook (also at B&N) and a paperback from 30 Day Books of Seattle. Here’s what the book is about in brief: Being a 30-something, fairly directionless single female in South Texas is a world all its own. Blue Straggler is a laugh-out-loud, yet poignant, exploration of that experience — from the quirky, memorable characters who make up Bailey Miller’s circle of family and friends to that feeling of your makeup sliding right off in the humidity. Readers will easily identify with Bailey’s sometimes humorous, often semi-tragic, choices that eventually lead her out of Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado, and back. Along the way, she searches for not only herself but also answers to long-held secrets from her “legitimately unbalanced” great-grandmother's past. Bonus: She may even find love with a moody mountain man along the way.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was around age 9. I had already been writing in a “diary” complete with the lock and key for a year or more. I got bored one summer and asked my dad if I could use his old manual typewriter. I proceeded to write my first book, which was then stapled together and had a great cover made of pink craft paper accented with red yarn. I think that’s when the writing bug bit. I loved that sense of accomplishment and seeing MY words on paper. Even if it was that really thin, awful typewriter paper from the 1970s.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

When I first began trying my hand at real fiction writing after college, I wrote a short story about a young woman who had just lost her husband in a climbing accident, and her mother-in-law was staying with her after the funeral. Each blamed the other for the death in some way, and neither knew how to grieve. I loved the tension in that story so much that I eventually came back to it and shortened it into a flash fiction piece. It was actually published online back then in PIF magazine and is still out there.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

Ha! Some days I still don’t know if I can do this. But I have to say that it was the encouragement of friends that made me think that maybe I wasn’t just barking up a fruitless tree. I would share things that I wrote with a few close friends, some of whom were writers themselves, and they made me believe in myself … that I had a little bit of talent that might be worth honing. And then, when I enrolled in the creative writing master’s program at Texas A&M University, and began to get positive feedback from professors and fellow workshoppers, I began to really dream about life as a writer.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Oh! That’s a hard one. I think it would likely be Idamarie from Blue Straggler. She’s this feisty old Texas gal who owns a comfort-food cafĂ© in San Antonio. She says what she thinks. She’s funny and grounded and would be someone I’d love to talk to every day, just to remind myself of the good people out there in the world. Plus, she sings Loretta Lynn songs and watches old Dallas reruns.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

A lost, disoriented hiker, dripping in blood, who has stumbled to our log cabin in the backcountry mountains after being attacked by a mountain lion.

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Yikes! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us, Kathy Lynn! For more of Kathy Lynn's writing, be sure to check out her Web site, blog, and Facebook and Twitter pages.

I'll see you all back here on Monday, when my guest will be Cora Buhlert. See you then!