Today I'm featuring an interview and excerpt from Kathy Lynn Harris, author of Blue Straggler. So, here we go! Thanks for stopping by today!
1. Tell me a bit about yourself, and your writing.
I am originally from South Texas, home of 200-percent humidity and herds of mosquitoes. I moved to Colorado in 2001 and now live in a log cabin on the top of a mountain, home of snow year-round and herds of bears. I’ve written short stories, personal essays, children’s books and really bad poetry. Blue Straggler is my first published novel.
2. How long have you been writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first “book” on my dad’s typewriter at age 9. I think I was probably born a writer.
3. What are your favorite genres to read?
I typically read literary fiction and women’s fiction. I am also a sucker for a good chick lit book and enjoy well-written memoirs. For some reason, I can’t get into vampires, thrillers or sci-fi much.
4. How many books do you have published? What genre?
Blue Straggler is my first published novel. It’s contemporary women’s fiction, with hopefully a touch of literary in there. I also have several essays in numerous published anthologies.
5. Do you write in multiple genres, or do you just stay with one? If you do not write in more than one genre, do you ever consider it?
With my fiction writing, I generally stay in the literary fiction and women’s fiction genres. The only other genre I’ve considered writing in is young adult, probably because I’m still 13 years old in my head.
6. What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of writing?
My family and I love to hike in the summer and snowshoe in the winter, which is easy to do since we have trails right out our backdoor. I am also a huge dog lover. We have two golden retriever mixes, Sky and Trouble, who pretty much rule our home. Another exciting interest of mine is drinking wine. I’m really good at it. When I’m back in Texas for visits, my favorite hobby is sitting in front of the a/c, drinking a frozen margarita.
7. Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
I’m a seat-of-my-pants girl all the way.
8. Name four books that stay on your keeper shelf.
It’s hard to choose, but here you go! Anne Lamott’s Hard Laughter, Pam Houston’s Cowboys Are My Weakness, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and, lately, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.
9. Ebooks or print, which do you prefer?
Both. I love my Kindle Fire. The convenience of downloading a book, anytime, anywhere is simply awesome. But I still need to have printed books around me at all times. They’re like family.
10. What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
I’d give my left pinky toe to be a confident public speaker. That doesn’t come easily to me, and it’s a skill that authors today need. I also wish I could train elephants and ice skate, but not at the same time.
11. What are you working on now?
I am putting the finishing touches on my next novel, A Good Kind of Knowing. It will be out as an ebook later this year, I hope.
12. What is a typical writing day/schedule like for you?
Tell me more about this concept of a “schedule” that you speak of! (Ha.) I have a more than full-time job and then I come home to Mama Duty. I try to squeeze in as much writing time as I can after my son is asleep and the laundry is done.
13. Does your mood influence what you write, or read?
Absolutely. I’m a moody person. There’s no way I could write or read something deep and dark when I’m in a rare sunny disposition.
14. What genre of writing style would you like to see make a comeback?
They say chick lit (I’m talking Melissa Bank-style work) is dead. I don’t believe it, but if it is, we need CPR, stat!
15. If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
I have to choose just one place? If so, I’d probably choose Italy. The history, the culture, the wine, the food, the architecture—it all calls my name. I’ll get there one day and eat copious amounts of olives and meatballs. Just you wait.
Fun interview! Now we have an excerpt from Blue Straggler....are you ready?
On my kitchen wall hangs a framed photograph of my brother and me astride a black mechanical bull at Gilley’s near Houston. I’m twelve and wearing pigtails; Mike’s just turned eight. Our lips are stained deep purple from sno-cones my father bought roadside on Interstate 10. Mike’s grinning for the camera, of course, and holding an empty beer bottle he picked up like a souvenir. I’m trying my best to follow my mother’s
orders—no blinking, pretend we like each other, sit up straight on Mr. Bull. But despite my extra-wide-open eyes and fixed smile, my right hand rests on my hip, impatient. The other’s discreetly tugging at the edge of my yellow terrycloth shorts.
For many of my adult years, I have believed several things are evident from this picture. Apparently, awareness of sufficient thigh coverage begins at an early age in my family, as does the penchant to have at least one beer bottle in our hands at all times. It also seems my parents considered a famous redneck bar a viable summer vacation option, and the mechanical bull a pleasant alternative to Six Flags. All of which has led me to understand my family might be a few steps to the left of normal. Or, as my wise friend Idamarie puts it, several cups of sugar short of a pitcher of iced tea.
These days, though, I often speculate that a more perceptive person than me might’ve long ago examined the photo with greater care, looking beyond the bull, so to speak, and studying the image as a kind of strange South Texas anthropology artifact. Cracking it open like a Hill Country pecan and picking apart its meaning. Separating the nut from the broken bits of shell.
And perhaps that same individual, after the thorough analysis, might’ve even had the foresight to look me right in the eye and say, “Bailey, honey—that’s how perceptive people talk in Texas—you’re gonna wake up one day, sometime after your 30th birthday, still in possession of at least two items of unfashionable terrycloth
clothing and a Gilley’s keychain, and wonder just who you are, how you got here, and where the hell you’re headed.”
Author Info:Kathy grew up in rural South Texas — and comes from people who work hard, love the land and know how to have a good time on a Saturday night. As a writer, Kathy was lucky to have been surrounded by exceptional characters throughout her life, many of whom have lived their lives exactly the way they wanted. The rest of the world could take `em or leave `em! Inspiring, to say the least.
In 2001, Kathy made the move from Texas to the Colorado Rockies to focus on her writing and soak up All Things Mountain. She lives in an authentic log cabin near the southernmost glacier in North America, at 10,500 feet above sea level, with her husband and son, plus two fairly untrainable golden retriever mixes. It is there that she writes.
Read more from Kathy on her blog, You Can Take the Girl Out of Texas but...
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Blue Straggler is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback format now!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Until next time,