Friday, November 23, 2007

Introducing Harlequin Historical December Debut Author: Kathryn Albright

Kathryn Albright comes from a unique family—her father, a Navy “fly-boy,” built two of his own planes in the garage of their San Diego home. Her mother is a world-renowned doll restoration artist. (She corrected Kathryn when she called her a “doll doctor.”) So you see, her writing career is really quite tame.
Her dreams of becoming a published writer took root when her children were young and she entered a national magazine contest and placed with a short story. Since then she has had non-fiction articles published in the field of nursing and writing along with several fiction contest finals. When she sent The Light Keeper, her first completed full-length manuscript, to the 2005 Golden Heart Contest, it made it to the finals in the short historical category and was picked up by Harlequin Historicals for publication. The title? The Angel and the Outlaw.
Along with her fiction writing career, she works as an obstetrical nurse and sonographer for high risk pregnancies.
Currently, she lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons. And she has granted Harlequin Historical Authors this interview, giving insight into her writing, and her plans for the future.
Although many writers know they want to be a writer from an early age, was there something in particular that made you decide to pursue your dream?
For the longest time I didn’t think I had enough life experience to create a story that would resonate with readers. Good stories always captured me and drew me into their “alternate universe,” and I yearned to be able to do that. I remember reading Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer and thinking “if only I could write like this.” Slowly the desire evolved into learning the craft and then trying.
When I did put pen to paper I started writing contemporary stories, but found it wasn’t my “voice.” Then Stuart’s ship sequence in The Angel and the Outlaw came to me full-blown one day and I just had to get it down on paper to keep if from rattling around in my head. From there, the rest of the story emerged in fits and starts.
How long after you first started submitting did it take for you to have your first book accepted?
This is the first book I ever submitted, and although it did well in several smaller contests, I never sent it to a publisher until it made the finals in the 2005 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest for unpublished writers. It took about eighteen months for it to be accepted after that.
Can you share a special recipe? Either one that your characters make in your latest book, or one that you often make?
Rachel and Hannah do bake chocolate chip cookies at the light house, however, here is a different recipe that my husband and I enjoy frequently. We both love soups, especially now that the weather is cooling off toward winter and this is so easy and quick. It goes well with a hearty slice of Italian or French bread.

1 can stewed tomatoes (with Italian seasonings)
2 cans chicken broth.
12-16oz bag frozen cheese tortellini
2 small zucchini, sliced.
¼ tsp. pepper
Combine first two ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil. Add tortellini, zucchini and pepper and bring again to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 7-8 minutes until pasta and zucchini are tender. Enjoy!

What attracts you to your time period?
It was a time that bred such individuality in people. Life was tougher and rougher. It took strong men and women to get through it. So much was happening in this country as people pushed from the east coast to the west in pursuit of their dreams.

Writers often use photos of movie or tv stars for inspiration. Who has been the inspiration for some of your heroes?
Rene Lavan, Gerard Butler, Antonio Banderas, Kurt Russell, Brad Pitt.

Who are some of your favorite romance authors?
LaVyrle Spencer, Kathleen Woodiwiess. More currently, I’ve enjoyed Cindy Gerard, Lisa Plumley, Elizabeth Lane and Stacey Kayne.

When you are not writing, what do you do?
I enjoy traveling to see family. They are scattered all over the United States and I love visiting them and learning about the history of their locale. I also enjoy going to movies and doing cross-stitch. I’m currently working madly on a Christmas stocking that I hope to get done before December 25th.

What are some of your favourite movies?
The Man From Snowy River, Pride and Prejudice (2006), The Outsider (HBO movie of Penelope Williamson’s book), Underworld, The 13th Warrior, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and on a lighter note, Just Like Heaven and Hairspray.

What does your writing cave look like? I write at a desk in my bedroom. It is my sanctuary—the one room I can shut the door and keep out the noise and chaos of a growing family (and dog and cats—although they do sit right on the other side of the door waiting for me to emerge.) Over my desk, I have a painting of the lighthouse that was the setting of this first book and a quote by Annie Danielson: Home is where your story begins. It’s true on so many levels.

What is it about the heroes from that time period that excites you?
What’s not to like about a man in jeans and a hat? (Shirt optional, but if on preferably stretched over broad shoulders ) Western heroes have their own brand of “mysterious.” Tall and brooding—they have an inner strength, intelligence and self-awareness—and usually a few secrets they can’t completely resolve which makes them richer characters, not completely good and not completely bad. They are protectors, champions, and when finally brought to love, they commit completely.
I tend to like the underdog or the anti-hero—the man that suddenly rises to do what is necessary. I think you can find men like that in any time period—even fantasy such as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in the original X-Men movie. It is harder for them. They must draw from deep inside themselves to meet the challenge—and I think that makes them more heroic in the end.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?
Nothing! It is all good!

What is the biggest challenge you face when you are writing a book? The beginning, middle or end?
The beginning and end quickly come into focus for me, but it is the middle that I have trouble corralling into place. It either wants to go off on a tangent because of an interesting subplot, or it wants to drag. And I always get lost in the fascinating research—a hazard for many writers.

Can you tell us about your future books?
Sure. I have several that are “lurking” in my mind, begging to be written. Currently, I am working on a story that takes place in Texas. I really like my hero and heroine –I’m picturing Catherine Zeta Jones and Gerard Butler. I don’t want to say too much about the plot just yet, but it will be a wilder, more passionate tale than my first book.

Many thanks for visiting Kathryn. You can read an extract from The Angel and the Outlaw here. It can be purchased from e-harlequin in both print and ebook versions and will be available in all good retail stores in December. Amazon will also have it in the Kindle version of ebooks in December.


Stacey Kayne said...

Wonderful interview, Kathryn! I'm looking forward to trying that soup recipe :-)

Having rooted for one another during our pre-published and Golden Heart days, I am so excited for the release of THE ANGEL AND THE OUTLAW!! I just love that title, and the cover is gorgeous!! My copy will be here soon--can't wait!

Wishing you oodles of success :)

Diane Gaston said...

I'm with you on using Gerard Butler as a model for my heroes. He's the model for Tanner, whose story is my January 2008 release, The Vanishing Viscountess.

Love your title and cover, too. And kudos to you for selling your first book!

Deb Marlowe said...

Great interview, Kathryn! I cannot wait to read THE ANGEL AND THE OUTLAW!

Carol Townend said...

Hi Kathryn,
I loved reading your publication story, and am with your entirely on the 'not finding the right voice' for contemporary fiction!! Luckily you weren't as slow as I was to make this realisation ;). Am looking forward to seeing your book in the UK,
With best wishes

CherylStJ said...

This is a great interview, and your cover is awesome!