A little bit about Kathy...
I have been writing for publication since 1989. I've written books, short stories, play and movie scripts, devotionals, and Sunday school curriculum. I'm the author of "Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors" (an updated and improved version of "Polishing the PUGS," which is now out of print). I have also written books on "Christian Drama Publishing" and "Typing without Pain."
I do editing and mentoring for aspiring, beginning, intermediate, and established authors. I speak at writers' conferences across the country.
I am the founder and director/coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com)and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com).
Connect with Kathy...
Purchase: 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God's Unconditional Love
Get to know Kathy...
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...
How did you start writing?
Back in the 1900s (okay, the late 1980s), a friend from church asked for my help stuffing binders for a writers’ conference she was directing. When we finished, she said I’d been so much help I could attend the conference for free if I wanted. I said, “I’m not a writer. Why would I go to a writers’ conference?” She said that since I was an avid reader, I might enjoy it. And “Who knows? Maybe you are a writer and just don’t realize it.” I laughed, but took her up on her offer anyway, just for kicks. Along with being “starstruck” at meeting people whose names were on the covers of books I had at home, I attended the workshops and sessions and started wondering if I might be able to do this writing thing after all. I took a copy of every single thing on the freebie table, then submitted an article to a magazine I’d never heard of, and they sent me a check for $100. I was hooked!
What has kept you writing?
Seeing the power of the written word in my own life and the lives of others. And knowing that God had to call someone to write those things … and that person had to answer that call.
Tell us a little bit about your book...
I love Christian fiction. And I’ve seen its power to touch hearts and change lives. But in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter of a novel just didn’t seem right! So I thought, how cool would it be to have a devotional with short fiction stories followed by life applications? And if each chapter was written by a different person, I could read stories from my favorite authors and also discover some new ones.
What did you learn while writing it?
I learned patience with God’s timing! The Lord gave me this idea almost 20 years ago, and I thought it was brilliant. But I couldn’t get a traditional publishing house to catch the vision for it. It did get some keen interest from a few acquisitions editors, but their sales and marketing people couldn’t figure out how to promote a devotional (typically nonfiction) that featured fiction stories. That was frustrating. But when God finally opened the door with BroadStreet Publishing Group, I got a four-book contract for a series of Fiction Lover’s Devotionals. And they created them as gorgeous hardcover gift books with debossed covers, full-color interior, even ribbon page markers. Well worth waiting for! And by the time the books got published, I’d developed a decent online fan base to promote them through. God knew what He was doing!
Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
As the editor/compiler for the series, I got to work with some big-name best-selling authors like Angela Hunt, Deb Raney, Cindy Woodsmall, Tracy Higley, Susan May Warren, Lynette Sowell, and Mary DeMuth. (I actually got to edit these amazing authors! Wow!) I also discovered some lesser-known writers who had really good stories. I even got to include chapters from some of my not-yet-discovered writer friends, putting them in compilations with big-name authors. That was really fun!
Let’s talk about your writing life...
What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Think about something you read that touched your heart and changed your life. When God called you to write, He had specific people in mind who would need to read what He wanted you to write at a particular point in their lives. He also knew about the long and sometimes bumpy journey between that calling and actually getting your book (or article or script or curriculum or poem) into those people’s hands. So as long as you are taking the steps He has asked you to take, and walking through the doors He has opened for you, and doing everything you can to make your writing the best it can be … you can relax, knowing that He is orchestrating every situation and circumstance, and He will overcome every obstacle, to get what He has called you to write into the hands of the people He knows will need to read it at exactly the right moment.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
First, realize that writing is a craft that can be learned and developed, and that it takes time and effort t do well. Sure, it’s easy to string words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. But if you want the message or story of your heart to effectively communicate to readers (and be of interest to people outside your friends and family), you have to work at it. Read books on how to write (and how to write in your chosen genre). Take classes. Learn from podcasts and webinars. Get into a critique group (in person or by e-mail) or find a few critique partners—and take their suggestions seriously. Rewrite, revise, and polish. Hire a freelance editor to take your manuscript to the next level … and learn writing techniques in the process. Attend writers’ conferences where you can meet kindred spirits, network with industry professionals, make connections, have divine appointments, and hear the Holy Spirit prompt you on the next step to take. Then take those steps!
If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
Easiest question ever! Maui. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful, fun, restorative place I’ve ever been to. I’d get up every morning during that month, sit on the lanai with a cup of hot cinnamon tea, and gaze at the ocean while engaging in an inspirational conversation with the one who created the view—and me. Then I’d take a spiral notebook and pen out to the beach, sink into a comfy lounge chair, and write. After a yummy lunch of fish and purple sweet rolls, I’d head back to my condo, plug in my laptop, sit by the open window, and then type what I wrote and edit it. When my brain ran out of juice, I’d hop into my rented convertible and go snorkeling or parasailing or white-water rafting or waterfall hunting on the road to Hana. Dinner with my hubby at a waterfront restaurant in Lahaina. A romantic stroll along the shore watching the stunningly gorgeous sunset. (My heart is yearning just thinking about it. Anybody got a condo they’d be willing to let me stay in for a month rent-free?)
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Jody Hedlund’s Newton & Polly and totally loved it! As a professional editor, I have a hard time reading for pleasure because I can’t help editing as I read. But every once in a while I come across a gem that totally draws me in (and is polished enough that I’m not distracted). Newton & Polly was an absolute joy to read. I’ve already ordered more Jody Hedlund novels. Can’t wait to get them!