Thursday, July 02, 2020

Garden Interview with Kathy Otten

Hello Kathy

welcome to the garden interviews. tell us about you and your books.

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I’m a pantser. I get an idea and run with it. However, over the years, I’ve learned to look ahead to see that dark moment when everything goes wrong, then I go back to sketch it out. Next, I seek out my main characters to ask them about their goals and motivation. When I’m done, I have a rough outline, so I’ve sort of morphed into a bit of a plotter.

Are your characters based on real people?

I write historical romance, so often there are real people in my stories. They are usually mentioned only as my fictional characters would have encountered them. I only give them a few lines here and there. If I have to describe them, I dig for pictures and try to keep things as close as I can.

What's your favorite book you've written?

I like all my books for different reasons. Because I’m always learning new things about craft and character development, there are times I wish I could go back and fix my earlier stories, but I can’t so I have to learn to let it go. It’s the same with my characters. I’ve spent so much time with them, I like them all.
If I am going to pick a favorite, it would be Lost Hearts. Johnny had a tough life with no way out, but she had a pragmatic attitude that got her through the bad stuff. Rab too was floundering, trying to deal with flashbacks and guilt for a part of his life his mind had blocked out.

When did you decide to become an author?

I can’t remember not writing. There were always stories and characters bouncing around in my head. I never knew that wasn’t normal. My mom would occasionally buy my brothers and I Little Golden Books at the grocery store. One day I asked for one, and she told me she didn’t have enough money; that I should write my own. I think that’s when it started. Lucky the Dog, The Lost Uranium Mine, and the Mystery of the Old Yellow House. In those early stories the illustrations were done in crayon and the pages tied together with yarn. I have old notebooks filled with stuff and file folders of ideas; stories that will never see the light of day, but they got me this point, so the time spent on them wasn’t wasted.

What are your current projects?

I have a contemporary young adult novel I’ve been querying to different agents.  I just finished a M/M historical romance short story. I’ll be submitting that soon. I’ve started the first draft of another historical romance novel and I’m playing around with a rough draft for the first novel in a M/M historical romance series. I think I’m an ADD writer.

And for a little fun.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I write for the same reason that I breathe—because I have to.”  --Isaac Asimov

Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript?

No. Most of my stuff is on my computer. He does however, bite the pages that come out of my printer. He’s a German Shepherd, so it’s sometimes hard to stop him. I’ve had critique copies with bite holes, wet spots, and wrinkles that need smoothing before a meeting.

Do you have any hobbies?

I take my dog on long walks down the road, or on trails in the woods. I read a lot, fiction and non-fiction. I bake occasionally, though not so much anymore since the kids have grown. Otherwise, my job and family keep me busy. Oh, I forgot to mention, I like to write.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

Summer and early fall. I live on two and a half acres surrounded by woods and farm fields. Pretty views in all directions on a quiet back road with occasional buggies clip-clopping by. My deck is the perfect place to take a notebook and pen, sit in the sun, and write.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

Music, a box of pencils, and plenty of thick, spiral bound notebooks.

Where can we find you online?

Download A Place in Your Heart on Amazon and other online retailers

1 comment:

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Kathy: Great quote, and I'm with you regarding wishing I could go back and edit some first books. Wonderful titles on the stories you wrote as a child. Happy Summer.