Thursday, April 17, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Kathryn Daugherty

Join us today at The Write Way Café in welcoming author Kathryn Daugherty, and sharing how writing romance gave her greater insights into love and family.

When did you first have the thought you’d like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
Over the years when I’d finish reading a book I’d think I could have written that. In 2005 after major back surgery with many activities I could no longer participate in, I figured it was time to put that thinking to the test. I soon discovered it was not nearly as easy as it looks. I always thought of writing romance, because that’s what I enjoyed reading. I read romance mainly because I gravitate towards books with a happy ending.

What was your path to getting the book written and published? What type of research did you do?
When I decided to write, the first class I took was an online romance writing class. That was when I discovered it wasn’t so easy. So I took up writing short stories. I had minor successes with two of my short stories, White Lies and Secret Alliance. Both were published, Secret Alliance in the Writers’ Journal and White Lies in The Secret Attic publication. With a couple of wins, I thought maybe it was time to move into novel writing. I attended a writing conference and a romance workshop, and I started with a short story that had more story to tell. Eventually this short story became my novel A Case of Hearts. By eventually I mean 4 years of writing and rewriting. The custody case is a major part of the story, I wanted it to be authentic. Laura who is an attorney and is also my daughter-in-laws friend agreed to read and advise on the legal aspects of the story. She was a great asset in making the story real.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I mentioned earlier that the story began as a short story. In the beginning the story was to tell how a person reacts when policemen show up at the door in the middle of the night with horrific news. The more I wrote and the more I learned about Carol and Jeff, the story and conflicts grew. Carol needed an attorney and Jeff needed a man’s influence so Donovan was invented to fill both roles.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I wanted the story to be set in the Midwest since I was familiar with that part of the country. I also wanted the city to be large enough to support a college and public transportation. Yet not so large that people would not know each other. It was important that people would be acquainted with high society individuals.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Carol and Donovan are a mixture of many heroine/hero characters I’ve met through many romance stories. The character of Jeff is made up of many little boys who have stolen my heart: my own sons, grandson, nephews, and great nephews, and a couple of very special little guys that call me Grandma, even though we aren’t related.
     The cover of my book was a photo taken by my son-in-law Chris Holmes. The little boy in the picture frame is my Grandson Keegan. Anyone who knows me or our family will recognize many names that are in the book as names of family members. For me this was an opportunity to honor and remember people that I LOVE! Though the characters for the most part do not resemble these family member in the least.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so how did you handle them? If not what’s your secret?
The block I faced during the writing was for at least 6 months I wrote and rewrote chapter 1 and 2 trying to make them perfect before I moved forward in the story. There were two things that finally got me off the block. 1) I met a fellow writer at an open house at “the Write Place,” a local publisher. Lee Collins, the author of a novel titled “Too Much Left Unsaid”  and I started meeting on a regular schedule. She finally got tired of reading and rereading the same two chapters and told me to finish it! 2) I entered a novel contest where the winner would have their novel published. Having a critique partner and a deadline turned out to be the push I needed to complete the story.

What have been surprises you’ve encountered while writing the book and after?
The biggest surprise for me came after I finished the book and came back and read the complete story aloud to my sister on a long trip to Minnesota. As I read different sentences, paragraphs or chapters I’d think WOW! I really wrote that??? That being said, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when people, even family members, would come back after reading the published novel, and say WOW!  I didn’t know you could write.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world, about family ties, custody situations, and lawyers while writing A Case of Hearts?
     About myself – I could do it! I could stick with a project and finish it. I learned I could follow a story line and add conflict and character traits when needed. I learned that I could weave a story together that people would LOVE, that I wrote a story that people have told me they didn’t want to put down. They wanted to keep reading to see what happens next. Those words are music to a writer’s ear.
     About process – I learned my process is part outline and part seat of my pants. So part planner and part pantser, not unusual for most writers I don’t think. I need to get the complete story down on paper and then come back and edit. If I leave the story in a cliff hanger it is easier to come back and write the next day. I’ve learned that Grammarly and Auto Crit Writing Wizard are my best friends. Having a critique/writing friend who is honest, but kind, can help me improve my writing, and it’s a blessing.
     About the writing world – I have found many other writers that are encouraging and want to help you succeed. On the other hand there are some, who in order to feel superior, can only tear down and discourage you from writing. That is not so much different from the “other” world we live in. You are likely to encounter those individuals in any part of your life. Have confidence in your writing do not let anyone put you down. Connect with writers that understand your genre. Most important get rid of the negative Ned or Nancy in your head that tells you no.
     About family ties – I’m fortunate enough to come from a close family. I have 1 brother, 2 sisters and have lost one sister to cancer. We were blessed to be raised in a loving family, where my maternal grandmother lived with us, it was a close family. My parents passed away within 5 months of each other; my dad first, 6 days before Christmas, my mom 5 days before Mother’s Day. The real love story was them, my mom had never lived alone in her 78 years, when dad died she moved in with my younger sister. She had a few health issues but the truth of it, she passed away from a broken heart, she wanted only to be with dad. Five years later we lost my older sister to cancer. Another devastation. But through it all we have remained close and still gather together for many holidays through the year. At Christmas, there are 60 in all with our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces, and nephews.
     About custody issues – When my son was sixteen my husband Cliff adopted him. So a few of the issues in the story about custody were issues we went through, though there wasn’t a custody battle at all.  Most of the legal issues and documents were furnished by my friend Laura. I wrote the legal proceedings and then would have Laura read to see if it was authentic. She’d advise me to what would and wouldn’t work. I wanted the legal proceeding to be as close to real as possible,but took some poetic license so it was interesting to the reader.

Tell us about your writing space and how it works for you.
My writing space is awesome! My husband and I live on the bank of the Des Moines River. When we moved here the gazebo was the previous owners hot tub room, basically unfinished. In the fall of 2008 after my beloved sister Linda had passed I couldn’t make myself write. Not only was she my big sister she was my editor and my best supporter. My wonderful husband decided it was time to get me back to what made me happy. He renovated the gazebo, putting in a ceiling, walls, windows, and floor. So with a writing space I went back to work at writing. The gazebo sits 7 feet off the ground and is 35 feet away from the bank of the river. I see the water flow downstream, watch bald eagles, white pelicans, geese, ducks all live on the river. I see wild turkeys and deer across the river which come down to drink.  It is a wondrous place to write.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
Romance, romance and more romance. I LOVE a happy ever after story. I like a story that brings couples together when they learn to LOVE and respect each other. I enjoy stories about women who work through problems, that are not necessarily damsels in distress, but who use their minds to overcome obstacles. I like a cozy mystery and if there is romance thrown in all the better.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on another women’s romance. The story has two heroines, one is in her 60’s the other in her 30’s. The older character fell in LOVE with a soldier, forty-five years ago, just before he left for Vietnam. The younger one is trying to figure out what LOVE really means.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
If I were to write in a different genre it would be a cozy mystery. I enjoy the old “whodunit” mysteries.  Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Diagnosis Murder, and Mystery Women, trying to figure out the who murdered who and why.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I worked in hospitality for several years. Meeting new people and wondering who they were and where they were traveling was always a fun game for me. I would also enjoy doing event planning. I like the details of pulling together a party.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Grammar and spelling. I’ve always believed my problem with spelling came when they quit teaching phonics when I was in grade school. My brothers and sisters all had phonics and are excellent spellers. Even my kids were better spellers. When they were at home I was always asking them to spell words for me. As far as grammar there are way too many rules that conflict with each other. Way too many things to know.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
I find it quite difficult to choose only one heroine/hero. I look to so many people who are and have been heroes in my life, including my parents, my husband, my children, my brother and sisters. The soldiers who are serving to preserve our freedom and liberties, they definitely are my heroes. My youngest son TJ believes we all have the ability to be someone’s hero, a humble idea, don’t you think?

Thank you for asking me to be a part of your blog and asking me great thought provoking questions.

A Case of Hearts can be purchased at AmazonBarnes and Noble online, at her website or by visiting the Write Place.

About Kathryn:  Kathryn  (Erickson)  Daugherty always dreamed of writing, her first opportunity to pursue the craft came in 2005, when she encountered health problems. She put her time away from her regular activities to begin her writing journey. After improving her skills she wrote her first published story, titled "White Lies." Kathryn’s second taste of success was with another short story, “Secret Alliance.” The story placed first in the Short Story contest and was published in the November 2007 issue of Writers’ Journal. She also received honors at the All Iowa Writer’s Conference in 2012 with her short story “Consequences,” and again in 2013 with her story “Lightening and the Lake.” All short stories are available at her website.   

Though Kathryn did not have the opportunity to go to college, she is grateful to her father for encouraging her to learn to type. Her father always said her typing skills would serve her well. Since she has worked at a variety of careers throughout the years, she is appreciative of her father’s advice. Typing skills not only proved to be useful in many of her previous occupations, but also allowed her to pursue her passion for writing. Kathryn has lived in Nebraska, California, Illinois, and now lives in Central Iowa with her husband, Cliff. They have a blended family of five grown children and several grandchildren. Jessie, a seventy-five pound German wirehair pointer who believes he’s a lap dog, rules the house.



Renee Miller said...

I really enjoyed reading about your writing process. The gazebo sounds like a wonderful place, and the premise of your story sounds intriguing.

Melissa Keir said...

It is always fun to read about how other authors got into the business and what they have learned. I love that you use real names of people you love. It will always make them come alive for the reader.

Wendi Sotis said...

Great interview! I know that "Did I really write that?" feeling. It's a bit creepy, isn't it? Your writing space sounds wonderful - that's got to help your muse!

HiDee said...

Thank you for being with us today, Kathryn. I agree with Wendi, you're writing space sounds like the perfect place to write!

Kathryn Daugherty said...

Thank you Renee, Melissa and Wendi for you kind words. It is true the gazebo is a wonderful place to call my writing home.

RT Wolfe said...

Very interesting, Kathryn. Here's wishing you many sales!
-R.T. Wolfe

Kathryn Daugherty said...

Thank You RT! Appreciate it!

Judy Baker said...

Kathryn, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and how you became a writer. Thanks so much for sharing.

Kathryn Daugherty said...

Thank you Judy for taking time to read and to comment. I appreciate it.

Angela Adams said...

Enjoyed your interview!

Ana Morgan said...

Kathryn, Thank you for being so open about yourself and your life.
And congratulations on finishing that book! It's wonderful how you plucked from real life to build your story. It's in my TBR pile.

Deb Roberts said...

What an inspiring interview, you are my sister and I learned some new and wonderful things about you. I an excited to read your new story and very proud of your accomplishment. Love Deb

Kathryn Daugherty said...

Thank You Ana please let me know what you think when you finish the book I would appreciate it.

Kathryn Daugherty said...

Deb Thank you for your kind words. I'm so blessed to have an amazing family. We will have to make another long trip when I finish the next one. LOVE YOU TOO

Rose Gorham said...

Great interview ladies. Thanks for sharing.