Thursday, November 17, 2016 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Kathleen Shaputis

The Write Way Café welcomes Kathleen Shaputis, who shares her path to bringing her passion to life.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
Writing has been a passion since I was about six years old writing stage plays for the neighbor kids to act out in my backyard. From there I wrote short stories in middle school and attempted my first novel out of high school. Though my parents sat in the audience applauding my plays, when I was older they told me to put away the creative foolishness and concentrate on getting a job. Throughout marriages, a career and a child, I kept the passion locked away. My novels were romantic comedies and commercial women’s fiction.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
As His Lass Wears Tartan (HLWT) is a sequel, I approached the same publisher, Crimson Romance, who published Her Ghost Wears Kilts (HGWK). Most of my research had been done with the first book, so I was fortunate to bring in the same characters in the same castle.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
Back in 2013, I went to an international week-long writers conference held at Hevers Castle in England. I gathered hours of research about the castle and castle grounds for Her Ghost, while studying with literary authors. Actually my husband threw out a suggestion of creating an Agatha Christie murder theme for my next book. The idea stuck and I brought in a writers conference to the Castle Baillie.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I am Scots by heritage and had wanted to write a contemporary romance in a castle setting, waging a quarrel between the Bruce and Baillie clans. HLWT is a sequel and I kept the characters at the Scottish castle.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
There are some similarities in the characters that I see in myself. Yet, no one character can be seen as having a foundation of any of my friends or acquaintances. They are a potpourri of traits and foibles.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
HLWT was written during 2015, a year of dramatic highs and lows in my life. When I started I was embroiled in the drama of the birth of my first great grandson by my teenaged grandson and his girlfriend. She lived with me and I made all the dr appts and took them to birthing classes. This kept me busy enough that when I had time for writing what was to be a Christmas novel, the words flowed from being cramped and waiting their turn. However, the baby died before he was three months old under the mother’s care after she moved out of my house and the world ended for me. I clung to my characters as a lifeline to reality and changed the timing from Christmas to springtime.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I was quite surprised by the violence between the hero, Bruce and the antagonist, Jonathan. Granted, they were both attracted to Rogue who felt she didn’t need a man in her life to be happy, which made their plays for her attention more difficult.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Elizabethan-themed weddings, ghosts, and haunted castles?
I learned patience and acquiesce when it came to the title of the book. My working title was Faults and Foibles, as doesn’t every man seem to have many. But the publisher said no and asked for a second try. I submitted The Kilt Dropped Here but due to the television show Outlander using this phrase in their marketing, it was deemed to promote problems. So the publisher gave it the current title to blend in with the first book. I enjoyed researching hand-fasting ceremonies in Scotland quite a bit.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My computer desk sits in the corner of our library room with wall to ceiling bookshelves along the back wall. To my left are large windows where I can look out at the woods of fir and maples surrounding our house, as well as Junior’s Memorial Garden I built in the front yard. Being able to watch the seasons change and the few deer and squirrels grace our yard keeps my passion going for creating words.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
I love Jane Porter’s books and Jennifer Crusie; JK Rollings, definitely and romantic comedies in general.

What are you working on now?
This is exciting, I’m actually working on a third book at Castle Baillie, working title is The Witch Wears Plaid. It includes jousting and knights in armor, druids and more with the character from the past book, Nell, as the love interest.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I have a darker novel in progress based in the Seventies regarding women’s rights with a single mother as the protagonist. I will be focused on finishing it once I have the third castle book completed.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Growing up being told writing was not “work,” I wanted to be a guide dog trainer and work with dogs and those who were blind. However, in the 1960s women were not allowed to be trainers, only men. I was crushed, strike two in my career choices, and ended up in clerical work.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The middle scenes, I’m either rushing my characters through a problem or have them scattered about listlessly for a while. Sometimes they have to take charge of their own destinies and tell me where to go and what to do.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
First thought: Lassie. Seriously, I’ve watched Lassie Come Home so many times and she fights her way through the moors and hills of Scotland valiantly to return to her boy. I must have three different editions of the book. Human-wise Scarlett and Rhett would top the list, such intricate characters with so much passion and such stubborn streaks.

     Independent and dedicatedly single, Rogue Bruce enjoys running Castle Baillie with her Aunt Baillie from America. They specialize in romantic Elizabethan-themed weddings, complete with resident ghost, Lord Kai (nothing like a haunted castle to set the mood for love). But love is something Rogue is not the least bit interested in. Content with her work and stable of horses, no man is necessary for her happiness.

     Matchmaking is in the air, though, focusing on local Bruce MacKenzie, a Thor-look-alike in jeans, and outsider Jonathan Olson, a snobbish Rhett Butler type. With two men after her heart (she’d thought safely locked away), Rogue is torn with confusion. Murder and a psychic yank the soundtrack of Rogue’s life from romantic to scary, while she has choices to make in this sizzling triangle.

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Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the glorious Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, a clowder of cats and three pompously protective Pomeranians with little social aptitude: Brugh, Bouncer and Miss Jazzy. If not writing, she’s busy reading and watching romantic comedies, her ultimate paradise.

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Kathleen Shaputis said...

Thank you ever so much for the delightful interview to share with your readers! Your support of romance authors is appreciated and insightful.

HiDee said...

Thanks for being with us today, Kathleen. Your cover is so colorful! It was fun to learn more about you!

Lynn said...

Great post!

Kathleen Shaputis said...

Thank you, Lynn, for stopping in.