Welcome, Kathy. Please give us a brief teaser for your book.
Danni Kemp fears she’s being stalked—but the truth is much more deadly.
Wow, what a great hook. Why did you write this book?
I wanted to convey the idea that all decisions have consequences, and some of those may even be deadly. In society today, it seems we often make commitments without fully counting the cost. I’m guilty of it too. It might be as simple as saying ‘yes’ to a request for our time when we want, or need, to say ‘no.’ Even worse, we sometimes make important, life-altering choices without thinking them through. It could be a spur-of-the-moment declaration that we’re quitting our job or dropping out of school. Or it might be the decision to marry without fully considering the consequences. Sometimes a hastily made decision works out, but it can also lead to regrets… And from that idea, a suspense plot was born.
Definitely fuel for conflict. What was the hardest section to write?
In the first scene of the book, I had to revisit the difficult childhood of the heroine, Danielle Kemp. Every decision Danni makes in the present time is influenced by that one moment in her past, so it was important to get it right.
Looking at it from the finish backward, do you have a favorite scene in this story?
That would be Danni’s encounter with ‘hope’ about midway through the book when she meets a young woman who is in desperate need of encouragement. It was a scene I hadn’t fully envisioned when I set out to write the book, but it became a pivotal point, and one of the most poignant scenes in the story.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Forgiveness. Because it’s the heart of our Christian experience and salvation. God tells us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. That includes forgiving ourselves. I think we all have a hard time with that from time to time.
Has your job as a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
I’ve wanted to write books since I was a young girl. I went to college to pursue a journalism degree with the dream of writing as a career. But after college, I took another path, one that I believe was God’s plan for me. As the years passed, I eventually tried to get back to my dream of writing, but I was never able to complete a manuscript. In fact, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters until I made the commitment to write Christian fiction. After that, the words flowed. I wouldn’t be writing today if it weren’t for my decision to write Christ-based fiction.
What a critical turning point. Is there a reason you chose to write romantic suspense?
My first published novel was women’s fiction, and I had every expectation to continue writing in that genre. Then, one day several years ago, I was in a meeting with my agent and editor, and they both looked at me and said, ‘We think you have the voice to write romantic suspense.’ Really? Interestingly, I already had a working romantic suspense manuscript, something I was writing for fun but never expected to get published. Finishing that manuscript became my priority, and it’s now the first book in my new series.
Interesting what happens when we follow our heart. Along that same line, do you have a “day job” or a previous career that has influenced what or how you write?
I work full-time as a marketing director in the music business. All of my stories have a music-business element, but that’s only part of the story.
Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
You must have a spy inside my house. Ha. My dog, Gabriel, is a 125-lb. Shiloh Shepherd. He’s the fourth of the breed I’ve had. Just like the others before him, he’s spoiled rotten. He likes to have my undivided attention and that can mean interrupted writing sessions. But, Gabriel and my previous dogs, as well as my friends’ dogs, have also provided a lot of inspiration for my books. There’s a Newfoundland dog in Deadly Commitment and some of her antics were inspired by “true stories.”
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I’ve found that the key to discipline is spelled deadline. I write better when under pressure.
Tell us about your favorite library memory.
When I was attending college, I worked at the university library. That was many years ago, before electronic filing. My job was to file new and returned book cards into the main card catalog. It was like taking a trip around the world every time I read through those book titles!
Sounds like a perfect job for a writer-in-training, even though she didn’t know it at the time!
It’s been great visiting with you today, Kathy. Tell us about your next project.
The Deadly Secrets Series continues with Book Two, Deadly Connection, which is also set in Nashville and has a music business twist on a suspense theme.
Kathy, thank you so much for a peak into your life. (Now I want a Shiloh Shepherd.)
May all that you read be uplifting.