Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing novelist Kathleen Rouser. Kathleen says she’s a fan of the Three C’s—cats, coffee, and chocolate. I’ll join that fan club. And I think you’ll enjoy what Kathleen has to share with us!
Welcome, Kathleen! Please tell us about your novella, Flying into Love in the Love is in the Air anthology.
Unable to say no when others need her, Talia Sampson took on her deceased aunt’s advice column and the care of her special needs niece. Then new veteran, Ben Tanner, shows up unexpected on her doorstep. Hurt many times, he wonders where home is. Talia isn’t happy finding a hot-air balloon with him, but she treasures the old journal with it. Ben hopes restoring her family’s antique will please her, until he discovers a secret that shatters his trust. And Talia hates flying.
Will she trust God—and Ben—enough to go airborne?
Sounds intriguing! What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
The Lord seemed to put on my heart that Talia’s niece, Bianca, should be a child with Down syndrome. I was going by the little bit I knew through videos I’d seen or a couple of people I’d talked to, but I’d hoped to talk to someone who knew about Down syndrome firsthand. God put a mother of such a child in my very path at a writers’ meeting. We had a good conversation, she read my story, and I was gratified to know that I had written a character with Down syndrome who was true to life.
I love how the Lord provided this for you. So what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
To find out who God wants you to be, not what you think other people want you to be. This is a lesson that heroine, Talia, especially, needs to learn.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I usually start out with a character to write about and just get into writing their story, until the third or fourth chapter. Then I usually need to put together some kind of paragraph outline for the rest of it. However, with this novella, though I knew where I was ultimately going, the details in the middle just weren’t coming to me easily. It took a lot a prayer and just taking that next step forward, one at a time. It was quite the learning process and exercise in trust!
How do you share Christ in your writing?
My characters are usually searching for a deeper relationship with Christ or need to know Him. I try to add it organically in how they live and talk. Often there is a testimony shared, so that if my readers don’t know the Lord, they will have a chance to accept His message of salvation.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Trusting God, even when life doesn’t turn out as we planned; forgiveness, and more recently, identity in Christ.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
I would love to have an office with a window facing a lake, or an ocean, or even woods, just a beautiful view of nature.
My official office, where I am right now, is in a former bedroom upstairs. I have a nice, spacious oak desk and a couple of bookcases nearby. The room has a nice, big sunny window—but it looks out on the street. I most often write on the sofa in the family room, where my cats will join me, or sometimes at the dining room table.
Cats improve every view. So when did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
Some people say they’ve always been believers. Well, it seems I’ve always felt called to write. My mother read to me a lot, and I loved books from a young age. I think it was when I was four that I first wanted to be a writer, thinking I would write books and draw the pictures for them. I couldn’t even read yet—couldn’t wait to learn.
Then, when I accepted the Lord as my Savior, when I was 21, it was an easy transition to want to write for Him, to believe I was called to write for His glory. It took many years to refine that and to know how best to channel it.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I would still love to visit Israel and Italy. And, of course, why not have a NY Times bestseller? I guess that’s more than one dream, actually.
Dreaming is allowed here. What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I have attended Community Bible Study for years on and off. This is my third year in a row and probably my sixth year total of being a children’s teacher. Our local CBS in Brighton has a children’s program that spans from babies to teens. Of course, first grade and up are for home school students who attend with their moms.
Last year and this year I have been teaching the junior class which are mostly children from fourth through seventh grade—around nine through twelve. It’s been an exciting calling to share the truths of God’s word with the beautiful books and lessons that CBS provides. It encourages me to be a part of teaching truth to the next generation. It is a privilege and I’m happy to be a help to their mothers. I was a homeschool mom for over 20 years and I understand the challenges.
Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I have two rescue cats that I brought home from their foster home when they were four months old, Ruby and Opal. Now they are ten months old. Sometimes they can be a hindrance as they like to get into things to get my attention. When I have a cup of coffee by my side, Ruby on my lap, and Opal next to me, it makes for a great time to settle down and write.
My first cat, Lilybits, inspired my spunky character, six-year-old Lily Waterson, in The Last Memory and I couldn’t resist adding a cat named Jehoshaphat to my most recent novella, Flying into Love. Talia inherits him along with a Victorian mansion and her deceased Aunt Violet’s advice column.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
Besides reading, I love to make jewelry. Lately I’ve really enjoyed wire wrapping, though I still work with beads as well. I also enjoy knitting, though it’s been a while, especially with kittens around who like to get into yarn! During the nice weather, there’s nothing nicer than being able to experience the fresh air and nature during a walk or a bike ride. I don’t bake as often as I’d like since hubby and I don’t need the extra sweets!
You lead a wonderfully full life! So what are you working on next?
I have ideas for contemporary romance and a YA series brewing!
Sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Kathleen!
Writing for Him,