Name – Kathryn Lively
Age – mid 40s 😉
Where are you from – I am from southern Virginia
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have been writing and editing for more than half my life. I live with my family in Virginia, where we enjoy hiking and visiting regional wineries.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve had a busy July, with two releases in the same week! My romance with Totally Bound Publishing, FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED, is contemporary-set. It’s about two former child actors, and ex-sweethearts, who reunite when she needs a new leading man for her TV show.
I also have a story, called WAKING UP, in the box set CURVED LINES. Mine is one of ten stories featuring BBW heroines and tattooed heroes. My story is a romantic comedy set in NYC, about a woman in a dead-end job who sticks to routines, and the man who turns her world upside down.
CURVED LINES is 99 cents through August 14th and will be available through October.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t recall a time I wasn’t writing, but if you mean professionally, I sold my first story when I was nineteen. Since then I’ve looked for work in the field, writing everything from greeting cards to technical articles. As for why, well, I suppose it’s something hardwired in me. I don’t consider myself outgoing or a conversationalist, but give me a pen and paper and I can’t stop.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would have to say in high school, when I wrote pieces for the high school paper. At the time I had designs on being a journalist and maybe a columnist like Erma Bombeck. In college, though, I took a creative writing course and decided my future lay in fiction.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is an inspirational family saga called LITTLE FLOWERS. I wrote the first draft during Lent, hand-writing five pages a day minimum. The idea was to “sacrifice” my writer’s ego for the forty days, since I had a bad writer’s block problem at the time. The exercise not only helped my writing, but I managed to finish a book for the first time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I suppose I do. I like to keep dialogue between characters upbeat. I’m also not adverse to trying new things and new genres.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED, I had in mind a trilogy of stories. Each title comes from a song. Book one’s song is from the Van Halen catalog. Book 2, to be called DRIVE MY CAR, is a Beatles song.
For WAKING UP, the idea comes from the heroine Blair’s transition from routine to spontaneity. She “wakes up,” in a sense.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED is about an actor suffering a low point in his career, who has the chance for a comeback and reunion with his old love. The message here is everybody deserves a chance at success.
For WAKING UP, I hoped to convey that sometimes it’s worth it to take a chance and live outside your comfort zone. You miss out on much when you play it safe.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have no experience in the TV industry, but I drew from stories of a friend who tried to break into screenwriting, which helped for both stories.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I started out in mysteries, and I love books with sharp wit. Carl Hiaasen, Carrie Fisher, Dave Barry, and James Ellroy are just a few authors who have influenced me.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t know that I have a single favorite author. I’d read Dick Francis for years, but he is gone now. While his son Felix co-wrote with him in the final years, I haven’t picked up on Felix’s books. Lately I’m reading a lot of historical fiction and small town contemporaries – Deanna Raybourn, Brenda Novak, Susan Mallery. Each has a knack for telling a good story.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There’s an informal group of writers in my area who meet up once a month. It’s nice to get together and talk shop, and we take turns boosting each other.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope to one day. I also edit and work in the industry, so it all comes together.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
For FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED, I probably would have gone longer. It’s category length, but I’m aiming for a longer work next time.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not really. Like I said, it’s sort of hard-wired in me, like breathing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED:
April, 2006, Las Vegas
Gabby Randall stood at the window of their fifteenth-floor suite at the Fitzgerald Hotel and Casino, looking out at the blinding lights of Fremont Street. Thousands of them, maybe a million, blinked in rapid succession, simulating waves and fireworks and starbursts in colors she hadn’t realized existed. Down and to her right, a two-story tall neon cowboy winked and waved to passersby from his perch at the Pioneer Club. Bright yellow piping outlined his checkered shirt and knowing leer, and if Gabby moved one inch to one side or the other she could swear his eyes took on a sinister glow.
He stared at her, accusing her, as though to say Shame on you, girlie. Eloping without telling nobody. She wanted to turn away, but his eyes proved too hypnotic to resist.
“Shut up. I’m an adult,” she muttered, and blinked to break the spell. The cowboy had a name. The clerk at registration had said as much, but it’d gone right out of her head, replaced by choruses of nearby jingling slot machines as Dash had given him two fake names and paid cash for the room.
She looked past the neon smirk and studied the vibrant patterns of one hotel’s marquee. A thought occurred to her about the lights—how would anyone know to check for burnouts and replace the bulbs if the signs ran twenty-four-seven? Did the hotels each hire a specific person to stand on bulb duty? Were they like Christmas light strands, in that if one was faulty then the whole thing didn’t light up?
Why she pondered this, of all things one wondered about Vegas, she didn’t know. She took a deep breath and decided that her mind chose to focus on inane observations to calm her nerves.
It had less to do with coming to a strange city than it did with this being her first night alone with Dash. Her first night alone with any man, for that matter.
She’d never visited Las Vegas before, though she’d entertained a number of invitations from event planners. Her parents and managers, as devout in their Catholicism as their business savvy, had refused on her behalf time and again. No conventions or junkets unsanctioned by the network, or them, for her. Definitely, they didn’t want her involved in a cheesy celebrity magic show or publicity stunt. Vegas might as well have been situated on the outer rim of Hell.
Now, their say mattered little. She’d turned twenty-one the previous week, on the same day her contract with Randall Talent had expired. Marie and Walter might remain family, but they no longer made decisions for her, business or otherwise. This included her most important one to date—her wedding to Dash Gregory.
Gregory. She was Gabby Gregory now. Or perhaps she should hyphenate to Randall-Gregory, and use her given name, Gabrielle. Maybe that would make her appear mature, and more professional when she met with prospective agents to help her transition from TV ingénue to a place behind the camera.
In her left hand she held the current issue of People Magazine, the cover of which featured her with the other five principals of Wondermancer High, the television show that had served as her work and home for the past six years. In her right, a marriage certificate affirming her union with Dash Gregory bent in her tightening grip. It had happened only an hour ago, and if she brought the paper closer she could smell the printer ink. Her thumb brushed the black-marker signature of the minister, a middle-aged Johnny Cash impersonator with authentic sideburns and a paunch. Dash had insisted using a fake Elvis seemed too cliché, and that his late father—a Cash fan—would have gotten a kick out of it.
Gabby had conceded easily. She’d have stood before a showgirl in all her ostrich plumage and glitter if it meant a legitimate marriage. The Cash impersonator hadn’t recognized either of them, which was good. He didn’t fit their show’s demographic, and apparently he didn’t have a teenager who forced him to sit in front of the set every Thursday evening at eight.
She set the license on the nightstand to prevent further creases, then focused on the magazine. Good Luck, Graduates! read the headline, in reference to the series finale due to air next month. Sadness barely touched her as she recalled the emotion and angst which had pervaded the set when they’d filmed their final scenes. Relief was more like it. She’d played the part of Tula Truebend for six seasons, and as far as the country knew, her real life mirrored that of the prim, straight-A student aspiring to the upper echelons of the magical world. Hardly. Her grades, passable enough to let her continue acting, wouldn’t get her into Harvard. She hadn’t planned on college, anyway.
With the series behind her now, she couldn’t wait to pursue a career as a screenwriter and producer—to create rather than regurgitate. First order of business—develop a project for Dash.
Of the six main actors on the paranormal-set show—created to capitalize on the success of the Harry Potter franchise—her new husband stood to suffer the most typecasting. While she’d played the brain, a pretty one to boot, he’d been the token geek. Glasses, perpetually bent wand, goofy laugh, and no fashion sense. The showrunners had neglected all requests to mature Freddie Grodin toward the end of the run, leaving ‘Grody’ to remain a beloved yet awkward and inept nerd in the eyes of Wondermancer High fans.
She promised herself Dash would have a long acting career, and not in variations of the same role. What the hell was taking so long with him, anyway? He’d gone for water…had he tried the Hoover Dam first?
The handle of their room’s door jerked and rattled, startling her. On instinct, she clutched the full-length robe she wore tighter around her chest. When they’d stood exposed on Fremont Street, walking from the chapel to the hotel, she’d fretted over possible discovery from fans and paparazzi. Instead people had brushed past them, oblivious. Only in a city like this could that happen, she realized.
“Finally,” Dash muttered and entered the room. “I hate these damn keycards. They only work half the time.” A plastic bag, heavy with bottles and snacks, hung from his forearm, and he wore his favorite Dodgers cap pulled low over his face. Gabby smiled upon seeing it, especially since Dash really didn’t need to wear it to conceal his identity. Without the taped-up glasses and slicked-back hair the world saw on Grody each week, Dash as himself resembled nothing of the character he played. She envied his ability to roam free.
No, Dash was gorgeous with his clear blue eyes and a hint of stubble shadowing his firm jaw. He removed the cap and ruffled his short hair, adding to his adorably scruffy look.
“I’m glad you’re back,” she told him, and approached him for a hug. “I don’t like being here by myself.”
“Hey.” He took the magazine from her and set it next to the license, then enveloped her in his arms. He felt safe, warm. “It’s okay. Didn’t I tell you we’d be all right? It’s official, we’re married, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”
“I keep thinking somebody saw us downstairs.” Visions bloomed in her mind of photographers stalking each floor of the hotel, disguising themselves as room service. Fans pulling out their cell phones or running for the nearest pay phone to tell their friends, or worse, announce it to the world via their MySpace pages and that new site, Twitter. Guess what…we saw Tula and Grody in Vegas! Why would they be here, checking into the same hotel room? Ooooh!
Friends tell other friends. Somebody knows a guy at the Enquirer. He calls his contact in Vegas. Somebody calls her parents…in three seconds the SWAT team will kick down their door…
“Gabby, you’re shaking.”
“I just want to be a married person for one night without the world knowing about it.”
Dash chuckled. It vibrated throughout her body, making her very aware of him. The robe slipped open and her breasts, hidden by a sheer layer of satin and lace, pressed against his body when he drew her against him. Her nipples hardened, anticipating his touch.
They hadn’t seen this much of each other during the year they’d secretly dated. They’d kissed, a lot, and enjoyed a quick grope over clothes in between scenes. She’d saved it all for tonight.
“We’re fine, Gabby,” he assured her. “We could walk the whole Strip tonight and nobody is going to notice us. There’s enough in Vegas to distract people. In fact,” he pulled away and she whimpered, “I thought we might stay an extra night.”
“But we’re going to New York tomorrow.” An outsider might have viewed their wedding as spontaneous, but they’d put a fair amount of planning into this week. Marry in Vegas, then off to Manhattan to shop for an apartment. Stage and TV auditions for Dash while she met with agents to discuss her ideas for projects.
“I know, but you deserve a proper honeymoon, however short. It’s not like we’re broke and have to go back to work immediately.”
“I know.” Assuming Wondermancer High enjoyed a long life in syndication, they wouldn’t have to work again with their combined income if they budgeted well. She wanted to work, though, and intended to distance herself from Tula Truebend.
He sat on the edge of the bed and kicked off his shoes. The white Polo he’d worn for the ceremony came next, discarded onto the carpet. Dash stretched his arms to the ceiling and Gabby marveled at the definition in his muscles. She couldn’t wait to trace every ridge and curve.
“I was thinking we’d go see Celine or Elton, or Cirque du Soleil,” he continued, shucking his pants and socks. Clad in his boxers, he scooted back to lie on the bed. “I’ll get tickets for whatever you want. I got the room for two nights either way, and New York isn’t going anywhere.”
He patted the vacant side of the mattress and eyed her standing form. The robe’s belt had come loose, exposing her legs and the red baby-doll barely covering her thighs.
“I’m not going anywhere, either,” he added.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time! Between the day job, the family, and other distractions, it’s a challenge to get a thousand words a day, but I do my best to get it done.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not as much as I’d like, but I’m working on a story set in Central Virginia, where I visit often.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For WAKING UP, I had to stay at a specific word count, so I had to write the story to suit the maximum. When I contracted FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED, my editor asked me to lengthen the story to meet print length. It took a few weeks, but I did it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
With both books, I learned quite a bit about the television industry as I researched it.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
This is always a difficult question for me, because I don’t picture anybody in particular when I develop characters. I suppose whoever has a good sense of humor gets the part.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep swimming.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just started Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney. Liking it so far.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably Dr. Seuss. My parents encouraged me to read from an early age.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I binge a lot of classic TV. Andy Griffith, All in the Family, M*A*S*H…they all have their moments.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
If I ever get to a sci fi con when Carrie Fisher’s there, I would be so blessed.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I do some knitting. I’ve made two Doctor Who scarves so far. Saving up for more yarn.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
In addition to what I mentioned above, I love Bob’s Burgers. Can’t get enough of it.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Classic rock: Rush, Zeppelin, Beatles, etc. I’m part Sicilian, and I do love pasta.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I really don’t know. I tried to write a comic strip with an artist friend. If I had the time I’d learn to draw.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find me at www.KathrynLively.com
Finish What You Started
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Finish-What-Started-ExStream-Love-ebook/dp/B01GRWHKLG
BN – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finish-what-you-started-kathryn-lively/1123895167?ean=9781786510501
KOBO – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/finish-what-you-started-5
ARe – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-finishwhatyoustarted-2077389-177.html
iBooks – http://buy.geni.us/Proxy.ashx?TSID=6218&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fbook%2Ffinish-what-you-started%2Fid1123167983%3Fmt%3D11
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/CurvedLines
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/UKCurves
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/AusCurves
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/CACurves
Kathryn Lively said:
Thanks so much for having me over today!