Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Kathryn Lane and my age is a national secret – ssssh – did I hear someone whisper:“She’s over fifty-five!”
Fiona: Where are you from?
Kathryn: I was born in El Paso, Texas but I grew up in northern Mexico – a small town called Casas Grandes.
Now I’ve come full circle. For the last ten years, I’ve returned to Texas – I live a bit north of Houston, Texas with my husband.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Kathryn: I grew up in a bilingual-bicultural part of Mexico near the US border. Horseback riding and attending my bilingual school took up much of my formative years. I also started painting at age six and thought that’s what I would devote my life to, but as a young adult I found that an artistic path of painting in oils leads to a starving artist existence!
When I moved to the United States, I enrolled at the University of New Mexico where first I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.The need to earn a living made me turn my back on the arts, and then enrolled in the MBA program where I studied economics, accounting and other business courses. I became a Certified Public Accountant (Chartered Accountant) and a Certified Management Accountant. I relocated to New Jersey where I worked for a multinational corporation in international finance and traveled extensively for them for two decades. After jetting to over 90 countries, my travels gave me the opportunity to fulfill another passion – to write fiction.
Now I write stories and novels inspired by Latin American cultures I have experienced firsthand during my career as an international finance executive.
In addition to traveling to over 90 countries, I’ve had the privilege to livein four: Mexico, the United States, Australia and Argentina. Each country has left a huge imprint in my life and at times it feels as if I’ve had several lifetimes. For example, living in Princeton, New Jersey felt so different from living in Mexico City even though I was working during that time for the same multinational corporation. Living in Buenos Aires felt totally different from the Australian outback.
I’ve been so lucky to live in such completely diverse areas of the world and it’s given me the benefit to use my knowledge of cultures in my writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Kathryn: My first novel, Waking Up in Medellín,published by Pen-L Publishing has won 5 awards. The most important one is the Silver Falchion for Best Fiction Book of the Year 2017 given by Killer Nashville – an incredible honor for a debut novel. They also awarded Waking Up in Medellínthe Silver Falchion for Best Fiction Adult Suspense 2017. In addition, The Readers Favorite Book Awards honored me with a Silver Medal for best Fiction Thriller-2017.
Coyote Zone, my second thriller was released in October 2017. I’m excited it has received very good reviews! It’s abouthigh stakes danger in a kidnapping and human trafficking story.Other subplots woven into the plot, such as romance, making this an exciting read.
I have a collection of short stories, Backyard Volcano and Other Mysteries of the Heart. (Alamo Bay Press-April 2017). These stories contain:
- A fusion between fantasy and reality
- Symbolism, punctuated by hints of surrealism
- Stories with unusual twists and turns – events which happen in everyday life of Latin cultures
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Kathryn: I started writing 8 years ago. I simply needed to write down fiction bouncing around in my head. Characters started talking in my head and I realized I had to write their stories. Sounds crazy, but this occurs to a lot of writers!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Kathryn: Even though I’d had several short stories published, I considered myselfa true author when Waking Up in Medellin was so well received by readers. It validated me as an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Kathryn: In my corporate job, I had travelled on assignment to many countries around the world. When I took an early retirement, it was with the idea of returning to the arts. Yet instead of returning to the canvass, my head filled with ideas for poems and stories. I’d even wake up in the middle of the night with ideas and I’d jot them down. On my novel Waking Up in Medellin, the protagonist – Nikki Garcia –kept hanging around until I completed her story. Her story is a trilogy. I’m currently writing the third adventure.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Kathryn: Waking Up in Medellin– my publisher came up with the title so readers would know the book took place in a foreign location.
Coyote Zone – my husband suggested it. I liked it and my publisher LOVED it.
My collection of short stories –Backyard Volcano and Other Mysteries of the Heart – the title came about in collaboration between my short story publisher and me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Kathryn: My novels are suspense-mystery/thrillers. Timing is an important aspect of a thriller. That’s an issue I work and re-work to get it right. The other aspect is the ample research that goes into a novel – I tend to over research and end up using only slivers of it in my novels – but without it, my booksmight nothave the right feeling.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Kathryn: Waking Up in Medellin is pure fiction, yet it is set in a world I knew early in my corporate career as a fraud auditor. Just as John Grisham is an attorney who writes about lawyers, I was an international fraud auditor who used that background as the setting for my first novel. The characters and story are all drawn from my imagination.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Kathryn: Yes! I love the adventure and educational aspects of travel. Since my novels are placed in overseas locations, it is essential for me to travel and check them out.
Much of the story in Coyote Zone takes place in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. A lot of Americans and Canadians spend time in that Mexican colonial town. After I’d completed the manuscript, my husband and I returned to San Miguel for a few days.
Descriptions of what I’d already written needed to be corrected. Since that town is so loved by American and Canadian visitors, I would have made a mistake not to travel there to capture the feel of the town. More importantly, all the specifics, even when fictionalized, need to be as accurate as possible!It’s necessary to make a person feel they are in the middle of the action.
I travel to my locations twice – once before I start a novel and again after I’ve completed the manuscript.By using this process,I can re-write sections before I submit the manuscript to my publisher.
When I travel for writing purposes, I notice details I would not have noticed as a casual tourist. As you might guess, I write aboutplaces I like to visit!The manuscript I’m working on currently takes place in Spain and France. My husband and I traveled there for three weeks in September 2017 and I hope to spend another three weeks in October of 2018 before I submit the new thriller to my publisher.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kathryn: My publishers. Covers sell books and publishers usually know best.
Coyote Zone is the exception for me. I took a photo with my iPhone of a full moon outside our house. Then we added graphics ofpeople sneaking across a border with city lights in the background. When I submitted the manuscript, I also sent the design to my publisher. They liked the idea, since it represented the main topic of the story, but they improved upon the design. Their finished product is a very effective book cover.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Kathryn: I want readersto feel they are side by side with the protagonist and living her experiences. And I hope readers enjoy the journey! My novels are thrillers and people read thrillers for entertainment.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Kathryn: Favorite writer – wow, it’s hard to pick one from so many great writers. Frederick Forsyth, Craig Johnson, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez would make my list of top ten favorite authors. Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal remains one of my favorite books, even though it’s the first novel he wrote. Craig Johnson – I like his Longmire series.It’s so American and deals with issues which divide people, yet he does it with such finesse. Ishiguro’s writing is varied and I like the way he deals with life as if he were viewing people and their lives through a prism unique unto himself which he shares as if the first person narrator is not aware of the reading audience.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Kathryn: One of my professors, who recommended my short stories to various publications, gave me incredible support. He became my mentor and now he is the owner of Alamo Bay Press, the publisher of my short story collection. He has helped other new writers as well.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Kathryn: Absolutely. I had an international finance career with a major multinational corporation before I turned to writing. Now after 8 years of writing, I can tell you being an author is not only a full time job, it is a very demanding career where you must write creatively, you must market your novel, and convince readers to purchase your books.
So you do it all, in essence—create, market, and sell. Each one of these categories includes extensive planning, and each phase includes research.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Kathryn: I’m happy with the result of my efforts on Coyote Zone, my latest novel.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Kathryn: I learned how pervasive human trafficking is on a global basis. Since we live near Houston, Texas, which unfortunately is one of the biggest trafficking centers in the US, I was motivated to write fiction about this issue. By penning a novel about human trafficking, particularly children who fall victim to this unspeakable crime, I feel I’m bringing out awareness of the topic. Awareness is the first step in combating human trafficking. Let me add that while human trafficking is a dark topic, my novel is not dark. It consists of an investigator who goes undercover to save a kidnapped child. It is a thriller so it contains elements of a thriller!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Kathryn: Gal Gadot to play Nikki Garcia.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Kathryn: If you want to write, make sure it is for the love of writing. Not many authors make it big and most authors have day jobs to support themselves as writing is one of the most competitive businesses around.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Kathryn: I hope you will buy my books and then tell all your friends to buy. Please don’t loan books, tell your friends to purchase e-books – they are inexpensive. Authors make a living when their books sell. If they earn enough money, they can continue to bring you good books you’ll want to read.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Kathryn: Glass Houses by Louis Penny
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Kathryn: It was a children’s book about a dwarf who lived at one of the Maya archaeological sites in Mexico.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Kathryn: When I make mistakes, I love to laugh at myself. However, if I make a terrible mistake in writing, or I find errors in my books after they are published, that makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Kathryn: Tolkien. Although, I don’t write fantasy, his writing has influenced so many writers today. His wisdom awes me.
Since I love Forsyth, I’d always wanted to meet him – and I did five years ago in Houston while he was promoting The Kill List. He was amazing!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Kathryn: Cooking, traveling, learning – the last two explain why research is so important to me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Kathryn: Adventure film, thrillers, true stories of people who overcome great adversity.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Love Spanish, Italian, and Indian food.
Bright colors – red, magenta, purple, yellow. Early in life, as a painter in oils a wide palette of color mesmerized me. In a fabric store in India several years ago, I was so enthralled with the patterns and colors, it was hard to leave the shop.
Music – a big range from Spanish classical guitar to Indian sitar, folk music, classical, jazz, soft rock – but I don’t know anything about music. It’s just pleasing to the ear.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Kathryn: She should have started writing sooner in life!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
- Website – kathryn-lane.com
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kathrynlanewriter/
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kathrynlaneauthor/
- Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/102104411030225875710
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/kathrynlanebook
- Linked-in- https://www.linkedin.com
- Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/kathrynlaneauth/
- BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=waking+up+in+medellin
- Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15096935.Kathryn_Lane?clear_facebook_session=true
Amazon Authors page – https://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Lane/e/B01D0J1YES/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Links to books are:
Waking Up in Medellin – https://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Medellin-Intrigue-Suspense/dp/1942428944/
Coyote Zone – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1683131088
Backyard Volcano – https://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Volcano-Other-Mysteries-Heart/dp/1943306044/