Hi friend! I pray you are finding peace and a new rhythm in these crazy times. I know I’m still struggling with the latter now that my kids are home full time and we’re having to watch my MIL extra closely. But we are choosing joy and to find leveity wherever we can.
For today’s distraction, I have the wonderful Kathleen Denly to introduce you to as well as a GIVEAWAY to brighten your day. (Check it out all the way at the bottom!)
Kathleen Denly writes stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. She enjoys finding the lesser-known pockets of history and bringing them to life through the joys and struggles of her characters.
Sunny southern California, a favorite setting in her stories, is also her home. She lives there with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. Always happy to hear from her readers, you can email Kathleen and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You might also consider joining Kathleen’s Readers’ Club to learn the latest updates, receive exclusive content and be eligible for KRC exclusive giveaways!
Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Kathleen with rapid-fire.
CC: Sweet or Unsweet Tea?
KD: Neither. I don’t do tea or coffee or soda. I’m kind of a pain to hang out with at coffee shops. LOL But I do love lemonade and I’ll happily drink tap water.
CC: Lemonade and water are so much better for you anyway. 😉
CC: Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?
KD: Oh tough choice! Seriously, do I have to choose? I live in San Diego where I can spend my morning on the beach and drive just two hours to spend my evening in the mountains. (Don’t be jealous. 😉 )
CC: Hard not to be jealous! That seems like the perfect balance!
CC: Homebody or Love to Travel?
KD: Both. (I’m starting to feel like a bit of a pest by refusing to choose, but it’s true.) When I’m at home I really want to stay there and have gone days without even leaving the house. BUT before I met my husband I wanted to be a flight attendant and I still have a map marked with all the places I want to see. So far, I’ve visited 25 of the mainland states, plus Hawaii. I’ve been to France, Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco once, twice to South Korea & China and three times to Mexico.
CC: That is a lot of traveling! I only have Hawaii and Alaska left for the US, but my international travel is limited to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and Jamaica.
CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?
KD: Definitely a night owl! My mom says I even moved more at night when I was in the womb and I gave her loads of trouble with not wanting to sleep as a toddler. It’s been the same ever since. In my perfect world, days would begin at 11am and end somewhere around 2 or 3 in the morning. My creative juices flow best after dark (especially after my four littles have settled down to sleep).
CC: I’m amazed you have the energy. I still prefer night, but family life has reduced me to bed at 10:30 and up at 6:30. I’m a bit jealous of you…again.
CC: Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?
KD: I’m going to pretend you didn’t just ask if it was okay to damage a book rather than find something else to hold your place. 😉 I wrote a whole blog post on book crimes and this was one of them.
CC: Whew! I always cringe while waiting for an answer to that one! Bookmarks all the way.
Thanks for sharing those fun things. Let’s dive right into talking about your debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness!
She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help.
Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.
Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.
When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?
CC: Who was the most challenging character to create and what made them so challenging?
KD: Alice was by far my most difficult character to write because her outward personality and external goals are so similar to Cecilia’s. On the surface they could seem the same but, their maturity levels and who they are at their core is very different. They have always been two distinct people in my mind but, figuring out how to show their differences on paper was tricky. Since Alice appeared after Cecilia, she bore the burden of distinguishing herself. I’ve been assured by readers that I did manage the task, however.
CC: I agree, you did make both Cecilia and Alice distinct characters. I never once felt they were remotely the same.
What was some of your favorite research you discovered while writing this story?
KD: When researching the way mail was handled in 1854 San Francisco, I discovered a fascinating etiquette rule. To receive one’s mail most people had to stand in line for several hours. There were windows assigned to various sections of the alphabet at which men stood to receive their mail. Then there was the “ladies’ window” where the ladies waited to receive their mail. However, if the lady didn’t wish to stand in line, she could send a male to wait in her place. The trouble with this was that any gentleman standing in line at the ladies’ window was expected to give up his place to any lady arriving after him. So he was constantly moving to the back of the line. Can you imagine how long a man might wind up standing there, waiting for the very last lady to arrive before he finally reached the window? I couldn’t resist writing this into my story.
CC: That is really fascinating, and it makes me so glad I don’t live in that time. I’m rather a fan of having things delivered.
What about writing in general? Does it exhaust you or invigorate you?
KD: I find writing both invigorating and exhausting. By the time I reach my word count goal each day, my mind is mush and my sentences start looking like my nine-year-old wrote them, BUT my mood is somewhere in the clouds and I feel an incredible peace that makes handling the rest of life’s struggles slightly easier. I think this is because when I write I am in constant communication with God. I begin each session with Bible study and regularly pause to ask God to show me where the next scene should lead or how a particular character should react and what Truth He wants me to shine a light on through my story.
CC: I LOVE that routine. Anytime we commune with God, whether writing or otherwise, it is so refreshing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
KD: Arguing with my husband. If my husband and I have had a big blowout and haven’t completely resolved things yet (because he had to go to work or I had to go somewhere before we could finish our “healthy discussion”), then I am useless. I can’t sleep, don’t want to eat and definitely cannot write until he and I are good again.
CC: As much as that stinks, I am glad that it leads you to always resolve your “healthy discussions.” It’s good for your marriage and for our TBR piles. 😉
Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. What is your writing mascot, and why?
KD: My cat, Ana. Any time I’m writing in bed or on the couch rather than at my desk (which she can’t get to), she will find her way to my side and curl up for a nap. (Which is exactly where she is and what she’s doing as I type this.) OR she might start rubbing her face on my hands while I’m trying to type. That’s not quite as cute but, I’d still make her my mascot.
CC: She sounds like a cuddly cat. How sweet!
I have another great give away to continue the distractions.
One lucky winner will win an e-book copy of Waltz in the Wilderness, a serenity prayer magnet, a pocket cross, and some bible journaling stickers! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. A winner will be randomly chosen before Tuesday’s book review goes live (Tuesday, March 24), so make sure you get those entries in by midnight on Monday night! The e-book is open to international winners, however, the magnet, stickers, and cross are limited to the contiguous United States only. (Sorry, friends!)
I’m praying for you during these crazy times. Stay in touch (virtually of course) and keep reading!