I’m delighted to have another interview with a cracking author today; Kathy Bryson. Kathy’s novels, Feeling Lucky and Restless Spirits combine romance, fantasy, the paranormal and folklore. (Check them out here) So where does she get her inspiration from? Is Kathy a fan of ghosts and all things spooky herself? And what did it feel like to win the 2014 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award? Let’s find out…
Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here!
I’m a Composition and Journalism instructor who’s taking advantage of my free time to do something I’ve always wanted and that’s write! I’m about halfway through a series built on all the fantasy and folklore I’ve read and including the funny twists and turns that are inevitable in life.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Restless Spirits (released 16th June 2014)?
Restless Spirits explores what happens when you accidentally set your best friend’s house on fire – not that I’ve done this. But Marilee Harper, reeling from that one little mistake, is desperate to find another job. She agrees to convert an old hospital into a bed and breakfast, but faucets and lights turn themselves off and on, and old baseballs fly without help. Stressed and aggravated, Marilee wants nothing more than to redeem herself, even if it means hands off her sympathetic boss. Then the haunting goes too far and John goes missing, taken captive to the Otherworld!
What inspired you to write books involving ghosts and fairy folklore? Are you particularly interested in the paranormal?
I grew up reading fantasy – J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Asprin, Piers Anthony. I did read romances, but I was restricted to Barbara Cartland. My mother worried that I was reading about sex, but apparently not about battling demons. I was thrilled when the vampires came out in the 80s – I always knew there was something more in the shadows!
Restless Spirits was specifically drawn from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. When I read, “Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not,” it reminded me of the ghost shows on TV where investigators are listening so intently for odd sounds. I had to wonder, are those houses haunted or is it fairies?
Is your heroine in Restless Spirits, Marilee Harper, based on anyone in particular?
I swear I have never set fire to someone’s house! I have, however, had the phone conversations with Customer Service that Marilee has. I can’t say I’m proud of those moments, but looking back on them, I had to laugh about how worked up everyone got. My characters also experience all those interactions and quirky moments in life that make us see ourselves.
Your first novel, Feeling Lucky, won the 2014 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award for Best First Book (Congratulations on that, by the way!) Can you tell us a bit about the award and what it was like to win that accolade?
Thank you! I was and still am thrilled! The National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award is sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers, an affiliate of Romance Writers of America. Writing contests are as nerve-racking as any competition, but they’re very rewarding because you’re being reviewed by other writing professionals, including booksellers and librarians. It’s a nice affirmation that you’re doing good!
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I read up on self-publishing, but I wanted to work with an editor and didn’t feel ready to take on formatting and listing directly. I didn’t get any response from querying agents, but when I looked for small publishers, I ended up speaking with two, including SoulMate Publishing. There are a lot of options; it’s just a matter of doing your research and finding what works for you.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a writer?
I was in marketing for many years before I started teaching and had time to write. I enjoyed marketing, but I was ready for a change! Teaching, besides giving me time to write, really jazzes my brain. My students are relentless with the questions and suggestions for new media to explore!
I love the video trailer for Restless Spirits. How did that come about?
My good friend, Candida Martinelli, made that for me! My thought when I saw it was oh, she got it exactly! It’s actually the 2nd trailer for the book. My brother and his wife also made me a darling one as a Christmas present to be the pre-publication teaser – http://youtu.be/NqB1Zayu5Wo
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
The writers I go back to again are Terry Pratchett for fantasy and Georgette Heyer for romance. But really, I just love books. They are my #1 choice of how to spend time. The only thing that I stay away from is really graphic depictions of difficult situations like child abuse. I have to able to pull myself together for work the next morning.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
If you research fairies, Shakespeare comes up regularly. I thought the fairies would be fun, but in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Queen of the Fairies is tricked into falling in love with a donkey. You know she did not just get over that!
So, while each of my stories can be read independently, there’s a civil war heating up in their shared background. What’s an ordinary, little town to do when the legends – the fairytales and the folklore – turn out to be living next door? Well, in Book 3, Carla Higgins has to deal with losing her job and otherworldly neighbours who are squabbling on an epic scale. Good thing she’s got a handsome clurichaun on her side!
Thank you so much for participating in the interview, Kathy. It’s a delight to have you featured on my blog.
Book Links –
Book trailer – http://youtu.be/w4tcNgggk1E
Author Links –
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kathybryson22
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+KathyBryson22
Twitter – https://twitter.com/kathybryson2