Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with women's fiction author Kathryn Elliott

I’m turning the spotlight on women’s fiction author Kathryn Elliott today. She’s here to chat about the writing life, and in particular, her debut novel, Adding Lib.

During her virtual book tour, Kathryn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Kathryn. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a lot of things; wife, mother, publicist, and dementia advocate. But to pay the bills, I’m a lifetime journalist with awards in political satire, human interest, and commentary. I can’t not write. It’s part of who I am, and how I keep myself in cute shoes and wine. A girl needs priorities.

I believe in laughter's healing power, and want Adding Lib’s characters strengths and flaws to resonate with readers long after "The End."

Although Adding Lib is my debut novel, and the first in the McGinn series, I’ve ghost written for many in the political non-fiction market.

Please tell us about your current release.
Women’s fiction, Adding Lib is a blend of humor and heartstrings.

Libby O'Rourke has a short fuse. Her mother, Mae, carries a big match. Engulfed in the never-ending life-juggling of suburbia, Libby fails to notice Mae's emerging dementia symptoms until a kitchen fire puts the problem on the front burner. Proficient in the art of denial, Mae brushes the shattering diagnosis aside and sets her sights on a matchmaking crusade for her eldest son. After all, if her lucid days are numbered, Mae’s going to make damned sure he makes it down the aisle while she still recognizes the groom. It’s going to take a razor wit and an iron stomach to handle Mae's diagnosis. Thankfully, just like her mother Libby has both.

What inspired you to write this book?
It wasn’t a what so much as a who that inspired me to write Adding Lib. I’m a cancer survivor, and Lib was a bucket list item.

In its early stages, Adding Lib remained a title less idea, a handful of characters chatting up a storm in my head until one day they got to loud to ignore and I sat down to jot out an outline. That same week, a good friend, and fellow long-term survivor relapsed – Stage 4 stomach cancer. It was a devastating blow. Writing stopped; life stopped.

A month before she died, when we knew chemo was futile we took a drive up the coast. Laughing and remembering the good times, she made an off-handed comment that resonated. “Life’s funny,” she said. “You never know what’s coming – I guess we add lib through the tough parts to get to the laughter.”

And there is was – my title, and inspiration to carry on.

Excerpt from Adding Lib
At three o’clock, excess wine and a bladder weakened by two pregnancies woke Libby from a sound sleep. She crept to the bathroom as quietly as two-hundred-year-old floor boards would allow and, on the way back, noticed the phone’s blinking message light.

“Crap.” Mae’s message taunted from the answering machine. “What to do?” she said to herself. “Check it, or go back to bed?” Years of maternally ingrained guilt won out as she pressed play.

“Hi Lib,” Mae’s recorded message played. “It’s your mother.”

“Color me surprised.” Libby groaned.

“I just got back from my visit with Dr. Cooper. You remember him, he removed Daddy’s planter’s wart.”

“TMI Mom, TMI.”

“Anyhow, he did a splendid job with my colon and said I had none of those dirty pollocks.”
“Polyps, unless you’ve got a ten-foot abstract in your small intestine.”

“You can watch now. Did you know that? They have a camera in your bum the whole time, fascinating really. Anyway, a few of my other test results were a bit off, and he wants me to see a neurologist for some silly reason. Nothing to worry about, just a little blip to check out. Anyhow, I need someone to take me for the appointment, and I was hoping you could find the time. If not, don’t worry, I’ll call your brother Sean. I’m sure he can drop anything less important than his mother.”

“Of course. He’s Jesus.” Libby’s eyes rolled.

“Take care, sweetie. Call me when you can, love to all.”

Libby replayed the message and returned to bed. Blip speculation haunted her dreams.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Finding Caroline – the second in the McGinn Series is up next. The story continues where Adding Lib leaves off and explores the relationship of Libby’s brother, Sean McGinn and her best friend, Caroline Duffy. (Steamy goes up a notch!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ah…my moment of glory. Third grade. Poetry contest. Catholic school. Did you know there are seven things to rhyme with Jesus and still not offend an entire diocese!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
On the fiction front, I write primarily at night in the company of my loving Labrador, Maggie. She’s a good springboard for character development. During the day I’m typically running from parenting to publicist duty with equal frenzy.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Yeah, that’s another Catholic school scar. I can only craft smut behind a locked door. I blame Sister .Marilyn. She swore Jesus could see impure thoughts. My therapist disagrees.

Come to think of it, I do have a second quirk, or maybe it’s a strategy? I need to talk out dialogue before jotting even a first draft down. It helps me to get tone right – tone is a killer to convey.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sean Cassidy’s wife. Or a veterinarian. I’m oh-for-two.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just my thanks. Writing takes a devotion and dedication, knowing someone takes the time to appreciate my work is a gift.


Thanks, Kathryn!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

What book do you wish you could have written?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mai! I'm a huge Roasmunde Pilcher fan; Coming Home was a favorite. Thanks for stopping by.

Barbara Bettis said...

Love your Sister Marilyn 'quirk.' We all much have our special Sister Marilyns, no matter our religious backgrounds LOL. I still have to write around sex scenes, then drop them in later, when it's quiet in the house and I'm alone. Best of luck with your book!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Barbara. :)

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by, Rita!

MomJane said...

I loved the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Ashantay said...

Great excerpt and blurb! Wishing you much success with your debut and upcoming books.

Unknown said...

Fantastic interview! Thank you for the great post and contest!

Stormy Vixen said...

Enjoyed the excerpt and interview! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! And Lisa, a big thanks for hosting!