Please tell us something about yourself, Kate. I’m a sister in Christ, a wife, a mother, and a grandma. I was a bookseller 15 years and have a mountain of books, all of which I hope to read one day. I was born in Florida, but my dad’s job moved us around the U.S. a lot, so I’ve lived in many different places. After my husband and I married 36 years ago we settled near Seattle, Washington where I never tire of viewing the snow-capped peaks and evergreen forests. Our son and grandson live nearby too, so we get to enjoy being together often. I love animals, cats in particular, and have a persnickety feline named Coco who likes to stand in front of my computer screen whenever she wants my attention. I’ve been writing for years and finally contracted with Bethany House for my debut novel, For Such A Time, which released in April 2014.
I’m going to start with some questions writers in particular may be interested in.
What sparked your interest in writing? As a child I loved writing poetry. Everyone in the family received handcrafted birthday cards filled with my purple prose. The talent also served me whenever I was in hot water with my mom. I’d write her a sweet poem of apology and tuck it under her pillow at night. The next day all was forgiven. We still joke that she was my first critic. Later, I wrote short stories for class then song lyrics to accompany my playing the guitar. I’d reached my early thirties and read every historical romance novel written by my favorite authors before I decided to try crafting my own.
Tell us about your journey to getting published. As I said, I began serious novel writing when I reached my thirties. During that time, I was also in the construction industry then semi-retired to become a bookseller, writing all the while. I spent twenty years submitting manuscripts, receiving rejection letters, revising, rewriting, and starting the process all over again, determined to see my book in print. At first, I tried to publish in the secular romance market and came close a few times. I was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest, and I landed my first agent. But God has His way of intervening, and it was only after I came full circle with my Christian faith and received a huge nudge from the Spirit that I completed my first inspirational novel, For Such A Time. Soon after, I found an agent and a publisher for that story and recently celebrated the release of my second novel with Bethany House.
Did you get an agent before submitting to a publisher? Yes, I did, and today that seems to be the norm for authors seeking a traditional publisher. Years ago when there were fewer writers and more publishing houses, one could submit directly to an editor and then find an agent; now submission invitations from an editor are rare and usually occur with a conference meet.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write? I love writing in my office, a tower room which we added onto our home several years ago. I enjoy a lovely view of our bay; I have my Celtic weapons against one wall, and a floor-to-ceiling library along the other. Can you tell I used to be a bookseller?
I start writing in the morning when I feel most creative, Monday through Friday with weekends off, unless I’m on deadline.
What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Outlines, Seat of the pants?) I’m a plotter, not a panster. I like to create a story outline once I’ve done my research on the place and time period I’m writing about. My characters usually develop from the story. Each day I start by reviewing the pages I wrote the day before, to make any immediate corrections and to reacquaint myself with the scene, then I try and write at least 4-8 new pages. Some days the words come easier than others, so allowing myself an average keeps me motivated. Once the first draft is finished, I begin to revise and edit, which includes sharing pages with my critique group of many years. I find their “fresh eyes” and offering suggestions and comments invaluable.
What words of advice would you give to beginning writers? Believe in yourself and keep writing. If God has other plans, He’ll make them known to you. Also, finish the book! Years ago, I made the mistake many new writers make, polishing those first three chapters until they gleam but struggling to get past that point. Turn off the editor and simply write. As someone wise once said, it’s easier to edit a terrible first draft than it is to edit a blank page
Ok, now the story:
I enjoyed your first book, For Such a Time. It was a riveting WWII love story of suffering, sacrifice, and redemption. And it was fascinating the way you based it on the Biblical account of Esther.
Thank you, Janet! For Such A Time is not only my first published novel, it was a spiritual journey for me as well.
Your latest book, Not By Sight, takes place during WWI. Please tell us a little more about the story.
I’d love to! Not By Sight is a story about heroine, Grace Mabry, a young, wealthy suffragette who arms herself with white feathers of cowardice and crashes a London ball in 1917 to seek out draft dodgers. When she bestows her first feather on hero, Jack Benningham, future earl, renowned playboy, and pacifist, she cannot know he’s really a spy working for the British Crown. Nor does she realize her actions will set into motion danger and treachery that follow them even to the pastoral landscape of Kent.
God often teaches us something through our writing. Is there a spiritual theme in Not By Sight?
Absolutely. The novel’s title is taken from Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) “We live by faith and not by sight” The story speaks to the folly of judging others based on appearances and world views, consequently being blinded to the truth. How we must first look with the heart, the eyes of Love, as that is where real truth resides.
Can you tell us anything about a current work in process?
Right now, I’m doing research for my next book with Bethany House, another WWI historical romance set in Europe. And while each of my novels is standalone, readers may recognize a character or two from Not By Sight in the next story!
Thank you so much, Kate, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy your stories.
Janet, thank you for hosting me today! And readers, I hope you’ll visit my website, www.katebreslin.com and click on the social media buttons to find me on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!
Where can readers find your books?
Both of my novels are available at most retail bookstores and online. Readers can also find book buy links at www.katebreslin.com, for both paperback and e-book versions.
Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing’s 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, is a Christy award, RITA award, and Carol award finalist. Kate’s second novel, Not By Sight released in August, 2015. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington’s beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas.