Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Spotlight: Kathy Otten
Today, we have Romance Author Kathy Otten visiting us at Just Write! Let's ask Kathy some questions. . .
~ What kind of stories/books do you write?
I love writing historical romance, especially from the time of the Civil War through the end of the Cowboy era.
~ How long have you been writing?
I’ve made up stories and written them down since I was a kid.
~ How long have you been writing and seriously pursuing publication?
I submitted a contemporary romance to Harlequin about sixteen years ago. They told me my hero wasn’t heroic enough. I didn’t know what that meant or how to fix it, so I put everything on the back burner until about six years ago. My oldest was a senior in high school then, and I had more time to join writers groups. I learned about point of view, show vs. tell, character goals, and hooks. I rewrote some of my old novels and came up with some new short stories. Once I worked up my courage, I began the long process of submitting to agents and editors.
~ How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?
Well, I had the one novel, which had been rejected by Harlequin and another historical western that I was submitting to agents. I had a third novel, but it wasn’t finished, because I’d come to the middle and didn’t know where to go with it. But I also had a Civil War short story, Redemption of a Cavalier, which I wrote after reading the book, Characters and Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card. This story which kind of began in my own personal point-of-view exercise, evolved into a story I thought I could submit.
~ Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”
I’m afraid I never really received, “The Call.” I found a little blurb about The Wild Rose Press in a news letter from my writers organization. They are an e-publisher, but at the time, I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t even own a computer. My daughter helped me retype my old-fashioned, typed pages into a file on her lap top. She set me up with an e-mail account and I submitted the query letter for my Civil War short story.
I was elated when I got a letter back asking for the story. The editor read it and asked for changes, which once again I had to have my daughter help me. Once they were done and submitted they offered me a contract, naturally via email. And that was my beginning.
~ To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email? Scream? Faint?
I’m not exactly the scream or fainting type.
~ How did you feel when you found out you sold?
I still didn’t have a computer so I would have to ask my daughter every day after school, if I could check my email. She would grumble and say hurry up, because she always wanted to scroll around the internet and chat with her friends. So when I saw the email about the contract I was happy, but not quite sure what to do next.
~ Who was the first person you told?
I was in my daughter’s bedroom at the time so I naturally told her. She wasn’t exactly jumping up and down. It was more like a, “Oh, that’s good.”
~ How did you celebrate?
I never celebrated. My daughter then had to create a file to save the contract and the other info that came with it. Afterward there was an exasperating (for my daughter at least) explanation on how to go to the library and print out the contract. When I told my husband at dinner, all he said was, “How much money are you going to get?”
I now have my own computer and I’m gradually learning to use it without constantly having to ask the kids how to do something.
My newest story is a historical western, holiday novella, which was released for Christmas Dec. 9th.
An Ordinary Angel
by Kathy Otten
The Wild Rose Press
A lifetime of polite indifference is all Julianne Spencer sees when she envisions a future with her current suitor, Mr. Terrel Lee Parker. She is looking for someone more passionate, more heroic, who can love her for who she really is and not the proper young lady she pretends to be. Her future seems hopeless until Christmas Eve when fate drops a wounded outlaw at her door and she comes to realize true heroes can be found inside even ordinary men.
“I-I don’t hate you, Mr. Parker.” In all her nineteen years, Julianne Spencer had never been so ashamed of her actions. She shifted uncomfortably, suddenly feeling as shy and awkward as Mr. Parker usually appeared.
His dark gaze searched her face for just a moment, as though judging her sincerity, then acknowledged her statement with a slight nod.
“I-I am so sorry for my part in that conversation you overheard. Those comments—what Maggie repeated—what I said—I didn’t really mean it. I was just…”
He nodded again.
“I accept your apology, Miss Julianne. And you needn’t worry. I’ll not impose myself on you again. Merry Christmas.” Ever the southern gentleman, he politely touched his finger to his hat brim and stepped into the street.
“Mr. Parker, wait!” Anxiety gave her voice an edge rarely heard in her usual dulcet tones. He swung to face her, his brow arched in surprise.
“I wanted to say—that is— You’re a nice man. You have excellent manners. You never swear, or smoke, or drink. You dress well. You are polite and articulate. But after all these months of church socials, dances, and Sunday dinners, I-I’ve never seen you dirty.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’ve never seen you dirty.” Her shoulders rose and fell as she heaved a frustrated sigh. “I mean, I still don’t know your favorite food. I don’t know what makes you angry or how to make you laugh. And I don’t believe you know me any better.
“I can almost see the two of us, ten years down the road, still caught up in this cold relationship of polite indifference. I am sorry, Mr. Parker, but you deserve more than that, and so do I.”
You can contact Kathy through her web site at www.kathyotten.com
Thanks for a great interview, Kathy!!!