I've known Kathy Kovach for a longtime. We first became online friends. I'm happy to introduce you to her and the new novella collection she's in.
I never set out trying to write myself in, but occasionally I do see myself. When I do, I try to come up with something for that character is that is SO not me. Otherwise, I bore myself and find I can't live with that character for the duration of writing the book. In Cookie Schemes, Prudie Burke never had any of my traits. I made her a headstrong, thoroughly modern woman. Me? I'm not a feminist and never did have a passion to join the workforce.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In Germany, I cleaned the inside of airplanes for spending money. These were long, international flights, and we never knew what time exactly they'd be coming in. So, I'd get a call from the boss in the wee hours of the morning that it was due in such-n-such minutes, and then I'd hop on my twelve speed bike and pedal to the flight line. I got paid in Deutschmarks, which weren't taxed. I'd pay our utility bill and the rest was mine to spend whenever we went shopping or touring.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I've known I was a writer ever since I could form letters in kindergarten. I've always written poems and skits. I even attempted a romance once, but I was only ten years old at the time. What did I know about romance? My first paid work was at the age of six when I wrote a poem about a fat cat in a top hat, drew a picture that looked like a black snowman with whiskers, and sold it to my friends for a nickel. I made 25 cents!
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I like suspense, cozy, and romantic comedy. All fiction, of course!
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first finished manuscript was a suspense. It still may get published some day. I haven't given up on it totally. I was also a regular contributor to the e-zine "Romancing the Christian Heart." I wrote short romances, but the most popular was what I call the Odd Duck series, about an octogenarian, Aunt Molly, who teaches Biblical principles in unique ways. This series, as well as my other short stories and devotionals, can be found at http://www.storiesanddevotions.blogspot.com/. My first published novel was Merely Players with Heartsong Presents. It came out in December 2006 and is still available at http://www.heartsongpresents.com/book/detail/9781597893381/.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Up until Oct 2006, my life was settled down. We are empty nesters, and I quit a supervising cashier job about five years ago to write full time. However, as I write this, I'm temporarily raising my three grandchildren, ages 4, 2, and 4 months. In fact, I keep getting interrupted while answering these questions! How do I keep my sanity? I just keep repeating, "God is in control." "Cast your anxiety on Him for He cares for you." "Lord, help me to endure my blessings!"
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I like for there to be some meaning behind the names. I'll go to baby naming sites on the Web to find a name that reflects my character. In the case of Prudie in Cookie Schemes, I chose to go opposite. While Prudence sounds prudish, I made her want to break from tradition and desire to compete in a man's world. Set in 1955, Prudie is far from prudish as she applies for a job with her college degree under her belt. Alex, though, is exactly what his name implies. He's a leader, although not so much in the business world as in spiritual things. He loves God, and will not marry without God's express permission.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I suppose following through with my lifelong dream—writing—would be in the top ten. At my age, I don't consider my accomplishments as important as what God has been doing with me. It's more His accomplishments in me that have made me the person I am today. He gave me the longing for a family of my own, and I've used that by praying for the perfect mate and birthing two children. He gave me an ear for music, and I've used that by donating my time to the music ministry at church. He gave me an imagination, and I've used that by pursuing a career in Christian fiction.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Well, I've been compared to an owl—not because I'm wise, but because I'm nocturnal. But, I'd prefer to be compared to a cat. Also nocturnal, but cuddlier.
What is your favorite food?
Okay, I'm going to dispel a myth right here and now. Many of my friends think I'm a chocoholic, but if you give me the choice of an Almond Joy bar or Key Lime Pie (or any kind of cheesecake) I'll go for the pie every time! I also love Mexican food. My husband once complained that "nobody eats Mexican food three days a week." To which I replied, "The Mexicans do." He never complained again.
I love Mexican food, too. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I joke that I never could have started writing if it hadn't been for Bill Gates. The computer (and Word in particular) changed my writing life. But I think the greatest roadblock was my mindset. I had to stop complaining that I had no time to write,and just do it. As I said before, I quit my job to write full time. I don't recommend that to everyone, but I prayed about it and received clear confirmation. It wasn't the highest paying job, but I really liked it. So I asked God to take away my desire for this job if he wanted me to write. He promoted me to supervisor which put me under an acerbic boss who made it difficult to want to go to work every day. I discussed it with the hubby, and he was very supportive. So my greatest roadblock was actually myself. I had to decide when it was time to stop talking about writing and just do it.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Cookie Schemes, which appears in the 4-in-1 Barbour anthology Love Letters, is a novella set in 1955, (the year I was born, incidentally.) It follows the second generation that started in the first story by Mary Davis. (The other authors are Sally Laity and Jeri Odell.)
Prudie Burke is a thoroughly modern woman who wants to make her mark in the world of business, but meets a traditional cookie maker who must find a wife to fulfill his grandfather's legacy. When I was approached to write a story about unconventional love letters, the slips of paper in fortune cookies popped in my mind. My research came up with an interesting fact. In 1920, a Cantonese immigrant in Los Angeles made cookies that contained words of encouragement to the poor and homeless. Other research indicated that scripture has been used in fortune cookies.
I pulled all of this together and wrote about a man, Alex Prescott, who, because his grandfather had been a homeless youth taken in by a Christian Chinese cook, now takes his grandfather's special recipe and ministers with the scripture in his fortune cookies. When Prudie enters his life, he woos her with scripture.
Prudie has issues with God, and resists the beautiful words she reads, but eventually is won over, by Alex and by God. I'm not revealing the ending, but every romance ends with the guy getting the girl. I hope readers enjoy this story. I don't usually write anything even remotely historical, but I had a blast doing research on this one. The year 1955 was a transition period between the Korean war and Vietnam. I managed to include the affluence of post-war society as well as the Beat generation. It's worth a read just to hear the brief beatnik talk from one of the minor characters! Don't be nowheresville, Clyde—lay on a read and be cool, daddy-o! And that's the word from the bird.
Check me out at http://www.kathleenekovach.com/
Kathy, thank you for spending time with us. I can hardly wait to read this book. I was in junior high school in 1955.
Readers, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book. You also can still leave comments on Jerome Teel's and Sharon Hinck's interviews.
By the way, if you leave a comment, always check back in the next two weeks to see if you are a winner. We still have one winner from last weekend who hasn't sent me the mailing address. If I don't hear from this person this week, I'll choose another winner.