I met Kate online at ACFW. I'm happy to introduce her to you and tell you about her new book A Portrait of Marguerite.
I recognize aspects of my personality in several of my characters, particularly the ones who long to be creative, be it in a painting studio, music room, in their garden, or in their kitchen. And I relate to my heroine’s struggling with her faith. I didn’t become a Christian until mid-life, and recall my first questions about whether God even existed.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
If my parents were still alive they’d say my quirkiest move was buying and operating Fast Eddies Restaurant in Bellingham, WA, in my late-twenties. But later on, they didn’t approve of my selling cars at four dealerships, either.
Your life sounds really interesting. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, then writing poems and songs for my kids, now age twenty and twenty-seven. I made a stab at writing a romance on an old-fashioned typewriter, but left the manuscript unfinished. Then about eight years ago while journaling, the first pages of A Portrait of Marguerite seemed to pen themselves out on the page. Being what I like to label persistent (rather than slightly compulsive) I kept on going and going.
Persistence pays off, doesn't it? Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m a women’s fiction fan, and keep extras by my bed so I never run out. Besides enjoying a good read, I want to know what others in CBA and ABA are writing. Every morning I start the day by reading Nick Harrison’s Magnificent Prayer, a wonderful daily devotional. And I end my days reading the Bible.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have several women’s fiction manuscripts looking for homes. Stage Fright is the offbeat story of a wanna-be-soloist traveling through Great Britain with her kooky church choir. In Reinventing Ruthie, a newly single woman rediscovers her life’s purpose in the last place she thought to look.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
One of my biggest challenges in life is getting enough restorative sleep. To prepare for a restful night, I skip the evening news, climb into bed early and enjoy a good novel, then read the Bible. Over the last six months I’ve slowly worked through the Old Testament with the aid of Through the Bible with J Vernon McGee.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
If I’d had a daughter, I might have named her after my fabulous sister, Margaret, so Marguerite seemed a good choice for my heroine in A Portrait of Marguerite. I try to keep each name in sync with the character’s personality, but also different enough from other character’s names so readers can keep them straight.
I had to learn that last part. My critique partners would tell me when names were too much alike, and I've had to change some of them. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My husband and I are empty nesters and are very proud of our two sons. Also, the letters and telephone calls I’ve received from readers have given me great satisfaction and a feeling of profound gratitude. I will never get over the sense of amazement when I connect with a reader who is twenty years younger and hipper, or generations older and wiser.
James and I are also empty nesters. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I love dogs, but wouldn’t want to be one. I’m afraid I’m not obedient enough. And who could stomach all that dried kibble? Perhaps it would be fun to be one of the bald eagles we see soaring over our cabin on Camano Island, WA. For a day, anyway. I might overcome several of my fears (Too high! Too fast! Too scary!) at once.
What is your favorite food?
Recently I had to give up eating wheat. For this pasta and bread lover, it was agony at first. It makes my mouth water just thinking about a spongy loaf of Italian bread or a flaky croissant. Yummy! Luckily, my number one favorite food is dark chocolate. Whoever invented the flourless chocolate torte deserves a prize.
Flourless chocolate torte? I haven't had one. I'll have to try that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Boy, was I naïve when I went into this writing business, and that was good because I kept jumping over each hurdle as it presented itself. What helped me most was going to writers conferences, joining a critique group, and developing personal relationships. I have thanked God many times for connecting me with generous writers, editors, and publicity folks. Even if I’d never been published, I would have been rewarded abundantly by the friendships I’ve made.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
A Portrait of Marguerite is the unique story of a Seattle painter who reclaims her artistic passion and learns about forgiveness. When single mom Marguerite Carr’s son leaves for college, she feels as though her life has lost its purpose. Then a friend drags Marguerite to a drawing class—her first since college—and she rediscovers her long-lost passion for painting, finds unexpected love, and begins a relationship with God. I hope readers will be inspired to get creative, themselves, and to love the Creator.
Sounds wonderful, Kate. It's in my to-be-read pile. Thank you for spending time with us today.
Readers, if you would like to win a copy of A Portrait of Marguerite, be sure and leave a comment on this interview. You can read the first chapter by going to her web site:
And check out the other interviews. You just might find some books you have to read.