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Author Interview - Kathryn Shay

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Today, I'm interviewing author Kathryn Shay, author of The Betrayal.

Darcy Weston flees to her grandparents’ abandoned farm after her stepfather rapes her. There, she meets Jordan Mackenzie, a local boy, and the friendship of a lifetime begins. Jordan helps sustain Darcy with food and water, and his company, for months, but eventually her whereabouts are discovered. In subsequent years, the two young people try to stay in touch from their disparate worlds, but eventually they drift apart.

Flash forward twelve years. Jordan is an accomplished teacher and Darcy, an internationally famous, reclusive artist. They meet again when Jordan publishes a book that reveals secrets about Darcy's past. But they find themselves thrown together first over the scandal his book creates, then over a murder. Once again, they turn to each other for help and comfort as they deal with police investigations, a variety of suspects from each other's worlds, and a passion between them which won't be denied.

You have many novels featuring educators and/or law enforcement. Are these your favorite kinds of novels to write? What influenced you to write these kinds of novels?
I’ve written several books about educators because I was one for decades.  I love to tell stories about kids and the teachers who help them. I’m very biased, as I think the axiom, “Teachers change the world one kid at a time” is on target. Meanwhile, I get to tell a love story, which is also one of my favorite things to write about.

I do love to write about cops, especially female ones, but probably I’m most known for my firefighter series. I’ve done eight books about firefighters and have another brand new one I’m working on.  I’m truly inspired by their heroism, selflessness and courage. I spent years (literally!) with my town’s fire department, riding the trucks, going to training at the academy, eating in the firehouse with my guys and gals. I’ll tell you, the more you get to know them, the more in awe you are.

What/who is your writing muse? Where do you find inspiration?
I have no writing muse. I find inspiration everywhere—when I see a good teacher, when a cop story comes on TV, when a newspaper article discusses finding your birth mother, when I take my kids to the doctor, etc. Inspiration is all around and I think most writers get their ideas from real life, unless of course, you’re writing about vampires and werewolves.

You mention in your author's note in The Betrayal that it is a true by the "seat of [your] pants" novel in that you write it without knowing where the storyline would take you. Why did you decide to do this? When did you know the general idea of the story?
I did this because for years, I’d been writing books from a synopsis. It’s necessary to give editors a detailed outline in order for them to go to contract before the book is written. Since this story wasn’t under contract, I decided I’d just start with a premise: two young people meet when one is hiding out. They become lifelong friends and eventually lovers. That’s all I knew. About a hundred pages in (it’s a 450 pp manuscript) I found out that the hero would betray the heroine and she’d betray him right back. Finally, I realized there would be a murder.

How satisfied were you with the ending of The Betrayal? Were you shocked by any outcomes of the novel?
I love the ending ofThe Betrayal because I didn’t know right up until one of the last scenes who the bad guy was going to be. I had prepared for four or five people to perhaps be the culprit. After I finished the book, of course, I had to go back into the storyline (like a million times) to prepare the reader for this. Also, I had to revise many, many times because I didn’t know other aspects of the ending. Things just kept popping up and I didn’t prepare for them.

How have you enjoyed the experience of writing by the "seat of your pants"? Will you be doing this again?
I loved it and not only will I do it again, I already have. I wrote the three novellas in The Educators series with just a premise for each one. And now I’m writing the firefighter anthology the same way. It’s a whole lot of fun, if a bit more work that way.

If you walked into a bar and saw Jordan from The Betrayal, what would you do?
Oh my God, I’d die!!! I’d love to meet him in person. I’d tell him what a great guy I think he is, how I loved watching him grow up and how I think the fact that he never gave up on Darcy was wonderful.

If you could, would you go back change anything about your writing?
I know my books have been and continue to be successful. One thing I know I should change is the fact that I had two full time jobs for ten years: teaching and writing. But I just couldn’t quit my teaching job, I loved it so much. Still, my schedule took its toll on me: getting up at 4 a.m. to write before school started, writing weekends and vacations, that kind of thing isn’t really healthy.

If you could bring a character to life, who would it be and why?
Well, other than The Betrayal my two favorite books are Trust in me andCop of the Year. I’d probably bring the heroes to life from those two books. Next, I’d bring back all the female firefighters I’ve written.

In honor of the advent of summer vacation, what is your favorite vacation spot?
Jamaica—my own personal hero and I have gone there for years and am heading back next winter. It’s lush, lovely and relaxing.

Tell us five facts about yourself that we may not already know.
--The most important thing I ever did in my life was being a mother.
--I find great satisfaction in reaching out to others less fortunate than I’ve been. I volunteer at a soup kitchen and a battered women’s shelter twice a week.
--I love yoga.
--I could never watch TV when I was writing and teaching and raising kids, so now I watch a lot of it.
--I have a little Yorkie named Hattie whom I love dearly. Note: she was in The Betrayal.

Thanks, Kathryn, for taking the time to come here!

Kathryn's Website | Facebook | Twitter
Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has published 41 novels from the Berkley Publishing Group, Harlequin Enterprises, Bold Strokes Books and has several online works featured. She has won five RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award and several “Starred Reviews.” Her work has been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine.  She lives in upstate New York with her husband and children.

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Review of The Betrayal

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12 comments on "Author Interview - Kathryn Shay"
  1. Nice interview! I can't wait to read The Betrayal. :)

  2. Good interview! I loved the her Yorkie is in The Betrayal, pets can be an amazing inspiration, hehe.

    Hope to get to read The Betrayal soon.

    Hugs from Switzerland!

  3. Love the interview! Looking forward to read The Betrayal after this ^_^

  4. Great interview! I hope to read The Betrayal soon.

  5. I have to say the description of The Betrayal just pulled me in. Thank you for sharing how it all came about.

    Great interview!!

  6. I enjoyed the interview. The Betrayal looks very good!!!


  7. Iloved the interview this book sounds awesome ty !

  8. I really enjoyed the interview and I think your books sound great.

    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  9. Wonderful interview! The Betrayal sounds like something I would love to read!

  10. What a great interview This sounds like a great book and can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Nice interview. I'm looking forward to reading Betrayal.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  12. great interview! i cant wait to read the betrayal. ive seen this book everywhere and its one the wishlist. thank you for sharing!


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