It's time to swoon! Romance. *lusty sigh* I have a great guest for you today. Here is my interview with Kathleen Valentine author of Each Angel Burns;
Hello Kathleen, can you tell me a little about yourself?
I grew up in central Pennsylvania and both of my parents were avid readers. From the time I was a kid I thought writing books had to be the most important thing that anyone could do just because my parents were such book lovers. I graduated from Penn State with a degree in art and spent most of my working life as a graphic artist. I did a lot of commercial writing but it wasn't until about 10 years ago that I started writing fiction. Most of my career I worked in the advertising and marketing departments of large corporations but in 2002 my brother died and I realized that I wasn't going to live forever. I left my job in an engineering firm and started a small graphic design business -- and I started writing. It's been a very good way of life for me, not as lucrative as the corporate world but much happier.
What are your thoughts on the saying, 'A picture is worth a thousand words'? As a writer do you agree with this?
That's an interesting question and, of course, it is true. But what you have to remember is that with a picture those thousand words will describe what is going on in the imagination of the viewer. In writing, those thousand words belong to you. Actually, it would be rather an interesting exercise to write a thousand words describing a picture and then ask an artist to paint what your words evoked. It would be fascinating to compare what they paint to the painting that you described, wouldn't it?
If you could collaborate with another author, who would you choose and why?
I don't think I would. As part of my design business I work with a variety of authors and most writers have such a unique vision that it is hard to merge one's own vision with theirs. Even designing books for writers can be difficult if you can't let go of your own preferences and go with what the author wants. Some years back I worked with a man who was a commercial fisherman and lobsterman on a book he was writing about his life at sea. It was a big challenge because he was very attached to the book and I realized that, if the project was going to succeed, I had to take a back seat and only put my work in where he allowed it. I'm not sure I'd ever do that again.
What method of book promotion has worked best for you as an Indie?
Being very active on the internet, especially with my blog. I also use social media and discussion groups.
You have four eBooks out, with very positive reviews. I find this impressive, a strong backlist is key to being a successful Indie. Can you give us an overview of how your most recent release is going, and its storyline?
I have quite a bit of variety in my books. My two knitting books have been very successful, my cookbook/memoir has done okay but I tend not to promote my non-fiction. In fiction I have two novels and two collections of short stories.
My most recent novel is titled "Each Angel Burns". It is a story about three people, now entering their fifties who have come to big turning points in their lives. Gabe is a woodworker who is married with three grown daughters. Now that his kids are on their own he realizes that he and his wife have nothing in common. Peter is his best friend from childhood and is a Catholic priest. He is a brilliant, learned and devout man but back in college he fell in love with a woman he wanted to marry. She rejected him and he stayed in the seminary but now, thirty years later, she shows back up. Her name is Maggie and she is a sculptor and is trying to divorce her wealthy but abusive husband. She has purchased an abandoned convent on the Maine coast intending to turn it into a sculpture studio. For over a century there have been strange stories about mysterious goings-on there. Because of Peter she hires Gabe to help renovate the convent but very strange things are going on -- a very valuable statue of the archangel Gabriel disappears, her husband refuses to answer her calls and emails, and the bodies of murdered young women are washing up on the shores.... I hope that sounds interesting.
If I had to sum up your book covers in a word I would use 'graceful'. How did you come up with the designs?
Thank you. I love my book covers, too. As an artist I was always interested in collage and as a writer I realized that a good novel is like creating a collage. You pull together a bunch of seemingly disparate concepts (or images) and blend them artfully to create something new. My book covers are visual collages of the elements of the story inside.
Do you still nurture a hope to become traditionally published?
No, I don't think I would go that route at this stage. I had a few nibbles for The Old Mermaid's Tale but if I had gone with them I don't think it would still be in print. As an indie it can stay in print as long as I want it to.
Are there any new books you have coming out we should be on the lookout for?
I have three new books in various stages. Two of them are knitting books. One called "Knit Your Tail Off" is a collection of small lace projects. I hope to have it out by this fall. The second one is called Seaman's Scarves, Siren's Shawls and Stories. It is a collection of his'n'her coordinated shawls and scarves with a maritime theme. That's going to take more time. But my favorite project right now is my new novel, "Depraved Heart" which is about a former NFL football star who was convicted of the depraved indifference murder of his brother-in-law and served fifteen years in prison. He is now out on parole and is being reunited with his daughter who is the heir to a fabulous art collection. It is coming along quite nicely.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Here are Kathleen’s Links:
This is an excerpt from Each Angel Burns:
Silver light from a full Snow Moon rising out of the Atlantic just beyond Owl’s Head sweeps across the frigid black waters like a trail of angel’s wings and shimmers through the frozen night. On a Maine night in February when the snow glistens like shattered diamonds, red foxes in their plush winter coats gather under the brittle raspberry bushes tumbling over granite outcrops and watch the sky. Snowy owls soar between towering spikes of Douglas fir and swoop down through the moonlight to snatch a wayward mouse. Clumps of dusty blue juniper berries chatter against each other in the harsh night breeze. Timber wolves, lean and hard, in the deepest part of winter, trail up hillsides through stands of blue spruce in search of big-eyed white-tailed deer stripping away the bark of birch and silver maple trees. The deer scent the wolves and stand silent and watchful then turn and leap off like ballerinas, their plume-like tails raised in alarm.
And if the solar winds have stirred far off in the velvety night then showers of light—gold and violet, rose and green—paint the sky. But on an icy February night in Maine few brave the cold to see them as they dance and flicker over the waves below, over the scattered stones of a crumbling garden wall, over the bent frozen stems of lilies called Persian Priests in an old garden. The quiet thunder of the aurora lends music to the pristine night as moonlight sweeps through a window of antique glass diamond panes set in lead. In that room those priests charged with the care of the souls of virgin nuns pledged to silence and constant prayer took their rest away from the burdensome responsibility of so much virtue.
But this Snow Moon bears witness to a sacrament of a different kind. For on this night the room is graced with two lovers entwined. No longer young, these lovers drift in grateful awe that life has not forgotten them but brought them together at this time when they had thought such possibility long gone—a gift for the young, not for two who have traveled this far down life’s road.
They rarely speak when melted into one another. Words have lost meaning. He covers her and warms her and shelters her from everything that is not his love for her. She takes him in and creates safe harbor from all he braves in the world. Her desire for him takes his breath away. His cherishing of her comforts her heart. She places her hands on his face and lifts it just enough so he can see hers and see how they glitter with the gratitude she feels for him. He kisses her and sinks into her like warm silvery rain on pungent earth. They are long past the age of creating a new life. Instead they have created renewed life, each for the other.
The night deepens and grows ever more silent as they flow together in that most ancient form of worship. Oh God, they breathe, over and over. Oh God.
And God smiles and answers, yes.