8:57 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Kaylin McFarren

CONTEST: Win a t-shirt (valued at $35) and free PDF copy of Flaherty's Crossing by visiting and leaving comments on Ann's blog. Don't forget your email address so Kayling can contact you if you win.

AL: Hi Kaylin Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Kaylin: I've truly been looking forward to this. Thank you, Ann.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Kaylin: Well, I've been enjoying the wonderful spring weather we're having here in Oregon. The birds are chirping, our gardens are in full bloom, and for the past week, fishermen have been out on the river trying to catch Chinook Salmon. It's so fun watching all the outdoor activity, it's a struggle to get anything done inside.

AL: Please tell us about your newest release, Flaherty’s Crossing. For the readers: This is a wonderful sentiment of love. 100% of the proceeds on this book will be donated to the Cancer Research Center at Providence Medical Center in her father’s name.

Kaylin: Flaherty's Crossing is a story about choices and how they affect the rest of our lives. It's about finding faith in our selves and in others, realizing there are often two sides to every argument, and learning to forgive the ones we love before it's too late.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Kaylin: At this time, I'm working on an action-adventure manuscript titled Severed Threads, which I'm hoping to wrap up very soon. Here's the story in a nutshell: Believing herself responsible for her father's fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a priceless artifact from a sunken galleon, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her own life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father's death. When this on-going adventure comes to a final end, there will be three page-turning stories in the Severed Threads series.

AL: How much research time do you put into most of your books?

Kaylin: Flaherty's Crossing was truly a labor of love. Since it was based on my personal account, research was relatively limited. Not so with Severed Threads. I've spent the better part of five months in libraries, engaged in interviews, documenting and researching online. Since ancient Chinese history, scuba diving equipment, trade routes and dozens of other elements were involved, accuracy is most important.

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

Kaylin: In regard to settings, I tend to gravitate towards familiar locations and townships, but I've also discovered that traveling overseas extensively has allowed me to incorporate my experiences in unexpected ways. I'm totally convinced settings are like characters, needing to serve a purpose. In Flaherty's Crossing, Kate's estranged father lived in an isolated lake-side cabin. Her journey down a winding mountain road reflects her distorted reality and brings her to a major crossroads in her life.

As far as names in a story, sometimes I change my secondary characters' identities, looks, and traits, But for the most part, I have a pretty good sense of who my heroes and heroines are from the get-go and try to stay consistent throughout my writing.

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Kaylin: Not so much with Flaherty's Crossing. But with action-adventure or romantic suspense, my characters seem to want to go in all sorts of the directions, which is probably why I'm writing my next story as a series. Although I'm a professed pantster, I'm finding that giving myself and my "counterparts" perimeters in a pre-written summary helps.

AL: Okay, Kaylin, grab a glass of wine, a tissue and some chocolates, we’re about to get personal. After you lost your father, you began writing Flaherty’s Crossing, did this give you the closure you needed, the outlet in which to pour your heart? Is this the book that set your course in writing? I too have lost loved ones to cancer, my grandfather in 2006 and my father-in-law in September.

Kaylin: {sipping a glass of wine}. Well, I can honestly say Flaherty's Crossing became the source of my salvation. My father and I never had the ability to truly communicate… that is until he was diagnosed with colon cancer. I spent months at his bedside, hearing stories and learning about his past. Then one day, I received a dreaded phone call. When I arrived, my mother told me he'd been holding on, waiting for me. He sat up in bed and kissed me goodbye. Then he was gone. I was torn apart – hurt, angry, confused. I needed an avenue to vent, a medium to pour out my emotions, and I found it in writing. What originally started as a memoir to honor my father evolved into a fictional account. But somehow I could never let go of it. I just couldn't get that last chapter written. The manuscript went into a desk drawer for years and then one day, my eldest daughter convinced me to pick it up again.

Tweaking, editing, and polishing this manuscript was like opening an old wound. But in the process of analyzing my feelings, I realized this was something I needed to do. I had to bring closure to a sad chapter in my life. And strangely, in finding this completion, I opened a new page by renewing my interest in writing. And there's something more. Now that this book is released, I know it has a far greater purpose. When readers purchase copies of Flaherty's Crossing, they'll not only enjoy a fun, inspirational story, they will help make a difference in everyone's life by directly contributing to cancer research.

I've been told time and time again, the best stories come out of the worst times in our lives. My hope is that you find this is the case for you as well, Ann.

AL: What do you like best about living on the west coast? You said in your bio that you hug to it and keep your family close.

Kaylin: I guess I'm a "sun" baby at heart, since I enjoy relatively temperate climates. My home makes it possible to drive one hour north to snowy mountains, two hours south to the coast, an hour east to the desert, and all the while I have nature wrapping its arms around me like a warm crazy quilt.

AL: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Kaylin: I would have to say ride on an elephant in Thailand through a winding jungle. Quite the experience!

AL: If you have two hours of free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?

Kaylin: I'd write non-stop if I could, but I would relish the time spent with my family around a dinner table more – watching my husband, children, and grandchildren eat, drink, laugh, and talk over each other. They're just too much fun!

AL: Silly question… In your next life, if you came back as a critter, what would it be?

Kaylin: Oh, definitely a fat, sassy cat. You get to sleep, stretch, hunt, eat…do whatever you want, and there's always someone around to scratch and pamper you.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Kaylin: Here's one of my favorites: If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. -- George Bernard Shaw

AL: Thanks so much for sharing and for joining us this week, Kaylin.

Kaylin: My thanks to you, Ann. {hugs} I look forward to dropping by and visiting your readers throughout the week!
AL: If you’d like to find out more about Kaylin please visit:
http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com/
http://www.flahertyscrossing.com/

FEATURED TITLE: FLAHERTY'S CROSSING

Blurb:

From Pacific Northwest's award-winning author Kaylin McFarren comes a powerful novel about love, loss, and the power of forgiveness... Flaherty's Crossing.

Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the balance. When her night takes an unexpected turn, however, she flees for her life, a life desperate for faith that can only be found through her ability to forgive.

Excerpt:

As Kate's car jounced over the rough highway lining the Puget Sound, a layer of fog lifting from the dark waters swallowed the beams of her headlights. The ocean welcomed her back with its hazy abyss. The sounds of undulating static evidenced waves crashing on the shore. A crisp breeze brushed against her face, delivering a trace of salt to her tongue.

She tried to remember how many years it had been since she'd spent time near the sea. Crabbing, fishing, water skiing: all her happiest memories with her dad had taken place by the water. As well as the most terrifying day of her life.

Kate closed the window. She turned on the radio and flipped through the channels, all crackling between towers. A political debate. Advice for the lovelorn. The brain-itching chorus of "Gypsy Soul." She clicked it off.

Her wheels screeched as she flew around another curve and onto the connecting highway. She released her foot from the gas pedal but, resisting the instinct to use the brakes, she shoved her foot back down to accelerate. Perhaps her way of defying death, or a desperate search for control.

She lifted her phone and called home again, only to hear the same message on the machine.

Where was he?

Suddenly, Drew's words came back to her: "Maybe we need to take a break."

They'd had plenty of arguments in the past, but never before had he mentioned separating. What if he viewed her unexplained absence tonight as blatant apathy?

Apprehension raised her blood pressure, burned the tips of her ears.

She speed dialed Drew's lifeline: his cell phone. It went straight to voicemail: "You've reached Drew Coleman with Milton, Sidis, and Stricklen. I'll be out of town until Monday. If this is an urgent matter, you can reach my assistant at..."

As Kate anxiously waited for the beep, she noted darkness in Drew's voice, a seriousness that had replaced the fun-loving spirit she'd fallen in love with.

"Drew, I'm on my way home," she said. "I'm heading back from my father's. I'll explain when I see you. Anyway, there was a detour. I just took highway sixteen off one-o-six, so I shouldn't be more than forty minutes away..."

The glow of her headlights bounced off something ahead.

It was an animal. A deer. Standing sideways in her lane.

Kate dropped the phone. "No, no, no!" she yelled, jamming the brake pedal to the floor. She yanked back on the steering wheel as if pulling a B-52 out of a nosedive.

In exaggerated slow motion, the deer turned its head toward her. No fear in its eyes. No attempt to move. Either at peace with its fate or unwavering in its defiance.

The car's beams elongated the creature's shadow across the road, the distance between them vanishing. There wasn't time to stop--they were going to collide.

Kate screamed, swerving into the hole of blackness off the edge of the highway. Every muscle in her body clenched, preparing for impact.

REMEMBER: Win a t-shirt (valued at $35) and free PDF copy of Flaherty's Crossing by visiting and leaving comments on Ann's blog. Don't forget your email address so Kayling can contact you if you win.

34 comments:

Tami said...

I'm a pantser too Kaylin. Actually right now I am taking a Pantser to Plotter workshop. Maybe I can finally get back on the wagon! :)

Tami

Kaylin McFarren said...

Good luck on your writing and workshop, Tami! Will be anxious to hear back on how this all goes...

Kaylin :D

Carolyn Pizzuti said...

Kaylin:
Even your interview is 'writerly'! If the answers to your questions are any indication, your books are wonderful. Looking forward to getting my copy of Severed Threads as soon as it comes out.
Carolyn

Kaylin McFarren said...

Thanks, Carolyn. You're an absolute sweetheart! Will be anxious to hear what you think of Severed Threads as well...

Kaylin

debb said...

I don't write Kaylin but I love to read and your books sound great. Not sure how I have missed you so far but I won't from now on.
Debby Creager

joder said...

I'm a sun worshipper too and just wish the midwest were as sunny as I want it to be. Cloudy today which is depressing and then the weird freakishness of snow--ack. The excerpt you gave us was wonderful and it's killing me to know what comes next.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Hi, great interview and I would love to read one of your books.

seattlesnoops at aol dot com

J. H. Bográn said...

Hi Kaylin,
Flaherty's Crossing sounds like a very touching story.
And the Severed Threads sounds enticing.
They sound like the make a great combo of books, so different directions in the genre it would be hard to typecast you.

And Ann, keep up the good work, congrats with the blog.

jhbogran at gmail dot com

linda_rettstatt said...

Hey, Kaylin. I just finished reading Flaherty's Crossing. I love engaging characters that draw me into the story and make me want to meet them for lunch. Kate is one of those characters. What a great story of self-discovery and forgiveness.

Linda
http://www.lindarettstatt.com

Anonymous said...

Elephant riding sounds fun! Enjoyed your interview and the excerpt.

Amy S. said...

Hi Kaylin and Ann! Great interview!

Kaylin McFarren said...

Hey, Gang! So fun to hear from you all. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the interview and hearing about my books. It's an awesome feeling to realize you've transported readers to another place and to discover that they've actually bonded with your characters. :D

My thanks and best wishes to you all. Good luck in winning some fun prizes!!

Kaylin

Linda Kage said...

Love the interview and the quote. It was nice to hear about the inspiration behind this book. The story sounds good.

Ann Lory said...

Hi all! Thanks for stopping by. Thanks J.H. for the compliment and congrats. I appreciate it. I enjoy doing this and finding new authors myself to splurge on in my spare time.

Hi Amy! Thanks for popping over.

Ann

Kaylin McFarren said...

Linda, Thanks for the sweet compliments. Hope you find an opportunity to read Flaherty's Crossing as well. And Ann...thanks for the fun interview! You're quite the promoter... :D

Kaylin

Professor Stacy said...

Thanks for sharing your story of writing this book and its personal connection to you. I look forward to reading it.

Victoria Roder said...

Severed Threads sounds exciting. Write fast!

stacey said...

sounds like a deap book.I'm always having to forgive family members holding it in and not forgiving just herts your self.I love the sun two but living in northen ca.I'm not so sure that i love the heat.
sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

Kaylin McFarren said...

Hi Professor Stacy, Victoria and Stacey with an "e": (answering in the order received) First, hope "all" of you get a chance to read Flaherty's Crossing. It starts out deep but I promise it will take you on an amazing journey - one that might even surprise you. Secondly, I'm writing as fast as I can, dear Victoria, and hope to have Severed Threads completely finished in about two months. So please be patient... (:P)

A Bookaholic said...

Oh, I luuuve the excerpt...!! Flaherty's Crossings sounds like a great book! Thanks for writing a book that touches on forgiveness, an act, which I find, most difficult to learn, what more to practice, as it requires alot of strength and humility.

Kaylin McFarren said...

Thanks, Bookaholic! (Love your name, by the way) I think everyone struggles with forgiveness but hopefully this book will leave you with some food for thought. :)

Carol McPhee said...

I have to say you're doing a great job promoting your book. Good luck with your tremendous efforts!

Carol McPhee
mcpheekl@eastlink.ca

http://carolmcphee.webs.com

Kaylin McFarren said...

Thanks, Carol. Just plugging away...

Kaylin :D

Linda LaRoque said...

I too am a pantser, Kaylin. To me it's more fun that way to be writing along and these wonderful ideas/opportunities fall into my lap. Of course, sometimes they're a long time falling.

I've started Flaherty's Crossing and enjoying it. Good luck with sales!

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

We agree with Carolyn...your writing talent shines through in interviews, blogs and even emails. You just have that gift. We enjoyed your interview and look forward to your series.

Ann Lory said...

Hi Angelica and Zi! Welcome back.

Kaylin McFarren said...

Hi Linda, Ang & Zi:

Thanks for all the encouraging words, folks. I do hope you enjoy the read, Linda and that I'll be hearing back from you again soon, Ang & Zi! Have a great weekend!! :D

Kaylin

Kaylin McFarren said...

So Ann...do we have a winner here??

Kaylin

Ann Lory said...

Don't keep them in suspense, Kaylin. Announce away...

Kaylin McFarren said...

Oh my gosh...this was one of the hardest drawings I think I've done so far. I ended up putting everyone's name in a bowl, covered my eyes and drew a slip, so please know I truly loved hearing from ALL of you and appreciate your willingness to participate in Ann's amazing blog contest. If by chance you didn't win, please don't give up on me or Flaherty's Crossing because I'm totally convinced you all deserved to win.

{drum roll}

The winner of a Flaherty's Crossing t-shirt and PDF of this moving, inspiring story is: joder

Congratulations, joder !! Now be sure to email me at kaylin@kaylinmcfarren.com with your mailing address and t-shirt size. I'd love to hear back from you when you've finished this story and do hope that you enjoy the fun gift you've won! :D

With my best regards to everyone,
Kaylin :D

A Bookaholic said...

Congratulations Joder!! oooo *boo hoooo* for me :( *sob* *sniff*

Mary said...

I haven't read any of your books but enjoyed reading the little tid bits on your blogs. do you have any available on kindle at amazon.com?

moon_darlin@msn.com or mary nielsen-newhall on facebook

Mary said...

actually i was interested in reading "Flaherty's Crossing" but anyways i am always too late for contests, lol

Kaylin McFarren said...

Mary, so sorry you missed out on the contest. However, there's another one you might get lucky at on April 30th on the Reader at Home Conference Blog. I'll be participating there with lots of great authors.

In answer to your question, yes! You can find Flaherty's Crossing at Amazon.com. Here's the address if you'd still like to grab a copy: http://www.amazon.com/Flahertys-Crossing-ebook/dp/B003B78HCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1267983923&sr=8-1

And thanks to everyone, especially Ann for having me! Kaylin :D