The Road to Mercy – Q & A with author Kathy Harris
I met author Kathy Harris at a seminar in Nashville a few years ago. She’s a warm and lovely person, and I think you’ll enjoy this brief Q & A about her love of books and her journey to publication. Her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, came out in September 2012 from Abingdon Press.
MM: Kathy, what is your book about?
KH: Here’s the back cover blurb:
Tragedy, love, and secrets meet on a journey of faith.
Dr. Ben Abrams, rescued as an infant from a fiery crash that killed his family, turned his adversities into success but lost his heritage of faith. Years later, Josh and Bethany Harrison face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth’s carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death, even as she’s pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Abrams urges her to abort the baby to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and continue the pregnancy.
During the next few months, Josh, a contemporary Christian singer, struggles with his faith while Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.
MM: Kathy, how do you define the genre you write in, and how do you go about the writing process?
KH: My stories usually fall somewhere between women’s fiction and contemporary fiction—leaning toward women’s fiction—but with a touch of mystery, suspense, and/or romance. I love to read stories with a twist, and I try to write them into my plots.
I’m a plot-first kind of writer. So it’s all about the story when I sit down to begin something new. Character development comes next. Finally I create the subplots, which become apparent after I’ve discovered the nuances and backstory of my characters.
MM: Who are your heroes in the world of fiction? You may choose authors, characters, or both.
KH: Some of my best childhood memories come from time I spent reading. Dozens of books from the Scholastic Book Club, Nancy Drew novels, and Madeleine L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time, heavily impacted my love of reading. In my later teen years, I chose the classics—especially Dickens and Hemingway. Those writers are all heroes to me.
MM: In your opinion, what makes good Christian fiction?
KH: Believable characters, a compelling plot, and a theme of redemption. I love reading books that encourage and empower my faith.
MM: How much “Kathy” do you include in your novels?
KH: I don’t think, as a writer, you can fully disconnect from your characters. They’re coming from your worldview—even if they’re polar opposites. But I don’t intentionally write myself or anyone fully into a character. It’s more fun to create them, unique and malleable, to fit the story you want to tell.
MM: Can you tell us something about your publishing journey or share some tips you wish someone had given you before you started?
KH: I’ve dreamed of writing books since I was a child. I loved diagramming sentences in elementary school. I may be one of three people in the world who loved linguistics in college. LOL. But after graduating college with a communications degree, I couldn’t find a job in my field. Instead, I was offered a job in the Nashville music business, a position that would become my career. I’ve loved every minute of it, but I still had the underlying desire to write books. Through the years, I kept my dream of writing alive by freelancing artist bios, writing music columns and news stories, and eventually studying the craft of fiction writing.
The act of writing may be a lonely task, but a writer needs a network of people in his or her life—teachers, critique partners, beta readers, and encouragers. Joining American Christian Fiction Writers and my local writers group, Middle TN Christian Writers, were critical steps toward my path to publication. Sharing your journey with others makes it a lot more fun too.
MM: When you have a choice in the matter, what’s your favorite writing routine?
KH: I write best in the morning when my mind is fresh and the worries and responsibilities of the day haven’t yet taken hold of me. A perfect day for me is getting up early, driving to a local coffee shop, and writing for several hours. It’s energizing and provides a sense of accomplishment. After that, I’m ready to tackle almost anything in the afternoon.
Thanks for hosting me today!
MM: Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts with us!
Kathy’s bio: Kathy Harris is an author by way of a divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business. She graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University and has spent the past two decades employed as a marketing director in the Nashville music industry.
An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the publicity officer for Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their Shiloh Shepherd dog. Abindgon Press released Kathy’s fiction debut, The Road to Mercy, in late 2012.
Here are retail links for purchasing The Road to Mercy (Abingdon Press, September 2012).
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