Wednesday, June 15, 2011
INTERVIEW with Author KATHY PRATT
Today I’m interviewing Kathy Pratt. Her book, MISS DAIRY QUEEN is a women's fiction romance and was released on 5/6/2011.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
MISS DAIRY QUEEN tells the story of Misty Dawn James, a 21 year old woman who leaves her home on a farm in Iowa to move to California to go to school, much to the dismay of her overly protective mother. Her childhood has been sheltered and the culture shock begins the minute she arrives in Fullerton, California. Before long she's gotten a job in a restaurant, made friends with some of her co-workers, and met a handsome young Hispanic man who she eventually falls in love with. Iowa seems like another place and time to her, until she gets a call that her beloved father has had a heart attack and she must return to see him and help her mother.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
When did you start writing toward publication?
I was inspired to write an article for a nursing magazine in 1991. When that article was published, the bug bit me and I've been writing toward publication since then.
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
Actually, I was quite fortunate with the sale of my first manuscript. I'd just completed it, attended a writer's conference in Palm Springs, and as I was leaving I met a young woman in the lobby and struck up a conversation. She was working for a new ebook publishing company called Digital Pulp Publishing. I pitched my book, she asked for the full manuscript, they accepted it and published it as one of their first books. I really needed to have a book in print, so I retained the print rights and self-published the book with iUniverse. The ebook company closed a few years later and the ebook rights reverted back to me.
You have another occupation, can you tell us about it and how you incorporated it into your writing?
I'm a Registered Nurse and have worked many years in that field. I've had many opportunities to observe people in all kinds of situations. It's always amazed me, but people will tell me anything when we're alone. I suppose I'm viewed in much the same way a clergy person or psychologist is, and people feel open to telling me all. I've even had patient's say, "I've never told anyone that before". I'm honored that they trust me and I keep their secrets. It has certainly helped me in character development.
Persistence, determination, flexibility, and remaining open to new ideas and opportunities.
Do you have any rejection stories to share?
I submitted my priest sexual abuse manuscript to an agent here in California. Her agency website said she preferred email submissions, so that's what I sent. When I didn't hear back after a couple of months I sent a short, polite follow-up email just to make sure my submission had been received. I got a reply back the next day saying, "Yes I received it and I'm not interested. In the words of Samuel Goldwyn, 'If you want to send a message, call Western Union' ". She certainly got her point across, though I'm left to wonder why she was so offended by the topic.
What is your writing routine like?
I'm not a morning person, so I rise fairly early, have a little breakfast and coffee, then I take the dog for a long walk. When I return I do my household chores until I'm finally alert enough to sit down at the computer. I'll write for several hours in the afternoon and stop to make dinner. If my husband goes to a meeting in the evening, then I'll write while he's gone.
What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
The book publishing industry has changed so much since I started and it is more difficult to get the attention of a publisher. I went through a period of frustration at not getting my books published as easily and as quickly as I did in the beginning years, and now I've regrouped and am doing self-publishing using the Amazon Kindle application. So, I'm doing all my own promo for now and am using the internet. I have a blog, a website, I use facebook, emails, and twitter.
Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
Having someone tell me, "I read your book and I just loved it. I couldn't put it down. In fact, I stayed up several hours last night to finish it."
I'm a member of Romance Writers of America, and the Orange County Chapter of RWA. I also belong to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I've attended many seminars at both organizations and am so grateful for all I've learned. They definitely are a help. I've also taken fiction writing classes at local universities and recommend doing that if the opportunity presents itself. Probably the most help has been my critique group. We've been meeting weekly for over ten years. We're writers of various levels, and their input has been invaluable.
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Don't get discouraged. Do as much as you can to hone your craft and keep writing. Writers write because we have to. We also want someone to read our work and love it. Keep submitting and keep searching for places to send your manuscript.
What’s next for you?
I'm in the middle of CALIFORNIA GALS, and when it's finished and polished I'll publish it on Amazon Kindle. After that, I may do another historical romance. I love researching and thinking about other places and times.
Misty Dawn James' moves to California to live with her Aunt Marigold in order to go to school and escape her domineering mother. The culture shock confounds and delights Misty as she gets a job, makes friends with Jackie-a young gay man, and with Scarlet-a tattoed and multi-pierced young woman. Next she meets Esteban, a handsome young Hispanic man who is going to law school, and they quickly fall for each other.
When Misty's father dies in Iowa, and she returns to help her mother, she's forced to make a tough decision. Can her relationship with Esteban survive the challenge?
A little bit about the author
Kathy Pratt has been writing since junior high school when she got an A+ on her first essay. She loves to make up stories in her mind even when she's not able to put them down on paper. She lives in Southern California with her husband and a golden retriever named Willie. Her two adult sons live nearby. She works as a RN two days a week and writes the rest of the time. She does take breaks to travel, take painting lessons, and volunteer at the local boys and girls club.
Alone on the platform, Misty Dawn James watched the Amtrak train she’d just disembarked pull away from California’s Fullerton Station and disappear into the night. This was supposed to be the beginning of her new life, and she’d never felt so alone.
The train station parking lot was crowded with cars circling for spaces, and Misty found it difficult to maneuver while carrying her bags.
“You look a bit lost. Would you like some help?”
Misty jumped, startled. She hadn’t heard anyone approach. “I...I’m looking for a pay phone.”
“Where are you going?”
Misty was unable to answer for a moment. The strikingly handsome, tall young man standing in front of her caught her off guard. He had black hair, dark brown eyes, and a sparkling white smile.
She pointed in the direction of The Old Spaghetti Factory. “The ticket clerk in the train station said there was a phone in the restaurant.”
“You don’t want to carry those bags over there. Use my cell phone.”
He handed her his phone, and waited patiently.
“Are you sure? I’ll pay you.”
The young man laughed. “You don’t need to pay me. I have no social life since I’m always either at school or work, so I have lots of minutes I never use.”
Misty took a piece of paper from her pocket and dialed the number written on it. She listened to it ring several times and was about to give up when it was finally answered.
“Aunt Marigold? I’m here. Can you come get me?” Misty asked.
“Where the hell are you? Your parents are going crazy with worry.”
“In California. I’m at the train station in Fullerton.”
“The train? Why didn’t you fly?”
Misty turned away so the young man wouldn’t hear her and whispered into the phone. “I wanted to see the countryside, that’s why. I’ve never been out of Iowa.”
“Why didn’t you tell your parents where you were going? And why didn’t you give me some warning?” Marigold didn’t wait for an answer. “Never mind. I’ll be right there and you can tell me the whole story when we get you home.”
Misty handed the cell phone back to the handsome man. “Thanks a lot. My aunt is coming to pick me up.”
“You’re welcome. Wait over there under the light so you’ll be safe. I would wait with you but I have to go start my shift.”
Misty felt a shiver of apprehension flood over her. “Should I be worried about being out here alone?”
“Your eyes are as big as saucers. You look scared out of your wits.”
Misty swallowed hard before speaking. “I’ve never been in a big city. I kind of grew up sheltered. Is it dangerous here?”
“Not really. Fullerton is safe, but you kind of stand out.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Actually, you look innocent and kinda vulnerable with all your suitcases and bags piled around.” He touched her shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. “Look, if your aunt doesn’t show or anything, come and get me. Just ask for Esteban. I’m sorry I have to go.”
Misty watched him jog across the parking lot towards The Old Spaghetti Factory. When she couldn’t see him any longer, she lugged her bags back to the sidewalk under the light to wait for her aunt.
A group of leather clad, spiky haired teens loped across the parking lot towards a patio restaurant where rock music was playing. Misty squatted down and sat on her heels, trying to make herself less visible, fearing they might notice her.
The wait wasn’t long. She hadn’t seen her aunt in years, but she recognized the auburn hair in the red convertible as soon as it turned the corner.
Marigold screeched to a stop, left the car running, and ran towards Misty. She wrapped her in a huge bear hug and almost lifted her off her feet.
“My horoscope said this was not a special day, but here you are! Oh, I am soooo glad to see you! What on earth are you doing here, anyway? How’d you get away from my crazy sister?” Marigold asked while loading Misty’s belongings into the trunk of the car while Misty got in the passenger seat.
Marigold slammed the trunk, got into the driver’s seat, put the car into gear and roared out of the parking lot. “Let’s go home. You must be hungry and exhausted.”
How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://amazon.com/.
You can find more information about Kathy Pratt and her book, MISS DAIRY QUEEN by
visiting her website, http://kathypratt.org/. or
her blog at http://kathypratt.blogspot.com/.
Thank you Kathy for allowing me to interview you and I hope you have great success with your books!!!