Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Kathleen Neely
Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your upcoming release (tomorrow!) The Street Singer. It sounds like a wonderful book. Where did you find your inspiration for the story?
KATHLEEN: I love novels that focus on relationships, particularly inter-generational. I also enjoy reading stories that involve the legal system—law suits, court cases, attorneys. The Street Singer is actually my second novel, although the first to reach publication. When I finished my first novel and breathed a bit sigh of relief, my mind went to work weaving story lines, building and discarding ideas, until I decided on what eventually became The Street Singer. It’s about Trisha, a final-year law student, and Adda, a once famous recording artist known as Adaline. Although it’s their story, everyone loves a little romance. That keeps things interesting.
LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. What sort of research did you do for The Street Singer? Did you unearth anything that was totally unexpected?
KATHLEEN: I wouldn’t say ‘unexpected’ but I believe it holds some interesting elements. Most people know a little bit about the legal system. I knew enough to get myself in trouble if I hadn’t consulted an expert. Actually, two experts. I reached out to an attorney who read the legal portions of my manuscript and provided feedback on my misunderstandings, then passed it along to her husband whose area of law was more closely compatible.
An interesting sub-theme shows the renovation of an older home. That research was easy for me. My husband has worked for decades in every area of home building. He walked me through each phase of the work.
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
KATHLEEN: Unlike what I hear from many authors, I enjoy editing—not the line editing checking for every punctuation mark. Once the skeleton of a story is written, I enjoy embellishing it, bringing it to life with words. I go through my manuscript many times, looking to add sensory details and thinking through the emotions that should be evident.
LM: You are a retired educator and an avid reader. Who are your literary heroes/heroines?
KATHLEEN: I have so many authors that I admire. I can’t name a favorite, but I’ll tell you some specific works that live in my heart. Charles Martin’s Water for the Heart, Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, and Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale.
LM: What has been the most challenging part of the road to publication for you? What advice do you have for fledgling writers?
KATHLEEN: The hardest element of publication has been the unknown. I like a step-by-step outline of what comes next. It’s very exciting to receive the first acceptance, but it would have been great to know that, from that point, things would move s-l-o-w-l-y. I’m a buckle your seatbelt and get it done personality.
My advice for fledgling writers is this—surround yourself with people in the industry. Garner all of the help they can give you. I’ve found writer’s to be the best and most willing mentors. Read trade books on writing and attend conferences.
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite season: Definitely Spring
Favorite vacation spot: Hilton Head Island
Favorite place to write: I have a home office where I often write, but when no one is home, I love to take my laptop to the kitchen table where natural light is abundant.
LM: What are you currently working on?
KATHLEEN: I’m working on a story about a mother’s love. After a teenage pregnancy, she gave her baby up. Twelve years later, she has another chance to be part of his life. Until the unthinkable happens. That’s all you get. No spoiler alert.
LM: Sounds intriguing! Where can folks find you on the web?
KATHLEEN: The best way to reach me is my website. Readers can sign up, learn more about me, and read about my three upcoming releases at http://www.KathleenNeely.com.
I can also be reached on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/kathy.neely.98
Follow my Twitter page at www.Twitter@NeelyKneely3628
The Street Singer:
Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda reveals her journey by sharing a few items at a time, beginning as a sharecropper’s daughter in Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.
Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?