I started writing romances when I was in junior high. The heroines were my friends, and the heroes were guys you may have heard of such as the Beatles, the Monkees and other various rock stars and actors. I even wrote a romance where Steven Tyler of Aerosmith was the hero and worked at a carnival, which I think is pretty accurate. If he hadn't made it as a rock star, he'd definitely be a carnie. I was the heroine, of course.
I was also lucky enough to have a best friend who also loved to write. We spend many nights laughing and plotting and writing our wonderful, romantic and completely implausible love stories. (Except for the Steven Tyler story, which as I said, was completely plausible.)
Even though I loved to write, I never really believed I would get published. After all, in the small mill town where I grew up in the mountains of Maine, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here." And that was how I felt about the publishing world.
So I set aside my dream of being an author. I attended the University of Maine, left my junior year to move to Providence, then moved to California, then Maryland. For nearly three years, I didn't write a single story.
But during these years I had many jobs, most of them unfulfilling. I worked as an Atari consultant (don't ask), in retail, and finally as a receptionist at a hair salon (this one was pretty fun). All the while, the desire to write still nagged at me. Finally, in 2000, I decided I needed to try again.
At this point, I should probably add that while I did write lots of stories in my teen years, I never actually finished one. So this was my first attempt to write a real, honest to gosh, novel. With a beginning, a middle and an actual end. I joined the Maryland Romance Writers and a critique group that I'm with to this day. (Thank you, Tarts, I couldn't have made it without you ladies!) And I started my first book, a humorous vampire romance. And guess what?
I did finish it. It took two years, but I did it!
At a conference, Kate Duffy from Kensington Publishing heard about my book from one of my critique partners and asked to see the full manuscript. What? Yes, that was my exact response. I couldn’t believe it. But I sent it in. Kate called and told me that while she liked my voice, she didn’t really love the vampires, and did I have anything else I could show her?
Assuming she wasn’t interested in any of the uncompleted stories from my teen years, (even the very believable Steven Tyler/carnival story) I had to tell her no. To my shock, she asked me to pitch an idea. After a couple weeks of toying with ideas and generally freaking out, I came up with the stories for my Stepp sisters trilogy. I emailed the ideas to her, and within an hour, Kate called and told me she wanted to buy them. Again, I was floored.
Now I have finished nearly thirteen books. Yep, all with beginnings, middles and ends. I’ve even managed to rework that first book that Kate rejected, and it was released as Fangs for the Memories. I can’t even begin to tell you what an amazing experience this has been for me. Somehow, it did "get there from here" (This is best said with a heavy Maine accent--"get they-ah from he-ah."
And not only did I get there, but my best friend who wrote all those silly stories with me made it too. My dear friend, Julie Cohen also became a writer. Check her out here (he-ah). (http://www.julie-cohen.com/)
Pretty exciting for two girls from Rumford, Maine.
Now if I can just get Kate to publish that Steven Tyler/carnival thing.
Kathy still lives in Maryland with her beautiful daughter, Emily, their crazy Boston Terrier, Daisy, and a very chatty guinea pig, Giggles.