Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Interview with Kathy Nickerson, Author of Thirty Days to Glory, and My BFF

Kathy and I on a "play day" where we would spend the whole day together.
Today I have the opportunity to interview a woman I have known and called friend my whole life.  She is Kathy (Grubbs) Nickerson who graduated from our own Atlanta C-3 School. I remember following Kathy into the first grade room to sign up for school. This was the time before we had kindergarten. We received balloons and mine popped. I remember a slight disagreement in which Kathy said it "burst" and I said it "busted". We always did love words! We wrote stories together in grade school and high school. After we married and began raising our children, we did freelance writing and wrote long letters to each other (before the days of e-mail).
I have read and admired much of her written work from First Grade on, but the culmination of her talent has to be in her first novel Thirty Days to Glory.  I was honored to have the opportunity to read the novel before the publication date. I could not put it down.  While it is a Christian novel, it is not too “preachy,” but rather like Kathy, who lives her faith every day and believes in the power of prayer.  The day after I finished the book, I began taking my cup of coffee out on my back porch every morning and saying a prayer to ask God to be with specific people on my mind.

 Having known Kathy for a lifetime, one would think I would know everything about her, but I have questions to ask her as an author and fan of her book. Here is our interview:

I love this lady!
Me: Kathy, first let me say I loved your book, and I am not saying that because I am your friend.  You know I have loved to read ever since I learned how and read every book Mrs. Epperson had on our First Grade bookshelf.  I am also an English teacher who reads and teaches literature year after year, so I know quality writing when I see it. You are a talented writer!
Kathy: I already told several people that I don't expect anyone else's opinion to matter as much to me as yours does! So, thank you.
Me: How long would you say it took to write this book from your first idea to the point where you submitted it to a publisher?
Kathy: At least ten years. It brewed in my mind for several years. I'd see a scene in my head or hear a snippet of conversation in my mind. Eventually I got serious about writing those things down.
Me: You live such a busy life! How did you make time to write your novel?
Kathy: It certainly helps that our children are grown now. When I finally decided to do this book, I started writing twenty minutes before work Monday through Friday. I write fast, so I could get several words in that space. Then, I would steal an hour after supper to edit and revise. On Saturdays, I often wrote eight or nine hours with breaks to flip the laundry or sweep the floor. I'm also fortunate because my husband's job requires him to attend continuing education courses four times a year. So I could count on having three or four days of hotel writing time during those trips. Writing like that probably took me a year to get the book ready for submission.
Me:  I liked the way you developed your characters through what they did and said. Do you have a method for character development?
Kathy: Unfortunately, no. I've studied character development, and I've tried some of the standard approaches like writing a backstory or building a fake resume. But, honestly, when I start writing, the characters unfold. I know this sounds flaky, but they really do surprise me sometimes by what they do and who they become.
Me: As soon as I finished the book, I hoped you continued with the characters’ stories and lives. Is there a sequel in the future? Or maybe a whole series?
Kathy: Well, probably not a sequel exactly. But some of the characters are talking to me about having a book of their own. Right now, Bess is the loudest. Although she played a rather minor role in Thirty Days to Glory, I think she has some things to say. And, of course, Madge has a strong opinion about the future. So, we'll see how that goes.
Me: Thank you so much for spending some time with me and my readers. I look forward to reading many more of your books!
Kathy and I hugged, laughed, and cried, pretty much like we do every time we see each other!
Kathy's book Thirty Days to Glory is available at Hastings in Kirksville, from Amazon or her publisher, CrossRiver Media.  Of course, I have my own autographed copy from her book signing  appearance at Hastings recently, where you can also purchase daughter Serenity Bohan's book, The Thank You Room. 
My book-loving granddaughter Madison loved meeting two authors!