Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My guest today is Wild Rose Press author Kathy Otten. This is her first visit to Vintage Vonnie, and I’m thrilled to have her. She lives in the open farm country of western NY with her husband of thirty-one years. She enjoys taking long walks with her dog, who loves rooting through the tall grass and underbrush of the woods and fields where they trek. In the winter, she likes to curl up with a good book and one or two of her five cats, while the snow blows outside. In between family, work and animals she sits at her computer and weaves stories of laughter, heartache and love for the crazy cast of characters swirling around in her head.

Kathy, what is your writing schedule like?

My kids are all grown and live on their own now. Other than my husband and my pets, it would seem as if I’d have plenty of time to write, but it hasn’t worked out quite like I imagined.

My day job is actually a weekend job. I work 40 hours Friday, Saturday & Sunday, so with drive time I’m gone about 16 hours each day. That leaves Monday as my catch-up day. Laundry, cleaning, social networking sites and emails that have accumulated over 3 days, errands, shopping, and sleep.

Tuesday through Thursday, I go to the fitness center for an hour or so, shower, breakfast, then spend about an hour going through emails and social networking. I’ll spend another hour on research questions that need to be answered. Like, how many buttons were on the uniform coat of a Civil War Surgeon, or how long did it take a train in 1874 to get from point A to point B?

After lunch I have about two hours to write undisturbed. I try to write non-stop, but that’s not always possible. The darn cats want to go in or out, the phone will ring, or there will be a crash and I’ll have to go investigate. I have a couple of books going and I pick the characters who are yelling the loudest as the ones I work on. I quit around three and vacuum or toss in a load of laundry. When it’s not -18 degrees I walk the dog.

My husband comes home around 4pm and after we touch base I play around with non-writing stuff while supper is cooking. After supper I spend time working on blog posts, research, my newsletter, or workshop presentations. Sometimes I watch a little TV or do a crossword puzzle. After my husband goes to bed I try to write for another hour. Thursday night is my critique group meeting and I try to have ten pages ready for that.  Then first thing Friday I’m back at work and the cycle continues.

Tell us, what is the story behind your book title?

A Tarnished Knight sounds medieval, but it is actually a historical western. Characters come to me first and I saw my hero standing in the shadows wearing the brim of his hat pulled low.  When I searched my book of character names, the name Ryder jumped out at me. When I looked at the meaning I saw Ryder meant knight or mounted warrior. That was perfect, because my heroine was looking for someone to save her. The medieval thread in the story comes from the fairy tales Victoria’s grandmother told to Victoria whenever she had a nightmare. Ryder, something of a reluctant hero, became in Victoria’s mind her knight, though she wrote in her journal that his armor was a little tarnished. Hence, A Tarnished Knight.

I love that. What are you currently working on? 

I currently have two projects going. A Civil War romance novel about a surgeon and nurse at Armory Square Hospital that’s about 55,000 words. into the first draft. My second project is a bit outside my comfort zone. It’s a contemporary YA mystery/paranormal, in which I’m about 18,000 words into the first draft.
Now, let me hit you with my fast five...
1.   Heels, sneakers or flip-flops?  Sneakers
2.   Chocolate, champagne or cheesecake?  Chocolate
3.   SUV, sports car or minivan?  SUV
4.   Earrings, bracelets or navel piercing?  Earings
5.   Fav vacation destination: beach, mountains or city? Mountains
Fleeing her abusive husband, Victoria Van der Beck is captured by down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, Ryder MacKenzie. As she comes to love this man who hides his face in shadows, she wonders if he could be the valiant knight for whom she's been longing. Is he the champion who would save her from the evil prince, or is MacKenzie just a paid lackey determined to return her to her husband?
Ryder MacKenzie never believed anyone could love him, for he was cursed the day he was born. He only wants to be left alone to live on his ranch in peace. But rustlers have stolen his cattle. He's been ambushed and his horse killed. Now his one chance to get his life back is to simply return a society princess to her husband. Maybe his luck is about to change. At least she isn't pretty.
The peacefulness of Ryder MacKenzie’s home settled into her soul with every breath of air she drew, soothing the restless need to run that had consumed her since she’d hit Nicholas with the whiskey bottle.

When she wandered back to the cabin, she expected Ryder to be in bed, but he was still in the tub, his knees drawn up, pale and knobby, his head resting on the rim.

She grabbed Beau by the scruff of his neck and shoved him outside closing the door with a sharp bang.

Ryder jerked upright, sloshing water over the sides.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll come back.”

“No.” He leaned back and closed his eyes. “I’m done. I just want to wash my hair.”

“I can do it for you.” Before the words were out of her mouth, she questioned what part of her brain they’d come from.

Maybe it was because Ryder was safe, and this was a chance to physically connect with a man on her own terms, without fear.

Maybe she needed to satisfy the curiosity that had taunted her all week, urging her to explore the body of this man she desired.

But maybe it was simply because he was Ryder MacKenzie, and in his own determined, unassuming way, he’d touched her heart and become her hero, and there would never again be a man she so ached to know.


Kathy Otten said...

Hi Vonnie,

Thanks for inviting to visit. I appreciate the little photos you inserted. Love the little cat. He looks adorable, sitting there with his little bell. That's what my cats would look like if they had their picture taken. Once the camera left, they'd walk on the key board, knock over my water, sleep on the mouse pad, and send my piles of research notes to the floor. :D

Angela Adams said...

Enjoyed the interview...that question -- chocolate, champagne, or cheesecake -- it's a hard decision!

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Angela,
It was a tough choice between chocolate and cheesecake. If there had been a chocolate cheese cake option it would have made it an easy choice.
Thanks for stopping by. :)

Barbara Mountjoy said...

I was sure you were the navel-piercing type. :)

Kathy Otten said...

Ha ha! I'll leave the navel-piercing to my daughter. She also has the abs to pull it off!

Ashantay said...

I envy your discipline. Thanks for sharing your writing routine. Best wishes with your YA paranormal and taking a walk on the wild side!

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Ashantay,
I don't know how disciplined I am when I stare at the screen and find myself rearranging my desk drawer or watching icicles drip outside my window when I'm supposed to be writing. :)
Discipline for me is a work in progress. ;)