Friday, July 3, 2009

Celebrating With Kat Henry Doran!!!

HI-DEE-HO!!! Here we go!! It's Friday and we've got a reason to celebrate!

Well, of course it's the FOURTH OF JULY, but we've got the splendiferous Kat Henry Doran here with us today!

Witty, Talented, Generous and Driven- Kat's got it all!

And... psst... I got her to share some juicy tidbits on how she created the characters in her Romantic Suspense novel, CAPTAIN MARVELOUS!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

In the mid-1960's, naive girl rejects her much despised country roots to achieve an education, and never looks back. After arriving in the big city in the early 70's, when not raising a family and supporting a husband through graduate school, she earns a living by helping others overcome adversity.

2)What would be your ‘voice’s’ tag line?

Young in thinking woman, trapped inside the body of a rapidly aging Boomer, uses her smart mouth and kiss-my-ass attitude to write stories.

3)How do you character? Extensive notes?

Hordes. Piles. TMTC Written on anything that won't fall apart [like paper napkins]. All gathered in a manila folder with the story title/idea on the label.
Wing it? Never never never. If I don't know my characters, I can't control them.

4)What are the steps you take to develop your off the wall characters?

1. I must first have a story idea, even if it's a crumb, as in a community's apathy over the murder of migrant workers.

Then I decide on the character whom I want to save these women. I might only have a tiny crumb. In my first novel CAPTAIN MARVELOUS, I envisioned the heroine as a medical expert and a sports nut. With this story, I also knew from the beginning she would be the one to subdue the bad guy[s] with a hockey puck.
The hero should be, in many respects, the exact opposite of the heroine, in looks and attitudes, demeanor and personality.

Using a multi-page document, I interview both H&H. This process takes several days because odd ideas and quirks come to me so if they fit I tweak them.

The setting is always as important as the characters and requires a mini interview if not several days exploring the streets and shops.

5)You’ve won multiple awards for your writing, what has been the secret to your success?

A lot of hard work, a great deal of luck, and I never gave up.

6)Any tips you’d like to pass along?

1. Write what you know. That will lend an authentic flavor to your writing. This could be raising children, marriage and/or divorce, living with three generations inside one house, raising animals.

Learn the basics, so well you use them without thinking. I'm speaking of Point of View; writing in the active format not the passive; cut the "ly" and "ing" words to a minimum; delete the following words from the beginning of your dialogue: Well, then, but, and, I see; learn proper punctuation.

Lose the trite phrases and actions: the hero carrying the heroine up a full flight of stairs [is he an Olympic weight lifter?]; the heroine pulls on the hero's shirt and discovers it comes to the middle of her thighs [is she Tinkerbell? Is he the Hulk?]; the fumbling of hands during the first love scene [for cripe's sake\tear the damn thing off]; the jolt of electricity the first time they touch [okay, bring out the defibrillator because we're about to have an episode of cardiac standstill]; making love on the kitchen counter [cannot be done unless the hero is six feet nine or they're in a doll house]. Maybe, maybe, maybe the sudden loss of speech when they first meet is okay.

It's too easy to wallow in self pity when things don't go your way. Use rejection from editors or agents, criticism from contest judges, or critiques from other writers to your advantage. Okay, wallow for 24 hours, but then get your butt in gear and inject the changes [if it's within your comfort level] into the story or characters. Remember: if one person suggests a change--toss it off as sour grapes or someone who is green with jealousy because they couldn't write their way out of a paper bag. If several say the same things, over and over, it's time to pay attention.

It may be your story is . . . not up to par. Okay. Take what's good out of it and use it. Toss the rest away. I have drawers filled with Not Up To Par stories. It is tempting to bring them out, maybe dust them off, and rework them. Do Not Do That.

Put one or both main characters into a situation they have no experience in. Make them sweat. A lot.

7) Do you write multiple WIP’s at a time?

I try not to do this, and am not always successful. Sometimes a story will go stale and if another idea which really turns me on I will jump on that one. I need to stick with the person who brought me to the dance.

8)How much research do you put into your books?

I am the last person people invite over to watch TV. Particularly if it's a medical or legal drama. I sit there and make growly noises over the mistakes made\or scream "Sue sue sue" [as in medical malpractice lawsuit] Don't these directors or producers have experts on the set? And who dresses some of the actresses? Tarts 'R Us?

I spent whole days researching something which might only take up a few paragraphs or single lines in my book. Example: for my second novel “Try Just Once More” I spent a day making rounds with an equine veterinarian so I could write with a certain degree of knowledge about horses. The vet and her staff helped me devise the instrument and circumstances around injuring a horse. I also spent an afternoon at the stable of the mounted patrol unit for our local police department to get an idea of how horses are trained for the mounted patrol. It was great fun. And, just because I'm a nurse, I always check out my medical stuff before I put it in a book. There is nothing worse for this reader than to spend my hard-earned money on a book only to have the author make stupid, easily researched medical mistakes. Makes me want to throw the book against the wall.

9)Is writing about police procedure difficult for a civilian?

I am definitely a civilian where it comes to police work, but I use my experience as a victim advocate who worked with cops for a number of years to put a bit of flavor into my books.

You’re a big advocate for victim’s rights. When did you first realize that was your calling?

It was the summer of 1984, my husband and I took the kids to the beach. Because I worked the evening shift in those days, I brought the newspaper along to catch up on local happenings. I read an ad for volunteers for the local Rape Crisis Service and knew immediately I wanted to do that. I applied, was trained as a volunteer advocate, and within 2 years was hired on staff. I eventually became director of the program.

My signature, if you will, is romance takes a bite out of social injustice. Since there are multiple forms of social injustice, all my books have or will take big bites out of something.

10)Tell us a little about your latest release!

“CAPTAIN MARVELOUS, in re-release, is now available from Wild Rose Press. It is the story of Annie Wolfe, a career focused woman who vows nothing and no one will interfere with her becoming a physician. When women from the local migrant community turn up murdered and mutilated, she prays for someone to stop the violence. After Captain Ronen Marvelic is assigned to investigate the murders, Annie learns wishes do come true―in more ways than one.

What’s next on the docket for Kat Henry Doran?

I'm just starting a story, of unknown length, about a retired police officer who goes undercover as a male escort to find the customers who are murdering the escorts. His investigation is thwarted by an investigative reporter determined to add a second Pulitzer to her collection of awards.

Thanks, Kat, for sharing some great tips with us!

If you'd like more info on the fabulous Kat Henry Doran, here are some links to scope out.

THANKS to all of you who were nice enough to share your holiday weekend with TLN!! I hope everyone has a great weekend! To send ya off into the throes of celebrating the good ole U-S-of A's Independence Day, here's CELINE DION singing GOD BLESS AMERICA!!


Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Kat and Sarah,
Great interview and some good advice. Wishing you continued success, Kat. And thanks for your work with victims. Too often they are treated like the criminal.

Happy 4th,

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Great interview, Kat and Sarah!

Hope you both have a fantastic fourth!

Helen Hardt said...

Hi, Kat, I second what Rebecca said. Thank you for your work as an advocate for victims! It was great learning more about your work. Thank you for sharing!


lainey bancroft said...

Great interview, Ladies. lmao at the tag line for Kat's voice! Perfect.

I agree with the research. Get it right or leave it out. Well said, Kat!

Nice blog, Sarah. You've got a Canadian singing GOD BLESS AMERICA. tee hee, cool!

beth kery said...

What great questions, Sarah. Really got to the point of writerly things. Romance takes a bite out of social injustice--what lovely sharp teeth you have, Kat. And we're glad.

liana laverentz said...

Ooops. I'm guilty of the kitchen counter thing in Thin Ice--sort of. Just stopping by to say hey, and have a great day. Love to hear what Kat has to say any day!

And Sarah, I'll have that critique to you by the end of the week :)