Today I'm pleased to bring you, Kathy L. Wheeler, a romance writer from Oklahoma, who comes with an impressive bio in the romance industry. She's been President of OKRWA, President Elec for RWA, a member of RWA PRO, and is currently a member of the Dallas RWA as well as OKRWA's Program Director. She's got a great foundation in writing, and it's exciting to be able to share her insight with all of you.
So, Kathy, tell us a little about yourself – what genre you write in, how long you’ve been writing, what do you do in your non-writing time?
KLW: I primarily write contemporary with an element of suspense. It’s light and (hopefully) a little humorous. I started writing about six years ago. I love pro football, so in my spare time, outside of Jazzercise, reading, and karaoke, I play fantasy football. Last year was my first year to acquire season tickets for NBA Thunder basketball.
I'm impressed you are knowledgeable enough to play fantasy football. I tried once--laughable. I think my team came in dead last (perhaps beyond last) at the end of season rankings.
How did you come to the decision that you wanted to write? And, how did you determine what genre best fit you?
KLW: My first story was not a contemporary. I ran across a Google prompt regarding a spin on Cinderella, and thought, I love Cinderella, I could do this. So in a strange twist of fate, I found some deep part of me took to writing. In five and a half years, I’ve completed nine manuscripts, six of which are over 50k words. So I jumped right in—and I’m still at it.
What steps did you take to get to where you are now, and which do you think was the most important?
KLW: I was reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Chicago Star Series, and as a pro football fan, I was hooked. I started digging around and it was on Ms. Phillips website I found the first link to RWA. I joined the Oklahoma Romance Writers, whose members included, Gena Showalter, Merline Lovelace, Sharon Sala, PC Cast, Maggie Price, Janice Reams Hudson, Jill Monroe, Linda Goodnight, Jordan Dane, Brooke Taylor…well, you get the picture.
Impressive. That's a whole passel of talent to pull from. Lucky lady! I bet you had some excellent insight early-on. But it goes to show--RWA can be so beneficial.
What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
KLW: I can make my characters do anything I want…wait! They sort of take over my head. I can try to make my characters do anything I want. Wait! Nevermind, they just take over my mind. Apparently, I thrive on mind-ebbing chaos. It seems to work.
Laugh! Isn't it great having a legitimate reason to listen to the voices in your head and talk to yourself? Amazing how once folks realize you're an author they stop looking at you funny. If they only knew what happens when those voices start fighting amongst themselves... shew!
What’s the most challenging thing about being an author?
KLW: Submitting and rejection. I know. I know. It’s all part of the process. But it’s tough.
Agent: We love the idea, we didn’t love the story. Editor: Nothing
Agent: While we read this story with great enthusiasm, it just isn’t something we feel is a right fit… Editor: nothing. Agent: blah blah blah. Husband: what are you going to do? Quit writing? Of course, not. Me: Of course, not!
It is part of the process, and as authors, we repeat that mantra to everyone going through it. But it doesn't take away from the fact it is, indeed, scary and heartbreaking at times. Don't lose hope, don't get caught up in negatives. My submission log reads around 300 rejections before my agent signed me. At some point you just have to shrug and say, "Next!" right?
In three sentences or less, tell us what you’re currently working on. What makes you love this particular project?
KLW: After the death of his mother, Kenny Buford finds out his name isn’t what he thought it was. When he tries to find his father, he’s two weeks too late. He’s dead. And learns he’s inherited the majority of stocks where his father was CEO. Someone is determined to take those shares. Dead or alive.
Oooh! That gave me the chills. Nicely done!
Tell us one story related to your writing endeavors. Amuse us, make us cry, make us cringe or make us smirk – your choice.
KLW: Well, there’s the time a group of us met at Panera Bread for our weekly critique meeting and started talking about laser’s (yes, lasers—different colors, swords swinging about) The conversation took a downward, or was it upward? turn….it took about two minutes for the area to clear out…Oh, I’m not sure that’s what you meant….
Laugh! Oh gosh... I can just imagine... You probably don't want to know what I'm imaginging. My alter-ego writes erotica. Smirk. Combine that with the paranormal... yup... I can so see Panera bailing out the door.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received about writing, and the pursuit of publication?
KLW: Funny, but it comes from my husband, who is an attorney, musician, and all-around incredibly intelligent, creative man. “The time is going to come and go anyway, what are you going to do? Quit?”
Very inspiring. It's nice (and a rare treat) to have a spouse who is so supportive and who can truly understand the drive to have to write.
What would you advise authors who are working toward publication?
KLW: You can read all the books you want, and should. But until you sit your tail in the chair and write you are limiting yourself. This is a case of having to “do” in order to learn. Can you finish? You don’t know, until you do it.
Amen. 'Nuff said.
Last but not least, is there a place we can keep up with your publication endeavors?
KLW: I try to keep my website updated with links to new postings and articles and short stories I’ve written. You can visit Kathy L. Wheeler
Thanks, Kathy, for stopping in! Keep us posted on Kenny's struggle, would you? Best of luck in your endeavors, and come back soon.