It is time to start thinking about those books you might like to buy for friends and loved ones for the holidays and to start looking for great new holiday stories to read. I always have a few I love to re-read around this time of the year but I am always searching for new books and stories to enjoy during the holiday season. They get me into a festive mood and always make the holidays seem brighter.
My guest today in My Writing Corner, Kathy Otten, has a wonderful new offering and I was curious about it and about her writing career.
Kathy, did you always want to be a writer?
I suppose I’ve always wanted to write. As a kid I made up stories in my head at night when I couldn’t sleep. I wrote them down and made books with crayon pictures tied together with yarn. Over the years, my stories grew longer and I filled several notebooks. But it wasn’t until my kids grew up that I joined Pennwriters Inc., and seriously pursued the craft of writing.
Tell us about your new book and where got the idea for it.
A Christmas Smile isn’t a new book, but as it is a holiday novella, I thought it would be fun to talk about it. Rather than an idea, many times my characters come to me first, lurking in the periphery of my mind. In this case I saw Tom, the hero, returning home from the Civil War, eager to finally see the only woman he ever loved.
How did you come up with your characters for the book?
After the characters come to me, I start asking them questions. In Tom’s case I asked him things like: Where are you going? What are you looking for? Why? What will you do if she isn’t waiting for you?
What do you like best about your current hero?
Tom is so beaten down by war at the beginning of the story, he makes a terrible mistake. Once he understands what happened, rather than concede defeat he tries to win the heroine’s forgiveness. I guess I like the fact that in the end if she no longer loves him, that he’s willing to walk away.
What about your heroine?
Beth also suffered hardship during the war and it transformed her from a girl into a self-sufficient woman. I like the fact that she didn’t easily forgive Tom. She needed him to understand how his mistake had hurt her and changed her.
How do you normally come up with characters?
I see them in my mind, in that half awake, half asleep stage in the early morning. Usually they are dressed in clothes of their period and they are doing something or saying something. In this story I saw Tom, in a battered Confederate uniform, a crutch under each arm as he hobbled up a narrow lane.
What a great idea! You put them in a story immediately! How about a blurb?
After years in a Yankee prison camp, Tom Montgomery returned to Virginia to discover the wife who said she'd love him forever had mistakenly been informed of his death and married another man. Seven years later, Tom returns to Montgomery, Texas to discover Elizabeth has been living at his grandfather's ranch. Can a Christmas miracle heal the pain of betrayal and bring their two hearts together again?
I’m in between projects. My Civil War novel, A Place In Your Heart, is out now from The Wild Rose Press. I finished writing a contemporary young adult novel for which I am currently querying agents. My NaNoWriMo goal is to write the rough draft for the second book for that same cast of characters. And I’m playing around with an idea for a short story set during WWI.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
I can be contacted at