Recently, we chatted with Kathleen and here's what she had to say...
TBB: Welcome, Kathleen. Tell us a little bit about when and why you began writing?
KG: I started writing when I was 14 years old - shortly after my father died. I felt so many emotions that I didn't know how to share. One day, on my way home from school, I bought a notebook at the local stationary store. I opened the book and started by writing a letter to my father - telling him how sad I was and how much I missed him. Eventually the book evolved from letter writing into a place where I could simply sit down and share whatever I was feeling.
I've always been very private and rather shy, so the journal became my therapist, of sorts - a safe place where I could cut loose and purge whatever I was feeling inside...good, bad or otherwise. It was by doing this regularly - writing about people and situations in my real life - that I began to see that stories were suddenly emerging. That's when the writing bug first bit me.
If you want to read more about how and why I became a writer--and how I approach my craft--you might want to read the essay I contributed to the anthology, Writers And Their Notebooks.
TBB: That's a great story. I'm sure your father would be very proud of you. Tell us, what do you do when you're not writing?
KG: I love reading and watching movies; photography and cooking. I love red wine - and learning about (and, of course, tasting) the different varieties. I am also a big fan of Top Chef on Bravo-TV. I really enjoy taking my dog to the park - I meet so many wonderful people and other dog lovers there!
TBB: You and I have the same hobbies but I'm really into baking. Desserts are my specialty! When talking about your book, how did you come up with the title?
KG: The title In Transit holds different meanings. There is the tie-in of the heroine of the story and how she is assigned to the NYPD Transit Squad. Then there's the whole idea of going somewhere, of movement and forward action - be it on subway cars winding beneath the streets of Manhattan or going somewhere new in your life (in a literal and figurative sense).
TBB: I'm a big fan of titles that have multiple meanings. This is a great one. Please tell us your latest news.
KG: In Transit recently won The New York Book Festival 2011 - "Best Romantic Fiction" category!
TBB: Oh, Congrats! I'm sure you're an inspiration to others. What authors have inspired your writing and in what way?
KG: I think the short stories of Flannery O'Connor have inspired me the most in my writing. She is first and foremost a beautiful technician of language and craft. Her stories are so deep and evocative - depicting full worlds, in so few pages, that combine the profound with elements of the absurd. When you read her work, you're not sure if you should laugh or cry. She writes about real, ordinary people from the South (even though some people called her characters 'freaks'), and she's an expert at revealing the flaws in people, even if they don't see themselves as flawed.
Despite the foibles of some of her characters and some of the bleak, often violent, endings of her work, an idea of redemption manages to emerge. I always learn something new when I read her work - and I've read and re-read her stories countless times.
I also admire Ms. O'Connor on a personal level. For most of her adult life, she battled the autoimmune disease Lupus. She never seemed to allow physical disability and illness to thwart her deep, spiritual convictions (illness actually deepened her faith) or deter her from honing her craft. She died when she was only 39 years old. But in her short life, she produced a large body of work with lasting appeal and resonance.
TBB: I didn't know that about her. Thanks for sharing. Do you have any advice for other writers?
KG: Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. Believe in yourself.
TBB: Lastly, give me a quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.
KG: "Stories (whether you read them or write them, or both) have an incredible power to change lives."
TBB: Well done.
Before you go please share a little more about your book with us.
Rita Del Vecchio is a naive, 20-something waitress living in New Jersey who, on a whim, takes the NYPD police exam - and actually passes the test. The story is about the men who cross Rita's path once she is assigned to the NYPD Transit Police Squad.
Travel with Rita as she becomes a "woman-in-jeopardy" and learns that some people hold secrets as dark and as labyrinth-like as the New York City Subway System.
Want More Kathleen?
Visit her blog here: http://intransit-thenovel.blogspot.com
Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.