Good afternoon friends and welcome. I want to thank Jennifer Lynn and all of you who visited the site last week. For those of you who missed her guest blog, you can read it here.
Today we are chatting with international author Kathy L. Salt, whose debut book, ‘Out of Hand’, is now available. Kathy is with Triplicity Publishing and is a rising star. Come see why and feel free to ask her question in the comments.
“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”
– F. Scott. Fitzgerald.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a twenty-eight-year-old teacher and author living in Sweden with my wife and our two dogs. The most important thing to know about me is that I teach young children, which means I might over-explain things to you in a slow voice, cut your food for you and ask if you’ve been to the restroom if you complain that your stomach hurts.
What is your book ‘Out of Hand’ about?
It’s about a kidnapping. It sprung from the wish to write a story about the kidnapping of a woman so bitchy the kidnappers couldn’t take it anymore. It became a story about Leo who does kidnap Mimi but very reluctantly so and Mimi’s demanding nature only makes Leo like her. In the end, the lines blur between them. The interesting thing about the book is that they make a journey from Britain, through France, and into Germany and I’m proud of the way I have described the different places.
What traits do you look for in your protagonists?
The number one thing I don’t want them to be is perfect, but I struggle with making anyone downright cruel. I need to still be able to like them and understand why they’re acting like they do. I also love giving them a rich backstory whether I put it in the book or not.
How have your two dogs been a positive influence?
I believe in responsibility and that it’s healthy. We got our first dog when we were twenty-two and the change in me from just being a student to a dog-owner and having to take care of something other than myself was very positive. It also made me less lonely when my wife (then girlfriend) was away during the day.
Let’s talk about your blog. What things do you like to write about?
I struggle a lot with my blog and am very bad at updating it regularly. When I created it, it was a place to share my short stories and sometimes ramble on about writing or, occasionally, family history. Nowadays I don’t have the energy for short stories and sadly I don’t have that much to say about writing either – I just want to do the writing. The only thing I have things to say about now is teaching and that feels wrong since it’s not a teacher blog. I need to come up with a plan to keep my blog alive. Maybe I will do a theme, like motivation-Mondays or write blog posts in an alphabetical order (first month I write about something on a word or thing starting with A, next month something on B etc…).
Me: Be sure to check out Kathy’s blog and sign up. You are going to love her themes.
I see you write down goals for the year. Why do you set them and what role do they play in your everyday life?
I love having a goal in every aspect of my life, I am a teacher after all. If I didn’t have a goal, I wouldn’t know where I was going. My goals, however, are pretty much always the same, every year I want to finish the book I’m writing, start a new one, publish an old one. I can’t be more ambitious than that while I work full-time.
You have also created short stories which you share on your WordPress blog page. How is writing short stories different from writing a full-length novel?
They’re very different, from start to finish. My short-stories are rawer, more stream-of-consciousness, less agonizing over every word. They’re also less planned. When I write a full-length novel I plan every bit, sometimes I don’t follow the plan fully or change it as I continue, but short stories are not planned at all. I know what I want to write and sometimes I put down some sentences at the end of the document I’m working on but that’s it. Full-length novels get a whole folder with lots of documents of planning.
What was the last book you read and what would you like to say about the author?
The book I’ve almost finished now is ‘Close Enough to Touch’ by Cade Brogan. It’s the first of hers I’ve read but after reading this, I want to read more!
Do you keep a journal? If so how has it helped you?
I do and have for most of my life. The newest one, however, is mostly for regular journaling but some pages are more bullet-journal like. My pages aren’t neat and pretty like you see online, but it’s good enough for me. I like record-keeping, like how much I’m writing or exercising, books that I’m reading etc. I should, however, be doing some journaling every day, I’ve noticed in the past that it helps sort out my thoughts and feelings and helps with stress.
What is it like living in Sweden?
I love living here. I’ve lived in a couple of places on-off since I was a child. United Arab Emirates. Britain. To me, Sweden is the best, but I’m probably biased being half-Swedish. People tend to be really trusting and that’s nice. I really like the climate too and that we don’t have that many animals or critters that can kill you. Both the wife and I really enjoy the changing of the seasons going from quite cold to fairly warm. We live rather south now but we used to live in the north a few years ago and we’d get minus 30 degrees Celsius, that was kind of cool.
Describe a typical day for yourself.
I wake up at 5.30, prepare breakfast and lunchboxes for myself and the wife. I put hers in the hallway because she’s forgotten to go into the kitchen in the past. I’m a morning person and I love having a nice, calm breakfast, lighting some candles, putting on some calm music, drinking something warm etc. But when you’re waking up before six it’s a bit too early even for me. I leave around six, arrive around seven since I work at a small public school outside the city. The working day is usually lost in a haze of parental emails, meetings not to mention actually teaching. I have an adorable class of 25 seven-year-olds. They’re quite well-behaved now but if anyone is interested to see how it was just last semester, they can check out my blog post “Adventures in Teaching First Graders.” My job is stressful and wonderful and crazy, and I somehow love it and hate it at the same time. Sometimes I wish I could leave for any other job, but it’s the only thing I can and want to do.
After work I sometimes go swimming, sometimes go to my parents for a cup of tea, sometimes head straight home. I pick up the dogs from dog daycare (wife leaves them in the morning) do a load of laundry, start dinner. Wife arrives, we eat and talk about our days. When all that is done, I could do some writing, but my brain is usually too tired, so I read or play video games or watch something. (My creative writing waits until weekends or holidays, like this one, both kids and I have the coming week off – plenty of time for writing!) We go to bed at nine or ten, sometimes eight. After all, my alarm rings at 5.30 the next day again.
What video games do you enjoy playing?
I haven’t played Tomb Raider myself, but my wife has played all of them and I watched her. I love Bioware games like Dragon Age or Mass Effect. I also loved Horizon Zero Dawn. I want to play Witcher 3 but am waiting for my wife to play through it first (after all, that game is hers.) I enjoyed Telltale games like The Walking Dead Game. I like games with a story and I like RPGs where I can play as a female character.
My heart, however, will always belong to the Dragon Age series, in fact, I have a play-through of Dragon Age Inquisition going on right now. Dragon Age is also the reason why I try to hide a nightingale in all my stories, it’s a homage to my favorite character ever, who happens to be from a video game.
What is a favorite dish that you like to prepare for your wife?
My wife’s favorite dish is a traditional Swedish one, mash, meatballs, and lingonberry. It’s an easy dish to prepare for me too since I can just swap the meatballs for vegetarian meatballs and we both get something we enjoy since she eats meat and I don’t. She loves potato in all forms so most of what I cook for her will have it.
As a teacher, how does your interaction with students make a difference in your community?
I have put my heart into my job. Instead of choosing private schools to work at, I have stayed in public schools because the kids who need the most help won’t always be at private schools. I have chosen to take over rather difficult classes (not the one I have now though, to be fair I needed the rest) where I’ve had students, mainly boys, who have acted out in different ways or come from backgrounds where there are drugs and/or violent parents. I have also been actively involved in my school’s conflict-solving group where we helped children who are stuck in bad behavior or have been harassed in some way. I’ve also been involved in two cases where we’ve had to contact social services.
What other countries would you be interested in visiting?
Hmm. I had to think about this one for a while. I want to go to Iceland because they have a working temple to Odin there and I want to see it. I want to go to Brazil because my wife was born there, and we still haven’t gone there together. But no, where I want to go the most is Kiruna, the north part of Sweden where my dad was born. Mainly to just walk around in nature and see what grows there.
What is next for you?
What’s very next for me is a week off from work which I desperately need. When it comes to writing I just sent Stargazing, a lesbian romance, off to my publisher and while waiting for an editor to contact me I’ll be working on my newest, still-unnamed, novel which is about a professor and a student who falls for each other. It’s set in Aberdeen, at a university I once attended so it’s pretty fun to write.
Be sure to check out Kathy’s links for new and exciting news.
Before we go, I have included an excerpt from this fine story. Enjoy.
Leo had never been a planner. Which was an odd thing, considering that in her line of work, even the tiniest mistake could be the end of the operation. Most smugglers probably had a brilliant masterplan for each job. And a plan B in case something went wrong. And a plan C just to be sure. But Leo never did. Making so many plans she could lose herself in them, wasn’t her thing. She didn’t plan. She reacted. Leo didn’t need a plan, she had her instincts. Her talent for improvisation had saved her more than once.
But kidnapping an adult person required a different kind of praxis. To kidnap someone you needed a plan. Leo should have known all of that and still had headed to Mimi’s place without one. All she had known was that she would go to Mimi’s place, find her very hungover and in bed, and then… well, she would have decided when she got there.
What she hadn’t anticipated was an obvious workaholic heading to work while hardly able to walk. Idiot. But so very, very good for Leo. It had been too easy. She couldn’t believe that she was actually out of London with her ‘package’.
Mimi had been completely quiet during the whole ride so far and when Leo stole a glance at her, she could see that she was very pale. Her complexion had taken on a green tone. She better not throw up.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Mimi hissed when their gazes met. “Are you some big creepy kidnapper?”
Her voice had a hard edge to it, as if she was more pissed off than scared, and against her better judgment, Leo was impressed. She didn’t answer and turned her gaze back to the wheel. She guessed she should have been more concerned over what to do next but she kept cruising along the road, not even breaching the speed limit. It was better to act normal than call the attention of the police.
She had to stop somewhere of course. Call Sandra. Hal too. And book tickets for the ferry from Dover to Calais. Hmm. I need to figure out the ferry situation. Leo stole another glance at her little prisoner.
“I need to throw up.” Mimi sucked in air through her mouth but instead of puffy cheeks, Mimi looked determined. Leo wasn’t a fool. She just wants you to stop the car so she can try to get away.
“Use some of the fabrics in the back.” It was a test and from Mimi’s stunned silence, Leo knew that she had won.
“That’s my livelihood, you know,” Mimi said. “Those fabrics weren’t cheap.”
The need to throw up seemed forgotten and Leo ignored her.
“Are you stupid?” Venom dropped from every word that came out of Mimi’s mouth when she continued to talk. “Were you dropped on your head as a child? I demand you stop the car and let me go right now.”
“That’s not happening.”
Leo didn’t care about Mimi, she could say anything, do anything, it wouldn’t stop Leo from doing what had to be done. After all, Sandra was counting on her.
I want to thank Kathy for stopping by to talk with us. It was a real pleasure!
Stay tuned … coming soon a major announcement!
Until Next Time,
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