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Interview with Kathleen Shaputis Author of His Kilt Dropped Here



Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the glorious Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, a clowder of cats, two pompously protective Pomeranians with little social aptitude, Brugh and Miss Jazzy, and an overgrown adolescent blue tick coon hound, Juno.

If not writing during her lifestyle in an acre of forest, she keeps busy reading from her never-ending, to-be-read pile and watching romantic comedies. Her hygge in the woods.

Her latest book, His Kilt Dropped Here, finds Rogue Bruce enjoying running a Scottish castle turned bed-and-breakfast with her Aunt Baillie from America. They specialize in hosting romantic Elizabethan-themed weddings, complete with resident ghost, Lord Kai. But love is something Rogue is not the least bit interested in. Content with her work, she requires no male accompaniment for happiness.

A new delivery service brings Bruce MacKenzie, a Thor look-alike in plaid and denim, fetching more than the usual number of groceries from town, while Jonathan Olson, a snobbish, dark, Rhett Butler type, arrives at the castle to administer a writing seminar for aspiring authors. With two men after the heart she’d thought safely locked away, Rogue is flattered and confused. But when things start to take a sinister turn, danger befalls Rogue and those dear to her. The musical soundtrack of Rogue’s life flares from complacent, to dizzyingly romantic, to heart-thumping scary in this sizzling triangle.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kathleen.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am grateful to say I am a multi-published author, a childhood dream come true. I’ve done a nation-wide book tour and I’ve taught classes to new writers. One last checkbox is having one of my books made into a movie and I have a walk-on part.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

My first book published was with 10 Speed Press, a non-fiction titled Grandma Online. I was peddling a rom com at writers conferences, and got a few nibbles, nothing exciting. I had been at two good-sized events, earlier in the year, where I heard a lot of “nonfiction is easier to sell.” I don’t write nonfiction as I am not an expert at anything. Around the end of summer, I woke up one morning and heard myself say, “I am a computer technician at work and a grandmother. What if I wrote a book for grandmothers about using a computer?”

I bought a copy of Eva Shaw’s book, Writing the Nonfiction Book. I studied every page about book proposals. My next conference was in January. I sold my pitch to the publisher over a glass of wine the first night. She had just had twins and her mother lived in Australia, she understood the concept immediately. We shook hands over a sweet deal.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

The book came out about fourteen months later. First there was a word count problem. After I turned in my manuscript, per the contract, and a month early, I was hit with a demand for thirty-thousand additional words in two months. The contract should have read 60,000 words and not 30,000 words.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

The night I shook hands over accepting the offer, I dashed up to my hotel room to call my husband. He wasn’t home. I called my sister. No one. Now this was before cell phones and I didn’t bring my address book with me, so I couldn’t call any of my girlfriends. I watched Run-away Bride on pay per view and ate some delicious cookies a dear friend had made me for luck to take with me.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I decoupaged a copy of the book’s cover onto a pair of earrings. Then made a couple of badges that said, “Ask me about Grandma Online.” I also bought a box of special pens with purple ink for book signings. The purple went with the purple cover.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Having a few nonfiction titles and a half-dozen novels, I’ve learned and stretched in a variety of ways. Grammar issues tend to jump out now. JK Rowling started one of her Harry Potter books with, “It was…” and I about had a fit. I was furious with her. An important part of a good story starts with a hook in the first line.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Publishing a book is hard work whether you self-publish or with a publisher. Having any modicum of success takes hard work plus luck. The industry contracts and expands constantly. There is never a “right” time to publish – there is just now. You can’t live with “if only…” If only I’d lived in the 1800’s like Jo in Little Women publishing would have been easier. eBooks did not kill hard cover or paperback books. And the Seven Sisters of New York Publishing are now the Big Five. Things will keep changing.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being recognized by a fan, or when someone understands and loves one of your favorite characters.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This is my motto. Write the book you dream of. When things open up, sign up for a conference. Or take an online writing class. The creative energy of being around or with other writers in intoxicating, uplifting, magical. Learn, know, succeed.

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