When Kathleen Givens was ten years old, she rewrote LITTLE WOMEN for her sister and herself. In Kathleen’s version Jo marries Laurie and no one gets sick. Strangely enough, it is not in print. Kathleen was derailed from making writing her first career when her father refused to build a garret in which she could work. Frustrated, but resigned, Kathleen went on to finish fifth grade and stayed in school for many years after that, eventually moving to California, where she learned to surf and soon became the surfing queen of the Pacific, winning numerous championships and earning multi-million dollar endorsements from thousands of companies. OK, she made that up. Kathleen, who has no physical abilities to speak of, turned her energy to making up stories (see above), but mercifully, about other people and places. Her latest book, Rivals For The Crown, has just hit the bookshelves and should be purchased immediately. Or sooner.
Kathleen, your writing is amazing. How do you do it?
Thanks for asking! I use a Dell computer and a keyboard, which makes it look so neat. My handwriting is atrocious.
(Chuckle) No, really, tell us about your latest book, Rivals For The Crown. I hear it's getting rave reviews!
(Blushing demurely) Yes, and I’m delighted! Rivals For The Crown is the second in my Highland series, which began with On A Highland Shore. The series will follow Margaret MacDonald and her siblings and their descendants for 500 years. And, of course, will continue the story of Gannon MacMagnus, the progenitor of the MacGannon clan from my Kilgannon series.
Speaking of the Kilgannon books - will you ever finish that series?
I hope so, but it doesn’t look good right now. I wrote them for Dell Publishing, which merged with Bantam Books, and the new entity, Bantam Dell, has no interest in finishing the series. I wish I had better news for all those who ask me - and for myself. I’d love to finish that series, but for now it stands as Kilgannon and The Wild Rose Of Kilgannon.
So, tell us about Rivals For The Crown.
Rivals tells the story of two best friends, Rachel and Isabel, who are separated by the edict of a king, when Edward of England expels all the Jews in his kingdom. Rachel is forced to leave London and travels with her family to Scotland, while Isabel becomes a lady-in-waiting to Edward’s queen. It seems that they will never meet again, but Fate has other plans. Rachel meets Highlanders Kieran MacDonald and his cousin Rory MacGannon, and eventually the friends are reunited.
Things are never easy for my characters, and sure enough, there is a struggle for the crown of Scotland, which is plunged into a near civil war while Edward waits to see who will be victorious. Kieran and Rory become immersed in the turbulence, as does William Wallace.
As the struggle turns into armed conflict, and all four must decide where their loyalties and destinies lie.
I hear you had trailers made for On A Highland Shore and Rivals For The Crown . . .
. . . and they are fabulous! It’s so wonderful to see the visual impact the stories can have. I’m currently having the trailers translated into German and Spanish for my editions in those languages. Want to see them? Check out my website. The trailer for RIVALS link is on the home page, and Rivals For The Crown’s trailer is on that book page.
Tell us about "The Whine Sisters." Where did that name come from?
The Whine Sisters is the blog I have with fellow writers, Julia London and Sherri Browning Erwin. You never know what we’ll talk about next. Julia, Sherri and I met in Chicago, one fateful July, during a very memorable heat wave. We whined then about the heat, and all these years later we’re still whining about everything we can think of. We’re quite irreverent and snarky and have a great time amusing ourselves. Come on by and visit: www.whinesisters.com.
Do you ever get away from a computer?
I frequently sign my books at Scottish Games, Irish Fairs and Celtic festivals on the West Coast, and can lured further afield if invited to sign elsewhere. And I have been known to go the grocery store and dry cleaners.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Yes. Run! Take up knitting, or bungie jumping, or mountain climbing, something less hazardous to your health than writing books. It’s a long hard climb without a clear path and there are lots of surprises along the way. If you still want to try, then read and write. It’s that simple. Learn what a story is. Study the structure of movies and plays. Read the bestsellers, the literary gems, the different genres. Learn your craft, learn about the business, and don’t ever forget that it is a business. Then take the plunge and write. Repeat. Again. Again. And again, for 50 years. Good luck – and welcome to the chaos!
No, thank you