I was first introduced to debut novelist Kathryn Biel, in an excellent ‘Guest Post’ spot she participated in, where she was talking with Naida, over at ‘The Bookworm’. Imagine my surprise then, when Kathryn contacted me out of the blue, to ask whether I would like to read and review a copy of ‘Good Intentions’ for myself. Never one to pass up the opportunity to check out a new book, I of course agreed and now Kathryn has taken the time to stop by and talk to the readers, here at Fiction Books. I am looking forward to ‘Good Intentions’ getting to the top of my reading / review pile.
Today, I am handing over ‘Meet The Authors’ to Kathryn, as she kindly offers up this interesting guest post.
A special thanks to Yvonne for letting me do a guest blog post here.
First of all, let’s get the ‘official’ biography details down for the record …
I am Kathryn Biel and I was born and raised in Upstate New York. I attended Boston University, where I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Following college, a poor economy took me to Ohio, where I found not only a wonderful job as a physical therapist in a special education school, but the man that I would marry as well.
Although I had sworn never to return to Upstate New York, jobs and family pulled me back and I have been contentedly settled there ever since. In the midst of raising a family, I returned to school, and received my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges.
I still continue to work as Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel Household, as well as holding down a few part-time gigs as a physical therapist. With a specialty in school-based pediatrics, I can often be found writing letters of medical necessity for my students. However, eventually those letters, as creative as they became, were no longer enough to satisfy my urge to write, and I set about writing my first novel,’ Good Intentions’.
I am an avid reader, although I admit that I often read fluff rather than substance. I hope that my writings provide the entertainment and escape that I have received from so many others. I have officially been bitten by the writing bug, and am hard at work on my second novel, as well as keeping up with my own personal blog and facebook page. When not working, running the kids to and fro, writing, or cleaning the house (which I admit is almost never), I also enjoy sewing, scrapbooking and dancing.
Even though publishing in any form is cool, there is something about holding a book with your name on it, with your words in it, that is very, very cool.
Now for the real life Kathryn Biel ‘author’ …
I don’t know that I’m your typical author. I did not go to college with the intention of being a writer. Although I dabbled with the notion of being a communications major when I was in tenth grade, that though was fleeting. I had previously and following that brief period only really wanted a career in the medical field (if you don’t consider my all true desire to be a Radio City Music Hall Rockette—a dream that was dashed by a genetic inability to meet the height requirement). By the time my senior year in high school rolled around, I was considering only physical therapy or pre-med. That decision was done, and I had found my calling. Or so I thought.
I never thought that my writing skills were anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I did not do well in my Freshman English composition class. That was the last “writing” class I took. I write a lot of evaluations, reports and letters of medical necessity, and most of the time they are well received. But, for years, I’ve had ideas running around in my head. You know, the “what if” scenario for one thing or another. Sometimes, while trying to fall asleep, I script out these ideas. That is how ‘Good Intentions’ was born. I don’t want to delve too much into the story, so as not to spoil it, but I had the idea for the “what if” scenario. Then, I went back and created a back-story to set the scene to get the main character there.
When coming up with the main character, I based her on myself at that age. I took a scene that I was familiar with (Boston, where I had gone to college). In my head, Maggie’s apartment is the one that I lived in for two years. This way, since I really had no idea of what I was doing, I had something to ground the story in reality. Maggie is a pediatric physical therapist, as I am. By using a profession that I am intimately familiar with, I didn’t have to do any research. Consider it the lazy way out. I did use bits and pieces of real life when telling Maggie’s story. Little things here and there are true. Lots of things are just totally made up. I used some names of people that are real. Some names are just totally random. Here’s an interesting tidbit … both Ryan and Matt’s last names are the maiden names of my grandmothers. In my way, it’s a tribute to them. But as a general rule, if the character shares a name with someone I know, then the character is nothing like the real person. If a character is based (no matter how loosely) on a real person, then they will not have the same name. One thing that I’ve had to explain over and over is that this is a work of fiction. Sometimes, I would take a small nugget of truth and then just bend and manipulate it to make it work how I wanted it to.
I also write by the seat of my pants. I had my idea, and I just sat at my computer and let the words and thoughts flow. There was no outline. I have to look back at my work and double check characters for consistency. I truly did not know where this story was going, or how it was going to end. When I finally made a decision, I went back, added, and edited to make it fit more in line with what I wanted. I consider this whole thing a learning experience, though. In writing my second novel, which is almost roughly done, I had a lot of stops and starts. I actually had the idea for two different novels, which an author friend then brilliantly suggested to combine (thanks, Dennis!). Once I got them together, I knew how I wanted it to end. But this time, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. I make the journey along with my characters. And now that I’ve taken most of the journey, I’m not sure I still want that ending. I guess, no matter what, I will always write this way, and I’ll be as surprised as the rest of you at the ending.
Not to put the cart before the horse, but when stuck on my second novel, ideas for the third one started pouring in. I’m trying to be disciplined and make notes so that I can remember what I was thinking about when it comes time to do that one. Of course, I scribble them down where ever I am, so I probably need to organize that before I try to tackle that book.
I do think that I really enjoy this whole writing thing. Even though I like my chosen profession, I am perhaps becoming a little burnt out, and am ready for a change. It would be nice to take a little sabbatical and focus on writing. And thanks to the efforts of wonderful readers and bloggers, someday, that just may happen.
I hope you all enjoyed this little peak into how I stumbled into this thing called writing. First and foremost, I am a reader, and I just want to give to other readers the gifts that I have been given. If you have any questions about my process, leave me a ‘comment’ and I’d be happy to answer.
Thanks again Yvonne for giving me this forum and for all the help with promoting my work. Indie authors truly would not be able to make it without the efforts of people like you!
And of course, my brilliant and supportive family!
Maggie Miller is about to start her life in Boston. She’s done with grad school and has a good job as a pediatric physical therapist. Maggie sees herself as plain and ordinary, nothing remarkable. She doesn’t see that surviving a horrific car accident that killed her mother and brother as anything special. She’s had bad taste in men and is jaded, and has decided to lay low while she focuses on her career. Matt Slavin is Maggie’s best friend from college. He has an atrocious girlfriend, who hates Maggie for no reason. But he also has this good friend from home. Ryan Milan is a drop-dead gorgeous young attorney who, despite significant reservations, has relocated to Boston to start his career as a prosecutor. He is good at reading the people he’s prosecuting, but cannot read women. Maggie and Ryan dance around each other, never sure of where the other stands. After months of push and pull, they finally realize that the other is actually interested. After finally getting together, they are pulled apart by Ryan’s family tragedy, and he is unable to return to Maggie. Just when Maggie thinks she does not have the strength to rebuild again, she finds she no longer has that choice. And when they’re finally reunited seven years later, Maggie’s life is barely recognizable…
Thanks for stopping by Kathryn. There will be plenty more chances for readers to enjoy ‘sneak peeks’ from ‘Good Intentions’ and I sincerely hope that the book continues to capitalise on its early successes and that your second novel is coming together, as you had planned.
Twitter … https://twitter.com/KRBiel
Facebook … https://www.facebook.com/kathrynrbiel