RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo joins us this week for an exciting interview! Kathleen is the best-selling, award-winning author of fifty novels, novellas, and young adult books and it is my honor to host her here on my blog. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few. If you have not stumbled upon one of Kathleen’s books yet, I think now is the time to do so.
Please take the time to read this interview and leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of her latest book, THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK.
A Georgia Peach welcome to you Kathleen! Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up the eldest of four children in Port Neches, Texas, and then went off to college at Texas A&M to graduate from the Mays School of Business with a degree in Marketing. Marriage, four children, and a prolonged period of world travel ensued. In my working life I have been a paralegal, a literary publicist, a laborer at a chemical plant, a student reference librarian, and a clerk at a pharmacy. My most challenging and rewarding job is that of wife and mother. Oh, and I write books.
Tell us three things about you that would surprise your readers.
I speak passable Indonesian.
Every one of my paternal grandmother’s siblings went by their middle name, and so do I. Ironically I am named after this grandmother, but hers is my first name and so I don’t use it.
My wedding ring was once worn by my maternal grandmother who was orphaned during the Spanish flu epidemic of the early 1900s. I am also named after this grandmother, and hers is my middle name…and yes, I use it.
Very interesting! It sounds like your family has a strong sense of tradition. I read on your website that you are a 10th generation Texan. What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
Get married and become a military wife. It is also the smartest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. My husband and I are celebrating 18 months together as of today.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
Yes, I was. I started by sounding out words in my grandmother’s encyclopedias then graduated to just about anything I could get my hands on. I loved the Little House series, To Kill a Mockingbird, and so many more. I still do.
I loved those books, as well. What is your favorite genre to read now?
I’m such an eclectic reader that this is an almost impossible question to answer. I adore Southern fiction and historicals, but I read all over the map.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Never! I was painfully shy so I wrote and wrote in my spiral notebooks never dreaming I would publish anything.
I think that’s so cool how God was preparing you to be a writer even when you didn’t have the desire for it. That is a great example of submission on your part and also of how God never wastes a moment in our lives. When did you first begin writing for publication?
Tell us about the journey to getting published.
I wrote-A LOT. I submitted-A LOT. I got rejected- A LOT. I went to writers group meetings, took copious notes, and learned-A LOT. I still write, I still submit, I still get rejections, and I still go to writers group meetings and take copious notes. And most of all, I am still learning-A LOT.
I believe we never stop learning. And we probably never stop receiving rejections. But the growth that comes from that is invaluable. How long did you write before you sold your first book?
I wrote for four years before I got my first contract. In that time I completed 8 novels of over 100,000 words in length. Only one of those has ever been published.
Oh, wow! Hopefully, we’ll get the joy of reading those unpublished manuscripts one day. What was your greatest fear as a child and have you written something like that into your book(s)?
I haven’t written that one yet. Someday…
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
Balance is about planning. I have a husband and currently his two teenagers are living with us as well. Thus I juggle transportation to school and youth group activities, my husband’s work schedule, meals, etc. However, I’m so blessed to have all these things in my life that it’s not a struggle to get it all done. Balance is about putting the things God says are important in the order He says matters most: God first, family second, and everything else third. That works well for me.
And THAT is why God has blessed your writing career! What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I used to say I would be a suntan tester on a beach somewhere but I’m not a fan of wrinkles or skin cancer so that answer’s no longer viable. In my “other life” I am a paralegal and I’ve also been a literary publicist, so those are two things that would make the list.
I lost my dad to skin cancer. Not a fan of that either! In three words describe your style of writing.
I LOVE that!!!
We’re going to visit a little more with Kathleen on Thursday to see what she’s up to these days and to let her share with us some deeper details about her faith and how she allows God to use her.
Leave a comment below with your email address for a chance to win a free book. We have to have at least ten comments to make a contest.
In the meantime, feel free to stop by her website and connect with her. www.kathleenybarbo.com
You can read about Kathleen’s real life romance here:
HERE’S THE LINK TO PART TWO OF KATHLEEN’S INTERVIEW