Monday, April 5, 2010

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

CONTEST: Win a t-shirt (valued at $35) and free PDF copy of Flaherty's Crossing by visiting and leaving comments on Ann's blog. Don't forget your email address so Kaylin can contact you if you win.

AL: Hi Kaylin Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Kaylin: I've truly been looking forward to this. Thank you, Ann.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Kaylin: Well, I've been enjoying the wonderful spring weather we're having here in Oregon. The birds are chirping, our gardens are in full bloom, and for the past week, fishermen have been out on the river trying to catch Chinook Salmon. It's so fun watching all the outdoor activity, it's a struggle to get anything done inside.

AL: Please tell us about your newest release, Flaherty’s Crossing. For the readers: This is a wonderful sentiment of love. 100% of the proceeds on this book will be donated to the Cancer Research Center at Providence Medical Center in her father’s name.

Kaylin: Flaherty's Crossing is a story about choices and how they affect the rest of our lives. It's about finding faith in our selves and in others, realizing there are often two sides to every argument, and learning to forgive the ones we love before it's too late.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Kaylin: At this time, I'm working on an action-adventure manuscript titled Severed Threads, which I'm hoping to wrap up very soon. Here's the story in a nutshell: Believing herself responsible for her father's fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a priceless artifact from a sunken galleon, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her own life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father's death. When this on-going adventure comes to a final end, there will be three page-turning stories in the Severed Threads series.

AL: How much research time do you put into most of your books?

Kaylin: Flaherty's Crossing was truly a labor of love. Since it was based on my personal account, research was relatively limited. Not so with Severed Threads. I've spent the better part of five months in libraries, engaged in interviews, documenting and researching online. Since ancient Chinese history, scuba diving equipment, trade routes and dozens of other elements were involved, accuracy is most important.

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

Kaylin: In regard to settings, I tend to gravitate towards familiar locations and townships, but I've also discovered that traveling overseas extensively has allowed me to incorporate my experiences in unexpected ways. I'm totally convinced settings are like characters, needing to serve a purpose. In Flaherty's Crossing, Kate's estranged father lived in an isolated lake-side cabin. Her journey down a winding mountain road reflects her distorted reality and brings her to a major crossroads in her life.

As far as names in a story, sometimes I change my secondary characters' identities, looks, and traits, But for the most part, I have a pretty good sense of who my heroes and heroines are from the get-go and try to stay consistent throughout my writing.

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Kaylin: Not so much with Flaherty's Crossing. But with action-adventure or romantic suspense, my characters seem to want to go in all sorts of the directions, which is probably why I'm writing my next story as a series. Although I'm a professed pantster, I'm finding that giving myself and my "counterparts" perimeters in a pre-written summary helps.

AL: Okay, Kaylin, grab a glass of wine, a tissue and some chocolates, we’re about to get personal. After you lost your father, you began writing Flaherty’s Crossing, did this give you the closure you needed, the outlet in which to pour your heart? Is this the book that set your course in writing? I too have lost loved ones to cancer, my grandfather in 2006 and my father-in-law in September.

Kaylin: {sipping a glass of wine}. Well, I can honestly say Flaherty's Crossing became the source of my salvation. My father and I never had the ability to truly communicate… that is until he was diagnosed with colon cancer. I spent months at his bedside, hearing stories and learning about his past. Then one day, I received a dreaded phone call. When I arrived, my mother told me he'd been holding on, waiting for me. He sat up in bed and kissed me goodbye. Then he was gone. I was torn apart – hurt, angry, confused. I needed an avenue to vent, a medium to pour out my emotions, and I found it in writing. What originally started as a memoir to honor my father evolved into a fictional account. But somehow I could never let go of it. I just couldn't get that last chapter written. The manuscript went into a desk drawer for years and then one day, my eldest daughter convinced me to pick it up again.

Tweaking, editing, and polishing this manuscript was like opening an old wound. But in the process of analyzing my feelings, I realized this was something I needed to do. I had to bring closure to a sad chapter in my life. And strangely, in finding this completion, I opened a new page by renewing my interest in writing. And there's something more. Now that this book is released, I know it has a far greater purpose. When readers purchase copies of Flaherty's Crossing, they'll not only enjoy a fun, inspirational story, they will help make a difference in everyone's life by directly contributing to cancer research.

I've been told time and time again, the best stories come out of the worst times in our lives. My hope is that you find this is the case for you as well, Ann.

AL: What do you like best about living on the west coast? You said in your bio that you hug to it and keep your family close.

Kaylin: I guess I'm a "sun" baby at heart, since I enjoy relatively temperate climates. My home makes it possible to drive one hour north to snowy mountains, two hours south to the coast, an hour east to the desert, and all the while I have nature wrapping its arms around me like a warm crazy quilt.

AL: What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Kaylin: I would have to say ride on an elephant in Thailand through a winding jungle. Quite the experience!

AL: If you have two hours of free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?

Kaylin: I'd write non-stop if I could, but I would relish the time spent with my family around a dinner table more – watching my husband, children, and grandchildren eat, drink, laugh, and talk over each other. They're just too much fun!

AL: Silly question… In your next life, if you came back as a critter, what would it be?

Kaylin: Oh, definitely a fat, sassy cat. You get to sleep, stretch, hunt, eat…do whatever you want, and there's always someone around to scratch and pamper you.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Kaylin: Here's one of my favorites: If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. -- George Bernard Shaw

AL: Thanks so much for sharing and for joining us this week, Kaylin.

Kaylin: My thanks to you, Ann. {hugs} I look forward to dropping by and visiting your readers throughout the week!
AL: If you’d like to find out more about Kaylin please visit:



From Pacific Northwest's award-winning author Kaylin McFarren comes a powerful novel about love, loss, and the power of forgiveness... Flaherty's Crossing.

Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the balance. When her night takes an unexpected turn, however, she flees for her life, a life desperate for faith that can only be found through her ability to forgive.


As Kate's car jounced over the rough highway lining the Puget Sound, a layer of fog lifting from the dark waters swallowed the beams of her headlights. The ocean welcomed her back with its hazy abyss. The sounds of undulating static evidenced waves crashing on the shore. A crisp breeze brushed against her face, delivering a trace of salt to her tongue.

She tried to remember how many years it had been since she'd spent time near the sea. Crabbing, fishing, water skiing: all her happiest memories with her dad had taken place by the water. As well as the most terrifying day of her life.

Kate closed the window. She turned on the radio and flipped through the channels, all crackling between towers. A political debate. Advice for the lovelorn. The brain-itching chorus of "Gypsy Soul." She clicked it off.

Her wheels screeched as she flew around another curve and onto the connecting highway. She released her foot from the gas pedal but, resisting the instinct to use the brakes, she shoved her foot back down to accelerate. Perhaps her way of defying death, or a desperate search for control.

She lifted her phone and called home again, only to hear the same message on the machine.

Where was he?

Suddenly, Drew's words came back to her: "Maybe we need to take a break."

They'd had plenty of arguments in the past, but never before had he mentioned separating. What if he viewed her unexplained absence tonight as blatant apathy?

Apprehension raised her blood pressure, burned the tips of her ears.

She speed dialed Drew's lifeline: his cell phone. It went straight to voicemail: "You've reached Drew Coleman with Milton, Sidis, and Stricklen. I'll be out of town until Monday. If this is an urgent matter, you can reach my assistant at..."

As Kate anxiously waited for the beep, she noted darkness in Drew's voice, a seriousness that had replaced the fun-loving spirit she'd fallen in love with.

"Drew, I'm on my way home," she said. "I'm heading back from my father's. I'll explain when I see you. Anyway, there was a detour. I just took highway sixteen off one-o-six, so I shouldn't be more than forty minutes away..."

The glow of her headlights bounced off something ahead.

It was an animal. A deer. Standing sideways in her lane.

Kate dropped the phone. "No, no, no!" she yelled, jamming the brake pedal to the floor. She yanked back on the steering wheel as if pulling a B-52 out of a nosedive.

In exaggerated slow motion, the deer turned its head toward her. No fear in its eyes. No attempt to move. Either at peace with its fate or unwavering in its defiance.

The car's beams elongated the creature's shadow across the road, the distance between them vanishing. There wasn't time to stop--they were going to collide.

Kate screamed, swerving into the hole of blackness off the edge of the highway. Every muscle in her body clenched, preparing for impact.

REMEMBER: Win a t-shirt (valued at $35) and free PDF copy of Flaherty's Crossing by visiting and leaving comments on Ann's blog. Don't forget your email address so Kaylin can contact you if you win.

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