I have been writing since 1987. I started as a journalist, went to college in my 40s, and continued to write after that. My first book, “A River of Stones” was published in 2002.
You write in multiple genres – do you start with the genre and then the story or the other way around?
The genre usually. For my most recent book, I knew what the genre was going to be pretty close to getting it going. I have written mystery, YA fiction, middle reader, nonfiction, a picture book, Christian fiction, Christian Historical Fiction and science/fantasy, so you can imagine what my mind is like.
Which do you find the most challenging to write – fiction or non-fiction?
That depends on the research. When there’s a lot of research, the time it takes to finish a book is lengthened. The easiest books for me to write are those that mostly come from my head. If the book is based on where I live or a place where I’ve vacationed, the challenge is lessened.
Where did the ideas for the Brianne James Mystery & Susan Cramer Mystery Series’ come from?
I really wanted to tackle a mystery, and so I thought how it would be if I was a detective, having no training and no experience in the field. This is Susan Cramer. She loves a great mystery but she really has no idea – especially in the beginning – how to solve the crime. I am like that. The ideas after that came from my ‘strange’ mind. I am always asking what if questions. What if someone died in an old hotel and everyone thought You were the murderer? What if you were on a cruise ship and an old man died at your feet?
Do you have a favorite character and why?
I would have to say Brianne James. She is the daughter to Susan. And she has a little more of her wits about her. She is tough, too.
Were the series planned ahead or did the character’s dictate a continuation?
The series was not planned ahead. “Scrambled” was a one book wonder in the beginning. I wrote it because I was attending college and I needed money for school. I received a $500 scholarship from Mystery Writers of America after sending in my first chapter – a chapter I wrote for one of my college classes.
What is your writing process?
Get up. Sit down. And write. I treat my writing like I would a profession because it is. Writing is NOT my hobby. Yes, I love it, but I write because I have to. I go through multiple drafts and revisions before I call something finished. A have a part-time job as an aide at an elementary school, and two businesses – we publish too over here, [Idea Creations Press] and run a non-profit [Trees For Keeps], so I keep myself pretty busy.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Our family just returned from a vacation to Bryce Canyon, Utah. It is a beautiful place. Every morning I would sit out on the porch and write. I loved it. At home I have my office. It’s not as peaceful as an early morning in the canyon, but I love having a work space just for writing.
Does your own life experience play a part in your characterizations?
This question makes me smile. Yes. There is a lot of me in my books. The goofy girl. The question asker. The mystery maker. The searcher.
Where can readers find you?
I love it when readers find me at my blog and learn something new about writing, marketing, or publishing. http://www.ariverofstones.com. I also have a fun Author’s Amazon page here.
Kathryn is a lover of words and a bearer of mood swings. When she is feeling the need to inspire, she writes a Christian fiction book. If a mystery is waiting to be uncovered, she finds it. If something otherworldly is finding its way through her fingertips, she travels to it.
Kathryn has been a reader since she was a young child. Although she took classes in writing as a teen, it wasn’t something she really thought would become her career until she was married. And even then, it took a few more years for something worthy enough to publish to manifest itself.
Kathryn’s first book was published in 2002. Since then, many other books have found their way out of her head depending on the sort of day she is having. Kathryn is a journalist, a teacher, a mentor, an editor, a publisher, and a marketer.
Her greatest joy, other than writing her next book, is meeting with readers and authors who enjoy the craft of writing as much as she does.
1. Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Farley O’Charlie McBarley is my favorite character. Not because he was the main character in my first children’s book, but because of what he stands for. Farley was bullied by his third grade classmates. Although he was belittled repeatedly and made fun of, Farley handled his situation with class and dignity. And, the bullies were enlightened by the end of the story. I relate to this character because I, too, was bullied as a child and as an adult. My son Jason and my mother were both bullied too. Bullying is a serious, atrocious issue that hits close to home for me.
2. Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I write Christian and children’s books-fiction and non-fiction.
3. What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love to pour my heart into a book, even if it’s a warped, wacky, fun, entertaining children’s book. When I’m writing, I give it my all.
4. Have you got a favorite place to write?
I usually write on my computer, mainly because it’s faster. If I had grown up back in the Samuel Clemens‘ days and before, I don’t know that I’d be a writer today. Writing by longhand is not for me, tedious at best.
5. Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I have to be inspired to write. I don’t usually just sit down at my computer and type. Every resource book I’ve read says I should write 1,000 words every day. That doesn’t work for me. I write when I’m inspired. I may write two children’s books in one day or I may go weeks and not write anything at all. This system may not be popular, but it works for me.
6. What inspires your stories?
Lots of things inspire me. My Christian faith is the basis of everything I do. I even implement that faith into my children’s books by writing clean, wholesome material that is suitable for the entire family. My childhood has been a huge factor in one of my recent books, Mud Puddles and Muscadines, a short story collection about my childhood escapades growing up on an ol’ dirt road in rural Arkansas. Also, I was a substitute teacher in our local school system for 10 years. While all of my characters are fictional in my children’s books, those years certainly gave me much material from which to draw for ideas.
7. What are you currently reading?
Today I will finish Terror By Night by Terry Caffey. One of the weirdest things I’ve ever had happen while reading a book is to not know anything about the book prior to reading it and then open the pages and read about real locations that I have either lived at or visited. That has happened to me with the last two books I’ve read. It’s kind of surreal.
8. Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
My family might tell you differently, but I don’t think I have any odd habits except I don’t usually eat my meals on a plate. I eat my food from a little cereal bowl. I guess that counts as odd to most folks. I have several childhood stories. I’ve written about many of them in Mud Puddles and Muscadines. One story I haven’t written about yet is when I was in the 10th grade and my basketball team was playing in the first round of our district tournament. This was back before the girls played full court. We played six and six then. I was a forward, one of the three players that made the points. I don’t know what happened, but I scored 52 points out of 60 in that game. I couldn’t miss. Our local radio station was covering the game and saying all kinds of nice things about me. Of course, I found this out after the game. I’ve been called a ball hog due to scoring so many points, but it seemed I couldn’t miss that day and the idea was to win the game and advance to the next round of the tournament. I was serious about my ball playing. I didn’t know how many points I had scored until the game was over. But let me just say my coach was thrilled with my performance that day. According to the last official statistics I’ve seen, I am still one of the highest scoring female basketball athletes in the state of Arkansas. You won’t be able to find this information anywhere. You have to take my word for it. To get listed on the Arkansas Athletic Association’s web page as such, I had to provide the correct paperwork to prove how much I had scored in that game. Our gym had been remodeled and they threw away the scorebooks that would have backed up my statement. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
9. Do you have any pets?
Oh yes. We have two miniature horses, Shorty and Belle that are actually my seven-year-old grandson’s horses. We have a Red Heeler dog named Jill who loves to be loved. And, we have a cat named Miss Kitty who adopted our family about two years ago. We don’t know where she came from and we don’t know what kind of cat she is. I’m not even sure that Miss Kitty is a girl. Let’s just say she hasn’t had any kittens yet. But as far as pets go, she’s a good one. Very gentle. Those are the actual pets. We own a small farm, so we have Black Angus cattle, Dorper sheep, ducks and geese. We used to have goats and donkeys, but not anymore. I hope I never see a goat or donkey on this land ever again. Too much trouble.
10. Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I don’t belong to a writing group that meets regularly. However, I am a member of the Southern Breeze chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and I attend their conferences.
11. What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I began my writing career at the age of nine. Just before I got on the bus for my one hour ride to school, my daddy handed me 2/3 of a Country song and told me to see if I could finish it. I had never written anything in my life. But, I wrote the second verse to that song by the time we arrived at school. When Daddy read what I had written, he liked it. That song was written 50 years ago and Daddy never changed a word that I had written. Since I had never written anything before the song, I didn’t know that I might like to write. But after the song was finished, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment and realized I enjoyed the written word. I had been an avid reader since the first grade, but I never realized I might like to write until Daddy showed great confidence in me by handing me that partially finished song. That first song led to me being a book and songwriter today.
12. Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Actually, I have eight books that have been published. Walk Softly (You’re Steppin’ On My Heart!) is my collection of 100 Christian poems. My children’s books are: Filthy Farley O’Charlie McBarley, Food Fight Frenzy, Quirky Kids’ Zoo, The Year Santa Refused to Wear Red/The Sound of Hope (co-written with my son Jason Brannon), Snowman War (co-written with my son Jason Brannon) and Has a Donkey Ever Brought You Breakfast in Bed? And, I have one short story collection about my childhood escapades titled Mud Puddles and Muscadines. All of my books can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com and other online stores. Folks can also ask any bookstore to order my book for them.
13. If you could meet one favorite author whom would it be and why?
I don’t know that I have one favorite author because I read such a wide variety of books. The closest I can come to answering this is that I’d like to meet a best-selling author and pick their brain. I’d like to know how they got to the point of being a best-selling author.
14. If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I would live in a big log cabin (house) on a hill surrounded by lots of trees in the Carolinas or Colorado. If I could afford a house that expensive, I’d own a vacation home in Hawaii or Florida too. Wishful thinking!
15. What’s your favorite movie of all time?
I’ve always said that Holiday Inn is my favorite movie. I love all of the different holidays that are celebrated at the inn and the music is amazing. I could watch this movie every day of the year and never tire of it. However, the past two years The Christmas Card has gotten my attention and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. You asked for my favorite movie, but I must say that Alex and Stephen Kendrick are making some incredible movies that I love (Facing the Giants, Flywheel, Fireproof and Courageous). I can’t wait to see what movie they do next.
16. Where can readers find you and your blog?
My website is http://www.patbrannon.com/Home.aspx I’m all over Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pbrannon1 and I’m on Pinterest and Goodreads. I’m working the kinks out on my new Twitter account. Let’s just say the best way to keep up with me now is on Facebook. I’m a FB fanatic, but I love interacting with my friends. I’m a people person all the way.
17. Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I have several more books already written, most of which are children’s books with 400 words or less. The next book I want out is about my seven-year-old grandson Elijah Nic. The title is Elijah Teaches his Friends the ABCs. It’s another rhyming picture book that is fun, yet educational at the same time. Parents and teachers should love this one when it comes out.
18. Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I would have to say my mother is my best supporter. She is always there with an encouraging word and she’s there when I get news I’m not thrilled about. She shares my joys and tries to lighten my sorrows. My two sons are totally incredible too. My son, Jason Brannon, is an accomplished author in his own right. We co-write some together and he is my main technical person. He gets lots of phone calls and texts when I run into computer problems. LOL! My son, Shawn Brannon, is my toughest and best critic. He is very direct with his opinions. That’s okay with me. I need honest folks around me that are not YES people all the time. If I need to change something in a book, somebody needs to tell me.