by Pamela Roller
Today I’m interviewing Kathleen Mix, author of Secret Stranger and a fellow Virginia Romance Writers member.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing non-fiction about twelve years ago while living aboard a sailboat and cruising the islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean. It seemed like a good way to earn traveling money, plus I could choose when and where to work. For several years, I wrote articles sharing my experiences and offering advice to fellow sailors, and many were published in national and regional sailing and travel magazines. And in 2001, I was thrilled to have one of my articles selected to be included in the book The Best of SAIL: Commonsense Cruising published by Sheridan House.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I got the idea for my first novel one winter during an extended stay in the Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas is one of my all-time favorite places. It is also home to a thriving charter fleet. From there luxurious yachts whisk tourists between the U. S. and British islands and visit some of the most beautiful dive sites and beaches of the world. I started imagining a landlubber chef taking a job aboard one of those yachts and fighting her attraction to the salty captain who loved only the sea and his boat, and I had to write their story. That book, A Trade Wind Season, was written aboard my boat and published by Avalon Books. Writing that first story got me hooked on fiction, and in particular, romance.
Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is the release this month of my romantic suspense, Secret Stranger, by The Wild Rose Press. The story is set on a remote island in the Bahamas and is about a peace-loving resort owner and a suspicious stranger with amnesia who washes up on her beach. They’re as different as day and night, but they must put aside their differences if they’re going to stay alive. Just like my first book, Secret Stranger was written aboard a boat.
What is your daily writing routine?
I write mornings between 9:30 and 12:30 most days of the week. Weekends are often devoted to writings other than my work-in-progress, for example, jotting down ideas for future stories, updating my website, or putting together proposals to send to editors and agents.
I’m very strict with myself and produce something every day. I do extensive editing and multiple drafts, so my progress on a book is usually slow.
Who and what has influenced your writing?
Belonging to Romance Writers of America has had a tremendous influence. I discovered the organization while living in Florida and joined my local chapter, Tampa Area Romance Authors. Later, I also joined Central Florida Romance Writers. The wonderful workshops and speakers presented by both groups helped me learn the craft of fiction writing and demystified the publishing industry. The camaraderie of the members kept my spirits up in the aftermath of Hurricanes Francis and Jean when the roof was ripped off my house and my life was thrown into chaos.
Now that I’ve relocated, I’m trying to give back to the organization by serving as President of Virginia Romance Writers. And I’m still learning something new at every monthly meeting.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?
That’s a hard question to answer, because I have several favorites.
I’ve read every book in Nevada Barr’s mystery series about park ranger Anna Pigeon. Ms. Barr’s world building is fantastic, and her character’s emotions are intense and real. The mysteries are complex, and I can never guess who-dun-it before the very end.
But I also love anything by Tess Gerrisen, the master of the thriller. She scares me, tricks me, keeps me turning pages until the last one.
Then there’s science fiction and the fabulous Catherine Asaro. She can transport her readers into the future or to other solar systems better than any writer I know.
Romance? I always fall in love with the characters in books by Stephanie Bond and Roxanne St. Claire.
Do you see what I mean? I could go on and on.
Any advice for other writers?
If you want to write, sit down and do it! Life is too short, and getting published can be a long process.
How can readers find out more about you?
They can visit my website: http://www.kathleenmix.com/. In addition to my bio, they’ll find photos of my sailboat, a brownie recipe from A Trade Wind Season, and reprints of some of my non-fiction articles. They can also email me at email@example.com. I always love to hear from readers and other writers.
by Pamela Roller