Today, I have the honor of spotlighting a friend and now Zone Director of the Rocky Mountain Zone for ACFW. But the best part about her story in this anthology featured is that I helped her with some of it and even received an acknowledgment in the book. I was tickled pink when I saw that. So, without further ado, here's Kathy and her book, Merely Players, as part of the Florida Weddings anthology.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathleen Kovach (known as Kathy by her friends) believes that if they'd done an ultrasound on her mother while she was with child, they'd have found a writing instrument clutched in her tiny hand.
After a lifetime of writing short stories, plays, and poems, God finally released Kathy to write as a career in 2002. This happened at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference where she won first place in the unpublished writers contest for her article "If Anyone Hears My Voice." She also met her editors, Jim and Tracie Peterson from Barbour's Heartsong Presents, who became intrigued with her heroine's profession, a dolphin trainer. By 2006, that novel, Merely Players, became published and went on to place second in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest (IRCC) 2007. Then in May of this year it was bundled with two other stories by Lynn Coleman and Kristy Dykes under the title, Florida Weddings. In 2007, Kathy teamed up with Mary Davis, Sally Laity, and Jeri Odell for Love Letters, a Barbour novella collection about unique expressions of love, (hers takes place through fortune cookies.) Heartsong holds a readers poll every year, and in 2008, Kathy placed in the upper five of the Favorite New Author category.
After her contest win at CCWC, Kathy became leader of her local critique group, JOY Writers. She joined a local association, Colorado Writers Fellowship, and also a national organization, American Christian Fiction Writers, www.acfw.com. Her affiliation with ACFW eventually led to a position as the Colorado Coordinator, and she just recently moved up as the Rocky Mountain Zone Director.
Kathy lives in northeast Colorado (out where the buffalo roam) with her husband of 30+ years. She has two sons, three grandchildren, and two grandpets - all of whom, at one point or another, have taken advantage of the revolving door on her empty nest.
by Kathleen E. Kovach
Published by Barbour Publishing
ABOUT THE BOOK
Contemporary Romance: These fast-paced, simmering Florida romances are the perfect read while relaxing on the beach or reclining on the couch. Here you'll encounter the stories of three very different women. Renee Austin, accused of crimes she didn't commit, finds her relationship and reputation in jeopardy. Jeris Waldron and her wounded heart seem unprepared to take on a ready-made family. Bethany Hamilton, haunted by death and loss, cannot seem to escape her past, no matter where she hides. Do these three females have the faith and the fortitude to follow their hearts under the Floridian sun?
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1. What gave you the inspiration for this your story in this anthology?
My husband and I lived in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for ten years before he retired from the Air Force and we moved back to Colorado. While there, we visited the Gulfarium, a small aquarium along the Gulf coast. I loved all the marine mammal shows, but what sparked the idea for a story was the dolphin therapy they offered. Dr. Janet Flowers started this program several years ago to help children with special challenges enhance their therapies already in place. In essence, when they complete a behavior they are rewarded by being allowed to motion a sign to the dolphin so she will do tricks for them. Sometimes they're allowed to get in the water with the dolphin. I've showed both of these techniques in Merely Players, my story in Florida Weddings.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?
I've always been fascinated with acting and did a little bit in high school. I took my love of the art to the extreme and created my characters to be actors. Brick is a movie star and Bethany is involved with community theater. My son, Joey, has been a stage actor since high school. With his experience and mine combined, I had no trouble creating scenes for my characters. As the book progressed, Brick and Bethany became much better actors than I ever dreamed to be. I think I'd rather write about acting now.
3. What themes exist in Merely Players that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
The theme springs from Psalm 139:1 "O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me." No matter how much you want to hide from God, he always knows where you are, and more importantly, who you are. The theme became "trust." Bethany has to learn to trust that her feelings toward Brick are God-breathed. She also must trust that God is in her future, and has it all planned out. Brick's trust issues run deeper. After growing up with an abusive father, he has trouble trusting himself with relationships. For the ten years he was away from Bethany, he went from one woman to another, never committing. When he reconnects with Bethany's family, he starts the road back to trusting others. He and I both had an epiphany when I wrote the scene where he realizes he had substituted father figures throughout his life.
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
The hardest were the Gulfarium scenes. This was a foreign world to me and I had to do a lot of research, a fraction of which made it into the book.
My favorite were the theater scenes. They gave me the chance to "become" an actor. The best part was that I didn't have to memorize any lines. *g*
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
I have other romance proposals in to editors but nothing contracted right now. While waiting on those, I'm writing a cozy mystery series about two sisters, possible descendants of the Brothers Grimm, who solve mysteries using their unique knowledge of fairy tales. In the first book, Big Bad Wolf, a girl in a red hoodie is missing and the sisters believe a chef named Wolf is responsible.
Thanks, Tiff, for the opportunity to talk about my book, Florida Weddings -- and specifically Merely Players, the third story in the compilation. The other two stories are by Lynn Coleman and Kristy Dykes. Here's something from the back cover: "The past casts a shadow upon the lives of three Florida women. Can these women find the strength to escape the past and the faith to embrace the future?"
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Thank *you*, Kathy, for being in the spotlight with us.
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This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.
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