MEET MY FRIEND AND FELLOW AUTHOR, 

KATHLEEN JANZ-ANDERSON

Kathleen lives in Washington state. She began her writing career some thirty years ago when she learned guitar just enough to play the songs and poems she was writing.

 

Her first novel September Wind was published in 2013. Christmas on Elm Street and Knapsack Journey Home (a memoir about the first three years after losing her son) were published in 2018.

 

She is working on a biography about her son, an auto-biography, along with a number of other novellas and short stories, including a children’s book.

 

Her book of poems will be out in 2019, along with September Wind, Book II.

YOU JUST RELEASED AN AUDIO VERSION OF YOUR MESMERIZING AND COMPELLING NOVEL, SEPTEMBER WIND.   TELL US ABOUT THAT PROCESS AND WHY YOU DECIDED TO DO AN AUDIO BOOK. 

Most authors would love to see their stories on the big screen. The chance of that happening is slim to nothing, so why not audio––the next best thing.  Lets face it, reading is work. Everyone is busy and many listen to books as they drive, or work.

I joined ACX and started listening to samples audios, at least a 100,  before I found the one. The moment I heard Hallie Ricardo's narration sample I knew she was meant to narrate September Wind. It's fairly simple to do and ACX walks the author through the process. They even keep track of the number of audio's sold. I'd recommend it to any writer.

TELL US ABOUT SEPTEMBER WIND

September Wind is about an orphan named Emily Rezell who grows up on her father’s farm with much hardship. She planned for years to find a new life, and when she turns eighteen it’s finally time to leave the farm. That morning, the one person who has been her hangman throughout most of her life, tries to stop her. She gets her justice, but she is placed in burdensome position.

Emily makes a harrowing escape, but she finds her way to Chicago, boards a train and heads to San Francisco. Alone in a strange town, she puts her trust in someone who takes advantage of her naivety.

Emily has an inner strength and an excitement for life, and no matter how many times she falls, she finds a way to keep hope alive.

IS IT TRUE IT TOOK YOU OVER 20 YEARS TO WRITE THIS BOOK?   WHY SO LONG?

Yes, it took over 20 years, but there’s a story behind the process. To write the first draft took between six months and a year.

SO, WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE 20 YEARS?

I’ll never forget the day I started to write September Wind (it began as An Empty Forest). I recall where the desk sat in the room. My words to myself in that moment were; this book has to be about a young woman who goes through many trials. I knew I would deal with a lot of things that happened to me through the character I would create. When I first wrote the story, it was as she was leaving the farm at age eighteen. But there was so much back story that I added the Prologue about the day she was born, and then later added her childhood at the age of nine.

Right after I finished writing the first draft I saw where a small publisher was accepting manuscripts for a contest. The winner would be published. I took second place. Please don’t think I’m bragging, but when I met the woman who owned the publishing company with her husband at a convention, she told me she wanted September Wind to take first place, but the editors thought it was better at second place. I completely understood that because it still needed much editing.

The winner was The Widow's Son, by Bruce Steinberg, a very good book which deserved to be the winner. I reviewed it in November, 2003 as Kathleen Ann Anderson.

For me to go through everything that happened in writing this book would take at least twenty pages, if not many more, but I will talk about in in my auto biography. I’m still thinking of calling it a memoir.

IS THERE A PROCESS YOU USE IN WRITING YOUR BOOK?

WRITING the book: There were times I spent weeks on just a few sentences because I wasn’t satisfied until I could hear back what I was really trying to say. I recorded much of it on a recorder and listened back. At times, I would re-record many times over.

RESEARCH: I spent between 500 and 1,000 hours on research and maybe even more. Since the story is from 1941 - 1960 everything from shoes to music, trains, ferries, kitchens, and much more had to be researched and studied.

I even took a trip to San Francisco and sat in a restaurant that overlooked the bay bridge imagining what Emily would feel when she saw it. I walked the streets she walked on, watched the cable cars chug up the hills and back down. It was thrilling.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?

I have to chuckle when I think of the string of events that led from the day I started my novel, to my last re-write. This will probably roll some eyes, but September Wind is not the first name I chose, nor the second, but the third. First, came An Empty Forest, then A Song From An Empty Forest, and then September Wind.

An Empty Forest: simply put, the “empty” represented the lack of love and attention she received, and the “forest” represented those around her.

I’ve learned to laugh at this crazy world. I don’t hold grudges, although I need answers and truth. I’m a private detective at heart with a lot of questions I’d still like answered–nothing to do with my book.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?  IF SO,  WHAT COMES NEXT?

Life inspired me to write September Wind.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?

Most of my characters I drew from those I’ve met in one form or another. Claude was his own character and VERY difficult to write as such an evil person. I guess I got who he was from the news, or movies.  Although, I had a friend I knew from age five who was murdered by a neighbor boy when she was sixteen, so I guess Claude’s character even has a bit of real life.

WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?

I guess to never give up.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?

As far as content, I think I said what I wanted to say, but I would make sure it was error free.

IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?

She would have to look something like the girl in my cover art, who is my grand-niece.

September Wind - Book Trailer

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?

When I was about thirteen I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life. One day I decided being a writer would be interesting and wrote my first story. Sadly, it got thrown out after I moved away from home. I also wrote in a diary until my younger sister found it and she and my younger brother got a kick out of it.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?

I’d think it was when I took second place in the contest.

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.

My writing comes from emotions, so I guess a lot of grit.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?

Writing as a career is not an easy job. We have to take the bad with the good. I don’t like marketing in the least. It’s a lot easier for me to promote others than it is myself, but it’s something that has to be done.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?

Being willing to get out there and say, “I’m a writer, please read my stuff.”

Since I wrote the memoir about the first three years after the loss of my son, I’ve only told one person in the many grief groups I’m in about the book. There are probably several reasons for that. Everyone has their idea of self-marketing.

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?

Gardenia Press accepted An Empty Forest to be published. They closed their doors many years ago after the death of the wife. 

What I learned was that everyone has problems, and not to take things personally.

NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?

Besides family members? Hmm. There has been support here and there from my online friends, but I think author Linda Lingle has been my, and many other authors, biggest supporter.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?

Don’t be discouraged. Never give up. Find those who support back. Writing has to be number one.

Get a recorder and record so you can hear your words as others do.

Show don’t tell. Try not to overstate––over explain etc., as in “She gasped in shock.” The reader will get the picture. No need to add the words “ in shock” because it takes away from the reader’s concentration.

YOU ARE WONDERFULLY SUPPORTIVE OF OTHER AUTHORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  WHAT DRIVES THAT?

I’ve tried to support others because it feels right. It feels better than when I market myself.

When I first joined the writing community, I put myself into reading and reviewing a number of different authors, some who I met on Twitter. Sometimes I’d read much of the books over in order to understand what the author was saying. I took it very seriously. For some, I put a whole month into the process. But when writing  a review turns into a  full-time job, there comes a time to find balance.     

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?

Besides Linda Lingle, Anne Rivers Sudden (early writing), Barbra Taylor Bradford, Adriana Trigiani.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

I’m reading a number of Solstice authors. I’ve also been re-reading Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I jump around depending on my mood. And there are times I just have to take a break. I have so many books on my kindle I’ll never get to all of them.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?

Many things but mostly loss, abuse, and seeing others hurting.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?

Jesus, so I could ask him a lot of questions.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?

TV: I watch the Hallmark Channel–a lot. I’m hooked on the Bachelorette and the Bachelor; America’s Got Talent; American Idol and The Voice, mostly because of the handsome Blake Shelton. When he stands on stage, and other times, too, he reminds me so much of my son.

Movies: Pride and Prejudice, Julie and Julia, Bridget Jones Diary, many oldies. In the last three years, I’ve watched Someone Like You about 50 times, until I drift.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?

I like all kinds of music, even a few rap songs. Lately, I listen to Christian. I love Country, but too many songs bring sadness and tears.

WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?

She was a loyal friend, and now she’s finally with her son.

By Kathleen Janz-Anderson

Martha dropped the curtain and pulled Emily closer. “A storm is headed our way, little one. I can feel it in my bones."

 

1942-1960: Emily lives the first eighteen years of her life on her grandfather’s farm with a burden of misfortune and hardship.When the school board forces Grandfather’s hand, Emily is allowed to attend school. She experiences her first real friendship, the thrill and pain of an innocent young love, and a secret she bears alone.

 

Outside, daybreak lay like satin across the yard and over the prairies, almost tauntingly beautiful. Her heart ached at the realization that the morning that should have been met with such excitement was lost forever.

 

Just days after her eighteenth birthday, her bag is packed and she’s ready to start a new life. When someone tries to stop her––and ends up dead––Emily escapes the horror and hops a train out west. Her big plan was ruined by an evil man, and for the sake of her sanity, she pushes back guilt of a gruesome death that has her fingerprints all over it.

 

She arrives in San Francisco wide-eyed and filled with hope. Planning a new life was easy, but her inexperience leaves her vulnerable to those who take advantage of her naivety. Nightfall is just hours away when a waitress takes her to a Madam.

READERS ARE RAVING ABOUT SEPTEMBER WIND:

"The writing is addictive!"

"Heartwarming Journey!"

"I can't stop thinking about it."

"A journey of unbelievable emotion."

"Surprising and captivating."

"Beyond captivating and highly satisfying."

"What a story!"

"A good book to curl up with."

"A story of incredible forgiveness."

"A wonderfully written book filled with emotion."

"Mesmerizing and compelling!"

TEN FIVE-STAR REVIEWS!

We may pause as we look on the beauty of a person’s outward appearance, but when we witness the beauty of an inner soul, it permeates within our hearts.  Like in most families, there is always one who feels the brunt of life more than others. Here, the middle-son with his big heart and generous nature, gave more of himself than any person should have to. He took his commitments seriously because of the beauty of his inner soul. A mother loves her children with every inch of her being. When her child hurts, she hurts too, and strives to make things right. In Knapsack Journey Home, the love and pain of a mother’s heart ripples through the pages as truth unfolds.

If you're looking for a bit of humor with the Grinch of Christmas, a shocking sister rivalry in a Christmas eve reunion, or a coming-of-age romance here is a collection of delightful short stories to put you in the Christmas spirit, or to enjoy any times of the year.

Follow Kathleen Janz-Anderson

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