Paperback Writer welcomes women’s contemporary fiction author Kaylin McFarren, author of Flaherty’s Crossing.
On a Personal Note from the author
Kaylin sat before her computer writing FLAHERTY’S CROSSING as a source of personal therapy after losing her beloved father to colon cancer. You might say she was angry at him, at God, at the world in general. However, after writing this story, she had the opportunity to really look into her soul and consider the fact that so many other sons and daughters have had to deal with similar and even worse situations. Rather than a memoir, her novel evolved into a fictional journey which brought about the resolution she needed to find. She never expected this exercise in writing to go to press, touch lives, or win literary awards. But as a result of her good fortune, she has arranged for proceeds from the sale of this book to go directly to the Providence Medical Foundation’s colon cancer research department in her father’s name. She’s now convinced and proudly shares her belief that good things can grow out of the worst times in our lives if you just take the time to open your heart.
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
A: After losing my father to colon cancer, I needed a vehicle to vent my anger, heartache and frustration. There were so many unanswered questions, blanks in my father’s life. I believed that aside from being my dad, I had no idea who this man truly was. Writing Flaherty’s Crossing became my outlet – a source of personal therapy. But instead of a memoir, my novel evolved into a fictional journey which brought about the resolution I desperately needed to find.
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
A: I’m totally a pantser and perfectionist, writing and editing as I go. I guess I must have an outline tucked away in the back of my mind, but have never been compelled to write it down. As for my synopsis, I write it after my story’s completed. Would that be considered a bit backwards?
Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
A: I have a general idea of what direction I want my story to take and am always thinking about how to bring it around full circle. But that’s not to say it ends exactly as I initially planned.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?
A: The funniest aspect of my creative style is I’m obsessively visual. Before I put a single word together, I need to know who I’m writing about. So out come my scissors, movie magazines, advertisements. I create a pile of interesting characters, picking out the ones that match my vision. After attaching them to form core board, I name them and begin making notes about their history, their habits, flaws, birthdays…you name it. They often need conflicts, so I design them with opposing values, beliefs and interests.
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
A: I suppose there’s a part of me in Kate Flaherty. Like her, I had a father who found it difficult to communicate his thoughts and feelings. I grew up wanting to be an artist and at one point in my life dated an attorney. And a lot of the emotions Kate experienced in this story were shared in my life as well.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
A: Without giving too much away, I think it’s the revelation Kate experiences at her father’s funeral.
Q: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
A: Actually, when my book was close to completion, I queried agents first. With a contract in hand, it then became a matter of submitting to various houses and coming to terms with the best avenue for publishing Flaherty’s Crossing.
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
A: I learned the difficulty of marketing a book that is “out of the box”…so to speak. Flaherty’s Crossing inadvertently crosses a few genres. And although it was truly a labor of love and the editors who read it consistently loved my voice and writing style, they weren’t sure how to represent it or where to place it on the shelf.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
A: The feeling of completion – setting a goal and seeing it realized. And knowing that my story will be read, shared and enjoyed by so many people.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
A: I’m hoping readers will be inspired. That they will realize you should never wait until it’s too late to let people know how you feel about them. How sometimes it’s necessary to set aside pride in order to pave the way toward forgiveness.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
A: Yes! I’m presently working on Severed Threads, an action/adventure romance which could be described as Indiana Jones meets the Deep Blue.
Q: Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
A: Absolutely great so far. Dorothy Thompson is amazing! She’s incredibly detailed and has lined up all kinds of engagements for me. I really can’t imagine organizing or participating in this tour without her.
Q: Where can readers find a copy of your book?
A: Flaherty’s Crossing will be available on February 1st – initially in an ebook format, at www.champagnebooks.com, Amazon and B & N.
Q: Do you have a website for readers to go to?
Thank you, Kaylin, for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.
About the Book:
From Pacific Northwest’s award-winning author Kaylin McFarren comes a powerful novel about love, loss, and the power of forgiveness…
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.
Read the Excerpt!
The last grain of sand was about to drop in her father’s invisible hourglass and there was nothing Kate Flaherty could do to stop it. The realization launched a shudder up her spine.
She’d known this day was inevitable. Yet it still came as a shock when she’d learned only hours ago that his final days had arrived. She should have come back sooner.
No–it was his fault, not hers. She’d had every right to stay away after discovering the truth. So why did she feel remorse encroaching on her anger, his gurgling breaths draining strength from her limbs?
In his curtain-drawn bedroom, she perched on the edge of the mattress, a few inches away from what had become a mere sketch of a man. The lamp’s amber glow cast shadows across his features, accentuating how much he’d deteriorated in just under a month.
Surgery, chemo, radiation therapy, for two years, she’d watched his heavyset frame shrink with every trip to the hospital, his sixty-three year old body blast through a time warp, but never ravaged to this extent. She barely recognized the sheeted man beside her. Mussed strands of thin, ghost-white hair, matching jagged mustache, and stubbly chin were all that remained of the father she knew. He was more of a stranger than ever before.
Slowly, he lifted his eyelids and turned his face. When their gazes met, a spark of recognition flickered. “You’re here,” he rasped as he reached for her hand.
She accepted reluctantly. His palm was cold and clammy, his skin sallow and tissue-thin. She swallowed hard, wanting to pull away, but the child in her resisted, the part of her that had never stopped longing for his affection.
“Where’ve you been?” He inhaled a labored breath. “I was waiting for ya.”
“I…” A lump of guilt formed in her throat, blocking any answer.
“Is the baby ready?”
She stared at him, shocked. His words made no sense. “What, Dad?”
“We gotta go. Don’t wanna hit traffic, Iris.”
Kate’s heart plummeted before she could remind herself of what he’d done. She slipped her hand away and clenched her fists, her nails biting into her palms. She tried to reignite the rage she was entitled to, but he appeared so defenseless, she summoned only the foreboding of imminent loss.
She leaned toward him. His gaze fixed on the ceiling. All she had to do was say good-bye, just as she’d done countless times throughout her youth. It would be a relief– for both of them.
Read what reviewers are saying about Flaherty’s Crossing!
“Be warned: do not start this novel if you anticipate any pressing obligations – a need to sleep, say – or without a handful of tissues within arms reach. Flaherty’s Crossing is a compelling and imaginative story, not just about death but about life and emotional growth, a broken woman’s journey towards learning to trust again. Beautifully written, heart wrenching yet inspirational, this is a ‘must read’ for anyone who has loved and lost.”
Read what reviewers are saying;
–ELIZABETH JOY ARNOLD, USA Today bestselling author of Pieces of My Sister’s Life
“A skillfully wrought tale.”
“Sometimes, the deepest darkest moments allow us to finally recognize the light in our lives. Only when we face our pain can we move onto something better. So it seems for Kate Flaherty. Kate was at a crossroads. From the moment her mother died, everything changed. Her father became distant. As she watches her father succumb to cancer, Kate realizes that she was very much her father’s daughter. She’d lost her mother, would soon lose her father, and if she wasn’t careful her husband would give up on their marriage. She had to make some changes and fast. Flaherty’s Crossing is an inspirational story about learning to let go and love fully for the sake of love. Who are we under our masks of pain? How would it feel to have those burdens lifted?”