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Interview with Kate Breslin

Her debut novel, For Such a Time, was a finalist for numerous awards, including a Christy, a Carol and a RITA—a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming scenario for someone who used to buy other people’s books to put on store shelves while hoping someday hers would be among them. Kate Breslin is no longer dreaming of that day. Her second novel, Not By Sight, releases in August. Read on to find out how she went from bookseller to novelist.

Your debut book was published last year and your second releases in August. Tell us about your writing journey up to that point. How did you go from selling books to writing them?
As a child, I wrote poetry then a few short stories for school. I was always a voracious reader, but didn’t try my hand at novel-writing until I was in my thirties. I’d already been writing several years when I became a bookseller. I’d “retired” from another industry and a friend offered me a job working part-time in her bookstore. When she sold the store, I went to work for another bookseller. All the while I continued to write, hoping to get published. I considered myself in the best of both worlds!

How did working as a bookseller influence your writing?
If anything, it fueled my desire to become published. As an aspiring novelist, working in a bookstore felt a bit like being a bridesmaid at the wedding. :) I would purchase for the store many novels written by my favorite authors, then hand sell them to readers over the counter. I always held the secret dream that one day it would be my novel I was handing them. As it turned out, the last independent bookstore I worked for finally closed its doors and a year later I received my first publishing contract with Bethany House for For Such A Time.

Why historical fiction? And how different was it to write books set in World War II, and World War I, respectively?
I confess, I was the kid who daydreamed during history class. All those dates to memorize! But then I read my first historical romance novel back in the eighties and I was hooked. I enjoyed being able to get a history lesson without feeling like I was getting a history lesson. I became fascinated with stories from days gone by and decided to focus my storytelling in that direction. It still amazes to me to realize how the past tends to repeat itself. And it’s a comfort knowing our ancestors went through some pretty tough times and survived, so maybe we can, too.

Actually WWI and WWII have quite a few similarities—the German empire versus most of Europe and Russia; the changing roles for women; love and loss, death and destruction, patriotism and pacifism. There were differences, too. While the first war used poison gas in a “trench” warfare fashion, the second war fought on two fronts and was more mobile, with sophisticated tanks, planes, ships, and modern weaponry. Man’s cruelty toward man existed in both wars, but Hitler surpassed all evil with his heinous crimes of the Holocaust. I did find it took more effort to learn facts about WWI, as there is still little known compared to the second World War. I’m sure that will change, though. When I first began writing For Such A Time there wasn’t much on the Internet. I had to gather most of my information through books and documentaries. With Not By Sight, I was able to research almost exclusively online.

You're an avid reader and an avid movie watcher. What is one book you'd read again and again and one movie you'd watch over and over?
Boy, Lisa, this remains a tough question as I have several perennial favorites. With novels, I never tire of historical romances written by Julie Garwood or Francine Rivers. I’ve got trade-sized and hard cover editions on my bookshelf so I don’t wear them out. :) As far as movies go, I’m sure I’m not alone in being a huge fan of BBC’s "Pride & Prejudice." I’ve watched the miniseries dozens of times over the years. Colin Firth will always be THE Mr. Darcy for me!

What's your next book in the works?
I’m working on another historical romance for Bethany House. Like my second novel, it will also take place during the years of WWI, as I discovered many fascinating archives I still want to explore. I also enjoyed dabbling with a bit of espionage in Not By Sight, so the next plot will thicken! :)

Finish this sentence: If I could live for one month in any time period it would be …
Regency England. I would however, insist upon being a woman of good breeding, with a ladies maid and a closet full of gowns in order to properly attend my London Season.

What's your favorite thing about being a writer?
Getting to know my readers, either in person or through social media! Oh, and the fact that I get to dream on paper. :)

Name one thing that's on your bucket list.
A few years ago I visited Greece, including the island of Patmos, where St. John wrote Revelations. I can’t explain why exactly, just that I long to return to that peaceful island and sit gazing out at the Aegean Sea. Just being there felt right.

Any parting words?
I’d like to thank the readers who have supported and encouraged me over the past year. And to all aspiring novelists: Believe in yourself and in the gift God gave you. Never give up. It took me decades before I published, yet I always felt called to keep trying. And when God was ready, it happened. Lisa, thank you and ACFW for this interview. I’d love to connect with readers and writers, so please visit me at and click on the social media links to find me. Blessings to all!

Thanks for sharing with us, Kate!

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