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Interview with Kathy Harris

Congratulations on the release of your latest novel, Deadly Commitment. What was your inspiration for the plot?
When I first joined ACFW I wrote women’s fiction, but my critique partner wrote romantic suspense. So, I decided to try my hand at romantic suspense, more as an exercise in the genre than an actual attempt at finishing a manuscript. The basic idea for the plot came from my late husband. I also wanted to write about the idea of wrong commitments. You know, those times when we say ‘yes,’ but we wish we had said ‘no.’

I had part of the manuscript written and then put it aside to work on a women’s fiction story. Then one day a couple of years ago at an ACFW meeting my agent and my editor said, ‘We think you should be writing romantic suspense.’ I brought out my old manuscript and the result is a three-book series with Deadly Commitment as Book One.

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
In one way or another, everything I write speaks to second chances. It’s the most important theme in Christianity. Even though we fail, our Savior never will. Deadly Commitment deals specifically with second chances after making wrong choices.

You are one busy lady! How do you balance writing time with your other responsibilities?
I think it helps to immerse yourself so completely in the story that you can’t not write it. Having a deadline helps too. I write much better on a deadline. Because Deadly Commitment is the first book in a series, I will have lots of those. Wish me luck. Ha!

How do you prepare yourself for writing? (e.g., Do you have to write in a certain location? Listen to music or be in complete silence?)
I need to clear my head before I write. Sometimes that means sitting in my favorite chair at home after work in the evenings or on weekends. But I also like to write in a coffee shop, where I can be stimulated by the presence of people, yet far away from life’s other responsibilities.

What is one thing you wish you could learn how to do?
I wish I could find the happy medium between too much internal editor and a really, really rough first draft.

What is the most unusual thing that has happened to you as an author?
It might not be that unusual, but when I’m writing about a particular story theme or Biblical principal, I’m usually bombarded with confirmation that I’m on the right track. I’ve had some very unusual confirmations. One of the most recent was while waiting for take-out at a restaurant and overhearing a conversation that completely substantiated an important part of the plot for Deadly Commitment.

If you could have coffee with a literary character who would that be? What would you ask him or her?
I love the characters in Chris Fabry’s Almost Heaven. It would be fun to interview the protagonist, Billy Allman, who was based on a real person. But, even more so, I would love to interview Billy’s guardian angel, Malachi, and ask him about the boundaries between the earthly and heavenly realms. While reading the book, I marveled at the ease, and the apparent authenticity, in which Chris seemed to write the Malachi character.

Interestingly, I had the chance to interview Chris and ask him about it, and he told me that Malachi had been a challenge for him to write. (You can read that interview with Chris If you haven’t read Almost Heaven, I highly recommend it. It won both an ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction and a Christy.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
In addition to hanging out with friends and family, I enjoy exploring Nashville, whether that’s on hiking trails or downtown streets; trying new restaurants; going to concerts; and meeting interesting people.

Who was your favorite childhood author or book?
I remember the day I found A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle in my elementary school library. That one book hooked me on reading!

Sweet or salty snacks? Salty
Ocean or mountain vacation? Ocean
Spring or Autumn season? Summer (ha!)
Drive a car or ride a bike? May I be a rebel and say walking?


Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland she was born a stone's throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

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