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Interview with Kathy McKinsey

Kathy McKinsey started writing as a pre-teen. She had two poems and ten short stories published during her teen years. Thirty years later, after working, attending school, and raising a family, she is back in the mainstream of the writing life. Her dream is to write Christian fiction that shows how God’s grace continues to save us every day after we first become Christians, and share humorous stories about being blind, sometimes stumbling, but always managing to get up.

Hello, Kathy, and welcome! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Many of the short stories you wrote as a teen were published in Dialogue magazine. What market did this magazine target and why was it a good fit for you as a young writer?
Dialogue says about itself: “A world of ideas for visually impaired people of all ages.” They wanted to help blind authors be published. More than forty years later, I still remember the good writing advice they gave me.

You spent a long season away from writing for publication. What was the most difficult obstacle to overcome after your thirty-year break from the industry?
I had to admit that I didn’t know it all. I was starting fresh, learning the craft, accepting the changes that had come to the world of fiction.

Your featured novel, All My Tears, deals with the hardships five women face. What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write books like I enjoyed reading. I wanted to share with women that God longs to help us through the struggles and crises we face.

How has your faith helped you through difficult times in your life?
God has held onto me even when all I could do was hold on by my thumbnails. He has shown me I can have a whole new, bountiful life, even after I thought I’d lost all my strengths and abilities. He has forgiven me when I was sure he couldn’t.

You served as a rehabilitation teacher for the blind. Tell us what that position entails.
I taught independent living skills to people who are visually impaired. That included everything from housekeeping and cooking, to labeling and organizing, to braille and keyboarding skills.

You are certified by the Library of Congress as a Braille transcriber. Share the preparation required for certification and the rewards that come with this volunteer activity.
I worked through two long, detailed courses on learning to read and write braille with accuracy. I like to help people who are blind to have access to information in braille in their daily lives, and I am honored to help others learn to produce these materials as well.

You are a “farm girl” at heart, but have lived in cities for several years. Which setting are you likely to choose for your novels and why?
I mostly write about city settings, since that is what I’m most used to now. But I am giving myself the treat of writing a story which takes place on a farm.

What is a book you have read that touched you in a special way and how did it do so?
My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I love the relationships between father and children. How they deal with tough subjects, and the love that is shared between people from different classes of society.

Tell us about your children’s book, Millie’s Christmas, due for release in October.
Millie’s Christmas is a cute story, told from the point of view of a kitten, which deals with a serious subject. My hope is that adults will share it with children who struggle with sadness at Christmas, assuring them Jesus is always near.


Patti Shene Gonzales hosts Step Into the Light, a weekly interview style blog talk radio show, where she promotes those who share God’s love through writing and other ministry outlets. She hosts writers, published and unpublished, on her two blogs, The Over 50 Writer and Patti’s Porch on her website at Patti is published in two anthologies and local publications and has three western novels in progress. When not writing or reading, she is doing volunteer work for her church or attending her only granddaughter’s sports activities. Patti lives in Colorado with her devoted feline companion, Duncan.

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