The Writing Life of: Kathryn Haydon
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Kathryn Haydon. Kathryn, also known as Jane Bheemah, will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Prognosis Guarded‘, which was released on 4th March 2018 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Born in Teignmouth, I grew up in Starcross and now live in Exeter, so haven’t moved far. I am a West Country girl. The red earth of Devon is steeped in my bones; the county’s glorious coast and countryside the inspiration for my writing. As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved to weave stories and it’s wonderful to share my latest book with you, ‘Prognosis Guarded.’
Under my pen name Kathryn Haydon, I have been lucky enough to have two books published by Mezzanotte. The genre is medical romance as befits a retired nurse! ‘Prognosis Guarded’ has a palliative care backdrop, a specialty I am familiar with and keen to promote. What better way to do this than craft a story that wraps around your heart – and stays with you long after you finish the book. I write the kind of books you won’t want to put down – real page turners, with characters you can identify with. Books with a feel-good factor! Although please have a box of tissues at the ready; my storylines pick up emotive issues.
‘Prognosis Guarded’ was chosen as the book of the month for the June edition of Devon Life magazine.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
As a small child I wanted (desperately) to work with animals. Fast forward to my teenage years and I’d revised that to working with people in some way – later, I fell into nursing!
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
Enid Blyton was my favourite childhood author. I loved the Famous Five series.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
By mid-teens I knew I had the ability to write, but to become published remained a dream. A secret ambition. It didn’t occur to me that this was possible when I was young. I had to find a ‘proper job!’ To be a published author now feels wonderful. A second string to my bow in retirement.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
My writing day starts early. The early morning hush is my most creative time. I like to get the story down first and focus on the edits later. This seems to work best for me. I write with a mug of tea at my elbow and Radio Devon playing softly in the background. I don’t have a target word count; I just go with the flow and hope the words sparkle like a clear mountain stream (sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t)!
The rest of the day is broken into snatches of writing time in between those household chores that we all have. I try to fit in a walk – and use it as my thinking time. Often it is a river walk as I’m blessed to live a stone’s throw from the river Exe. However, if I need to pop into town, it could be a stroll through Exeter’s beautiful Northernhay Park.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
I am a romantic author. To date, I have two books published – both by Mezzanotte, available via Amazon in print or eBook format. I am close to completing a third, with another (different genre) on the backburner. And it’s yes to the question have I any unpublished work! The usual writerly assortment of novels that bit the dust before they were sent out – – – and a few after they were sent out! All part of honing the craft, flexing the writing muscle.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter. I like to know where the story is going, even if I deviate later.
Concerning your latest book:
Publisher – Mezzanotte
Pages – 232
Release Date – 4th March 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-1720729204
Format – ebook, paperback
Palliative care nurse, Melanie Smythe is focussed on two things: the job she loves at “Greenways Hospice” and helping care for her twin nieces. There is no room for romance. In the past she’s been let down and the experience has left her wary. Melanie fears history will repeat itself. Then a chance encounter with new locum GP, Luke McGrath makes her think maybe he’s the one to change all that.
There are differences between them, but the smouldering hot doc makes her pulse race. However, Melanie is holding something back and this leads to a misunderstanding. Angry and hurt, Luke severs their relationship. Will they be able to fix what’s been broken?
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
I have a nursing background, which comes in handy as my novel fits the medical romance genre. Thirteen plus years of my working life was spent as a hospice nurse. I remain passionate about promoting good palliative care. I hope my book picks up this theme in a subtle way.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
It took longer than intended – life happens, two daughters got married and grandchildren came along!
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of this second book was a little harder to settle on. In fact, ‘Prognosis Guarded’ started off as something else; I changed the title a few chapters in.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Ooh, an insight into my characters!! Well, Melanie is bubbly and vivacious, passionate about the things she believes in. She loves nursing and has a natural empathy with her patients. However, when it comes to intimate relationships, she is wary. If she’s your friend, she’ll never let you down – but I think her friends might say she needs to let go and live a little! Take a risk sometimes.
Luke is a dedicated doctor, a guy with integrity but he’s not keen on settling down anytime soon. To date, medicine is his only passion and he’d like to keep it that way. He’s seen first hand the mess folk can make of their lives and the idea of commitment – to anyone – makes him shudder. Then he meets Melanie. Folk close to Luke might say he needs to let down his guard and trust women a bit more. One particular woman, anyway.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I approached Mezzanotte (the publisher of my first book) and was invited to send in a synopsis, plus the first three chapters for consideration. Following this came a request to send the whole manuscript of ‘Prognosis Guarded.’ I was lucky in that acceptance came quite quickly the second time around. A big thank you to my publisher, Bettina!
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
My third novel – working title ‘Home for Keeps’ – is close to completion. Also, on a back burner, I have a fledgling psychological mystery, with a hint of black magic!! I’ll say no more, except that this is a very different genre for me, and the first three chapters made the long list for this year’s Exeter Novel Prize.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
If I could choose a super-power for the day, I would like to be able to fly. I’ve always fancied catching the breeze, swooping and soaring like a bird. Just think of the interesting places I could visit!
2) Do you have any pets?
I don’t have any pets, but I often look after my daughter’s three cats. Rocky, Apollo and Ivan are my ‘grandkits.’ A great trio! Apollo is an aloof tortoiseshell, Rocky and Ivan are rather naughty ginger toms.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
An autobiography of my life – – – Hmm, think I’d call it something like ‘The Scent of Lilacs.’ This is a nod to the white lilac tree that was just under my bedroom window as a child. The scent was amazing when the window was thrown open in summer! If I close my eyes, I can still see the tree, a mass of blossom, with a swing just visible behind. Another memory: my father, more superstitious than my mother, didn’t like us to bring any lilac sprigs indoors. Apparently, this would invite back luck into the house.
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
If I had a cameo role in a film of my book, I’m not sure who I’d be. Maybe one of the stalwart volunteers that all hospices would be unable to function without.
5) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
“Hello, my lovely!”
I would like to say a big thank you to Kathryn Haydon for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.