I had a delightful visit with Kathy Branfield over at her blog, Book Reviews & More by Kathy.
Stopping by to chat with us today is author Cathy Perkins. Her debut novel with Carina Press, The Professor, hits virtual bookshelves Monday January 23.
Kathy: Ms. Perkins, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today.
Good morning, Kathy. Thanks for inviting me to stop by. Love your name, by the way.
I am infinitely curious about what motivates an author to begin their writing career. What prompted you to try your hand at writing? How long did it take for you to become a published author?
Ms. Perkins: While I’ve had a life-long love affair with reading, I didn’t start writing until fairly recently. This probably isn’t how most people start, but I had a lengthy consulting job in a city about 90 miles away. I’d listen to music and daydream during the commute. Pretty soon the day dream had dialogue and I thought, hmm, this is turning into a good story. That particular book lives in a box under the bed, but I was hooked. I’ve written several novels for my own enjoyment but The Professor is the first book I sought to publish.
Kathy: The Professor is a romantic suspense novel. How did you choose the romantic suspense genre? Do you have plans to write books in any other genres?
Ms. Perkins: I read a number of genres but I love mysteries and suspense. I wanted to write a story I love so The Professor was born. The romantic suspense spectrum covers everything from steamy to ones like The Professor where the relationship is a major subplot rather than the focus of the story. I may move around – how light or dark the story is – but I don’t see a paranormal in my future.
Kathy: Is The Professor strictly standalone novel or is there future potential for a series?
Ms. Perkins: I wrote The Professor as a standalone, but I’ve already had several people ask me if there’ll be more from either Mick and Meg or the extended O’Shaughnessy clan. I can see possible story lines, but I’m working on another project right now.
Kathy: What is the typical day for author Cathy Perkins? Do you write every day? Are your plots strictly imagination or are you sometimes influenced by real life events?
Ms. Perkins: My typical day starts about 5AM – yes, it’s a horrible hour, but my wonderful husband gets up early and makes coffee. I write and check social media (and try to balance it so it’s more writing than Twitter and Facebook) until 8, when my day job starts. In the evenings, I may write, edit or simply enjoy reading someone else’s book.
My stories grow out of day dreams, the snippet of an idea, a what-if. For example, my husband and I were hiking in a game refuge near our house. While pushing through dense undergrowth beside the Snake River, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?” My current WIP grew from that What-if.
Kathy: As a reader, what types of books do you read? Do your choices as a reader influence the books you write?
Ms. Perkins: I’ll read pretty much anything. As far as influences on my writing, I’m not sure anything directly impacts it, but I do think reading good stories lets you unconsciously absorb an understanding of structure, pace and character development. Studying craft separately solidifies that framework.
My reading probably reflects my mood—sometimes I want a light, beach read escape and sometimes I want a deeper connection. Since I’m writing suspense, I read across the spectrum of mystery and thrillers. Right now, I’m reading at the introspective end – Jonathon King, John Hart and pushing even further into women’s fiction, Mary Alice Monroe and Anne Rivers Siddons. And of course, I always have dozens of books on my e-reader.
Kathy: Can you tell us a little about The Professor?
Ms. Perkins: A reviewer said, “This is a dark edgy murder-mystery/romance that will keep you spellbound page after page.” There are few statements that please an author more than hearing their story engaged the reader.
Set in South Carolina, stopping the serial killer who is terrorizing college campuses drives the plot of The Professor. The tension and stakes build as the characters’ wants and needs set them on a collision course: Charismatic State Agent Mick O’Shaughnessy wants more from life than work and a pretty face. Fiercely independent graduate student Meg Connelly always wanted a loving family and professional success, but has to learn to trust in order to get either. The Professor knows the only way to get what he wants is to take it—and taking Meg’s life will destroy Mick with the same stroke of his knife.
Kathy: What projects are you currently working on? What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
Ms. Perkins: I’m working on two very different manuscripts right now. One is dark and introspective, revolving around the theme of betrayal. The other is a light, amateur sleuth mystery about a CPA—houses, handbags or companies, she knows how to make a deal— who’s dodging a vengeful detective while staying one step ahead of a murderer.
Kathy: I have thoroughly enjoyed our visit today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Ms. Perkins: I’d like to share two things. First, for me, the book is always for the reader. Not every reader is going to like every book – and that’s okay. The other thing is, it’s never too late to follow a dream. There’s no guarantee you’ll reach your personal goal, but getting out and doing it is what’s fun.
Kathy: Ms. Perkins, congratulations on your upcoming release and thank you again for stopping by to chat with us. Feel free to drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Thanks for inviting me, Kathy and giving me an opportunity to share The Professor. Please feel free to drop by my website or join me on Facebook or Twitter.
Originally posted here on 1/20/12