A Life Touched by Love – A Visit with Author Kate Welsh

I am delighted to welcome award-winning, multi-published author Kate Welsh to my blog today!

Footprints in TimeTell us a little about your current release, Footprints in Time.

Footprints in Time is an historically accurate time travel that was a RWA Golden Heart finalist when New York was the only means of publishing. Footprints sat on three different editors desks for a total of three years – each in succession were interested but were currently overbought. And while it sat, New York went ahead and as they often do, killed the golden goose with overuse. Consequently it was never published by a print publisher. When the internet started to look promising I set my husband, a computer programmer, loose on it. He formatted it for the internet.

It’s the story of Sharon Henderson, who inherited a horse ranch from her guardian where Kitterage Grayson’s portrait still hangs. Sharon was given his journals when her female guardian wanted her to understand the essence of a good and honorable man, so Sharon could recognize one. Those journals did more. They gave her a love of history and a fascination with the man himself. She is called to authenticate a watch that has washed ashore at Point Lookout in southern Maryland, the place where Kitteridge Grayson died in 1864. The watch isn’t only from the time when the place was the site of a hospital and prisoner of war camp, it is Grayson’s watch. One history says he threw in the bay to keep a guard from taking it from him. A sudden fierce thunderstorm erupts and she takes shelter in her car. The lightning strikes near her car and the watch begins to tick. Another strike and a figure materializes in a small structure next to where she’s parked. The next finds her on the ground in the pouring rain gripping the watch and the tote she’d reached for just as the lightning struck again. She is in 1864.

From that moment till the end of the book, both she and Grayson are in danger not just for their lives but of changing history in ways they cannot predict.

Blurb:

Historian Sharon Henderson is transported across time to the middle of a prisoner of war camp in 1864 Maryland. There she meets Ridge Grayson whose home she inherited and whose portrait and journals have always fascinated her.

Wounded in battle, Captain Grayson faces death with one great regret. Though he’s searched, he’s never found the woman of his dreams – until a Sharon visits the injured at Hammond Hospital.

Across time and space they instantly recognize each other as soul mates. Can she save his life and make a future for them by changing history? And should she?

What inspired this story?

It was actually a trip to Point Lookout. The hospital shown in a wagon wheel shape was gone but for one last building hanging on but nearly overtaken by the bay. Also left is the small stone building where my heroine sees the ghostly figure of Amelia. I got chills standing at that spot.

What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?

A sequel to the books I’ve been writing for Harlequin Historical should be out in 2013. Other than that, I have a few irons in the fire.  Possibly another Western for Harlequin my print publisher and I hope to find the time to polish up a medieval that was my first RWA Golden Heart winner. Raven’s Lady has always been a favorite of mine.

How do you come up with ideas?

It’s hard to say. Some come in dreams. Some from reading history books while doing research. Some come from the evening news. What if…. to me is one of the most thought provoking statements in our language.

Can you share with us “the call” story?

If by that you mean when did I get “the call” when an editor called to offer me a contract on one of my books, it was a bit of a shock. I’d been taking a nap when the editor called. It was one of those, am I dreaming moments in life. Once I realized I was really awake, she was talking about an advance. The she asked if I had anything else to offer them, my heart started pounding so hard I was afraid she’d hear it. I tried so hard to sound cool calm and collected. I was anything but. I told her I was working on a contemporary romantic suspense but that it was much too long and complicated for her line. She asked if I could do a suspense for her line. I said sure.

We hung up with all our info exchanged and it hit me. This was for Love Inspired! What had I gotten myself into? God and guns?  I was terrified. What had I been thinking ? Well, that book, Never Lie to an Angel turned out to be what I jokingly call my God, guns and gangs book and it went on to be a RWA Rita nominee.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

My writing motto is: A life touched by love is touch for an eternity. I love to answer that great what if question. I can create a world where good triumphs. Evil doers don’t. Happily ever after happens all the time. Love really does last an eternity.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?

That depends on the story. Sometimes the plot comes first. Other times it’s the character and my what if question on what would be a situation I could put that character in to bring out his or her true self. Also many times the research on a book’s subject or local spurs the plot and its characters in a specific direction.

What is the best thing about being an author?

Doing what I love as a career is the best. It doesn’t feel like work but like I’m playing. I work hard but the work is a joy. I have other hobbies that take a back seat to my writing but often the knowledge I’ve gained learning those hobbies becomes useful in the course of a book.

What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

I learned I could do it. No, it never  got published but I learned I could write something others wanted to read. I did naturally what I later learned was one of the ways to complete a book. That gave me the confidence to continue.

What I wish I’d know I still don’t. How do I do promotion without taking time from my writing?  What works? What’s a waste of time and money? I still don’t know. No one in the industry seems to. I love a good mystery but I wish I could solve that one.

Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

Wow. That’s a really hard question. I think I fall a little in love with each of my heroes. Otherwise why write about any of them. My favorite of all time?  I’d have to say the hero of Footprints in Time. He’s one of those men who is so honorable and forthright he drove me to distraction. Synopsis…what synopsis. It became an ever changing landscape as history and Ridge’s sense of honor pushed the book places I’d never seen coming as I began to form the story.

Plans for the book originally unfolded magically in my mind on a visit to haunted Point Lookout State Park in Maryland. I talked it out with my sister-in-law who went there with me. I also talked it out with my husband on the way home from Maryland to Pennsylvania.

So much misery and death cloud that place that I could feel their spirits all around me while I walked where so many had died so needlessly. Their ghosts are still said to prow the place and I could believe it. I knew I’d have to write about it and them. And I knew my hero would have die there as they did.  There seemed no statistical way to avoid it considering the grim death toll there. So where would my happy-ever-after come from? I honestly didn’t know at first. But when we toured the nearby historical site of the original capital of Maryland – St Mary’s, I found my answer. There I saw incredible artifacts in a display about nearby Point Lookout. I learned a lot of surprising facts on Point Lookout and found a book on the prison and hospital that had occupied the point. My plot as it developed kept having to shift to encompass the rich history of the place. Then later as I read the words taken from the diaries of soldiers’ diaries who’d suffered there along with Ridge Grayson’s unshakable sense of honor, I found my answer.  It was one I hadn’t seen coming. I mean I wrote Historicals. I’d even won a RWA Golden Heart in the Historical category but this heroine would have to travel there through time to meet the hero she’d met as a teen in the pages of his diaries.

What is your favorite scene from this story and why?

My favorite scene in Footprints is the one I can’t divulge – it would be a mega spoiler – but my close second was the morning after they slept together for the first time where Ridge found her twenty-first century things and demanded an explanation.

How do you balance writing and everyday life?

I have a set time to write. I get up, have my cup of tea at my desk and get to it. Otherwise dust and spots on my stove or that idea I have for adding character to the dining room will get my attention and I’ll find myself up to my elbows in either suds or paint. I knew I had ADD before adult ADD was all the rage

What is your favorite memory from childhood?

Working side by side with my dad. You see he didn’t figure out he was raising a girl till I was fourteen. He taught me how to measure, saw, drill, and stain wood. If he was doing something around the house, I was right there with him. Those moments only grow more precious the longer I live without him.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

There’s a cliff just after entering Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It overlooks the Painted Desert and was featured in Dances with Wolves. And it possible that’s why I write western, though I think Cowboy movies have to take some of the blame for that.

Who influenced your decision to become a writer?

My husband and his wonderful sister. They both read my first effort and pronounced it a real book. Who knew? Not me. And they liked it. So I shifted from writing to simply fill my time to writing with an eye toward getting published.

Do you have any good news you’d like to share?

I’ll have another Harlequin Historical out I hope in 2013. I haven’t been given a pub date.

These are few of my favorite things:

1. Sculpture and sculpting

2. Gardens and gardening

3. Designing and making wedding dresses.

Excerpt: From Footprints in Time. It’s the scene I mentioned before.

A frighteningly modern sound startled Sharon awake just after dawn. Her eyes burned and her throat ached but hearing the sound again made her forget her discomfort. She sat up and looked around, relieved to find she was still in the bed where she’d fallen asleep. Her relief was short lived, though. The distinctive ripping sound of a heavy toothed metal zipper echoed in the still room once again. Sharon reached next to her.

Ridge was gone.

Her gaze flew to the chair where she’d carelessly left her tote. The chair now held Ridge. In his hands were her jeans. He worked the zipper, a puzzled frown on his face.

“Ridge. I–“

”I hope you can explain this. I’m frankly stumped.”

“It’s a zipper. A-ah recent invention.”

“No. Things aren’t that different in the north. Where in Hades have you been? Europe. Maybe they–“ Ridge reached for the tote and Sharon bounded off the bed. She stopped half way across the room when she realized Ridge was staring at her.

Desperate she started forward again. She swung her hips a bit more than usual hoping to take his mind off his discovery. But she stopped again when Ridge stood, his eyes blazing.

“Don’t you ever use your body to lie to me.”

Ashamed Sharon spun away and grabbed a wrapper. The lies had gone on too long. She’d been about to cheapen their love to protect herself from–from what she wasn’t even sure.

“I’m sorry. I’ve wanted to tell you. You’ll never know how many times I’ve wanted to tell you but I was afraid. I don’t even know where or how to begin.”

“At the beginning might be a good start.”

Sharon smiled sadly. “But what’s the beginning? I’ve yet to figure it out. You were right about my having lied to you about myself. I didn’t know what else to do.”

Ridge was silent, waiting. Sharon sighed. “It’s the truth that I have a daughter and that I was married to a man named Matthew Henderson. Marissa’s with him but he doesn’t have full custody. He only has visitation rights. She’s there for a visit but I can’t get back to her.”

“You were trapped here behind enemy lines? You’re a northerner?” It was tempting to agree but, no. She was sick of lies and half-truths. She needed to tell him. She couldn’t carry the burden any longer.

“I’m trapped here but not that way. The reason I forced you to break out of prison was I knew you’d die there. It wasn’t a premonition. It was history. Your death–my history.”

“What?” Ridge asked, his confusion profound and as deep as hers had been the day she’d found herself in the middle of Point Lookout being soaked but a nineteenth century downpour.

Starting with the year of her birth, she rushed on. The truth poured out as her tears fell unnoticed. “I’m from the same Honeybrook family you know. What you don’t know is that they are all on their way to California right now. I was born in Lynchburg, though. My grandfather will return to Virginia seeking family roots and meet my grandmother. They’ll settle there. My father, William, will be killed. My mother, Miriam, will take a job at Violet Hill as the housekeeper. Ann Grayson, the last surviving member of your family, will offer us more than just a home with her.

“I’ll be raised there, go away to college and meet Matthew. He’ll marry me but it will be me who divorces him because he finally went too far and hit me when I was pregnant. I was afraid for the baby and so I left.”

“Love, maybe you should lie down. This has all been so much on you. We can stay here and rest as long as you need.”

“I am not crazy.” She spilled her tote on the floor and dropped to her knees in front of the pile. Several items were still wrapped in the oilcloth she’d used to keep water damage to a minimum. Some were in twenty-first-century, zip-lock specimen bags. She opened the one with his watch and handed it to him.

“How did you get this? I threw it in the river.”

“And in the summer of 2011 it was–-will be–washed up on the shore. I was asked to verify its historical significance. I still had it in my hand when this weird storm hit. Then something dropped me here.”

Kate WelshBio:

A lover of all things romantic, Kate lives by the motto you’ll see on her website. A life touched by love is touched for eternity. When showering love on her husband, children, family and even her depression era home wasn’t enough to fill her time, her husband issued a challenge. “Write down those stories you’re always talking about.”

Kate’s been writing romance ever since. Her first published novel hit the stands in 1998 and she has twenty-five books in print. Her books have been published by: Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, Silhouette Special Edition and Harlequin Historical and in more than six languages.

But she didn’t get there overnight. Along the way she received encouragement from Romance Writers of America and members of Valley Forge Romance Writers. When she entered RWA’s Golden Heart contest for unpublished authors, she reached the finals three times. Two of those times Kate won the coveted Golden Heart pendant. The Golden Heart is like hitting a home run. It doesn’t win the game but it means victory is closer. Then came that important first sale in 1997. In 2000 in another RWA contest, affectionately called Rita, she was a finalist for her second novel, Never Lie to an Angel. And she’s been nominated multiple times by RT reviewers for best book in her category. And recently for the Golden Leaf.

Links:

You can find Footprints in Time at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006VDETR0

You can find Kate Welsh at:
Email: k_welsh@verizon.net

Website: katewelshbooks.com

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14 thoughts on “A Life Touched by Love – A Visit with Author Kate Welsh

  1. Wonderful blog, Kate. As a medieval-romance author and former history/world lit. teacher, I adore historicals and time-travels. Gonna look you up. All your books appeal to me 🙂
    Best of luck. You’re added to my TBR list….
    Diane
    CHERISH THE KNIGHT

    • Thanks. It’s funny how you don’t think you have anything to say till someone asks the right questions. Babbette is a great interviewer who really came up with insightful questions.

  2. Hey, Kate! Great blog entry. And I learned so much more about you!! I don’t usually do historicals, but I think I might need to make an exception.

  3. Kate, this is a great interview. I’ve read most of Kate’s books, including Footprints in Time, which I love. For anyone who’s not read it, I urge you to buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

  4. Kate, Thanks for both the peak into the traditional publishing world and the success of a well loved story. Footprints in time sounds fascinating. I love time travel stories. Thanks for sharing.

    • I had so much fun dreaming it up and writing it. Brainstorming it became a family affair because of the visit to Point Lookout. Then the research the book on Point Lookout gave me was so fascinating and rich in history it couldn’t help but influence the book. There’s nothing like a good diary to tell you what life was like for a person.
      I’m also so thankful publishing has change and that now I get to share this book with others.

  5. I just added Footprints in Time to my Amazon wish list. Can’t wait to read it. I’ve never been to Lookout Point, but I’ve read about. Loved your interview. Good luck with your new book.

    • Pat, when I arrive there it seemed like a camp ground but then when we got to the site of Hamond hospital the hairs on my neck stood straight up! Especially near what had been this small stone shed. It had been a photographer’s shed. It still stands. There’s a museum some where there but the book I bought at the ST Mary’s City book store really told the truth of the place. The death rate there was higher than at Andersonville.

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