BJ Owens still harbors anger towards Ransom McNeely who used her years before to prove a friend was a traitor. But when a child trafficker goes after a family member, she must accept Ransom’s help to keep the girl safe. Ronald “Ransom” McNeely is after the man responsible for the murder of his granddaughter. When he discovers the next possible victim will be a relative of BJ Owens, a woman he’s never stopped loving, he pulls out all the stops to keep the girl safe. But could BJ be a distraction that costs someone their life?
Today I’m taking a moment to catch my breath and chat with Kathryn J Bain, author of ‘One Last Breath’ if the emotional distractions within these pages will prove fatal. Kathryn, thanks for taking a few minutes to pause and reflect on this novel with me. The first aspect that I’d love to ponder is how the idea of ‘One Last Breath’ was formed. Can you take us through this?
This is part of the Lincolnville Mystery Series. The entire series began with Toby Keith’s song “God Love Her”. The idea of a Bible on a motorcycle inspired me to write the first book “Breathless.”
I’m loving the imagery of a Bible on a motorcycle. I’m not sure why, but that combination of contrast really amuses me. Did that imagery spark off the need to do a deep dive on any particular topics?
I researched into child trafficking. Such a sad situation for children to be thrust into.
I agree, that situation one of the truly shocking things that is out there in the world. With working with such an intense topic, what did you feel was the most important consideration that you wanted readers to explore and think about after they had closed the book for the final time?
The devil can look like a normal person. At times, we need to be cautious of who we trust.
Caution and trust are massive concepts to explore. Was your focus on of attention on this danger most satisfying, or did you find another aspect that gave you more contentment during or after the writing process?
I enjoyed the fact that my main characters are an older couple. Most romance books involve twentysomethings who would not have life experiences that an older couple would have.
You’re right, more mature romances aren’t explored to the same degree as those in their youth. How did these more mature voices form for you?
I use country male stars as my heroes, so when looking for an older model for Ransom, I chose George Strait. Still good looking after all these years. By the way, the name Ransom is actually the name of one of the guys who used to work with my mechanic.
*Laughs* Country music stars and mechanics are awesome sources for character inspiration. I don’t know why they aren’t recognised more! To me it sounds like your main characters are well formed, and you may even know who would do great justice to their parts if they were immortalised on the screen. Who are your picks?
George Strait for my hero. Glenn Close would make a good BJ.
I think those two would make a great combo. And even if you couldn’t get the stars themselves I feel that just hanging out with the characters would be awesome enough. Do you think that they would be great invites for a cast party?
Sure. BJ would be fun to hang with. She’s got a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
You have to love the women who speak their minds. As for talkative characters, I’m sure you’re already conversing with your next novel full of characters. What can you tell us about your next work?
I am currently working on a Christmas book that is a contemporary take on “A Christmas Carol.” The lead character is a 43 year old female who learns that working and money is not what makes life important. The title so far is “The Chains She Forged.”
That is a great working title. And probably solid enough to use for the final product. What keeps you motivated in the writing realm to continue to produce new novels?
I drive a 45-minute commute in Jacksonville, Florida four days a week for work. If God didn’t allow me to kill someone in a book, I might do it in real life. That and the voices in my head would scream at me.
Yep, a 45-minute commute will inspire thoughts of creating fatalities. I’m very glad to hear that you channel the frustration and the voices in your head towards more productive forms of expression. So, when these voices are pestering you, do you know how the story will end? Do they tell you, or do the voices only reveal the ending after you’re starting tapping away at that keyboard?
I usually do know how a book is going to end. I find it easier to write a mystery when you know who the guilty party is. That way you can put in subtle clues along the way.
Those subtle clues are my favourite aspect of mystery, and in fact most writing. The tease of temptation is just so enticing. What techniques do you use to get those teasing tales flowing?
I write for one-and-one-half to two hours on Monday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, I might do edits, but usually, I’m marketing. I don’t go for a set number of words, I primarily am more about working against the clock because I have to go to work. I’m a paralegal by day, a writer by night. More like a writer by early morning.
Do you find that music helps you get into the groove in the early morning?
I have peace and quiet. Too many things can easily distract me, so I write in my den with no noise.
Do you find that writer’s block ever strikes you in the silence? And if it does, how do you go about resolving it?
I will walk around my house playing scenes out in my head. If I’m really stuck, I go on to a different scene and come back to the one bothering me.
Do you find that any particular words bother you while you’re writing?
I seem to use “just” and “that” a lot in my drafts. I have an editing program that catches those things for me.
That is a neat software tool. What is it called, and what kinds of editing tips can it give you?
I use Pro Writing Aid, an editing program. It points out redundancies, sluggish sentences, and things like that. Then, if I’m self-publishing, I use a profession editor.
Other than using awesome software and a professional editor, what tips do you have for other authors in the self-publishing game?
Join a critique group. Make sure there are at least one or two people who give harsh reviews. This will not only give you thick skin for dealing with agents and publishers, but it will make your writing tighter.
Tight writing is always a top goal, and getting the insight of others is not underrated. Speaking of things that are may or may not be underrated or overrated, we’ve now reached the quick fire question round. Hopefully, you can help us set a new standard of high ratings with your answers today. Let’s start with: What is your favourite quote?
Currently its: “Sexy is not a size, shape, or face. Sexy is intelligence, confidence, and class.”
Intelligence, confidence and class. Always a winning combination. Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
Not at all. I can’t even answer more than two or three questions on Jeopardy.
*Laughs* Maybe you’ll do better with questions in a more straightforward construction rather than the twisting they do on Jeopardy. What is your zodiac sign?
Earlier you mentioned that you work in addition to writing. What do you do and does your work help influence your writing?
I’m a paralegal for an elder law attorney. It really hasn’t influenced my writing thus far. I did use one of our client’s names in one of my books. Unfortunately, she passed away before the book was published. My lead character in my upcoming Christmas book is a personal injury lawyer. Probably used that career because I’m not a huge fan of PI attorneys and wanted to redeem one.
Redeeming careers through fiction is a great idea! You’ll never be short of ideas working through the list of undesirable professions. What is your favourite ocean?
If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
I’ve actually thought of doing a book where a couple creates a girl, about 11-12, and calling it Frankentweeny.
I think that you should create that book. It sounds like it could be a bit of a funny romp, or perhaps horror depending on how you look at it. It could be a great writing challenge and fantastic read. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Depends on the situation. Extrovert over all.
Have you ever danced in the rain?
Sure. Used to stomp in it all the time. Need to do that again. Gotten old, need to bring some of the kid back.
I’m sure your inner child would be happy to have a bit of free reign, let her out! If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
Are you left or right handed?
How are the colours in rainbows made?
With sherbet ice cream.
Yum with rainbows! Can it get better than that? If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A cheetah and giraffe. Tallest, fastest running animal in the jungle.
I just want to see that animal move. It feels like it would have almost an unwieldy grace about it. What color socks are you wearing?
Pink with rabbit faces on them.
They sound super cute. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
Mint chocolate chip
What is your favourite word?
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
That’s up there. What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
Was this the man he’d become? He inhaled a deep breath and lowered his weapon.
An epiphany is a great thing to have before you fire that gun! Other than not firing weapons unjustly, do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Never stop dreaming. God always has a plan, you just have to wait on His timing.
I hope you never stop dreaming and sharing your writing, Kathryn. Thank you for joining me today to explore ‘One Last Breath’ and I hope that you can forge connections with many new readers.
Want to find out more about Kathryn J Bain? Connect here!