Triple threat Golden Heart finalist Kathleen Beaver (w/a Kate Carlisle) has talent. How else do you explain 3 Golden Heart nominations in 3 different categories?
Color me impressed.
What’s even more impressive is how incredibly warm, kind and intelligent she is. She also has a great sense of humor…which is probably what helped her manuscript SNOOPING IN STILETTOS win the Golden Heart for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements.
Here she talks about her Golden Heart winning manuscript, SNOOPING IN STILETTOS, the real-life mystery that inspired it, what has changed since her win, and who she forgot to thank in her acceptance speech.
Q â€“ What can you tell us about your winning Golden Heart manuscript, SNOOPING IN STILETTOS?
A â€“ SNOOPING IN STILETTOS is a chick lit mystery and hereâ€™s the pitch: Suicide by BMW? Or murder? When L.A. attorney Berry McKenna finds her best friend, Deanna Coburn, dead in the driverâ€™s seat, she knows it was murder. After all, Deanna had just gone on a fabulous shopping spree, and what woman in the known universe would kill herself after buying a gorgeous pair of boots? Now Berryâ€™s got to convince delectable detective Ethan Oâ€™Reilly to start looking for a killer, but Ethanâ€™s a hard sell, so Berry must search for truth and justice on her ownâ€”even if it kills her.
Q – What do you love about the story? Or what do you think makes this manuscript stand out as an exceptional story?
A â€“ My heroine, Berry, has a great attitude and stands up for what she believes in. She loves her friends, she loves her mom, she actually believes in the system and sheâ€™s determined to find justice for her girlfriend. And of course, thereâ€™s a really cute hero that I truly love.
Q â€“ Did it surprise you that SNOOPING IN STILETTOS won? Why or why not?
A â€“ Surprise me? How about SHOCKED the HELL out of me! Honestly, I knew it wouldnâ€™t win. First, because it was up against so many other great books in the category, and second, because itâ€™s a fairly straightforward first-person mystery and I just figured a book like that didnâ€™t stand a chance. Iâ€™m incredibly happy I was wrong!
Q â€“ What do you think it is about SNOOPING IN STILETTOS that readers love?
A â€“ SNOOPING is told from a first-person point of view, so it was important that readers find Berryâ€™s attitude appealing. Iâ€™d like to think she comes across as funny and maybe a little snarky and self-deprecating. Sheâ€™s also a good friend and willing to fight for what she believes in. It was also important that readers could relate to the victim, Deanna, so I had to sneak in a few flashbacks to introduce her and make her seem real and likeable. And did I mention the cute hero? Love him!
Q â€“ Was there any one thing you remember a critique partner, family member or friend did or said that helped you make SNOOPING IN STILETTOS into a Golden Heart winner? If so, what?
A â€“ The best advice I got was from Maureen Child who told me to trust my voice and donâ€™t get bogged down wondering what an editor will like or hate. Just be true to myself and write the damn book.
Q â€“ If you could dedicate SNOOPING IN STILETTOS to anyone who would it be? Why?
A â€“ Iâ€™d dedicate this book to my wonderful husband Don who has more faith in me and my writing than I sometimes have in myself.
Q â€“ Did you do any research for SNOOPING IN STILETTOS? If so, what kind of fascinating and/or surprising facts did you learn while researching the book?
A â€“ Itâ€™s not exactly research but I have a story about how I got the idea to write this book. I used to work in a Family Law firm and our clientâ€™s soon-to-be-ex-wife had made at least 10 half-hearted attempts to commit suicide throughout the divorce proceedings. Of course, one day she finally succeeded, but it wasnâ€™t clear whether she actually meant to do it, because when she turned on the gas in the Bentley, somehow a spark ignited in the engine and the car caught on fire and she was burned to death. There were signs that she struggled to escape but the carbon monoxide apparently had slowed her down and she didnâ€™t make it. It was very creepy. My boss went with our client to the wifeâ€™s house and her attorney was there, running the show, bossing the police around and generally being a pain in the butt. Turns out, the wife had re-written her Last Will and Testament and made her attorney one of the main beneficiaries. So…suicide? Or murder?? I prefer to think it was murder, of course!
Q – Your acceptance speech was short, sweet and heartwarming. How were you feeling up there? Is there anything you forgot to say or anything you’d like to add?
A â€“ Well, thank you for the compliment on my speech, but I must admit I was in complete shock and had absolutely nothing prepared. I remember thinking, â€œTalk slowly. Donâ€™t forget anyone. Donâ€™t cry.â€ So naturally, I burst into tears! (laughing) Then I woke up at three oâ€™clock the next morning and starting re-writing the speech in my head…over and over and over…sigh. And yes, I really wish Iâ€™d remembered to thank my fellow Golden Heart finalists for their support and friendship. I know theyâ€™re all going to sell because they are all so talented. Itâ€™s a great group and weâ€™re all on an e-mail loop together, so I hope weâ€™ll be able to continue to keep in touch and get together at future conferences.
Q – Has anything changed for you since your win?
A â€“ No, and Iâ€™m so annoyed! Iâ€™m waiting by the phone for all those agents and editors to call, dammit! (laughing) No, nothingâ€™s really changed so far, but I now have something wonderful to tell those agents and editors who have my manuscripts in their To-Be-Read piles, so thatâ€™s something. And I have a lovely new piece of jewelry. Itâ€™s a Golden Heart. I love it!
Q – Who was the first person you called? What did you say?
A â€“ I literally ran out in the middle of the awards ceremony and called my husband. I just said, â€œI won.â€ And he was so excited, it was great!
Q – Does the win seem real yet? If so, when did it feel real? When and what hit you that made it finally feel real?
A â€“ After I won, I really had to pinch myself. A few times during the rest of the ceremony, Iâ€™d suddenly get tears in my eyes when I remembered that Iâ€™d won. The thing is, I know that winning the Golden Heart is no guarantee that Iâ€™ll sell my books, but at that moment when they called my name, it felt so good to be recognized and validated for all the years Iâ€™ve been writing and working toward publication. It was a sweet moment for me.
Dana Diamond is the OCC/RWA Secretary, a columnist for OCC’s award winning newsletter, Orange Blossom, a contributor to The Writers Vibe and hard at work on her next book. For more on Dana and her interview with Kathleen Beaver, be sure to visit Dana’s blog at: www.danadiamond.blogspot.com
Hi Kathleen, Congrats – you always were a great writer – and funny. Surely it was our critique group that got things started? Best wishes – please drop me at line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Rae – was Newman – now Roadley – in NZ
on August 10, 2006
I’m so thrilled for you!!!
All THREE of your books are winners, according to what Maureen’s told me in the past. How nice not only to win the award, but to have your work validated by such three such presitigous nominations.
You are amazing. So glad you won! (And btw, love your picture!)
on August 8, 2006
Hi!! I just got in here! Thanks so much you guys, for your kind words and congrats! I heard you cheering in the audience, even you, Gina! LOL And Dons are the best, aren’t they, Charlene? Yup! Anyway, I’m so honored that OCC put me up here with my way-too-perky photo and all, so thanks everyone. My head is still spinning–in a good way!
on August 5, 2006
Kathleen…I’m thrilled THRILLED you won. The book sounds wonderful. I want to read it so they better buy it. 🙂
on August 5, 2006
Wow Kathleen, congratulations! I can’t wait to have my copy signed.
Best, Mary C.
on August 3, 2006
Congratulations Kathleen! We were all rooting for you and so thrilled when your name was called. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on winning with us! Deb
on August 3, 2006
Let me offer my congrats! That’s wonderful news. I wish I could have congratulated you in person but I wasn’t in Atlanta this year. The story sounds fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sold right away. And I have a wonderful supporter named Don too, the hero of all my novels and 32 years of marriage. Best of luck Charlene