Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Gate House Author Kathleen Heady
I spent my childhood on a farm in southern Illinois, where I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to study, travel and learn about the world. Besides rural Illinois, I have lived in Chicago, Costa Rica, Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
V. Richardson: Hello Kathleen! Thank you for talking with me. Please, tell readers about your book, The Gate House?
K. Heady: I love to travel, and I am currently working on a novel set in Costa Rica and Italy, as well as developing a sequel to The Gate House. I have spent most of my professional life as a high school teacher, teaching English, Spanish and social studies. I share my home with my husband and two cats, Tang and Púchica. I have a daughter, two sons, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and a grandson who are all really cool people.
I was inspired to write The Gate House, while traveling in England, when I stay at a bed and breakfast very much like the one where my story is set. Later I visited Lincoln Cathedral in the same area of England, and found the inspiration for the sense of history and suspense that I hope comes across in the novel. I had written an earlier story in which I created the main character, Nara.
So for The Gate House, I moved her forward in time a few years, and from a Caribbean island to Britain. The story is set in an old gate house that Nara’s aunt, who runs the bed and breakfast, insists holds nothing more than useless trinkets and cheap copies of nineteenth century art work. When Nara awakes in her bedroom in the village in Lincolnshire, England, fretting once again about why Davis, her fiancé on the Caribbean island of St. Clare, has not called her, she surprises a burglar trying to break into the house.
That same night, a local church was burglarized and several valuable artifacts are stolen. Suddenly the police force of the small English town where nothing ever happens is besieged with burglaries and a murder. Even as romance begins to blossom between Nara and Alex, an art expert who works with the police, he begins to suspect that Nara’s family is involved in the thefts. As the net of British law begins to close in on the art thieves, Nara finds herself and her family caught in the net. And the new man to whom she opens her heart is helping the police to close in on them.
V.Richardson: How long did it take for you to write The Gate House?. What would you love for readers to take away from it?
K. Heady: It took a total of about two years to write the novel. I wrote it in bits and pieces while teaching in a public high school in Maryland. After writing about half of the first draft, I traveled to Lincolnshire for further research.
Once I finished revising, it took me about six months to build up the self-confidence to submit it to Virtual Tales, and I was thrilled when they accepted it for publication.
First of all, I would love for readers to enjoy The Gate House as a good story. That is foremost. If they enjoy it, I hope they also appreciate that I have tried to create characters with the same doubts, uncertainties and failings that all of us have, but somehow we muddle through and become better people. Or at least we have that potential.
Since I wrote about the theft of art and antiquities, I hope the readers will think about the importance of preserving the cultural heritage in any country, and that art and history are for all of us, not just a wealthy few.
V.Richardson: What has your literary journey been like?
K. Heady: I have enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school. But sadly, I was never encouraged to take it seriously as a profession. I love to create stories, and several years ago I had the opportunity to join a couple of writers’ groups where I developed some confidence in my work.
I had a few articles published, and began playing around with longer fiction. I have two “almost novels” filed away on my computer. Eventually these led to my decision to write The Gate House.
V. Richardson: Promotion and advertisement comes in various packages nowadays; especially with online presence leading the way. How do you establish a connection with your readers?
K. Heady: The proliferation of sites like yours for promotion of writers and their works, as well as blogs and other book sites are a real boon for writers. I feel that I am able to reach many more readers than I would have if I were relying solely on signings at local book stores.
Especially as a new novelist, the Internet allows me to reach out and make my presence known in ways that would not have been possible a few years ago. And I appreciate the readers around the world who have found me while browsing the Internet.
V. Richardson: Are there any forthcoming projects you are working on that readers should look forward to?
K. Heady: I have a manuscript for a very different novel about relationships between mothers and daughters, and sisters, that is almost finished.
I am also in the beginning stages of a sequel to The Gate House, which will take us back in time to England during World War II, and Nara’s great-grandparents. This story will be partially set in Wales, where I spent some time this past summer.
V. Richardson: Thank you Kathleen, for chatting with me about your novel, The Gate House. In closing, please continue to inspire as you aspire!
Kathleen Heady can be reached at: http://www.kathleenheady.com