Saturday, June 14, 2014

Author Interview with Christy Award Finalist Katherine Reay!

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Christy Award Finalist, Katherine Reay.
Katherine has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries and, at the encouragement of her family, recently began an affair with food – cooking that is. She always enjoyed eating. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family live in Seattle, WA, but are moving to Chicago this summer. There she will run, write, cook and try to clean the house.

You can also find Katherine at on Twitter @katherine_reay and lurking somewhere within the pages of her first novel, Dear Mr. Knightley

Welcome Katherine! We're so glad you could visit us today. 
Hey Amber, Thank you so much for inviting me to be here.

What made you decide to become a writer? 
I’ve always been a “secret” writer –developing stories and writing them on scraps of paper.  And prior to fiction I did a lot of analytical writing – and do get to bring some of that to my fiction behind the scenes – but the novels began in earnest in 2009 when I was injured and healing at home. I spent months reading and eventually writing. And here I am – happily healed and happily writing. 

Where did the inspiration for your latest book come from? 
Ah… the latest. Well, Dear Mr. Knightley is the book that is out now and it’s the one in the finalist category for the Christy Awards First Novel – so we’ll start there.

DMK is about a young woman, Samantha Moore, who learned to protect herself by hiding behind literary characters. She adopted their personas when scared, in danger or when she needed understanding friends. But this device now begins to hurt her (as all hiding eventually does) and others and she must lay it down to find her own voice, her own life and her own story. It’s packed with fun literature references, characters whom I adore and a lot of action in Sam’s life. I hope she gets a rest soon.

But the true latest is Lizzy and Jane and that will release on October 28th.  I loved writing this story and I adore the characters within it. And it’s got all the big guns: sisters, conflict, food, Jane Austen, Hemingway (threw you there, didn’t I?), love, and breast cancer. That last one is a bummer, but it’s a reality that so many of us experience either personally or walking the journey with family and friends. Basically Lizzy and Jane is the story of a young woman, Lizzy, who has excised love from her life and, as she helps her sister through chemotherapy, she starts to put it back in – in all its wonderful and varied forms.

Sounds great! How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing? 
My faith constitutes a meta-theme to all my writing – can’t really separate them. It plays out more concretely within certain characters, but – so far – not the main character in a firm or committed manner. Sam, our heroine in Dear Mr. Knightley is not even seeking God yet. The idea of a loving father is new to her and, only as the story unfolds, is she beginning to understand the questions, much less the answers; but she is surrounded by characters who bring more committed and firm aspects of faith to the story. Lizzy and Jane is much the same way. We all have so many questions and I want the characters to ask those questions and seek answers and for the stories to reflect the organic realities of our lives – our faith changes, develops and grows with each experience, with those who surround and love us, and with time spent with God.

What are you working on next? 
In my head, I call it Victoria(n). But titles are not my forte so it may come out as Two Thieves on a Journey of Adventure and Redemption in England. Who knows? It’s the story of two women who come together as one begins life and another ends it. Both have much learn and a final adventure to experience. And that is what “First Draft Vague” sounds like. I love the story though, so please don’t let the dreadful titles or the horrid blurb scare you. 

Very interesting. Looks like you have some great stuff going on. Thank you so much for being with us! 

About Dear Mr. Knightly:
Growing up, Samantha found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens and the Bronte sisters. The problem is that she relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

Now she will learn to write her own story – by giving that story to a complete stranger.


  1. I so enjoyed interviewing you, Katherine! Thanks for stopping by today!

    Amber Schamel
    Bringing HIStory to Life

  2. Thank you Amber for introducing me to Katherine. All of her books sound very interesting. I love the premise of Dear. Mr. Knightly!

  3. I completely loved Dear Mr. Knightley and am so glad to learn about her next book and the one she's working on! Thanks for sharing the great interview!