Q&A With "Ever Present Danger" Author Kathy Herman
- Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Kathy Herman never set out to write suspense fiction. In fact, this one-time bookstore owner thought she would be writing books for children after she retired. But when she couldn't find the words and started getting depressed, her husband encouraged her to try writing something else - anything else. Soon after, she wrote the prologue to "Tested by Fire," and she hasn't stopped writing novels since.
In this interview, Kathy shares how she got her start as a fiction writer, what kind of challenges she faces in her work and what it took to complete her most recent title for Multnomah Fiction, "Ever Present Danger" (book #1 in the "Phantom Hollow Series"). …
What led you to become a CBA author?
I had worked in the Christian book industry for many years. I started out working on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association in Colorado Springs for five years, and then married a retailer and moved to Texas, where I ran the children’s department in our family-owned Christian bookstore for ten years. I retired due to some joint problems, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at writing children’s books. But I sat at my laptop and stared at a blank screen for days at a time. I wanted to write children’s books. I understood the market and knew these books inside and out. I knew how to age grade them, how to judge their effectiveness, and how to market them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t write them. My husband knew I was getting depressed. He said, “Honey, write something, anything. It doesn’t have to be a children’s book!” So that’s what I did. I wrote a random scene, which led to my writing the prologue to "Tested by Fire." And I’ve never stopped writing novels since. I didn’t realize all these stories were inside me.
How did you come up with the concept for "Ever Present Danger"?
This is one of those stories that came to me out of nowhere. I had promised my publisher a book based on I Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” But I had no preconceived idea about the characters or the plot. I just focused on it for several hours and had the whole thing figured out. That doesn’t happen with most of my books. I was engaged with these characters from the beginning, even though the drugs and the lies are not something I’ve personally had to deal with. What I related to – and what I think my readers will relate to – is the danger of being influenced into compromising our values.
In today’s culture where moral absolutes are rapidly disintegrating, it’s not always easy for believers to keep both feet planted on a biblical foundation, especially when we’re continually exposed to people and situations in direct conflict with God’s Word. It’s so important that we remain keenly aware of the ever-present danger of compromise, because the enemy of our souls knows only too well where each of us is most vulnerable.
Is any part of "Ever Present Danger" factual?
Not a word – and every word. The characters are fictional and not based on anyone I know, but their struggles are universal. The setting IS factual, however – at least the San Juan Mountains and the western slope of Colorado. Phantom Hollow itself is fictional.
How closely is "Ever Present Danger" based on your life?
This is totally a work of fiction. The story is not based on my personal experiences or those of anyone I know. But even though I haven’t struggled with drug addiction, I’ve certainly struggled with moral compromise and the consequences that followed. And that’s what this story is really about. And it’s everybody’s story.
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