Kathryn Hayes, a founding mother of the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America was a one-woman welcome wagon for new members. As a children’s book librarian for the New York City public library, she often brought material about books to the writers’ group and gave me educational material for my teaching or my son. In addition to organizing local writers’ workshops, Kathryn proofread the chapter’s newsletter and judged its writing contest.
Writing as Kathryn Hitte, she published several children’s books including an anthology used in elementary schools. Kathryn gave me a copy of that anthology which contained a copy of Mexicali Soup, a story she wrote with her husband William D. Hayes which also came out in picture book form.
Aside from being members of the same writers’ chapter, Kathryn and I became friends. She often invited me to join her for cappuccino or hot cocoa after the meeting, and we took field trips to do research for our writing at local New York museums.
Kathryn suggested ways to outline story plot, use the library for research, and to use pictures and poetry for writing stories.
She had a wonderful reading voice and a theatrical flair which made the stories come alive.
Whenever I felt dejected about my writing, Kathryn reminded me to keep writing. “How’s that western going?” she’d ask in reference to my early drafts of Wildflowers. That book would later be published in 2007.
Kathryn also helped me with some of my research for a story dealing with reincarnation and ancient Mexico and later called Sacred Fires.
When I showed her the draft of a third novel dealing with a guardian angel and a psychic artist, Angels Among Us, she commented,“Oh, that is a good story,” which helped encourage me to finish the book and send it out.
Having been a children’s book librarian and having written for young audiences, Kathryn inspired me to write for young people. It would be a long while later, but I did when I wrote stories about a teen ghost hunter in New Jersey: A Kiss Out of Time, published 2013, and A Dance Out of Time, published in 2015.
Sadly, Kathryn Hayes passed away in 2003, and I still miss her very much. I wish Kathryn Hayes had lived long enough to see my published work. We would have had a celebration, and I know she would have been happy for me. I will always feel a sense of indebtedness and love for my mentor and friend, Kathryn Hayes.