Tag: Angels Among Us

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Writing Mentor Friends: Kathryn Hayes

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.

Food for Thought

I often use food in my stories which reflect my favorite foods including pizza, tacos, ice cream, pie, and other tantalizing foods. I came to that realization recently when editing my second young adult novel, A Dance Out of Time. The nineteen year old Jake Hanlon is a bit of a foodie, except he doesn’t gain the weight that many of us worry about when we indulge a bit. So, he can chow down on burgers, fries, and ice cream and still look gorgeous since he’s young and works out. Georgina Claythorne, the lead character, an eighteen year old psychic/ghost hunter and Jake’s girlfriend, enjoys similar fare but is more cautious about the calories, not an atypical response for many females. She indulges, however, in one of my favorites: rum raisin ice cream with caramel sauce as served up at her favorite (and mine) Ocean Grove restaurant and ice cream parlor, Nagle’s. Despite a busy summer of ghost hunting, helping out at her family’s bed and breakfast, and doing art, Georgina enjoys decorating and making home-baked desserts like peanut butter pie.

In Angels Among Us, Kay Lassiter, a psychic artist in Nutley, New Jersey, is in jeopardy and guided by her guardian angel who tries to help protect her from a madman. When Kay meets with her brother, a detective, and Lydia, her best friend, she serves up homemade Irish stew and a blueberry pie with ice cream. Rather heavy fare but comfort food.

In Sacred Fires, Casey McConoughy, an investigative journalist, enjoys a romantic dinner with Miguel Stephen, a rogue customs agent,  in Mexico while working on a case together.  Meals are often traditional Mexican and include one of my favorites: shrimp with garlic sauce.

Wildflowers, a western historical romance set on the Oregon Trail, features food that pioneers could put together while traveling across the plains and mountains including berry pie, biscuits, beans, beef jerky, or rabbit stew since they lacked the modern conveniences of refrigeration, stoves, and microwave ovens. They had to be frugal about it. However, what they had provided enough to hold body and soul together. Meals were communal times too.

In general, I find that food works its way into my stories for a variety of reasons. It shows characters’ preferences and cultural backgrounds, living conditions, gives time to socialize, work on conflicts, and even fall in love. It’s a little bit like real life.