Today we welcome Kay Hostettler.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside writing.
D.K. Graham: Working with words has been a major part of my career as I worked as a proofreader and classified advertising salesperson for several newspapers across the nation, and as a temporary line editor for the Petoskey (Michigan) News Review.
I hold a certificate of completion from the Parish School of Classified Advertising where I learned copywriting for successful advertising.
I was also the editor and publisher of the school district newsletter for the Hiawatha, Kansas Unified School District 415, where I was secretary to the Superintendent of Schools for fifteen years.
During my junior high and high school years, I had poems published in the local (Camarillo Daily News) newspaper, was the historian for the Horizon Club (senior Campfire girls) Camarillo, California chapter, and was responsible for having the monthly meeting articles published in the local newspaper. I was senior class editor of my high school yearbook.
I spent one year at Ventura (CA) Junior College, where I majored in English.
I am retired from my position as an administrative assistant for a geotechnical engineering and construction testing firm in Reno, Nevada.
I am an active member of the St. Joseph Writers Guild in St. Joseph, Missouri.
I have three grown daughters and two grandchildren. I live in St. Joseph, Missouri with my husband Walter and our Maine coon cat Lucy Marie. My friends and family just call me K (or Mom or Grandma, as the case may be).
When not writing, I enjoy spending time with my twelve-year-old granddaughter and nine-year-old grandson and their mother, reading, playing bingo, playing video poker, visiting with my ninety-one-year-old mother in Hiawatha, Kansas, and watching almost anything HGTV on television.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
D.K. Graham: I have published eighteen titles so far. Some of them are fiction, some are non-fiction. I write for both children and adults. None of my books are X-rated.
My Bullies Among Us book was written for elementary school age through adult, and it does have a message that bullies are not to be tolerated. It gives ideas in a fictional account on how to manage the bullies in a person’s life.
The Warrior Atticus series of stories helps children to recognize the greatness in themselves. I originally wrote the stories for my sister’s eight-year-old grandson Atticus (who is now fifteen-years-old). His parents had taken in a little girl with multiple disabilities including being deaf, and who suffered from severe separation anxiety and RAD. Because of the time that had to be spent on the care of the little girl, my grandnephew was feeling a little left out, through no fault of his parents. I decided to write him a short story about Warrior Atticus the Great to make him feel better about himself. It was about a little boy his age and the same name who had superpowers. He loved the first story, so I wrote another, and another, and another, until I wound up with thirty-five separate stories. I was urged to publish the stories in a single book, which I did, calling it Complete Adventures of Warrior Atticus the Great. About a year ago I was advised that the book was actually a little large for younger children to handle, and that person was correct. So, I started to break the big book down into smaller books with three stories each. So far, I have the first twelve stories broken down into four separate books. I’m still working on the rest. Each story is separate from the other thirty-four stories, except that the first story really should be read first to get a handle on what the rest of them are about. After reading the first one, the reader should be able to go to any of the other thirty-four and jump right in.
I have written five fiction books for young adults/adults:
Heartland Sunset is about twin girls who are separated from each other at the age of four when their parents are murdered. One doesn’t know the other exists; the other was told she had a twin sister, but that she died when the parents died.
They meet by accident when they are teenagers. They work together to find the people responsible for the murder of their parents, and to bring the culprits to justice.
Heartland Sunrise is a sequel to Heartland Sunset and follows twins Jaina and Jainell Wilson and their friend Kristie Jorrell as they attend college, get married, and become mothers. The intermingled stories of the three young ladies tell of the joys, tragedies, heartaches and strengths that follow them through their lives.
Heartland Storm is the third in the Heartland series. Heartland Storm follows the lives of twins Jaina and Jainell and their families as they weather the storms that face them in their personal lives. Their story is woven around weddings, births and deaths, and how they cope with each. It also chronicles the lives of their families and friends when real storms level their beloved town of Wayland, Kansas.
Heartland Trilogy combines all three Heartland books into one volume. It is offered at a price lower than buying all three books separately.
I’ll Grieve Tomorrow is my first stand-alone book. When Marnella Paxton finally got the courage to leave her verbally abusive husband, she only knew she needed to get away, to go somewhere to find out who she really was. She knew she wasn’t as stupid and idiotic as her husband kept telling her she was. But who was she, really?
The book is written with a touch of humor, but offers good, sound, proven advice.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
D.K. Graham: Yes, but I haven’t decided yet whether it will be a sequel to my trilogy or a stand-alone book.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
D.K. Graham: The flash fiction I wrote for the Totally Seeing the Dark anthology for The Writer’s Guild. It was an entirely different genre from that which I’m used to doing…plus I tend to be wordy and this had to be done in 500 words or less!
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
D.K. Graham: Mostly online and by observing people.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
D.K. Graham: I love Debbie Macomber and J.K. Rowling, two very different genres.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
D.K. Graham: My sister, Beverly Graham Jones, was the one who egged me on until I finally published what I had been writing.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
D.K. Graham: The fact that I have a grasp of the English language really helps, as well as having a vivid imagination, or so I’ve been told.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
D.K. Graham: I write whenever I have time and when the whim strikes!
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
D.K. Graham: Hopefully concentrating more on children’s books.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
D.K. Graham: Just get it down on paper! Don’t worry about form or content until you have all of your thoughts down. Then go back and edit; rearrange, fix and check for spelling. Do NOT rely on spellcheck on your computer!
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
D.K. Graham: That the content really helped them or someone they know.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
D.K. Graham: An excerpt from Heartland Sunset.
Ralph had assured him that he would take care of everything. He told John that he would pose as an inspector from the gas company in order to gain entrance into the house. After that, he preferred not to let John know what would happen. The less he was told, the less apt he was to be tagged as a suspect. John figured it would have something to do with explosives, given his knowledge of Ralph’s background in the service.
The day of Mary’s doctor’s appointment arrived. John couldn’t help himself … he had to go to the neighborhood where Jay and Mary lived and watch what would happen. He caught an early bus and arrived on the scene about fifteen minutes before he knew Mary would be leaving the house. Hiding behind a large tree, he waited, watching the back door by the garage.
Wait a minute! John thought to himself. Mary only had one little girl with her! Where is the other one? John began to panic. He didn’t mean any harm to come to Mary’s daughter! Sweat began to pour down his face. His stomach was in knots. His legs trembled under him, and he could barely catch his breath. Mary backed out of the driveway … still, only one small blonde head was visible by the passenger’s side window. Mary headed her car down the street, but made a U-turn and headed back! Saying something to her daughter, she got out of the car and went back inside. The small girl got out of the car, too, and went toward the back yard, following her mother.