Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How an English Castle Inspired Kathleen Shaputis

Today I welcome Kathleen Shaputis to my blog. Kathleen and I are soulmates in many ways including our love of mysteries, length of time to complete a novel, love of dialogue, and oldest item in our refrigerators. Welcome to my blog, Kathleen!

First tell us what inspired you to write Her Ghost Wears Kilts.
The original idea was forced out of me by a crafty instructor back in 1993. I took a creative writing class as a young girl. Funny, once I finished the exercise with a main character, a murder and an inherited Scottish castle – I never let go of it. I’d work at it a little, then put it back in a drawer. Yet it was giving myself the gift of attending a writers conference through Abroad Writers Conferences to a castle in England in November, 2012, that blasted this story into completion. I maxed out my credit cards and spent a week in the English countryside, pretending it was Scotland madly researching details.
The Clue of the Dancing Puppet where we had to brainstorm a novel based on a genre we didn’t usually read. Mine was mysteries. I hadn’t picked up a mystery since Nancy Drew’s

A week in England sounds like a dream come true! How long did it take you to write?
Technically over twenty years, it’s hard to believe! Now I had nonfiction books published, a couple romantic comedies self-published and over a dozen ghostwriting projects done during this time. But when I got back from England, it took less than four months to flesh out and finish the 72,000 words with surprise characters, twists I didn’t know about and more.

My first novel took 30 years!  What is your favorite thing about writing?
Dialogue. Many times I will have whole chapters and scenes written only in dialogue first. I love how my characters interact and sass each other. The thrill of a good argument or the tenderness of understanding blooms through my dialogue. Then I go back and fill in the what, where, when portion of it.

Kathleen, I’m beginning to think we’re twins—I love writing dialogue. What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The third or fourth read-through for editing and tweaking is tough for me. This is where it becomes grueling. Making sure I show, don’t tell – avoiding passive voice. Have I left someone behind? Did I answer questions? Do the chapters end leaving the reader wanting more? It’s a necessary evil.   

If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Oh, I love this – I’d want to be Katharine Hepburn! The woman epitomized an independent, self-confident
woman. To be her for a day and have access to her mind, her strengths, her foibles would be delicious. What I could learn and experience in just twenty-four hours would be worth a life-time to me.

Okay, this is spooky—she’s my favorite, too! What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Hmm, it would be one of the salad dressing in the door. I love salads and go through phases of flavors. So it’s probably the half-empty bottles of French or Catalina, maybe an odd Italian-plus mixture I’ll never finish because I’ve moved on. The oldest is easily a year or more old.

Yikes! I’m not sure mine is a year old, but it’s either French dressing or that pickle relish way in the back of the top shelf.  What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Her Ghost Wears Kilts. The characters have much more adventure ahead of them and another murder or two to solve. I also have a work in progress that takes place in the mid-Seventies of a widowed mother and her young daughter titled Twinkies and Tranquilizers. I would like to help fill the void left by Nora Ephron’s death with my own romantic comedies and slanted humor.

Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, where curling up with icy Diet Coke, writing romantic comedies is her ultimate paradise. Contact her at:

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  1. Great interview, ladies. I think I'm your triplet. I have a historical novel of medieval Russia that I've been working on for fifteen-twenty years, and I'm certain I have salad dressings that are two or three years old. Yikes! Kathleen, I have your novel on my Kindle, and I can't wait to read it. Much continued success - and I'm so glad you are going to write a sequel, because I love sequels. :)

    1. 53 years?! Okay, Deborah, you win the longest idea/manuscript in a drawer contest! And you'd think I'd clean those dressings out after seeing this interview live this morning, but noooo.

    2. Our manuscripts aged like fine wine until they were ready to be uncorked :-) Guess what I was out of today? Dressing for my salad LOL I thought of you Kathleen!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share my latest romantic comedy with your audience, Betty. Castle are such magical creatures.

    1. It is such a treat to have you as my guest today, Kathleen. My husband visited Duart Castle or Caisteal Dhubhairt in Scotland which was the setting for the movie Entrapment. He loved it. You are so right - there is something romantic about castles.

  3. Great interview. I love Katharine Hepburn too. Much success to you, Kathleen!