INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Kathleen Neely

by | Feb 22, 2019 | writing

Hello, all! I have a fresh face to introduce you to today, Kathleen Neely. Kathleen is another author I have encountered through ACFW. This wonderful organization allows authors to network and glean from each other in the most amazing way. I wish I’d joined sooner 🙂

Thanks for being on my blog today, Kathleen. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

I love novels that focus on relationships, particularly inter-generational. I also enjoy reading stories that involve the legal system—law suits, court cases, attorneys. The Street Singer is actually my second novel, although the first to reach publication. When I finished my first novel and breathed a big sigh of relief, my mind went to work weaving story lines, building and discarding ideas, until I decided on what eventually became The Street Singer. This novel inspired me to dig in deeper and with the help of Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett, P.A. – Attorneys Representing Clients in Tampa, FL, I was able to learn more about how the characters developed. It’s about Trisha, a final-year law student, and Adda, a once famous recording artist known as Adaline. Although it’s their story, everyone loves a little romance. That keeps things interesting.

The Street Singer blurb:

Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda
Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda reveals her journey by sharing a few items at a time, beginning as a sharecropper’s daughter in Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.

Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the
injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?

Sounds interesting. I love novels that give us multiple storylines like this. I always have to ask fellow authors: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

My advice is more for new writers. Surround yourself with people in the industry. Garner all of the help they can give you. I’ve found writers to be the best and most willing mentors. Read trade books on writing and attend conferences.

That is sound advice. Never stop learning. Non-writers are always curious about the length of time to complete a novel. Now, most understand this varies from author to author. What about you? How long does it take you to write a book?

Writing a book takes the better part of a year. About six months of that time is actually drafting the manuscript. After that, comes editing and rewrites. Unlike what I hear from many authors, I enjoy editing—not the line editing checking for every punctuation mark. Once the skeleton of a story is written, I enjoy embellishing it, bringing it to life with words. I go through my manuscript many times, looking to add sensory details and thinking through the emotions that should be evident. I use beta readers to review the finished work, then, if needed, will do further edits.

You’ve got one on me. I certainly do add depth, but editing is not my favorite 🙂

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

I was mesmerized by a youtube video of a drum circle. I knew I had to have a scene in The Street Singer that included it. Here’s a link:

So cool! Lastly, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on a story about a mother’s love. After a teenage pregnancy, she gave her baby up. Twelve years later, she has another chance to be part of his life. Until the unthinkable happens. That’s all you get. Sorry. No spoiler alert.

Oh my goodness! What a teaser that is!

Research in Writing:

Research is a vital part of writing, and is not limited to historic settings. Most people know a little bit about the legal system. I knew enough to get myself in trouble if I hadn’t consulted an expert. Actually, two experts. I reached out to an attorney who read the legal portions of my manuscript and provided feedback on my misunderstandings, then passed it along to her husband whose area of law was more closely compatible.

An interesting sub-theme shows the renovation of an older home. That research was easy for me. My husband has worked for decades in every area of home building. He walked me through each phase of the work.

Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing your insight and for being on the blog! And now, it is my pleasure to introduce you all toThe Street Singer

The Street Singer

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt from The Street Singer

“I done figured you knew. You wore them questions all over your face. She opened her water bottle and took a long, slow drink. Here’s what you gotta know. There ain’t no more Adaline. I’m Adda, my given name. That’s all I am.”

Trisha nodded but remained unsatisfied. “Can I ask what happened?”

Adda laughed. “Honey, age happened. You too young to understand. The body goes. The voice goes. The energy goes.

“I know, but your records, they sold…maybe millions.”

Adda chuckled at that. “Well, you be givin’ me too much credit, but yeah, they did sell back in the day.” Adda looked at her watch and took a bite of her sandwich. “So, I guess you’re wondering where all my money went.”

Trisha backpedaled. The bluntness made it sound so callous. “That’s none of my business, but…”

“You right there. It ain’t none of your business. But I’ll tell you anyways. My daddy, he was a sharecropper in Mississippi. We young’uns had to help when we got big enough to hold a shovel. I never got me past primary schooling. Them record people knowed it and all them fancy papers I signed didn’t give me much left over.”

Trisha gasped. “That’s terrible.”

Adda looked up from her lunch. “Oh, they treated me good. Real good. Set me up in a fancy place to live, bought me clothes and food. Dressed me for pictures and took me to the studio. But they never let me go places where I’d get to talk and never let me talk in microphones where I went to sing. Didn’t want me having no friends. I knew they feared my poor schooling would show. Them fancy papers I signed didn’t leave me much left over.”

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More About the Author

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, to be released in February, 2019. Beauty for Ashes and The Least of These will be released in 2019. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Kathleen and her books

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Kathleen is offering a giveaway to one (1) winner within the continental United States: a scripture print (picture with related scripture). Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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