VK Powell interviews Kay Bigelow:
Before I start firing questions, congratulations on your first book with Bold Strokes and welcome to the family. Exciting times are ahead.
What was the inspiration for Hiding Out and how did it morph into a book?
The book is set near Brattleboro, VT and I lived in Brattleboro for five years. In all my travels, I’ve never lived in a more beautiful environment. When I decided I wanted to set a book in a small town, Brattleboro leapt to mind. Treat and Mickey, the main characters, had already introduced themselves to me so all I had to do was listen to them and tell their story.
Give us a brief of your two main characters and a taste of their conflict.
Treat is tired of her life in Los Angeles as a business owner and decides to build a home on property she owns near Brattleboro. She sells the business and moves to Brattleboro where she meets a carpenter named Mickey Heiden, only Mickey is not who she says she is, and won’t/can’t tell Treat who she really is without putting Treat’s life in danger.
You’ve certainly piqued my interest. I’m also interested in how you came to spend an evening with Katherine Forrest.
I lived in Orange County, California. I became friends with the owners of a small bookstore in Laguna Beach, A Different Drummer (now sadly deceased). The owners invited Katherine to sign her latest book in their store, and Katherine agreed to meet with a few admirers in the owners’ home after the signing. I was one of the lucky ones to receive an invitation.
Laguna Beach, Brattleboro—I have to ask, what lured you from a beautiful Vermont town of 3,000 to Hong Kong? Have you lived in other exotic places?
How to explain this one? A friend of mine worked in Hong Kong for an American firm and invited me to move to Hong Kong to write my books. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So my two cocker spaniels and I moved to Hong Kong (talk about culture shock!). I got to travel to places like Manchuria (for the Harbin Winter Snow and Ice Festival), Hanoi, Beijing, Macau, and Seoul. Previous to Hong Kong, I lived in Germany, Italy, and the Philippines.
Readers are curious about an author's process. Tell us about yours and how it’s different for you, or not, from writing short stories.
Usually, a character announces herself first then maybe a second one gets in on the fun. While they’re forming, I begin thinking about possible plots. When those two are jelled, I begin writing. I write down everything the characters whisper in my ear and before I know it I have a book. Choosing a title is always the hardest thing for me. Only once or twice has a title arrived with the character and the plot, but if not, I may change a title a few times before I find one I like. I always let a finished draft set on a virtual shelf marinating for at least two or three months before I edit it again and before sending it to a publisher.
I love writing short stories. The plot is essentially given to me by the editor of the anthology and writing 5000 words instead of 70,000+ means that editing plays an important part in the creation, and I enjoy the editing process.
How does your day job affect your writing, if it does?
Luckily, I have no restrictions on my writing time. Years ago when I was working sixty hours a week, I wrote every evening, sometimes sitting in front of the television. I always carried a notebook with me (and still do) in case a scene, character, plot twist, or title came to me.
What are you working on next?
My next book for BSB, Killer Winter, is in the final editing stage, and is scheduled to be released in March 2018. It is the first book in a series of four; I have finished the second book, Killer Spring, and it is marinating for a few months. Killer Summer, the third book in the series, is about half done, and Killer Autumn, the fourth in the series, has a vague plot and a criminal who is not really a bad person. I also have a romance, The Shower, completed and on the marinating shelf. Also on the marinating shelf are two SciFi novels. I’ve got two historical novels set in 1915 and 1906 Hong Kong, in process. And dozens of short stories.
Sounds like we have many more hours of reading enjoyment ahead from Kay Bigelow. Now a few questions just for fun.
What profession other than your own (and author) would you like to attempt?
I’m lucky in that I’ve had many different and interesting jobs, including being a tech writer for a nuclear generating station in Southern California, an editor for a law-related newspaper, and a project manager at Dell Computers. By far my most interesting job, however, was indexing the British Parliamentary papers for an American company in Chester, VT.
Your beverage of choice while writing? While relaxing?
I drink water all day long. However, for getting me going in the morning, it’s always an Eeyore mug of Ghirardelli hot chocolate.
Your foodie Achilles heel?
Chocolate, of course. And I never pass up Mexican or good BBQ ribs.
Plotter or pantser?
I’ve always been a pantser and love not knowing what’s going to happen next or who will show up. However, on Killer Winter, my next book with BSB, my editor taught me that being a pantser can be problematic (as in I ended up deleting nearly 17,000 words). After that trauma, I intend trying to be a plotter on the book that is forming in my head. So I’ve got a new Code & Quill notebook, I’ve got tabs, and I’m watching You Tube videos on setting up a writer’s notebook. I’m creating a Character Sheet listing the details of characters I haven’t even met yet, plotting a story that hasn’t begun to form, and wondering how plotters do all this.
Congratulations again on Hiding Out which hits shelves on October 1, just in time for Women’s Week in Provincetown.