First of all, I have to say, I LOVED this book! I’m a sucker for history, and I loved the way you wove the past with the present. Just the right balance of intrigue and suspense, drama and romance. Beautifully done!
So how did this come to be – tell us about your relationship with each other and how/why you decided to become co-authors.
Paula says: Kathy and I met soon after my first writer’s conference, about ten years ago. I was invited to a critique group run by a delightful grandma type, Neva Andrews. I felt safe with her and was excited to join her critique group. The first time I attended she handed the baton to Kathy. I freaked out! But in the end Neva gave me a best friend and writing buddy. Some of my favorite memories are of Kathy, Neva, and me sharing a room at writing conferences. We were like teenagers—telling stories and laughing all hours of the night. From this firm foundation Kathy and I grew together, the most loyal of friendships. Ugh. Getting that lump in my throat.
Kathy says: Paula and I have known each other for ten years. Eventually we became prayer partners and that morphed into best friends. One drizzly evening a few years ago, while driving home from a writing event across town, we started talking about the Titanic. Realizing we both had an interest in it, we kicked around the idea of co-authoring a book. The concept finally caught hold, we ran it by our critique group, and suddenly there was flesh on the sparse skeleton of an idea that wouldn’t let us go. And finally, the week of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, our book went live on Amazon.
What inspired you to write a book about the Titanic?
Kathy says: I must admit, it was nothing in the history books that caught my eye, but rather a little musical called The Unsinkable Mollie Brown starring Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell. Even though the movie is grossly negligent in its research, just the idea that this woman from Colorado history was a survivor piqued my interest. I’ve visited her house/museum a couple of times. Then, another little movie, Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) hit the big screen, and I was hooked. Now I’m not a historical writer, so the thought of writing a story about the Titanic seemed daunting. But once Paula and I began kicking around ideas, we realized we could get both historical and contemporary elements in.
Paula says: For me, it was happening upon the story of John Harper. I think it was in our homeschool curriculum and I read it to our children years ago. I was deeply impacted by the thought of this man swimming person to person, asking them if they knew Jesus, even as he was freezing to death. It was this story of faith that drew my interest into the history of the Titanic. And yes, I included it in our book!
Tell us a bit about this wonderful book’s journey to publication – I gather it was not an easy one.
Paula says: We almost didn’t write it. Wheels turn slowly in traditional publication, and we knew there wasn’t time to write the book, sell the book, and then wait for it to come out if we were going to tell our story for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The story wouldn’t go away, though. At our local ACFW chapter meeting a manager from Barnes and Noble talked to us about the changing face of publishing, and we decided we could release the story as an e-book by the anniversary. (We did eventually release a paperback as well.) We were determined to do it right—a well-written story with a great cover and professional edit. The learning curve was greater than we expected.
Kathy says: We had a blast writing together. We met at Daz Bog coffee house at first until I moved into a new home closer to Paula’s neighborhood. Then, she would come over before our critique group, and we would write until everyone got there. It started out that she wrote the contemporary heroine’s point of view and the historical storyline, while I wrote the contemporary hero’s pov. When we saw that the historical part was going to be a lot bigger than we’d planned, I took over the heroine and Paula wrote solely the historical portion. Once we had a good, edited copy thanks to Marjorie Vawter and Lynnette Horner, we hired Kim Liddiard of Creative Pixel to design the cover. She used Paula’s daughter and elderly neighbor who performed beautifully as hand models. Then, we had to negotiate through the eBook formatting process which was challenging for me, but I learned some things that I hope I don’t forget should I write another eBook. And on April 14, 2012, our book was born.
Paula says: There were also some outside things that slowed us down—good and bad. Kathy and I were both contracted with Barbour books. We stopped writing Titanic to write those stories and meet our deadline. It was a good problem to have! Then we both taught at a writer’s conference.
The not so good? I’ve been in two car wrecks since January! The first slowed my ability to write, the second my ability to market. I’m definitely growing up as a writer—and as a person—as I learn to push forward despite the set-backs.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Paula says: Collaborating with Kathy was a dream. We laughed and created together, delighting in the story and in friendship. That was the best part. I also had no idea I would love historical research as much as I do. Finding nuggets of beauty, of faith, of courage and then weaving them into the story was fascinating. I also really loved writing in Olive’s voice. Because she was an older, well-educated woman living in 1912, I was able to indulge in a higher vocabulary and slower cadence when in her point of view. That, and the fascination with the opulence of Titanic, allowed me to write with more description in a style slightly different than required by more modern story lines.
Kathy says: I loved working with the amazing Paula Moldenhauer. Anyone who has gotten swirled up in her creative energy knows what I mean. Once we recover. . .er. . .are ready to move on from Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal, there may be a sequel. I’d love to continue writing with Paula beyond Titanic. Up until this experience, I had a note in my mental “letter from school” that read: DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. I’ve tried collaborating before, but it just resulted in tears. Okay, I was twelve, but still. . . Paula truly does practice what she preaches and whenever we wrote together, grace reigned.
Paula says: No fair! Kathy’s making me cry again!
You obviously enjoy working together. Can you give us a hint about the sequel?
Paula says: Charles, one of our historical characters who was on the Titanic, won Kathy’s heart. We can’t help but dream of giving him his own book.
Kathy says: Oh, Charles. How I love the bad boys. I don’t know why, but he came alive to me through a photo I found of a young man of that era.
We both have strengths to bring to the table. We joke about sharing a brain, but in our case, it’s true. Where I lack in one area, Paula excels, and vice-versa. We’ve found this even beyond the actual writing. I’m fine doing the detail work of formatting and administration while Paula loves connecting with people in the marketing process. We truly do make a good team.
Yup . . . maybe it’s time to start brainstorming that sequel . . .
What’s next for both of you?
Kathy says: We are both in a four-book novella anthology, titled Postmark: Christmas. My story is “A Blessed Angel Came” about a shy woman with an important message who meets a photographer bent on helping her find her voice—if his past doesn’t silence it completely.
Paula says: Mine is called, “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch.” It’s pure fun! I’m also working on a non-fiction prayer book proposal I’m really excited about. My goal for the summer is to write a romance novel I have brewing. Unfortunately, I lost more than a month to the car wreck. I hope I get my concentration back and that sweet romance flows quickly! If it doesn’t, I’ll content myself with the joys of helping my newly engaged daughter, Sarah, plan her wedding!
Kathleen E. Kovach lives in northeast Colorado where she leads a critique group and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as Rocky Mountain Zone Director. An award winning author of Christian romance, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. Visit her at www.KathleenEKovach.com
Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer has published over 300 times. Her first two novels release in 2012. She serves as Colorado Coordinator for the American Christian Fiction Writers and homeschools. Paula loves peppermint ice cream and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to breathe His fragrance. Visit www.paulamoldenhauer.com for devotionals, parenting articles and book info.