Monday, June 2, 2014

Kristy McCaffrey

                                                               Kristy McCaffrey

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling was always her favorite hobby. Born and raised in Arizona, and recently returned after a 20-year absence in Pittsburgh, she writes Old West romances to capture the landscapes that were such a big part of her childhood. Her first novel, The Wren, was a CAPA winner for Best New Author Traditional, a Texas Gold finalist, and a HOLT Medallion finalist for Best First Book. The Sparrow was the 2012 Winter Rose Winner in the Published Historical Division. She lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property. Her four teenaged children are in varying stages of flying the nest, so her two chocolate labs—Ranger and Lily—are the recipients of her maternal instincts these days.



INTERVIEW—Kristy McCaffrey
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
When I was in college I spent spring break in Mazatlan (Mexico) and fought a bull.  The college tour operator hosted an event at a nearby arena, and names were pulled from a hat. It was a smaller bull, with blunted horns, and I was given a pink t-shirt to wave. I wasn’t too worried until the bull charged. I ole’d him, then hauled myself out of there as fast as I could. I was terrified. I was the only successful girl that night; the one after me went to the hospital with a broken ankle. For one brief, incredible moment I had my 15-minutes of fame.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them? 
I really love Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a Jungian psychologist who wrote Women Who Run With The Wolves. I’ve followed much of her work via lecture tapes. She speaks to the rich tapestry that is the female psyche, and it’s this that romance writers tap into, whether they realize it or not. Her work with stories as a healing modality has not only helped me personally, but makes me want to be a better writer with each new tale I create.
Robert Moss—who has written extensively about shamanism and his own personal experiences. Joseph Campbell—the great mythologist.
The common factor probably is that I view life through a symbolic lens, and they all give voice to this process.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?
Navy blue. I’m a Virgo and sapphires are my stone. I have a beautiful sapphire ring I wear given to me by my son.
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
I would be nicer to myself. I would treat my creative self as the precious entity it is, and love it as much as I ever loved any of my own children. I’m coming around to it now, but for many years that wasn’t the case.
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
Considering that I’m a Virgo—very anal and organized—my writing process is messy. I regularly get snippets of scenes in my head, often for stories I’m not currently working on, so I have hundreds of scraps of paper on my desk full of scribbles. To contain the chaos, I use file folders, so that when an idea hits I can store it until it’s needed. I invariably write about something I know nothing about, so I spend time reading fiction and non-fiction to get up to speed. I try to write a manuscript in one push—I liken it to vomiting on the page—but this rarely works out. At some point, I’ll start editing. I must say, I like editing. I love cleaning up all that vomit. (*grin*) When there’s no more crud (at least none that I can see), then I’m done.
Are you a planner, panster or both?
I’m both. I’ve come to realize that I have no real process, only what works at the moment.
How did you research for your book?
I love to visit a location, but that isn’t always possible. Movies, internet, books—I use it all.
What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show?
My all-time favorite movie is Star Wars, which I first saw at the age of ten. It filled my writer’s mind with a visual smorgasbord, and the mythical storytelling awakened something deep in my bones. At the time, though, I just thought I had a crush on Luke Skywalker.
My all-time favorite TV show is a tough one because I had many. But I have a great love of sci-fi, and as a kid I never missed an episode of the original ‘Battlestar Galactica’ starring Lorne Greene. It was Bonanza in space.
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
Really wonderful. I did many in years past. Now, not so much. I think it must be balanced with actual writing.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
I wish I could sing.
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
Certainly an animal charity. There are so many great ones, but I really like the work Best Friends accomplishes in Utah.
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
Keep writing until you can move the blockages in your soul. When that happens, the good stuff will start flowing.
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
I have honestly not had much mentoring, though I certainly have wonderful writer friends that offer support. But recently, I was blessed to join Prairie Rose Publications and work with co-owner Cheryl Pierson on editing several of my projects. I’ve never had such a supportive and collaborative relationship, and it’s pushing my writing to a better place. Having never known this, I’m somewhat blown away by it.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
From my mom—“It’s easy to walk away, it’s harder to stay and work through it.”
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)
As much as I enjoy travelling, I like living right where I am—Scottsdale, Arizona. I was born and raised here, but moved to Pittsburgh for 20 years when I got married. When my husband offered to bring me home several years ago, it was the most selfless gift I ever received, and I appreciate it, and him, every single day. I’m quite happy and content in the Sonoran Desert.
Where do you write?
Both my husband and I work from home and have desks near one another. Because he’s in sales and talks on the phone a lot, I listen to my Ipod, especially when I’m working on a story, to block him out. I face a window and enjoy birds, cactus, and the occasional coyote and javelina passing by.
How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?
I spend several hours each day, which includes blog writing and emails. I only take a day off when my brain gets fried, which happens about every ten days.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
Contemporary action-adventure. I’ve been working on a manuscript about a woman climbing K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. It would be the first in a series, with the second book set in Bolivia and the third likely set in Baja. I wanted to write all the books only from the heroine’s point-of-view (POV), because I think this gives an air of mystery to the hero when we don’t know what he’s thinking. But this choice has haunted and agitated me, and I finally realized I need the male POV. Since I’m 50,000 words in, this isn’t an easy fix. I learned a lot about viewpoint with this little (year-long) exercise, and that while the hero is rugged and remote, it also made me a tad lazy in developing his history. But no more.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
I’ve kept a log and recorded every movie I’ve ever seen since I was ten years old. This is my collection of stories, some I hold dear and some not so much, but through it I can see my entire life unfold. No matter how messy the narrative, we all need a timeline to anchor us.


Into The Land Of Shadows

By Kristy McCaffrey



Kristy will be giving away one print copy of Into The Land Of Shadows, a historical western romance (rating: steamy). Please include an email in the comment section; Kristy will contact the winner for their mailing address.



In the land of the Navajo, spirits and desire draw Ethan and Kate close, leading them deeper into the shadows and to each other.



Kate Kinsella has no choice but to go after Charley Barstow and talk some sense into him. After all, he's skipped town, leaving a string of broken hearts and a pregnant fiancée. But Kate didn't count on being kidnapped by a band of criminals along the way! Ethan Barstow is hot on his younger brother's trail, too. He rescues Kate, believing her to be Charley's fiancée and suggests they try to find him together. Kate's reluctance has him baffled. Once they find Charley, can Ethan and Kate realize their own love and happiness with one another through the dark deception and hurt? Or will they both return Into The Land Of Shadows.



Setup: Kate Kinsella has just escaped from three men who planned to use her as leverage against her supposed fiancé, Charley. But Charley’s brother, Ethan Barstow, always planned to rescue her, accompanied by his wolf Bartholomew.


Staying close to the structure, her heart wouldn’t stop pounding and her hands were clammy from fear. She swallowed hard again then turned to run but was caught short, letting out an involuntary gasp when the four-legged creature cut her off with a growl. The animal’s yellow eyes glowed by the light of the moon and he watched her with rapt attention, his body poised for attack.

A wolf.

Another low growl emanated from deep in the animal’s throat and Kate fought the urge to flee. The wolf’s head easily came to her chest; he would have no trouble chasing her down and ripping her to pieces. The gash on her face would pale in comparison to what he would do to her.

A sudden commotion from behind startled her. Someone grabbed her. In a frenzy Kate fought back, kicking and straining against the iron grip the man exerted around her waist. His hold loosened and Kate fell to the ground.

She grabbed a loose board, and screamed as she swung it around, hitting the man’s leg. But he didn’t go down. She scooted backward and scrambled to her feet. The man grabbed her this time, facing her. Thinking it was Clive or Rufus, she continued to struggle.

“Katie! Katie! It’s me. It’s Ethan.”

He held her tight against the building. A sob escaped from deep inside her throat, a sudden maelstrom that matched the wind roaring in her ears, and then Ethan’s mouth was on hers. Hot, insistent, devouring. She molded into him, her lips and tongue hungry for the sudden and consuming contact. She pushed her body against his, clinging to his broad shoulders, desperate to be closer still. He didn’t abandon me. His mouth crushed hers and she felt on fire, head to toe.



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Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love your mother's advice not to run, but to stay and work it through. It's the best way to learn and to grow.
I imagine it is difficult to work with your husband in the same room all day--but talking on the phone would present a problem to many writers. I like background noise when I write--like something boring on TV.
Into the Shadows sounds like a terrific story, Kristy. I agree with you that there is so much support for writers at Prairie Rose and Cheryl and pulled me through a knot-hole or two as well. When it comes to fantastic covers, Livia is a magician.
I wish you every success, Kristy.

Unknown said...

Hi, Kristy--I remember your post on Sweethearts about "rescuing" rattlesnakes. I would do that, too. Well, we have recused a big bull snake, but that's not quite as impressive as a rattlesnake.
I always enjoy your posts and learn more about your way of life.
I'm very impressed by the fact you can share a working room with your husband...I can't quite figure out how that would work. We must have separate rooms!
Good luck with your new release.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Sarah,
Thanks so much for the great interview. You asked such interesting questions that made me think. Prairie Rose has been a wonderful place to hang my hat. And I had the chance to meet you there. :-)

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Celia,
Thanks for stopping by. I have to say, there are times working beside my husband is a real pain, especially when he talks on the phone all day. But he does travel, so I usually have a few days a week of silence. Otherwise, it's great. We chitchat throughout the day. He really is my best friend.

Cheryl Pierson said...


What a wonderful interview. I have to say, Sarah does manage to always ask some thought-provoking questions and get to the heart of the matter for each individual person! I think she should be a talk-show host--she'd be great at it!

All kidding aside, I have to say to both of you how humbled I am at your comments regarding my help with editing your projects. Y'all both know, if you didn't have the talent to write these things in the first place, there'd be nothing for me to try to help you improve one. I'm so honored to be the one that had the opportunity to do that. Prairie Rose Publications is a dream come true for me, but in different areas--and one of those areas is the dream of being able to find a way to help other writers "find the best" in their talents. I'm so thrilled to know that I have been able to do that for both of you, and here's hoping for many more projects to come in the future!

Kristy, you have really had some interesting experiences. That touched my heart that your husband would bring you back to your home--I think, because mine did the same thing for me. He is from West Virginia, and worked for the FAA -- they have their big training facility here in Oklahoma City--I was born and raised here in OK, and my father was transferred to WV my sr. year in high school. Anyhow, Gary put in for a job here in OKC and got it, and the rest is history. We've lived here for the past 30 years, and I know he gets homesick once in a while, but I think he's come to love OK almost as much as I do.

Wonderful interview, and I really enjoyed learning more about you! We're so glad you are with us at PRP and now at Tornado Alley Publications, as well!


Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Cheryl,
Well, I don't want to gush too much, but you've been a real blessing to me. I appreciate our professional relationship more than you could know, and your friendship as well.

Isn't it something when the man in your life brings you home? It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Linda Hubalek said...

Great to get to know a little bit about you, Kristy!

J.S. Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.S. Wayne said...

Hi, Kristy!

I deleted the previous comment because I was thinking one thing and WROTE another. *headdesk* Loved the interview, and it's great to meet a fellow Star Wars fan! I think "don't run" is great advice for relationships, life, and certainly for writing!

Cheryl Pierson said...

Kristy, yes, that is one of the most selfless gifts anyone can give someone else. No matter what circumstances made it happen--it still HAPPENED. Just makes you love those men all the more, doesn't it?


Kaye Spencer said...

Waving from southeastern Colorado! I loved reading your interview and learning more about you in a personal way. I, too, am a Star Wars fan. In fact, I'm one of the few people I know who enjoys watching Episodes I, II, & III. ;-) I couldn't agree more about the support and camaraderie I've found with Cheryl and Livia at Prairie Rose Publications. It seems that several of we sister authors at PRP feel the same way.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks for stopping by!

Kaye Spencer said...

Waving from southeastern Colorado! I loved reading your interview and learning more about you in a personal way. I, too, am a Star Wars fan. In fact, I'm one of the few people I know who enjoys watching Episodes I, II, & III. ;-) I couldn't agree more about the support and camaraderie I've found with Cheryl and Livia at Prairie Rose Publications. It seems that several of we sister authors at PRP feel the same way.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

J.S. and Kaye,
It's always nice to meet fellow Star Wars peeps. My favorites are IV and V. I'm looking forward to the continuation helmed by JJ Abrams.

Jacquie Rogers said...

Who knew we had a bullfighter in our midst? Ole!

Loved your excerpt! Also loved your story in Lassoing a Groom.

Kirsten Lynn said...

Hi Kristy,

Great interview! Wow, fighting a bull that is an adventure! And climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro would be an awesome adventure, I hope you get to do it someday.

All the best with your writing!


Kristy McCaffrey said...

Jacquie and Kirsten,
You're right...I'm adding bullfighter to my resume as we speak...thanks for stopping by!

Tanya Hanson said...

Kristy, I am so sorry to be so late to the party. We are in Oahu visiting sis and bil (second time in two months, yay) and I am soooo on Hawaii time. I did not forget to post a review....I love Kate and Ethan's story's, and even more, the wolf and the donkey. I'll get right on that when home again. Sheesh.

Isn't Cheryl a terrific mentor and editor? Good heavens, even before Prairie Rose, she held my hand during bad writer times.

I love that you rescue rattlers. They are NOT aggressive until people go after them. And staying at Best Friends to volunteer for a while is something I'd love to do...great interview,