Since launching her writing career, Kaylin McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her participation and support to various charitable organizations, as well her own foundation benefiting cancer research in the Pacific Northwest. McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three daughters and two grand- sons and enjoy traveling the globe and making monthly visits to their second home in California.
What inspires you to write?
For most of my life, I’ve been fascinated by the arts—visual, literary, and performance. At the age of eight, I penned my first poem and won my first award in a short-story writing contest sponsored by the Seattle Rotary. Throughout high school and college, I continued to write in journals, and attribute my interest in a literary major to Lonny Kaneko, a highly respected English professor at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington.
I’m drawn to writing by the people I meet and the experiences I’ve had while traveling around the world. Both of these inspire me to tell stories revolving around flawed, damaged characters that are striving to better their lives and overcome their fears.
Tell us about your writing process.
I define myself as a consummate “pantser” and perfectionist, since I write and edit as I go. I use photographs of models and actors from tabloid magazines to visualize my characters and literally “dream up” my plots before drafting a synopsis, creating a character book – complete with photos, birthdates, traits, habits, interests and personal goals, and setting to work. Even though I have a general idea of where my story will lead, I often allow my characters to set the direction and assist with developing an unexpected twist in my final manuscript.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do listen to them as they have minds of their own and personalities that don’t always click or connect with the lead story teller. Once I get to know them, they often guide me with finding solutions to holes and dilemmas I overlooked while writing the story.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love all kinds of books but here are a few of my current favorites: Emily Bleeker – Wreckage, Paul Pen – The Light of the Fireflies, Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Jefferey Archer – Kane & Abel, Jodi Picoult – The Pact, John Irving – Avenue of Mysteries
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went the “normal” route of submitting, being rejected by 30 publishers, and acquiring a New York agent. However, my first book didn’t fit on a formatted fiction shelf due to my tendency to mix genres, and I eventually elected to go with a small press. But then this became a problem when I discovered that limited funding prevented a large book order from taking place and all emphasis remained on releasing eBooks…before they became popular. Since I took care of most of the marketing myself anyway, I decided to go rogue and set up a publishing company for my self-published books.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Lots of writers will continue to publish their books the traditional way, but the popularity of self-publishing and accessibility to affordable, well-written books, especially in digital format, will continue to grow making it difficult for small publishers and independent bookstores to survive.
What genres do you write?
inspirational fiction, romantic suspense, mystery-thrillers
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook