Interview: Kathy Steineman, Author of “Vanguard of Hope”

kathy-2012-01-225x225Kathy Steinemann won provincial public speaking and writing awards during
her school years, wrote the school news column for the community paper, and
was a regular contributor to her high school newspaper.

Her career has taken varying directions, including positions as editor of a
community weekly, computer-network administrator, and webmaster. She has
also worked on projects in commercial art and cartooning.

“Vanguard of Hope” is Kathy’s tenth book.


Cover251x334compressedDescription: LISETVILLE, 1890 — Murders are committed; homes are burned; family secrets
are buried; an unexpected romance complicates lives. Amid the mystery and
violence, a vigilante brigade emerges to administer justice.

Flowing through the intrigue and drama is a dark undercurrent that will
touch your heart as you empathize with the victims.

What Readers Are Saying:

“I am hooked. I do hope that I will be able to get all your novels.” –
Lorene Charlton

“It’s not chick lit.”A Male Reader

“This book keeps you in suspense right to the end. The dark underlying theme
is tackled in a sensitive manner.” – S.L. Banks

“I started reading this novel to help quiet my mind at a late hour, but
found myself still awake in the morning. Its intense read was much more than
I expected. It has ‘all’ the elements from love, betrayal, suspense, and
romance, to murder. ‘Vanguard of Hope’ will touch everyone who reads it. If
you’re a young adult or older, this excellent novel will awaken you deep
within your soul.”Toni Gee

“The book was excellent! I really enjoyed reading it. I could not stop.
Every chance I got, I was trying to sneak in just a couple more diary
entries! I look forward to reading the next book in the series. And I will
most certainly be recommending this to others to read!”Brandy Mayan-Rooks


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized when I was in elementary school that I enjoyed weaving pictures with words.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
There wasn’t any one person or event that inspired me; however I enjoyed immersing myself in books and wanted to be able to provide that experience to others someday.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Playing with my two macaws, DJ and Balboa, is a good distraction. Sometimes my best ideas stem from something I think about while I’m cleaning a bird cage.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?

Do you remember the first novel you read?
No; however, I was always impressed by novels in the Black Stallion series and anything written by Ray Bradbury or Pearl S. Buck.

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I can never find enough time to read.

Where are you from originally?
British Columbia, Canada.

Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers?  
Coming from a large blended family of nine children, I learned to cope with noise and distractions. That has helped me immeasurably as a writer.

Your Writing Process

Why do you write?
I write to let the stories in my head escape. It’s an invigorating process at times.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I used to leave my writing until late in the day. That meant some days if I was tired or there was an unexpected distraction, I wouldn’t accomplish anything. Now, I make writing my priority. I determine a target for a certain number of words. Some days the ideas flow so quickly that I triple or quadruple my target. I also set a digital timer for one hour if I think I might lose track of time. When it beeps, I get up and do something else for a few minutes before I return to my computer.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Pay attention to what reviewers say. They are people with opinions that are shared by many others. Think of them as the Simon Cowell of writing. You might not like what you hear, but you can learn from criticism.

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?
My favorite part of writing a book is always the ending. It leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
I wouldn’t mind trying science fiction someday. I have always enjoyed reading sci-fi.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
No; I prefer to work without extraneous noises to distract me. My macaws are distracting enough.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
Do you really want to know the answer to that question? (She laughs.) Cleaning a poopy birdcage would have to be right at the top of the list.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
That’s a loaded question. It depends on the size of the book, how much research I need to do, and how long I have to wait for things like cover art and beta readers. If I were to work full time as an author, I could probably write a 65,000-word novel in three months.

Do you prefer writing series books over non series or does it matter?
The problem with series books is paying attention to detail and a timeline as you progress. I don’t think I could state a preference either way, however.

What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?
Best: Write about something familiar to you. Worst: You can’t use “and” or “but” at the beginning of a sentence.

Do you have a system for writing?  
Partially; in my house there are 4×4 sticky notes everywhere: on the kitchen table, next to where I watch TV, in the bathroom, in the basement, next to my computer, next to the bed. As soon as an idea comes to mind, I jot it down so that I don’t forget it.

Do you track word count or write a certain number of hours per day?
I track word count to keep on a regular schedule. Some days, I can do 4000 words without any effort; others, it is a struggle to write 1000 words.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
Receiving praise from my daughter for my most recent book is the most uplifting moment any mother-turned-author could ask for.

Your Books

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
To date, I have written ten books. “Vanguard of Hope” is my favorite by far.

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
I wasn’t really nervous with any of my previous books. However, “Vanguard of Hope” broaches a controversial subject and I had concerns about reader reaction. The vast majority of readers say that they love it. That imparts a huge feeling of satisfaction.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
Installment two of the Sapphire Brigade series, “Retribution of Owen”, will be released in about three months.

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
There is a huge amount of research behind most of my books. Although the process is very time-consuming, I don’t really mind it. I learn some interesting facts as I progress, and end up being a more knowledgeable person. There is a lot of information available on the Internet, including out-of-print books from over a century ago. When necessary, I will buy a textbook.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
I hate deadlines. ‘Nuff said.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I tried an outline once, and by the time the book was finished, it was nothing like the outline. Nowadays I just write down the ideas as quickly as I can. With word-processing software, it’s easy to go back and change details or dates if necessary.

Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
I take a day off to think about the next one. My mind never stops working.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I use a combination of both. When developing a character, I like to go to Google Images or IMDB to look at photos of specific people. Sometimes, my characters will even display some of the mannerisms used by actors in specific television shows or movies.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
No; it takes time when you’re writing something based in the 19th century, but the Internet is filled with helpful resources.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
No; but I think I developed a tiny crush one of the characters in the book I’m currently writing.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles.
I’m glad you asked that question. That would be “Vanguard of Hope”.

– Reese Witherspoon as Hope/Ruth
– Roger Cross as Solomon
– David McCallum as Peter
– Yannick Bisson as Seth
– Thomas Craig as Hope/Ruth’s father
– Tony Danza as Owen
– Cheech Marin as Papa
– Katherine Zeta Jones as Mama

All of the actors or lookalikes would be cast at the appropriate ages, of course.

Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?
The occupation comes first, followed by character development.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Tension and uncertainty add to the chemistry and plot development.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?
Hope’s situation makes me incredibly sad. Although she deals with multiple tragedies in her life, she copes with them and becomes a stronger woman in the end. I liked watching her develop as the plot progressed.

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.

Where do you get your daily dose of news?
I watch a news channel on television. Hours spent in front of the computer require a break once in a while.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Interview: Kathy Steineman, Author of “Vanguard of Hope”

  1. Pingback: Author Interviews & More on Flying With Red Haircrow | Indie Publisher-Flying With Red Haircrow

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