by Barb, still at the beach in New Jersey
Today I am so pleased to welcome to the blog Friend of the Wickeds, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett. Kathy, along with Kate Flora and the late Lea Wait, were very supportive of me when I first moved to Maine and became a published author. We’re the same generation age-wise, but they were all publishing veterans by the time I came along and I felt like I was being let into the big kids club.
Kathy Lynn claims she is a retired author, yet she is here supporting a “new” book, The Death of an Intelligence Gatherer. And she’s giving away an autographed copy (see below). Is she retired? You be the judge.
Take it away, Kathy Lynn!
How’s Retirement Working Out for You?
Say the word “retired” and most people envision long, lazy days with no commitments. Being busier than ever? Maybe, but that would usually involve doing something other than what the retiree did before retiring.
I am a retired writer. I haven’t had a single idea for a new book since before Covid. I no longer go to conferences. I turn down invitations to present library programs, share a table at craft fairs, and participate on panels about writing mysteries. Since the two cozy series I wrote as Kaitlyn Dunnett were dropped by my publisher, I don’t bother with much in the way of social media.
Once upon a time I used to insist that writers don’t get to retire. I also recall expressing a wish to die at my keyboard. Funny how someone’s outlook can change.
Even odder is what stays the same. During Covid I self-published a few books I’d written but hadn’t been able to sell. Then I branched out into producing omnibus e-book editions of backlist titles. Those projects involved only minor editing and repeated proofreading. I had more of the same in mind when something strange happened.
Back in the 1990s, several of my novels were published in the genre of historical romantic suspense. I planned to collect the three set in sixteenth-century England into one e-book collection and first up for proofreading was Winter Tapestry, a novel described in its cover copy as “a romantic adventure in Tudor England.” I started going through the doc file, tweaking here and there, mostly looking to to cut down on my excessive use of ’tis and ’twas, something I thought was “authentic” back in the day and now just find annoying.
Before long, I found myself doing more than tweaking. I might not have had any fresh ideas for new books for the last few years, but suddenly I had a whole lot of ideas for ways to make this particular book better. For one thing, the very first version of Winter Tapestry, then titled The Die is Cast, was written as a murder mystery. As it evolved, I strengthened the romance subplot and added a second subplot to do with conspiracies and rebellion during the reign of Mary Tudor (1554-1558). I wrote using multiple point-of-view characters. The result wasn’t a bad book. After all, it was published. But retired or not, the writer in me surfaced as I reread it. I ended up rewriting the whole darned thing. The basic plot and subplots are the same, but now the story is told from a single point-of-view, that of the victim’s daughter as she tries to discover who killed him. There are new scenes. Some of the old ones are gone. And so, thank goodness, are all those uses of ’tis and ’twas. Very few paragraphs remain completely unchanged. Even some of the characters’ names are different.
In spite of myself, I seem to have a “new” book. Death of an Intelligence Gatherer releases tomorrow in trade paperback and e-book formats. But I’m still retired. Honest.
Readers: What do we think? Is Kathy Lynn retired? Can authors retire? Can anyone? Are you retired? Do you plan to? Comment below or just say “hi” to be eligible for a giveaway of an autographed copy of Death of an Intelligence Gatherer. Apologies, but U. S. mailing addresses only.
About The Death of an Intelligence Gatherer
In 1554, scores of English Protestants fled into exile on the Continent after Mary Tudor took the throne and returned England to Catholicism. Sir Henry Ingram and his daughter Cordell were among them, but Sir Henry is not all he seems. When he dies in Strasbourg, Cordell’s life is turned upside down. Certain he was poisoned, and that his murder had something to do with the intelligence he was gathering about a plot to overthrow the queen, she is determined not only to complete his mission but also to bring his killer to justice. There is only one problem–as a young woman on her own she does not dare trust anyone, not even old friends. Her journey home is fraught with peril, and once she is back in England, nothing is as she expected it to be.
About Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett
Agatha-award-winning author Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-four books traditionally published and has self published others. In 2023 she won the Lea Wait Award for “excellence and achievement” as a Maine writer from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. More information about Kathy’s books can be found at www.KathyLynnEmerson.com