Friday, July 10, 2020

2020 Interview: Kathy Otten

Hi, My name is Kathy Otten, Baby Boomer and transplanted Vermonter.

If you were given a ticket to anywhere and spending money to indulge, where would you go?

Ever since I was a kid and read My Friend Flicka, I’ve always wanted to go to Wyoming. Not to anything like Frontier Days, someplace quieter, like a Dude Ranch out in the mountains, with horses and cows, animals I’m familiar with and no crowds.

Do you have pets?

I have a German Shepherd named Henry, who is currently 15 mos. old. I also have a cat named Goofy who was given to me so I’m not sure how old he is, maybe 6-7yrs.

What is your favorite color and what do you love about it?

I like blue, any shade from baby blue, to sky blue, to midnight blue. The color looks good on me, and I find it relaxing. I live out in the country and when I come home from work and take my dog out and look up into a big blue sky, I sigh and feel at peace. Tensions ease and sometime feel like I could stare at a bright blue sky (with or without clouds), forever.

Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert?

I’m not sure what an ambivert is, though I can guess since my husband is ambidextrous. But, me, I am an introvert. Shelter-in-place means life goes on as usual. 

Does pineapple go on pizza?

I’ve had pineapple on pizza. It was good, but not my favorite. I like a white pizza with cheese, stuffed crust optional.

What was your first job?

My parents owned a general store in Vermont. You know, the quintessential sold everything from custom-cut meat to horse shoe nails. My brothers and I started working in the store when we were kids. On Saturday mornings we had to be there at 9am and fill out a time-in and time-out card. Then we had to empty the ash trays, sweep the floor and the parking lot. We stocked shelves and delivered groceries. 

Are you an outdoor type? Have a green thumb?

I enjoy walking. Growing up my brothers and I did a lot of hiking. The Long Trail was a favorite. I still love walking my dog every day, and sometimes I walk him on Rails-For-Trails or the Overland Trail.

What is one thing you’ve learned through experience that you’d love to pass along to others?

My dad always said, “Work for it, kid, and you’ll get your dream.” His dream was to have a little store in the country. His family came from Germany when he was kid. He worked hard every day and finally achieved his dream. Writing is the same. Hemingway said you sit down at the typewriter and open a vein. It’s work. It’s sacrificing TV time, getting up early and doing what you need to do in order to get those words on the page. It’s research and rewrites, rejections, and reviews. It isn’t easy, but if you want to be a writer, you have to work for it.

On to writing: what inspired you to start creating stories/non-fiction? How long ago?

I have always loved books. When we were little my mom would sometimes buy us Little Golden Books at the grocery store. One day I asked her to buy a new one, but she said she didn’t have enough money. They were like 29¢ back then. She suggested I write my own. So I wrote Lucky the Dog on notebook paper, colored the pictures with crayon and tied it together with yarn. I’ve been writing ever since.

How do you choose your settings (fiction) or topics (non-fiction)?

My characters come to me first. I see them in my mind saying or doing something. When I see them they are usually in period dress, so I know whether the story will be set during the Civil War, the Old West, or World War I France. The story and research are built out from there.

Finally, please tell us about your books and add your website so we can find you:

I write primarily historical romance and I’m published in all lengths from novel to novella to short story. My stories are set in the United States and cover periods from the Civil War through the end of the free-range cowboy. My heroines are feisty and loyal, and my heroes quiet, but strong. I’m a Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star winner and a Utah/Salt Lake RWA Heart of the West finalist.

You can find all my books through your favorite online distributor. The novels are also available in print and my short stories can also be found on Audible.

You can visit my website at or email me at sign up for my newsletter for updates on my writing life and on any new releases.

Thank you for having me today. I always loved coming to the Western PA Book Festival, meeting new people and talking to fellow authors. Hopefully next year we can get together again. Stay safe.

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