NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Have a Seat: Kathleen Kline

Kathleen Kline, a mother of three beauties -- now in their late teens and early 20s -- has been writing and editing for others (and for pay) for nearly 23 years. You will find her work under the last name of: Kline, Walton and Livingston and her pen name - Shannon Michaels. She decided to add a formal university level journalism & mass communications education and practical industry training to her self-started wordplay years ago while continuing to write for newspapers and magazines. She writes everything from hard news to feature articles, poems, essays, blogs, how-to(s) and book length manuscripts.  Kathleen lives her life in a "Pay It Forward" mode and hopes to effectively communicate real life and fantasy with each sentence while putting food on the table for her children and herself.

    What inspired you to become a writer? 

    "It's genetic really," she says with a snicker or two. "My grandfather, Fred Howard Wright, was pretty prolific. He wrote songs (one, "The Strawberry Roan" we still hear on the radio/Pandor often still), he wrote poems, lymrics, radio scripts, and I have this Vaudeville performer's manuscript here on my desk (I am proofreading it, not much editing to do) and a couple of his pen and inks darn my walls. I don't have any of his painting, though. So communication and story telling was pretty much handed down. Never knew I wasn't suppose to write. I have always been intrigued that short stories, the shortest - songs - can communicate so well. I figured beginning writing was just a natural progression in my life. Then, some 23 and a half years ago I needed a way to generate an increased understanding in the division of horse training that my husband and I did, so I began writing articles for trade publications. As a mom of a 6-month-old I found I could do this while living on the ranch, bring in some additional income and pay for advertising for the business without taking funds from the budget."

    Which of of your books do you consider your “pride and joy"? Why? 

    My pride and joy of writing is the current manuscript that I am writing -- "2nd Hardest Thing I Have Ever Had To Do" Because it is showing others how to survive the murder of your child. And my son, Ethan, was my first installation of my true pride and joys.

    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write? 

    No. I write when and where I can. Unless you count the new ritual that my cat insists upon when I sit at the house desk-computer... typing around her. But seriously, I come from the journalism field and so I have learned to write where I am and on the go: standing, sitting, driving (ssshhhhh). Which means that if I am near a computer and have time I write, if I am at a public meeting I either pull out a notepad or a tablet and take notes, if I only have time and opportunity to write in a journal before I fall asleep or when I wake in the middle of the night I write or I write on a napkin if need be.

    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be? 

    Never Ending Story, but I think that is taken, so Strap on Your Seatbelt.

    If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be? 

    Abe Lincoln

    We all have family, work and other do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project? 

    I maintain balance during writing projects by having taught my children and my (ex)husband to respect the time I need to write. And yet while doing this I make sure I don't let my family responsibilities go by the way-side while I write or edit, because that would bother me as a mom which would, in turn, distract me from my wordplay. When I started writing for pay, 22 years ago, I tried to work when they would not need me (i.e. - while my baby slept). That didn't always remain the case as more children came, they aged and I was stringing for more than one publication with different deadlines. I also call it "Work" so that I teach anyone who comes into my life that they need to respect what I do, even if I am lucky enough to work at my home computer in my 'jammies. After all they need to respect working at home as much as they do I go to the office of my employer. Add to that that I go through patches were I get up at 4/4:30 a.m. and write before they get up - sometimes this is because what I am writing needs undistracted me time. Other times I just say, "I am on deadline, I need to be able to write/edit." But recently, I was editing at the desk beside the kitchen (I have an open living room, dinning room, kitchen) while my fiance was cooking breakfast. I was reading some of the funnier spots out loud to him and my teen daughter, on a Sunday morning. You see, I was close to deadline on a client's manuscript and this way I was able to share my work, my writing/editing with my family which I think is important so they understand and respect your work as work - it helps them to see that you are not just messing around. Just like my lawyer of a fiance shares his work with me. I even take my daughter to the Writer's Group I belong to. I let her hear passages from my manuscript and interact with other writers. It's not about separating family and writing, no. It's about sharing this passion for wordplay, like my grandfather, mom and dad have with me.

    What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most? 

    Set a writing goal of "one paragraph a day. Because some days that is all that you will get done, other days you will get a page written and other days you will get pages done."

    Where can we purchase your books? 

    This is a question that makes me cringe a bit. I have short stories in anthologies, I have a horse oriented how-to in the paste up stage on my desk (due to an editing change) and I am working on the selling of one manuscript while writing another and not stopping the submission of other essays, poems and articles that are published sometimes weekly. Which is to say I am all over the place (I say this blushing). Currently, I have a short story/essay and one poem in "What's Your Story 2013 Memoir Anthology" -- it's on Amazon I have 3 poems in "Celebrating Poetry 2014 Anthology" -- it's available on Amazon, I have many articles on
    “A Winning End” by Kathleen Livingston (me) sold to The Ultimate Horse Lover’s Story (2008)
    “Telltale Moments” as Kathleen Livingston
    can we keep up with you? (blog link, webpage, fan page) My blog is at:

    Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?

    My next release book will be the True Crime Memoir -- "2nd Hardest Thing I Have Ever Had to Do"

    It is a story about a 19-year-old boy who is murdered, his 18-year-old fiance who is kidnapped and rapped, her escape and how the mom of the boy, her first born, headed the family and lead the surviving family members do the path to surviving it all.

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