Interview with Kathy Steinemann, Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Runner-Up

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
We’re happy to have Kathy Steinemann with us today! Kathy placed as a runner-up in our Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest with her delightful tale of romance set in the 1800s, Tarnation with Decorum.

Kathy was thrilled to hear that her story made the Top 10 list. She would like to thank Women on Writing for providing this opportunity to authors.

She writes for the love of it—and always has. As a young child, she scribbled poems and stories. During the progression of her love affair with words, she won public-speaking and writing awards, and she contributed to her school newspaper. Then every Monday, rain or shine, she walked home instead of taking the bus so that she could deliver her latest column to the community weekly.

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

The people in this piece are from her “Sapphire Brigade” series. The story is a sneak peek into the early life of a character featured in Vanguard of Hope and The Doctor’s Deceit. The character also plays a major role in Sawbones in Blue, to be released later in 2014.

Kathy is currently working on an anthology of flash fiction and short stories, Suppose, to be published by April 30, 2014.

You can visit Kathy at her website,, for a complete list of her books and novels.

Please join us now for a chat with Kathy.

-----Interview by Robyn Chausse

WOW: Hi Kathy, congratulations on placing in our Fall 2013 Flash Fiction contest! What prompted you to enter the contest?

Kathy: Thanks, Robyn. I appreciate the opportunities that you provide for writers.

One of my Facebook author friends shared your link on her timeline. Intrigued, I investigated your site. As of today, I’ve submitted to two of your competitions, and I’ve partially completed a submission for the WOW Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest.

WOW: That’s terrific! We love having repeat contestants and being involved in their journey of becoming the best writers they can be.

Kathy, two characters from your Sapphire Brigade series play the main characters in Tarnation with Decorum; what has been your character development process with Emma and Roderick?

Kathy: I develop my characters as I write—the way life and circumstances develop us all. But I keep careful track with timelines and spreadsheets while the novels progress. All of the women in the Sapphire Brigade series are strong individuals who dare to demand respect and rights not normally afforded by the society in which they live.

Emma is mentioned in the third book of the Sapphire Brigade series, one of my works in progress. Roderick plays a minor role in Vanguard of Hope as a seventy-year-old doctor. His role expands a few years later in The Doctor’s Deceit. However, his character really develops in Sawbones in Blue, which is a prequel based in the 1860s.

I intend to write another prequel that occurs during the 1840s. It’ll be about the romance between Emma and Roderick. Roderick prefers to go by Lucas, which is the reason he is able to hoodwink Emma during their train ride. He doesn’t tell her any lies, but he strays from the entire truth. Imagine his surprise when he sees the letter on her lap and realizes that the beautiful creature he is talking to is his future wife.

WOW: That is a fun twist!

You’ve also published quite a bit of non-fiction. As a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, how does your process or relationship with your work differ depending on the project?

Kathy: Both fiction and non-fiction require research. Everyone understands that non-fiction, by its nature, involves meticulous fact finding. However fiction, especially if based in another century, requires much more research than many stories centered in modern times. Etymology and fact searches assume an important role.

I prefer fiction—especially short fiction.

There’s something magical about assuming the personalities of fictional characters, imagining how they would think, and feeling their emotions as I write. I try to equate the characters with television or movie personalities. I can hear and see them reacting as the plots progress. They become part of my day, part of my world, and I’m left with a feeling of loss when each book or short story is finished.

WOW: What are you working on now?

Kathy: I have three works in progress.

Suppose is an anthology of drabbles, flash fiction, and short stories that was released in e-book format on April 30, 2014. Three other authors, Amber Hayward, Amy Kaplan, and Donna Milward, also provided stories for the collection.

Sawbones in Blue, the prequel I mentioned earlier, is the story of two doctors thrown together by circumstance. I don’t have a release date for it yet, but the first draft is done.

I’ve started writing stories for another anthology, Envision, which I hope to publish late in 2014.

WOW: My goodness, you’re busy. What words of wisdom do you have for our readers?

Kathy: Pay attention to the world around you. Sometimes a casual remark, a news story, or something as simple as a food label will inspire an idea. As soon as the inspiration strikes, write it down or record it in a file on your computer.

Whether you’re an avid reader or an (aspiring) author, read. And then read some more. The process opens your mind to new imaginations and possibilities. It exercises the part of the brain that children use when they listen to fairytales. Many adults suppress their daydreams and fantasies by ignoring the creative spark that exists in all of us.

Remember Joseph Addison’s advice: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Keep reading!

WOW: Great advice, thank you. We’re looking forward to your upcoming releases, and will hopefully you here again after our next contest!

Step away from the sidelines! There’s plenty of time to enter our next writing contest—click here for all the details.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Robyn--Thanks for doing the interview.

Kathy--You are quite the busy writer. I agree. You have to read (voraciously) in order to write well.

Good luck with your future projects.

Kathy Steinemann said...

And it doesn't hurt to watch appropriate TV shows, Sioux. Even reality shows. You can watch people's faces and body language for ideas.

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