Submitted by Susanne Bacon.
Want to meet one of this nation’s finest authors of historical fiction? Then come to the FAB fest and have Kate Breslin sign books for you. In 2015 she received Christian Retailing’s Best Award for First Time Author, and since her first novel about a Jewess in Nazi Germany she has written two books set during World War I in Britain and in Belgium. In 2019 there will be another one coming out with a riveting World War I plot.
Once a bookseller, Kate Breslin became an author herself and immediately hit it off with her very first book. Her debut novel, “For Such a Time”, was shortlisted for both the Christy and RITA Awards and received the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 Carol Award for Debut Novel. This success was followed by “Not by Sight”, also a historical novel, and “High as the Heavens”, released in June, 2017. Her fans and all those who would love to get to know her carefully researched books can meet Seattle-based author Kate Breslin at the 6th Annual Lakewood Film, Arts, & Book (FAB) Festival. I was lucky enough to talk to Kate only recently.
Susanne Bacon: Kate, what inspires you to write historical fiction about the World Wars?
Kate Breslin: Well, Susanne, I’d never set out to write wartime stories, but that changed when I had to research WWII in order set the background for my first published novel, For Such A Time. Reading so many first-hand accounts written by those who suffered at Hitler’s hands, tore at my heart; and yet I was also inspired by their stories of courage and strength. I found I loved writing about ordinary people doing the extraordinary, whether to survive or to save the lives of others. With my subsequent novels, I chose to research the lesser known First World War, and there I have found such fascinating history that my story telling remains in that period.
Susanne Bacon: How do you research your historical novels?
Kate Breslin: Typically, I research the various aspects of life in a time period that interests me, through reading personal diaries, magazine articles, and books written in the day. Once I come across a “nugget” of unusual or rare information, it usually sparks an idea that launches my plotting process and within a couple of months, I’ve made an outline of my new story and can begin writing.
Susanne Bacon: You live here in the Pacific Northwest. Why European themes?
Kate Breslin: Good question! I have to confess, since my earliest years of reading historical romance novels by authors like Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, and Julie Garwood, to name a few, I’ve had an ongoing love for stories set in Britain, Scotland, and other parts of Western Europe. Perhaps because the history of that continent is romantic, despite the wars: a legacy of kings and queens and conquerors, knights and legends and well, the stuff of fairy tales. In my next release, Far Side of the Sea, (March 2019) I’ve included an American in my cast of European characters, so there’s always the possibility one day my story telling will venture closer to home.
Susanne Bacon: What message do you wish your readers to receive from reading your novels?
Kate Breslin: While each of my stories conveys a slightly different message, the sum is that I hope readers find enjoyment and inspiration. I want them to know that through my characters’ journey, change and redemption are possible for those who seek it, no matter what the circumstances; because despite our human frailties, God’s great love is steadfast and infinite.
Susanne Bacon: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Kate Breslin: Learn the craft, sit down, write, and submit. If your work is rejected, have a good cry then sit down, re-write and re-submit. Repeat the process as necessary. A critique group, or readers you trust can be invaluable. Weigh their input then get back to revising. I wrote for twenty years (and two completed novels still in my desk drawer) before receiving a publishing contract for my debut novel, For Such A Time.
I recently read an article in National Geographic (May 2017) on what makes a genius; while I lay no claims to such mental loftiness, I was inspired by the words of Professor Angela Duckworth, a McArthur Foundation “genius,” when she said, “…there are differences when it comes to individual talent, but no matter how brilliant a person, fortitude and discipline are critical to success.” This should give all of us hope; from aspiring writers working to complete their first book, to veteran authors honing their craft to make the next story even better. In short, never give up!
You may have even further and totally different questions for Kate Breslin. The 6th Annual Lakewood Film, Arts, & Book (FAB) Festival takes place on September 28, 29, and 30, 2018 from noon to 9 pm at the Shirley McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College. The book/author section is open from noon to 6 pm. Kate Breslin will be signing her novels on Saturday. Please find further information at www.facebook.com/lakewoodfilmartsbooks/.