In the world of romantic novels, Kathryn Shay is a well-known name. With a long list of successful contemporary romantic novels behind her, she thrives on stories that feature strong women in unusual circumstances: as a fire fighter, a female secret service agent, an anti-gang specialist in New York City.
She finished her first story at the age of 15 and it was a sign of things to come, telling the story of a young female journalist butting heads with the male journalists and one hard-headed editor in particular.
After school, as a failsafe “fall-back’ strategy, she studied teaching and obtained a degree that she never intended to use. While attending a small private college for women in upstate New York, she took every writing workshop and class available in her quest to become a writer.
But her road to becoming a successful author was not a straight one. During teaching practice, a requirement for her degree, she fell in love with teaching. “When I first stood in front of the class, I just knew it was for me”, she said.
And so she launched into a successful career teaching adolescents at a New York state school, got married and became a mother.
But once a writer, always a writer.
In the early 90s, despite the fact that she was teaching fulltime, busy with being a wife and mother, and had several commitments with her beloved church, she still made time in her life to complete and submit a book.
It took two years of rejections before she was successful. At last, in December 1994 she got the message that her book was accepted by Harlequin Superromance. Today there are over five million copies of her books in print, along with hundreds of thousands downloaded online. She is known for her emotional, heart-wrenching style of storytelling, and to her the biggest compliment any reader can pay her is to say that they cried while reading one of her books, or stayed up late to finish the story.
Like all successful writers, she has a very specific writing routine. She writes all of her stories on a laptop. “I usually write in my office, a space we built over the garage when I got published. It’s beautiful with skylights and windows to let in a lot of light, a custom made desk, a leather chair in a bay and a pull-out couch. In the summer months, though, I write out on our glassed-in porch overlooking the woods. I need quiet, no music, sometimes drink coffee but never eat while writing. What sets my mood is reading previous scenes in the book.
I used to plan everything meticulously. I didn’t always stick to the outline, but I had a plan. Now I have more general ideas, more conceptual thoughts about the book and the characters. I find that the people in my books often have minds of their own and do things I didn’t know they were going to or didn’t want them to. Using this method, halfway through the story or at the end of it I have to go back and revise the first part because things happened that need to be prepared for.”
She’s written several books about teachers and adolescent kids – simply because it’s a field she knows so well. She loves telling stories about teenagers and the teachers who help them. She also loves writing about female cops, but is probably best known for her series on fire fighters. She says she’s inspired by their heroism, selflessness and courage and she’s literally spent years at her town’s fire department, riding trucks, going to the training academy, eating with the guys and gals at the firehouse.
Her book, CODE OF HONOUR, is one of a series about fire fighting.
Chelsea Whitmore, after a disastrous relationship with a male colleague, transfers to another station where Lieutenant Jake Scarlatta is running a tight ship. She comes with a reputation, mostly caused by her ex-lover Billy’s effort to bring her into disrepute, and Jake is not keen. He strongly believes in teamwork and loyalty, and when one of the other male fire fighters in his team, who believes that a fire station is no place for a woman, starts playing dirty tricks on Chelsea, he has to make some difficult choices. As Chelsea battles to find her place in the team, she and Jake fall in love. His obsession with going by the book cause some serious rifts, creating tension between the two would-be lovers. This is Kathryn Shay’s third novel in her “American’s Bravest’ series centering on an upstate New York fire department. It’s a tale filled with the problems fire fighters have to face and it leaves readers with a good appreciation of the efforts of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line on a daily basis.
In the book COP OF THE YEAR, Kathryn Shay writes of a subject close to her heart: troubled teenagers. Captain Mitch Lansing gets assigned to work with at-risk teenagers to improve relationships between the kids and the police department. It is an environment that’s difficult for the cop, with long-buried feelings that come to the surface. On top of that, he finds himself attracted to unorthodox teacher Cassie Smith, who is against everything he stands for. As the go further into the year, Mitch finds himself getting emotionally entangled with the kids as well as this fiery teacher. In a series of emotional scenes and moving situations, he has to find a way accept Cassie and the kids into his hardened heart by understanding that he needs them as much as they need him.
Although she is best known for her contemporary romantic novels, she has made forays into more mainstream novel writing. Her book THE PERFECT FAMILY in which she draws heavily on her own experience of her son coming out as being gay, has been very successfully received and she plans to do more mainstream writing in future.
When Kathryn’s not writing, she loves spending time with her husband, kids and her best friend who lives just around the corner from her. She also takes yoga classes and goes for walks. Because of her involvement with her church, she does a lot of volunteering work, from which she gains great satisfaction.Book Series In Order » Authors » Kathryn Shay