KK is Getting Published!

by Kathleen Knowles

It began with a photograph I saw in a museum in the mid 1990s. The photograph was dated 1900 or so and captioned, “Anita McGee with the first members of the Army Nurse Corps.” I remembered thinking, “There’s a story there.” Many years and many romance novel readings later, I started conceptualize the story.

I love San Francisco history so it was natural for me to want to tell a story with the backdrop of my hometown. There was a lot I didn’t know so I spent a lot of time in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area archives looking for information about the Presidio, the Spanish American war, and nurses. I read with books with titles like “The History of Nursing.” There is one thing an historic novelist does NOT want to do is get the details wrong. I am a bit obsessive and one of my long time obsessions is the Palace Hotel.  That gave me the idea to place my other character as a cook in the hotel.

My spouse Jeanette loves the fact that I am writer and I love San Francisco. She gave me books with old pictures of San Francisco, I found the visuals very helpful. One even gave me an idea for a pivotal location in the story- the Cobweb Palace. Yep, sometimes you don’t have to make stuff up; it’s already there.

Around the time I started to research and then to write Awake Unto Me, a couple of things happened in Jeanette’s and my life that greatly aided my writing. First, due to budget cuts, my employer, the state of California began furloughing employees. I was handed eighteen extra days off from 2009-2010. I didn’t have a choice: I had to take the pay cut and the days off. Therefore, those were my writing days. The second thing that happened was we decided to remodel our condo and ended up in a six month legal battle with the homeowners’ association. Writing was an excellent distraction from that mess. I could sit with my laptop in an arm chair in the tiny living room of the apartment where we lived, scatter my research materials around me, turn on classical music and just write for hours while Jeanette was at work. I found classical music a better background for writing than my more typical listening pleasure, rock and roll.

A challenge I found in writing an historical novel was trying to get into the characters’ heads and think as they would, i.e., in a nineteenth century fashion. You can say what you want about the universality of love and human emotions but how that would play out for two women in 1898 San Francisco would just not be the same. They are not hooking up online or even being introduced by mutual friends. They are not going to be going out on dates.  So finding the way to get my two characters in proximity was a puzzle.  I think my solution was simple but effective.

Writing is such a leap of faith, somewhat like falling in love.  You can do the footwork and then you have to just let it go forward in whatever fashion it’s going to go.  Sometimes the results are better than you ever imagined.

16 Responses to “KK is Getting Published!”


  1. 1 Linda S. North January 17, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    I’m looking forward to reading your book. Congrats!!!!! The cover is beautiful.

    Like

  2. 2 JW January 17, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Loved this book! See the review: http://blog.outinprint.net/2012/01/09/awake-unto-me–kathleen-knowles-bold-strokes-books-.aspx

    Wonderful job, Kathleen – and a great blog post as well!

    JW

    Like

  3. 4 Laydin Michaels January 17, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Thanks for sharing your motivation! I think I will enjoy your book!

    Like

  4. 5 Nancy Nunes January 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I love San Francisco history. I am looking forward to reading your book. Please let us know if you are going to have a reading in the Bay Area as I would like attend.

    Like

  5. 6 Denna January 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Your book was awesome Kathleen! Being a northern Ca. native and spending a lot of time in the city, I was more than excited to read your story. I’m very fond of period pieces and I thought your character depictions and behaviors were excellent.
    So sorry you had to endure the furloughs or if you’re like me continue to endure them (only for three more months though) but your readers are reaping the rewards of your hard work and I for one am glad you took that opportunity to write this story.
    Cheers, Denna

    Like

    • 7 Kathleen Knowles January 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      hi Denna

      Thanks v much for you kind words. I am so glad you think i got the historic parts right. I am happy to say no more furloughs so i have to be creative about finding time to write but that’s okay. The trade off is worthwhile. Where do you live?

      Regards
      Kathy

      Like

      • 8 Denna January 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

        Hi Kathy~
        You’re most welcome. I really loved the story.
        My partner and I live in Placerville which is in the foothills east of Sacramento. As a matter of fact my partner Kathy is retired and volunteers at the Marshall Gold Discovery Museum and we love the history of the pioneer women. Especially the women who masqueraded as men during the gold rush.
        If you do a public reading in the bay area please let us know because we’d love to come meet you and get an autograph for our book.
        Take care and please keep writing🙂
        Denna

        Like

  6. 9 cp January 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Great blog, kk.
    It’s no wonder your book is so good. Keep writing!

    Like

  7. 10 Karin k January 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Hi Sistah! So happy for you and Jeanette and the book! Loved reading the first official “draft”, I knew it was a great story from the start! I’m a huge fan of historicals romances, and that its set in SF gave me even more insight into the city that’s my adopted home! Lots of love to you and congrats on the publication!

    Like

  8. 11 AllieF January 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    just finished the book over the weekend. it was truly a treat to read – i’m also a northern california native and the history of the city where i spent many weekends and free time made me wish i could live closer!

    ~allie

    Like

  9. 12 Ron Avila January 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Congratulations Kathy! Can’t wait to get my hands on your book.

    Like

  10. 13 Debbie T January 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I am behind in my reading, but have started and love the history of SF info. I am so impressed by the book and your work! Keep it up.

    Debbie

    Like

  11. 14 Annette P Clancy (irishlass) January 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Can’t wait to read it. Anything about Nursing warms my soul. Annette ( Irish)

    Like

  12. 15 Devlyn Sixtyseven January 17, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Thanks for writing your story, I look forward to reading it. Thankyou also for sharing your inspiration for writing.
    Devlyn

    Like


  1. 1 Link Round Up « The Lesbrary Trackback on January 18, 2012 at 4:17 PM

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