Interview: Katherine Lowry Logan

I am SO excited today to introduce you to Katherine Lowry Logan.  Kathy and I have known each other for a few years, as members of the Kentucky Romance Writers, and have recently discovered through family trees that we are distant distant Poe cousins.  Fancy that — two Poes who are writers.  (And, for those of you in the Kentucky area, Kathy and I will be sharing a table at the Carnegie Center Book Fair this Saturday from 10-2.)

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 I’m a long distance runner and an avid reader who turned a love of reading into a passion for writing. I graduated from Rowan University in New Jersey, where I earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. After graduation, I attended the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, earned a General Practice Certification, then returned to Central Kentucky and worked for twenty years as a paralegal and law firm office manager.

I’m a grandmother and spend several weeks every year in New York City with three of my five grandchildren. The other two live in Northern Kentucky, making it possible to attend ballgames and Grandparents’ Day. I take my grandmother job (spoil the kids) very seriously! 

Tell us about your book

The Ruby Brooch is a mix of genres. It’s a mystery, a paranormal (time travel), and a romance. You can think of it as Little House on the Prairie meets Somewhere in Time with a Perry Mason type ending.

Although the story begins and ends on a fictional Thoroughbred farm in Central Kentucky, it mostly takes place in the American west in 1852.

Here’s the blurb:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

 ~Anaïs Nin

Can a 21st century paramedic find her heart’s desire on the other side of time?

From the white-plank fenced pastures of Lexington, Kentucky, to the beautiful Bay of San Francisco, The Ruby Brooch, a saga steeped in family tradition and mystery, follows a young woman’s journey as she searches for the truth on the other side of the heather-scented mist.

As the lone survivor of a car crash that killed her parents, paramedic Kit MacKlenna makes a startling discovery that further alters her life. A faded letter and a well-worn journal reveal that she was abandoned as a baby and the only clues to her identity are a blood-splattered shawl, a locket that bears a portrait of a nineteenth-century man, and a Celtic brooch with mystical powers.

After studying the journal, she decides to continue her father’s twenty-year search for her identity and solve her birth parents’ murders. For safety reasons, she adopts the persona of the Widow MacKlenna. Although a perfect cover for her eccentric behavior, she will be forced to lie and MacKlennas don’t lie, or so she thought. Finally, dressed and packed, she utters the incantation inscribed on the ancient stone and is swept back to Independence, Missouri, in the year 1852.

Upon arriving in the past, she meets Cullen Montgomery, an egotistical Scotsman with a penchant for seducing widows. The San Francisco-bound lawyer happens to resemble the ghost who has haunted Kit since childhood. She quickly finds the Bach-humming, Shakespeare-quoting man to be over-bearing and his intolerance for liars threatens her quest.

If she can survive his accusations and resist his tempting embrace for seventy-three days, she might be able to find the answers she seeks, and return home to a new life without changing history or leaving her heart on the other side of time.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?

An editor at Sourcebooks told me time travels were a hard sell and westerns were a hard sell. When you put the two together, you have an ever harder sell.  The Ruby Brooch, however, is not a western per se.  None of the elements of a typical western are in this story. There is no nomadic wanderer wearing a Stetson, using a revolver or rifle as an everyday tool of survival, or riding between dusty towns and ranches on his trusty steed. The hero is a lawyer who quotes Shakespeare and hums Bach. He is though, haunted by a childhood trauma. Writers love to torture their characters. Because the story is multi-genre, it doesn’t fit in with what NY is looking for. The decision to self-publish as oppose to go to a small house was an easy one to make, too. I’m very pleased with my decision.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?

When I wrote THE RUBY BROOCH, a story that takes place along the Oregon Trail in 1852, there was a built-in trail to follow. It made writing the story easier because I could visually see the beginning and the ending. The conflict between the hero and heroine developed around the obstacles on the trail and as the trail became more dangerous, the conflict became more intense. I didn’t have the luxury of a built-in trail when I sat down to write my second book, THE LAST MACKLENNA. I knew I needed an outline or a road map, or I’d never get anywhere.

Voilà. I discovered Alexandra Sokoloff. Story Elements Checklist for brainstorming index cards.  I went to my local office supply store and purchased a three-panel foam board and divided it into four columns with the following labels.

Then I took Alexandra’s checklist and attached an index card to each of the empty boxes. The index cards had a list of story elements that had to happen “then and there.”  I now knew that in the first box, the first 50 pages that I would have the following:

•           An opening image

•           Meet the hero and heroine

•           Hero/ine’s inner and outer desire

•           Hero/ine’s ghost or wound

•           Hero/ine;’s arc-

•           Inciting incident/Call to Adventure

•           Meet the antagonist

•           State the theme/what’s the story about

•           Allies or mentor

•           Love interest

•           Set ups and payoffs

•           The stakes

•           Time clock

•           Sequence one climax


I’m not going to list the remaining story elements that belong in the other 7 boxes. Instead, I’ll send you to Alexandra’s blog where you’ll find a boatload of information. Once you have all the elements necessary for each box, then you can plaster the board with post-it notes scribbled with brainstorming ideas.


What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write and rewrite, take on-line classes, join critique groups, study the craft, and don’t ever give up.


What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?

I’m currently training to run the Air Force Marathon on September 15, 2012. While running a marathon was always on my bucket list, I thought it was a pipe dream.

Even pipe dreams can come true!









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  1. Excellent post Kathy. And I’m so glad to see you storyboarding. I don’t know if I could write if I didn’t do that to keep all the elements of my story straight. I’m always fascinated by other authors processes. Thanks for sharing yours. I have the Ruby Brooch. I’ll be writing a review for the book when I’m finished with it!!! It’s very good.
    Teresa R.

  2. Teresa, I got the idea originally from you and put it off until I realized I had to do something to help organize The Last MacKlenna. I love it and will never do another book without a storyboard. Thanks for reading The Ruby Brooch and I look forward to your review. Timeless is on my Kindle and I can’t wait to read it. See you next Wednesday on Notes From Tabor Lane.

  3. Kathy, I’m so proud of you for putting your work out there. It’s a fantastic book, and people need to read it. The storyboard looks interesting too. I don’t know if I could work that way though. I think, as writers, you just have to find what works for you and the muddy water clears. Best of luck with it!

  4. JM, you’re right. We all work differently. What I liked about storyboarding was that it became the frame for the house. When some writers storyboard they put every scene on the board. I didn’t do that. I only knew that within each 50 page section something specific (see Alexandra’s story elements check list on her website) had to happen to advance the story. That way I stayed on the road but wasn’t real sure when I’d swerve or take a temporary detour. It’s a very interesting concept, and it worked well for me. I will do it for the next book, too. It’s a visual outline.

  5. Great post, Kathy! I’m thrilled to see you storyboarding. Personally, I find it essential for keeping all the elements of my story organized. It’s always fascinating to learn about other authors’ processes, so thank you for sharing yours. Also, I wanted to mention that I have the Ruby Brooch, and I’ll definitely be writing a review for the book once I’ve finished it! It’s truly captivating.
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