Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Kathleen O'Connor

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My featured guest today is friend and fellow Wild Rose author Kathleen O’Connor.Kathleen and I are chatting about her book, Men of Paradise. So what happens when two strangers inherit joint custody of an un trainable Westie named Dudley? Let’s ask Kathleen. But before we do, here is a sneak preview of Men of Paradise.

“What was Ina thinking?” Lauren said to the equally outraged dog. “This isn’t good
for you; it’s terrible for David, and uncomfortable for me.” She eased into a plastic
lawn chair and
had just stretched out when a grey Chevy Blazer breezed into the driveway.

“You can bite him,” she whispered to Dud as an
athletic looking man in jeans, faded blue shirt, and black sport coat approached the porch. His skin was bronze and his hair long and silky. Lauren was sure she had seen someone this good looking before - maybe on the big screen in a chilly movie theater. In her experience guys with GQ looks
like his were always morons.

He opened the screen door and crooned, “Hey, baby! How are you doing?”

“Doing all right,” Lauren answered before realizing he was talking to the dog. She blushed and folded her hands behind her back.

Dudley, the traitor, inched forward to sniff the stranger’s cowboy boots. Yuma Hawk
whipped out a bone as big as a bow tie. The dog snared it, then gulped it down.
Already he is outspending me on dog treats. Lauren stood frozen while Hawk
switched the high-beam smile from the dog to her, and advanced with an extended hand.

“Good to finally meet you, Lauren. You’re a bit younger than I expected.”

Over the loud ruckus of the jets performing acrobatic skills in the sky, the blast off of rockets ships as they soar into space, and the deafening roar of propellers as helicopters make their landings, a shrill whistle rises. Why, it’s our very own Kathleen O’Connor trying in vain to catch her un trainable dog, Dudley! She shouts out commands like a woman possessed, but Dudley, on a roll, ears slicked back, barrels full steam ahead, coming to a screeching halt when he skids onto the poolside terrace. Turning to the audience, he sits, pretty as you please, gracing them with a high beam doggie grin. Kathleen, dragging her feet, still shouting commands to her charge, falls into a canary yellow lawn chair with a heavy sigh.

Sharon: Let’s have a warm welcome for Kathleen O’Connor and her adorable Westie Dudley!

Thunderous applause explodes through cyberspace, followed by hoots and whistles.

Sharon: Well, Kathleen, you look a bit parched after your wild chase. Allow me to call my butler. Sharon rings sterling silver bell…Oh, Oliver, we’re ready for refreshments please.

Oliver appears, silver tray poised above his head, a roguish grin on his face. He presents two ice cold cokes and a plate of wheat thins with Dubliner cheese. Unwrapping a straw, he puts it in one of the cokes and holds it to Kathleen’s lips. Then he feeds her a few crackers…and when she has her eyes closed in ecstasy, tosses a huge t-bone to Dudley. Dudley gulps it down, staring at Oliver like he’s the King of Sheeba. Oliver places a pan of water on the ground and saunters off.

Sharon: That’s some spirited dog you have there, Kathleen. And this is your creation from Men of Paradise. Tell us where you got the idea for two strangers to inherit custody of this rather rambunctious dog?

Kathleen: I love dogs and inheriting joint custody of a dog by two strangers had romantic and comic possibilities.

Sharon: And tell us about the title. How does it fit into the storyline of two strangers and a dog?

Kathleen: The story is about three men who flee to Florida (Paradise) in search of a second act.

Sharon: And can you share with us a bit about your two main characters, the hero and heroine?

Kathleen: I have three heroes and heroines but the main ones are Yuma Hawk and Lauren Pierce. Yuma (or yummy Yuma as my editor Kathy Cottrell says) has come to Florida and taken the job as director of security for a private community where Lauren Pierce is illegally (no children allowed in bylaws) raising her nephew. She would avoid Yuma except that they are raising this dog together.

Sharon: Is or was the character of Dudley inspired by one of your own spirited dogs?

Kathleen: My Bichon Frishe Wooster was like Dudley. He could be very badly behaved but then smile at you and melt your heart.

Sharon: Why a Westie? Do they hold a special place in your heart?

Kathleen: My neighbor has a Westie named Bonnie who is very cute.

Sharon: Oh, here comes Oliver with dessert. Oliver breezes onto the terrace, shoving a silver caddy. Parking it in front of Kathleen, he unveils her favorite, Stella D’Oror Breakfast Treats. Choosing one, he feeds it to her, sneaking one to Dudley.

Sharon: That will be all, Oliver. Stop showing off so we can finish up our interview. Maybe you can take Dudley for a walk about town.

Dudley, hearing the word “Walk”, leaps into action. Oliver gives chase around the pool three times. Taking a nasty skid, Oliver plunges into the pool, doing a rather impressive belly smacker. Water splashes, getting Sharon and Kathleen drenched to the bone. Oliver emerges, sputtering, gulping for air like a fish out of water. Dudley grins his high beam grin and takes off to parts unknown, Oliver hot on his heels.

Sharon: Hands plush towel to her guest. Grabs another and pats her face dry before waving her hand. That’ll keep Oliver occupied whilst we finish up our interview. So Kathleen, what’s next for you?

Kathleen: I’ve just finished a short story.

Sharon: And what genre is Men of Paradise?

Kathleen: It’s pure romance – a Debbie Macomber kind of story where you really get to know all the characters in a small town.

Sharon: What other genres would you like to explore if any?

Kathleen: I write mysteries and have one coming out in December by Whiskey Creek Press. It’s the edgiest of my books and is called A Private Matter.

Sharon: Oh, here comes Dudley. Dudley skids onto the terrace, ball in his mouth, Oliver behind him, all befuddled and out of sorts.

Sharon: Oliver, what a mess you are. Isn’t he priceless?

Oliver just grins his roguish grin and swaggers away…

Sharon: And finally, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Kathleen: I like Florida (where I am) and I guess I’d like to star in Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes with Colin Firth as the hero and Sandra Bullock playing the heroine

Sharon: Thank you so much, Kathleen. Where can readers buy your books and get in touch with you?

Kathleen: Amazon, Fictionwise, Whiskey Creek and Wild Rose press.

Just then, Come Way With Me by Norah Jones blasts on the radio. Oliver, donned in a new butler’s outfit, grabs Kathleen in his arms and pulls her close, gazing into her eyes as they dance, their feet never touching the ground.

Kathleen is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, recipient of a James Michener
fellowship and the Connecticut writing Awards. Her short stories have appeared in
Woman's World, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen Magazine, St Anthony's Messenger
and Liguorian.

Her novels are: A Private Matter (a Whiskey Creek Press Dec. 09 release), Men
of Paradise, (The Wild Rose Press) and
No Doubt,
(Whiskey Creek Press).


Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for Kathleen O'Connor! Good morning, Kathleen. And how are you on such a gorgeous sunny morning? While we wait for our guests to arrive, here comes Oliver with some ice cold cokes, a big platter of Wheat Thins with Dubliner cheese and tons of your favorite breakfast treats. So dig in and enjoy!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Kathleen and Sharoon

Fascinating to learn more about our books Kathleen. As a dog lover myself I loved hearing all about Dudley, what a character!

Hywela Lyn said...

Sharoon? Who's Sharoon? Sorry Sharon, LOL!

Kathleen said...

Thanks so much for having me today Sharon! Great to be here. And thanks Lyn for the warm hello.
I will be giving away a copy of Men of Paradise -- all commenters names go in the old fedora.

Thanks Oliver for waking me up and bringing me the Coke. I might have preferred coffee but it was still sweet of him.

Sarita Leone said...

Lovely interview, Kathy.

Big congrats on your upcoming release!

Sarita Leone said...

Blogger ate half my comment! AHH!

It should have said, Lovely interview, Kathy and Sharon.

Ah, what a way to begin the day...

Kathleen said...

Thanks Sarita. So nice to hear from you. I think it was Dudley not blogger that ate your comment.

Sharon Donovan said...

So sorry, Kathleen. Oliver rushes out, still a bit worn out from his chase about the neighborhood in search of Dudley. Pours coffee for Kathleen and Sharon, Earl Grey for Lyn, hee hee--even if she did call Sharon that rather interesting version of her name. LOL I've been called Shawn before but never Sharoon. Ah well. Good morning, Sarita. What would you like to drink? Name it and it's yours. Lovely name, BTW.
You know I read Men of Paradise, Kathleen, and I cannot recommend it enough. It would make a delightful gift for the holidays. And as Sarita said, congrats on your upcoming release! Ah, that coffee hits the spot, how bout it?

Kathleen said...

Such a joy to be with Sharon today. I read her book ECHO OF A RAVEN and was awed by her skill ans honesty.

It is so hard to write close to home. I've had cerebral palsy since birth but it wasn't until my fourth novel, Men of Paradise, that I was able to create a disabled heroine. And that only happened because of my editor, Kathy Cottrell, who really worked with me chapter by chapter. Wild Rose has great editors.

Kathleen said...

The coffee is great. Thanks, Sharon

Kathleen said...

Lyn, I love dogs too. Do you have a dog? We had a bichon frishe that was so lovable and so devious. He would pretend someone was at the front door so you would leave the table and he could grab your sandwich. When he passed away my husband and I were so grieved we went to the shelter and rescued the most needy dog we could find. He's a jack/beagle mix with PTSD but so loving and cute in a unique way.

Sharon Donovan said...

Aw, thank you so much for your kind words, Kathleen. Yes, I agree. The Wild Rose Press has some fantastic editors. Isn't it amazing how they can keep drawing from you untl they draw the best work out of you? And I'm sitting here smiling about your dog. They are so very clever, our furry friends, not to mention a bit self-serving. I had a dog Buttons, a terrior poodle mix. And every Christmas, he'd choose one gift he seemed to favor. One year I got a pair of fuzzy slippers. After I opened them, he brought one over to my feet and dropped it as if a present from him. Then when I went to grab it, he'd snag it between his teeth and growl, race off with it to the opposite end of the house and take possession of it for the rest of the day. I think it was his way of saying he would like to choose his own gifts, opposed to the ones we chose for him. Amazing, the way their brains tick.

Kathleen said...

Sharon, I can just picture Buttons. That's so funny the way dogs are both loving and independent. I didn't know until the bichon that you were suppose to get them gifts at Christmas.

P.L. Parker said...

I love dogs. Wonderful companions and best friends. Congratulations and good luck with sales.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, P.L. I can see from your photo that you are a dog lover.

I have to run out for a few appointments and will be back around 3. Oliver has graciously fixed me a Coke to go.

margaret blake said...

I loved the novel Men of Paradise and Katherine's other novels that feature the delicious Yummy - er Yuma!

It was fun reading about the doggies too. I miss having a dog but it isn't feasible for me to have one at the moment, however I do have Eddie the cat who is quite a handful.

I so enjoyed the interview, something very different and very interesting too.

Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome, Patsy and Margaret. Sit with us around the pool and have some of Oliver's refreshments. Animals are great companions, aren't they, Patsy? And Margaret, I've recently lost my beloved black cat Freddy with the bewitching green eyes after he came trick or treating one Halloween night twenty years ago. He left his little pawprints on my heart. Kathleen, we'll keep your party going until you return. Enjoy your coke!

Skhye said...

Hi, Kathleen! I'd love to attend the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Good thing green is my favorite color. ;)

GQ kinda guys and Westies? Nice combination. I like the heroine tells her dog she can bite him! LOL My dog once bit my step-father who was harrassing me. It was really his dog who decided she liked me better. LOL After that, I realized I didn't have to give the attack command.

Have a great day here with Oliver. ;)

Mona Risk said...

What a cutey Dudley is. You mention your heroine suffered of cerebral palsy. I wonder how badly affected she is. I have a cousin with cerebral palsy. Although he managed to study law and became a lawyer, he never managed to be independant or successful in life. I think it's one of these diseases that can strongly handicapped a person.

Mona Risk said...

Oops, typo: that can strongly handicap a person

Linda Rader said...

This was a funny post. I loved it.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi everyone
Just popping back to read the comments. Yes Kathleen, although I'm a horse person first and foremost dogs come a close second in my affections although I love all animals.

I've always had dogs, from Welsh Corgis to beagles. When my dear little beagle Hans died at fourteen and a half, I said my next dog would be a rescue and we adopted 'Bouncer' a Jack Russell. Isn't it a coincidence yours is a Jack/beagle cross!

Bouncer had been ill treated in the past and had a broken hip and pelvis which had been allowed to heal without a vet. He's on permanent medication, but apart from his little bandy back legs you'd never know there was anything wrong with him. He's the sweetest, most affectionate little dog you could wish for. I would recommend anyone who's thinking of having a dog to consider a rescue - they're so deserving of a second chance and repay you a hundredfold!

Sharon Donovan said...

LOL Skhye. That reminds me of the time my cat took an instant dislike to an old boyfriend. No sooner would he walk through the door when he'd hurl himself around his leg and claw him unmerciless. Turned out he wasn't so great. Hmm. Something about that animal sixth sense and radar, huh? Mona and Linda, thanks for dropping in. So glad you enjoyed the interview. Oliver is still serving snacks and will be happy to bring you a drink from the poolside bar. Lyn, great advice about the rescue dogs. And your sweet Bouncer was sitting under his lucky star the day you chose him. You've given him such a wonderful life. People that abuse animals...don't get me started....

Kathleen said...

Margaret, Thanks for popping by and the fabulous Eddie is enough pet for any family.

Kathleen said...

Skyhe, That's a loyal do you have. Sharon is right. They do leave their little paw prints on your heart

Kathleen said...

Mona, Thanks for stopping by. My heroine has slight cerebral palsy and is able to run her own business. But as the novel opens she is very shy of men.

Kathleen said...

Linda, Glad we gave you a chuckle and thanks for stopping by.

Kathleen said...

Skhye, Sorry for the typo -- I meant a loyal dog. And it was a great privilege to be at Iowa but actually what has helped me the most is Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way. Every time I hit a block that book helps me find my way back to doing the work.

Kathleen said...

Lyn, I agree about rescues being the most lovable dogs in the world. I saw a shirt that read Exactly who rescued who and I agree wholeheartedly. They give so much back.

Kathleen said...

Sharon, So sorry to hear about the loss of your Freddy. Losing them tears your heart out. I'm still missing my bichon Wooster and writing this book was therapy for me to create a dog just as loving and badly behaved.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kathleen and Sharon,
Great interview. Oliver up to his usual antics I see.
Sounds like a great story Kathleen, a friend of mine, unfortunately passed away now, used to breed Westies.
Like you, I am published with both Whiskey Creek Press and TWRP.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Margaret. We do indeed share the same publishers. Though TWRP published Men of Paradise, I have an edgy mystery coming out with Whiskey Creek next month.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Margaret,
Thanks for popping in to chat with us today. Yes, Oliver keeps busy! Kathleen, I do indeed miss Freddy. Amazing how the wee ones creep into our heart, huh? I have no doubt your upcoming release will be a fantastic mystery! Keep us posted.

Mary Ricksen said...

Dudley, he'd make a great buddy for Junior.
You really had a great day today Kathleen. I hope you sell tons of books! I think that adding the doggie can only make the story more popular. There are so many of us who own dogs, or is it they who own us. My dog is so spoiled, he eats better than we do. He has allergies and has to have special food. The heat here
in Florida is very hard on even inside dogs.
Yeah Sharon, another great blog. Good show ladies!!

Debra St. John said...

Great cover. Very romantic!

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Mary it was a great day and so fun to be with you all.

Kathleen said...

Debra, Thank you. I like the cover so much. Nicola Martinez did a great job.

Kathleen said...

Sharon, Thank you so much for a wonderful day. It's always so much fun to be with you. Your enthusiasm, creativity and humor is so uplifting. And thank you to everyone who commented. I so appreciated the time you took. We have a couple of winners of Men of Paradise. Linda Rader won the print copy and Hywela Lyn the e-book. I'll get addresses tomorrow and get them mailed out. Thanks again, Sharon.

Kat said...

Nice job, Kathy!!
Love Men of Paradise today as much as the day I first read it.
Kathy Cottrell

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Kathleen and Sharon! Well, I'm too late for the prize, but wanted to stop in and say hello. I had to laugh when I read the excerpt. My DH talks to his dog in that soft crooning voice, which I used to answer until I realized he was not talking to me.

Her vocabulary is not that large, but 'Walk' is one word she definitely understands. I swear she tries to say it when I've gone past the time for me to take her out!

Good luck with your book, Kathleen. It sounds so cute. And Sharon, I know it's a little late, but maybe Oliver could fix me a hot toddy for bedtime!!

Sharon Donovan said...

The pool party continues, Mary, Debra, Kathy and Julie. Sit and chat or take a swim in the pool. And yes, Oliver is still serving cocktails, Julie! He'll be glad to fix you a hot buttered rum or is it a coke and rum? LOL
Linda and Lyn, congratulations on winning Kathleen's Men of Paradise. I promise, you will love it as much as I did.

Sharon Donovan said...

Well, Kathleen, what can I say? Your fans obviously adore you. You had so many friends drop in for your pool party. You and Dudley have been delightful guests and Oliver and I enjoyed spending the day with you! Thank you for joining us. Best of luck with sales on Men of Paradise and with your upcoming mystery from Whiskey Creek Press.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and blessings,

Sharon Donovan said...

And as always, a special thank you to Hywela Lyn for adding the fabulous graphics to my blog. Thank you, Lyn! Well done!

Hywela Lyn said...

Wow! What a wonderful surprise, thank you so much Kathleen, I know I'll love your book, I'm so looking forward to it.

And Sharon, you know it's a real pleasure to add a few pictures to your wonderfully creative posts and the fantastic excerpts of your guests. It's an honour.

Kathleen said...

I closed up too early. Sorry I missed you Kathy. You are my favorite editor and Julie if I get your e-mail address will send you the novel since you didn't get a shot at being in the contest.

mariska said...

Men of Paradise, seems a very good book ! i love the cover!
And it's always great knowing a new author for me :)

Julie Robinson said...


Thank you! I got your book in the mail. The rose on the cover is a beautiful rich shade of pink. Look like Artistry, a hybrid tea rose with the slight ruffles on the out end:

Thanks again, Kathleen. I look forward to reading it. It sounds like it'll make me smile.