Kaylin McFarren has received more than 40 national literary awards, as well as a prestigious Golden Heart Award nomination for Flaherty’s Crossing, a book she and her eldest daughter, Kristina McMorris, co-authored in 2008. Before beginning her journey as a writer and developing the popular action/adventure romance series Threads, poured her passion for creativity into her work as director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon; she also served as a Governor-appointed member of the Oregon Commission on the Arts. When she’s not traveling or pampering her puppies and three grandchildren, she enjoys giving back to her community through her involvement and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation, a Nonprofit organization focused on cancer research, care, and treatment in Oregon hospitals.
Welcome Kaylin and thanks for being with us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about your journey to becoming a published author?
I’ve always had a love of reading… at least for as long as I can remember. My interest in writing began at the tender age of 10, when an English teacher took an interest in my stories and encouraged me to keep a journal. Throughout high school and college, I worked at the newspaper and actually had my own column. But it wasn’t until my kids were grown that I had the luxury of writing stories and sending them to publishers in New York. At one point, I was accepted by a famous and well-known firm, but then they told me to change everything about my book…everything that made it special. Rather than struggle to fit into fiction, I chose to spread my own wings with a small press and ultimately as a self-published author, which resulted in setting my own hours and deciding what I really enjoy writing about.
What is “Twisted Threads” about?
Akira Hamada, a beautiful Japanese geisha, failed to kill Kaito Mitsui two years ago, the same yakuza gang leader who destroyed her lover and forced her to become an assassin. Now, with her sister’s killer traveling to the Caribbean on a cruise ship, Akira has ten days at sea to identify her target and complete her mission as penance, or face her own death.
What inspired you to write this story?
For many years, I have been privileged to experience remarkable things and unique opportunities while traveling the world with my husband. This included a wide range of means of transportation, from private planes, helicopters, and hot air balloons to kayaks, submarines, and elegant cruise ships. My travels around the world have not only allowed me to meet interesting people and discover fascinating cultures, but also to develop lifelong friendships with fellow travelers and introduce dear friends in all parts of the world. Interesting stories shared by friends, personal experiences, and extensive research have all contributed to making this character-driven story possible and have inspired me to write this “twisted” story.
Which character do you relate to the most? Is there something of you reflected in the characters?
Honestly, I think there are little pieces of myself in every character I create: my fears, my insecurities, my longings, and my longing for love, affection, and acceptance. That said, I find myself entangled in the character of Devon Lyons, even though he is a confident man. Truly, he is a lost soul in this complex murder mystery story. For several years, he has been struggling to find his true identity in a successful, strong, critical and extremely stubborn family circle. I think this is his only chance to break through and find out what he’s really made of and if he’s capable of true love.
How involved was your research for “Twisted Threads”?
It took me almost eighteen months to write twisted threads. This included time spent researching ship disasters, interviewing cruise enthusiasts, reacquainting myself with characters from other books I’ve written, and editing my final manuscript—maintaining an active lifestyle, of course. I usually create a visual storyboard on Pinterest, write a short summary, and just write without thinking about how the story will end. I don’t really like storyboards and long-term planning like other authors. For me, it’s more interesting and fun to let my characters develop and direct the plots of each book.
How do you keep the narrative fresh in a series?
I draw on my personal experiences and inner voices that yearn to be heard. I love each and every one of my characters, despite his flaws and imperfections, and I want readers to sympathize with his plight, heartaches, and damaged lives.
What do you like to read?
Everything you can imagine… but mainly thrillers and action-adventure stories.
Do you believe in writing every day as standard practice? Tell us about your writing schedule and a typical day at Kaylin McFarren’s desk.
I write as a daily practice from 10 am to 6 pm. When it comes to creating fiction, this can take fifteen minutes or four to five hours every day. But when I write, I am forced to express the emotions buried deep within me. Years ago I was a wounded soul, but I have always longed to be strong and overcome the insignificance that I felt throughout my life.
How do you feel when you finish a writing project?
Accomplished. When I write the final words in a manuscript, I want to believe that the truth of my story is being told and that the readers who see it will understand the hidden message in the final chapter. We all grow and become stronger from our experiences in life, good or bad…negative or positive, and I want to believe that my stories make a difference in their telling.
Which writers have inspired your own work as an author?
I love all kinds of genres: mystery, erotica, science fiction, historical romance… you name it. But what I like most is the present told in a fictional story. That’s why I love Jodi Picoult’s books. She really inspires me. Her books are controversial because they deal with real tragedies that ordinary people don’t like to discuss but at the same time consider an inescapable subject.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received about writing or about life in general?
Write what you are passionate about. I understand that some stories require research and others require commitment and honest personal experiences. But what I’m talking about is the need to share what your beliefs are… what you believe to be true and want others to understand more than anything in this world. Do not try to pretend, because it shows… believe me. Write with your heart on your sleeve and with an open mind to possibilities and you will touch lives you never thought possible.
What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Read like there is no tomorrow. We learn from experience, whether our own or someone else’s. Just trust your talent and never stop believing that you have a gift to share.
What’s next, do you have another project in the works?
I am currently working on a new time travel story which I have discussed with my husband. Oddly enough, he dreamed of this story and I want to write about it in the worst way possible.
Where can readers connect with you on social media to learn more about “Twisted Threads” and your other books?
I honestly try to be everywhere… while writing as much as I can. You can find me on Facebook and Goodreads under Kaylin McFarren, and on Twitter at @4kaylin. My website is http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
If you like stories created by an author, be sure to let them know. Your praise and support encourages them to work harder on developing new dramas, romances, murder mysteries, and adventures that they will ultimately enjoy and feel rewarded about writing.