Please join Britbear Book Reviews in welcoming Kathy Marvel, author of The Velvet Touch in today’s author spotlight.
In The Velvet Touch, Luke and Allie are a young, newly-married couple living in the suburbs of Colorado, about to start a family together and with what most would describe as a perfect life. They are so much in love with each other and this new life they have begun, that they are clearly under the impression that nothing can tarnish this wonderful world they live in. Unbeknownst to Luke and Allie, an intruder is about to make their perfect little world come crashing down around them. Not only does evil touch them but in fact, it infiltrates their lives. This evil comes in the form of Velvet – a young woman who is desperate to gain access to Luke and his life – without the burden of Allie. Even as Luke and Allie begin to realize what is happening, they rationalize and create explanations for unexplainable occurrences simply because they cannot believe what is in fact true – someone has been in their house. Not only has someone been in their house, but that someone, has spent hour upon hour rummaging through each and every drawer, closet, cupboard, and room. Who is this person and what does she want? When will she stop? Or will she?
It was my pleasure to interview Kathy about her book and her writing.
Tell us a little bit about your latest book, The Velvet Touch – release date 12/5/13.
The Velvet Touch is about a young, newly-married couple named Luke and Allie. They are about to start a family together and have what most would describe as a perfect life. They are clearly under the impression that nothing can tarnish this perfect world that they live in. However, an intruder begins to infiltrate their lives and make their perfect little world come crashing down around them. This comes in the form of Velvet – a young woman who is desperate to gain access to Luke and his life – without the burden of Allie. Even as Luke and Allie begin to realize what is happening, they rationalize and create explanations for unexplainable occurrences simply because they cannot believe what is in fact true – someone has been in their house. The book travels back and forth between the Allie’s perspective of what is happening and then Velvet’s perspective of what actually did happen. It is full of suspense with a little romance added to it!
Where did your idea come from – what inspired the story?
The book is inspired by real life events from my life, but as an author, I have taken great liberties in extending and making Luke and Allie’s story their own. As a first grade teacher, you can look on my wall and find an anchor chart of “Where Writer’s Get Their Ideas.” It is part of what I teach. Writers write what they have experienced, memories they have had, people or places they don’t want to forget, things they want to help others understand, etc. Writers write what they know.
Tell us about the characters of Luke and Allie. How did you develop the characters?
Since Luke and Allie’s story is based on experiences from my own life, the two main characters, Luke and Allie, are very similar to my husband and me, but again, I have taken liberties as an author to make the characters their own. Having lived through many of the experiences depicted in the story, it is my hope that the perspectives are real and insightful.
Velvet’s character was a bit more difficult for me because the way she thinks and what she does is the absolute opposite of me. I really had to dig deep to try to see her perspective and get it written down.
I enjoyed travelling back and forth between Allie and Velvet’s perspective during the writing process. It was kind of like writing two books at one time because the story looks a lot different depending on whose eyes you are looking at it through.
How do you decide the names for your characters? Is it a random process or a well thought one?
Names are tough because as a teacher, I have had so many students and so many different names! This, I am sure, played into the selection of names as certain names remind me of certain students. Overall, I had to pick sweet names (in my mind) for the Thompson family. I loved the way Velvet’s name fit so well with the title – I was hooked on my title well before I was very far in the writing process.
How do you write, planning the complete plot beforehand or do you let the book take its course? Take us through your writing process.
Being a teacher of writing, my process very much aligns with what I teach 1st graders. I start with some form of planning – usually for me that is an outline. I have the characters and the plot in mind, then work on setting the scene, background information, and character traits. After that, I just need a quiet place and time! I simply write, write, write! It takes me quite a while to get started in subsequent writing sessions because I always read what I have written previously before I start writing again – another skill I teach my 1st graders. Each time a reread, I made revisions and edited along they way and believe me, every time I read my story, I changed it! If it were up to me, it still wouldn’t be done. At some point, I just had to say, “I’m done.”
What influenced you in becoming a writer?
It started many years ago when a group of teachers, me included, decided to do a summer book study on “Teaching Writing.” Then we thought that if we were going to be teaching writing, we should also be writing and shifted our focus to “Teachers as the Writers.” That is when I truly started writing – because I had to, but… I ended up loving it! Added to that, we had a local illustrator, Mark Ludy, come to one of our meetings and his excitement lit a fire in me – just to get going and do it! So I did.
Are there any books that have influenced your writing?
The Right to Write – Julia Cameron – taught me that it is OK to take time for myself and do what I love.
Bird by Bird – Ann Lamott – reminds me of perseverance. It’s easy to be a writer. The hard part is for others to see you as a writer and to actually get published!
I don’t really have any favorite authors but love reading so love all authors in general. A good book to me means that I can’t put it down and I feel like I am in the story. I love a book that can make me laugh or make me cry! That is a well written book in my eyes!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just start! One sentence a day makes 365 sentences – that could be an entire children’s book or a chapter in a novel. Go for it!
Tell us about your other works.
The Seven-Year Bitch And A Little Perspective – 2007:
The Seven-Year Bitch And A Little Perspective takes the reader through the griping that commonly occurs among girlfriends when they have the opportunity to get together. More often than not, husbands are the focus of such griping. As women, we all love our husbands dearly, yet we gripe. The Seven-Year Bitch And A Little Perspective validates women in the minor irritations that they may feel from day to day in their journey through marriage while at the same time, brings a renewed appreciation of their partner.
I wrote The Seven-Year Bitch in the midst of writing The Velvet Touch. It was an entertaining distraction mid-way through the process of completing the novel. It is a quick, fun, perspective building, gift book.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
I live in Colorado with my husband and two sons. I am a first grade teacher and have taught for the past twenty years. I spend my free time writing, reading, running, camping, and watching the many sporting events that my sons are involved in. I am hopeful that my passion for writing is contagious and is passed on to my own kids as well as every child that comes through my classroom doors.
What are your upcoming works?
I have so many ideas floating around my head on any given day at any given moment – just ask my husband. He thinks my brain never shuts off. I think about doing a sequel and/or prequel to The Velvet Touch. I also love teaching – the kids make me laugh every day, so it would be fun to write about some of the fun things teachers get to see each day. On the other hand, I love romance, so I would love to write a romance novel – I have two characters in mind as well as a partial plot. I just need to make up my mind at get started!
Here’s where you can read more about Kathy and her writing:
Kathy Marvel lives in Colorado with her husband and two sons. She is a first grade teacher and has taught for the past twenty years. She spends her free time writing, running, camping, and watching the many sporting events that her sons are involved in. She is hopeful that her passion for writing is contagious and is passed on to her own kids as well as every child that comes through her classroom doors.