Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Diane Lunsford is talking with Kaylin McFarren, author of Severed Threads
FQ: This is the first of your ‘Thread Series’ I’ve read and suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is abundantly clear you enjoyed writing of the adventures of a diver. Do you dive as well?
McFARREN: Actually, I don’t scuba dive, which made writing this story a tremendous challenge. I did a great deal of research, asked divers questions, read scuba books, and just hoped that I got it right.
FQ: In line with question 1, if you are a diver, what is your most memorable moment when exploring the world beneath the surface of the sea. (And if you are not a diver, who and/or what inspired you to write such a detailed and engaging tale)?
McFARREN: I’ve always wanted to dive but have a fear of drowning and being trapped in confined spaces, making this dream virtually impossible for me. And I LOVE treasure hunting movies and action-adventure stories, so bringing my interests together seemed like a nice fit for a different kind of romance story.
FQ: As a writer, I am drawn to my own moments when the pen has taken over and I am merely the conduit to push it along. Did you have moments when this story simply wouldn’t assist you in its telling (and how did you overcome the obstacle(s))?
McFARREN: For the most part, I never had to deal with writer’s block while creating this story…only finding enough time to write with a very busy lifestyle.
FQ: What made you set your sights on selecting the Wanli II as your subject for this sunken treasure adventure? Did you have the luxury of connecting with any of the real persons involved in its discovery?
McFARREN: I wanted to find a real treasure ship in southeast Asia that was discovered but never elaborated on and came across the mention of this ship while doing research on the subject. From the description I read, it was the most complete and intact ancient ship unearthed.
FQ: I am a huge fan of the discovery of sunken treasure (and the complexities attached to their discovery). It reminds me of Mel Fisher’s discovery of the Antocha off the Florida Keys in the 1980’s. Did you research several discoveries to weave the Severed Threads tale (or focus primarily on the Wanli II history)?
McFARREN: I spent 3 months reading about trade routes and treasure hunting accounts at several libraries, and the more I read, the more I enjoyed the adventures that various expeditions have undertaken. This can be a very expensive career choice in regard to equipment, grants, fuel, and staffing. But as you might imagine, every diver longs for finding the ultimate treasure, which makes a discovery incredibly significant.
FQ: In line with question 5, how long did it take you to write and subsequently publish this story? What was the greatest challenge for you in getting it from manuscript to book for sale? Any lessons learned you’d care to share?
McFARREN: From story idea, to written summary, to research, to actual writing and publication, it took one year to complete Severed Threads. My greatest challenge was in creating an accurate fictional account and flawed, multi-dimensional characters readers would relate to and enjoy. What I learned from the experience is to write what you’re passionate about. Because if you’re aren’t, your story will be never be finished, and if you are, readers will recognize your enthusiasm.
FQ: Whenever I am asked the question: “Who is your favorite author and why”? I struggle to name one. However, I am drawn to both Ernest Hemmingway and Pat Conroy. While their catalogues are quite different, the phenomenal gift they both embodied was their innate and natural ability for storytelling. Who is (or are) your favorites and why?
McFARREN: I have a number of authors I follow and enjoy reading books from, including: Jodi Picoult - controversial subject matter, Lisa Jackson - twisted, murder mysteries with interesting heroes, Clive Custer - true to life adventures, Penelope Ward - sexy, page-turning drama.
FQ: When does a writer know he or she is a writer? When did your ‘aha moment’ surface and how do you nurture your craft?
McFARREN: I guess I realized I was a true writer when I became a published author, won awards, and actually sold a fair amount of books. When I started to receive letters from folks who liked to read what I’d written, I came to believe that my stories actually matter and that I never want to stop writing. In regard to your second question, the key to improving your craft is to write like there’s no tomorrow and to read with the same commitment.
FQ: Thank you for your time today. It was a treat and pleasure to read Severed Threads. I’m hoping you are working on your next and if so, are you able to share some nuggets?
McFARREN: I just finished my last installment in the Threads series - Twisted Threads, and truly believe readers will enjoy this sexy, fast-moving murder mystery that brings together two of my secondary characters from other books in the Threads lineup. I can’t share too much about this book other than to say you’ll never guess who the “watcher” is or the identity of the real murderer on the cruise ship...at least not until the final chapters. Now be sure to watch for the release on Amazon.com on November 20th and let me know what you think. :)