BookEnds Talks to Kathryn Lilley
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jan 25 2008
As a preteen, I had two passions: Nancy Drew mysteries and Pralines ‘n Cream ice cream. So it was perhaps inevitable that I grew up to write a mystery series called The Fat City Mysteries. And like my protagonist, Kate Gallagher, I once worked in TV news, and had to lose 90 pounds in order to land a job on camera.
Awards: IMBA Bestseller for October 2007
Web site: www.kathrynlilley.com
In Dying to Be Thin, TV news producer Kate Gallagher enrolls in an exclusive diet clinic so that she can get a job on camera. But when the head diet guru turns up—murdered and fondued—Kate loses her appetite. And now that the menu features murder, Kate has a breaking story on her hands!
BookEnds: What is your favorite thing about this book?
Kathryn: One of the things I love about Dying to Be Thin is that the protagonist, Kate Gallagher, who is “a woman of a certain weight,” is presented as something of a man magnet. This quality is unusual in mass-market fiction. Usually, women who are struggling with their weight are relegated to the back row, in terms of career and sex appeal. But Kate is gorgeous, and she knows it! By the end of the novel, she has not one but two love interests!
BookEnds: What else are you working on?
Kathryn: In addition to the next book in the Fat City Mysteries, I have a paranormal thriller that I’m working on. It’s very uncozy and unchick-lit. The story is so dark, it scares me.
BookEnds: Do you see yourself in any of your characters? If so, who and how?
Kathryn: Kate Gallagher is very much like me, only stronger and quicker with a comeback. She’s like my Bionic Woman sister. If Kate were really my sister, I’d love her to death, but I’d really hate that fact that she’s so much cleverer than I am.
BookEnds: Many writers have stories of rejections. What are yours? What was your most memorable rejection?
Kathryn: Fortunately, I didn’t have many rejections. But my most memorable one came from an agent who had requested an exclusive. She took a while to read the manuscript, and then she eventually sent me an email along the lines of, “Dear Kathryn: I really wanted to like this story. But I just didn’t like the character; I didn’t like the story; I didn’t like the voice. In fact, I just didn’t like anything at all about it.”
Sigh. That rejection was really tough.
And one time there was a critique group that wouldn’t accept me as a member, and then someone in the group copied me on a sarcastic email. That bummed me out.
I should say at this point to wanna-be authors that you should never take rejection or criticism personally. And you should never be bitter. And you should never say, “Neener, neener!”
BookEnds: Do you have a manuscript that you’ll never let anyone else read? Tell us a little about it.
Kathryn: I wrote a screenplay called First Lieutenant that was optioned multiple times by a major celebrity’s production company. It was based on a true story about the first African American to graduate from West Point Academy. While the story itself had many merits, looking back on it, I feel that my screenplay was not blockbuster material. If I had to drag it out of my desk drawer today, I would have to do a Page One rewrite on it. No one sees it again until then.