Monday, January 16, 2017

Author Interview: Cathy Kennedy

Cathy Kennedy spent the first years of her life growing up in Pennsylvania before moving to South Florida at age 17. Her book, Meeting of the Mustangs, was started during her teenage years in Pennsylvania and would not be completed until many years later.

The story of the wild mustangs is somewhat reflective of her life living in the country, where her family owned horses. She wanted to complete the book for younger readers who have a love for animals, and finally convinced herself that she should continue the story where she'd stopped writing many years before.

She currently lives in Ohio with her husband and three rescued tuxedo cats.

For hundreds of years, generations of wild mustangs have roamed large parts of the western United States. Many of these magnificent animals can live their entire lives without ever seeing a single human being. Being completely self-sufficient, they inhabit the wilderness in groups, living together peacefully and posing no threat to any of the other animals with which they share the land.

Through knowledge that has been passed down to them from their ancestors, these horses are masters of survival and know what things to fear and how to protect themselves from those dangers.

This is the story of a special horse. His life begins much the same as the other young horses in his group, but will turn out to be much different. Through no fault of his own, he is separated from everything he has come to know and thrown into an entirely different way of life. Although his world changes drastically, his adventures continue until he finds himself in the unexpected position to repay a kindness that was once shown to him.

Friendship can sometimes be found in the least likely forms, in the most difficult times. 

Casey Marie: What inspired you to write Meeting of the Mustangs?

Cathy Kennedy: That would be my dad. One day he gave me a typewriter and a ream of paper. This would have been somewhere around 1978 or 1979, I think. That would have made me thirteen or fourteen. It was shortly before I learned how to type, because I typed the original manuscript with one finger. I remember that.

I can't remember why, but at some point, I just stopped working on it. Over the years, I thought a lot about it and pretty much knew how it would end, but I didn't complete it until age fifty, after lots and lots of editing.

CM: How do you draft your stories? Do you type, physically write them out, etc.?

CK: Well, as I said, I typed mine on a typewriter at the beginning. I just rolled a sheet of paper in and went for it. I really had no outline other than a general idea in my head. The story kind of told itself at first. The manuscript was then set aside for decades, but my mind often came back to it and I eventually knew how I wanted it to proceed and close.

That's where the computer came in and what a help that was. I had to do a lot of editing and fine-tuning of what was already there, so it made it a lot easier.

CM: How long did it take you to consider Meeting of the Mustangs finished?

CK: I don't know that any author ever considers their work “finished”. There just comes a point where you have to stop critiquing the daylights out of it and let it go.

CM: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

CK: Yes. Don't give up! It's so easy to get exasperated and let your work get the better of you. It's a mindset. It can be a battle at times, but once you can make yourself get past the proverbial roadblock, things seem to go much smoother. For me, it helped to find a nice, quiet place in front of a window.

CM: Were you a reader growing up or did you develop a taste for reading as you grew up? What are some of your all-time favorite books?

CK: I was a reader as a kid. I always had a book with me at home and at school.

Some of my favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird, Watership Down, and Homer's Odyssey.

CM: If you could be any animal, what type of animal would you want to be and why?

CK: I'd like to be a bird. My mother always told me I ate like a bird. I hate airplanes but I like to fly.

CM: If you could visit any country, what country would you want to visit and why?

CK: I'd love to go to Egypt. I've always been fascinated with antiques and just old stuff in general. I would really like to visit the pyramids of Giza. Once I got inside one of those things, I'd probably have to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

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