B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Kathryn Guare is here today to talk with me about her book, Deceptive Cadence. Kathryn lives in the Vermont town where she grew up, part of the third generation of her family to call the tiny capital city of Montpelier home. She spent ten years as an executive with a global health membership and advocacy organization, worked as a tour coordinator in a travel agency, and has traveled extensively in Europe and India. She has a passion for Classical music, all things Celtic, and exploring ethnic foods and diverse cultures. Her first novel, “Deceptive Cadence” was awarded a Gold Medal in the Readers Favorite Awards and a Silver Medal in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and most recently was honored with an IndieB.R.A.G Medallion. She currently has three books published in the Conor McBride Series, with more on the way.
Hello, Kathryn! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. How did you discover indieBRAG?
I belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors and several of its recipients are Medallion recipients. Through the discussions in the member forum, I came to understand that indieBRAG was very well respected among authors and other professionals in the self-publishing industry, so I decided to check out the website and learn more.
Please tell me about your book, Deceptive Cadence.
I like to think of it as “a thriller with heart.” The hero of the book is an Irishman named Conor McBride. He’s a talented musician whose career was ruined when was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, he’s been asked to reinvent himself, and assume an undercover identity to search for the man responsible, who happens to be his own brother, Thomas. The book is about his wild ride from the west coast of Ireland all the way to India, as he finds himself drawn into a dangerous game where things are not what they seem and he doesn’t know who to trust.
Who designed your book cover?
I worked with Andrew and Rebecca Brown at Design for Writers. They are based in the UK and I’m in the US, but despite the geographical distance the whole process felt very collaborative and positive, and I was really happy with the result.
What are a couple of the themes written in your story?
I focus a lot on character development in my writing, so I’d say the most important theme in the story is the internal struggle of the hero to hold on to his own sense of identity. He’s not a professional spy, and he’s a decent man, so he has trouble with the moral ambiguity of what he’s doing. Pretty quickly, he gets sucked into this world of criminal gangs, drugs and human trafficking. He used to be a man who carried a violin everywhere, and now he’s a man who carries a gun. And what’s worse (from his standpoint, not the reader’s!) is his discovery that he’s very good at it. He’s learning things about himself he didn’t want to know, and as the book continues he begins to realize that he can never “unlearn” them, or go back to the life he had before.
What is an example of conflict that Conor experiences in his undercover identity?
I’d say one big conflict is his attitude about his brother. Thomas is ten years older and was Conor’s hero, so when he disappeared and let his younger brother take the fall for a crime he’d committed, it was a bitter betrayal. Conor’s first instinct is to refuse the mission to find him, but once he’s persuaded Thomas is in danger he can’t help but go through with it, because in spite of everything he still loves his brother, and part of him also wants the opportunity to confront him and get an explanation.
Does Conor play a classical instrument?
He plays a violin, and he’s a virtuoso. When he was very young, his father taught him to play traditional Irish music, and then he went off to Dublin and became trained as a Classical musician. He had a job with the national symphony orchestra before everything fell apart on him.
Please tell me a little about his friendship with an elderly Indian woman named Kavita Kotwal. What is her role in the story?
Like all good Irishmen, Conor is close to his mother, so when he’s in India and finds himself so dislocated and conflicted Kavita is a mother figure to him. She’s also got some interesting secrets. Like a lot of people in the story, there’s more to her than meets the eye!
Your setting for the story begins on a farm on the Dingle peninsula, which is on the west coast of Ireland. Why did you chose this place and what drew you to it?
My heritage is Irish and I’m a native Vermonter, so I think I’ve always been drawn to the west of Ireland because it’s more rural and reminds me of my own home, while still being a bit exotic. The Dingle peninsula is particularly gorgeous and it’s my favorite part of Ireland.
What period is your story set in?
The period is the recent past. For various reasons related to a few historical events, I chose to start this first book in the series in April, 2003.
Where can readers buy your book?
If readers are interested in the paperback, I always encourage them to buy from my website so they can get an autographed copy
For the digital copy it is currently exclusively available on Amazon.
Where in your home do you like to write and what is your process?
This is a great time to ask this question because I’ve recently remodeled my house to create a second-floor apartment for myself, and I designed it specifically thinking about where I might like to write. I have a study and do a lot of writing at my desk there, but for a change of scenery, I might take the laptop to my breakfast bar and sit on the stool there for a while, and then maybe move to a couch either in the living room or out on the screened-in porch.
My process is as varied as my writing locations! I was pretty much a “pantser” (writing by the seat of) for my first three books. I had a general idea of the plot and where things were going, but there were situations and scenes that I didn’t know were coming until I wrote them, and characters that I was surprised to see show up! For the book I’m working on now, I’m trying an outlining method I read about in a book called Take Off Your Pants! I’ve found it helpful and although I worried it would spoil the idea of surprises, I’m finding that the outline doesn’t impede that at all.
When thinking about the next book in the series, the characters are paramount, so I’m first thinking about who they are and what stage of development they were at in the last book, and what kind of things they might be facing next in their own internal lives, aside from whatever external plot they participate in, and I really enjoy that. Then, I think about the setting I’d like to see the characters in—where in the world will they go next? When I’ve settled on that, I do a lot of research and thinking about the setting itself, – the food, the culture and history, the music, the people – and try to let it inspire me in terms of scenes and plot developments.
What are you working on next?
I just released Book 3 in the Conor McBride series, which is called City Of A Thousand Spies, and is set in the absolutely gorgeous and romantic city of Prague. For my current writing project, I’ve started writing the story of how Conor’s parents met. It’s set in Ireland in the early 1950s and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. His parents are fabulous!
Do you stick with one genre?
I would say that at its core the series I’m writing is thriller/suspense, but I find myself more inclined to be true to the story and the characters rather than the genre. So, while Deceptive Cadence is a straight suspense/thriller, the second book, The Secret Chord crosses into romantic suspense. Why? Because Conor McBride met someone! The story I’m writing now about how his parents met is connected to the series, but it’s purely historical fiction/romance, no thriller content at all. And I also have an idea for a book in the main series that would have the characters getting involved in something that plays more like a cozy mystery. I’m not sure if this is wise from a business standpoint (!), but I’m hoping most of the readers who have enjoyed the first three books are as caught up in the characters as I am, and will tolerate some coloring outside the lines when it comes to genre. When I read, I most enjoy a character-driven book. It could be a mystery, romance, western, whatever. It doesn’t matter what label you put on it, as long as the characters are people I care about and wish were my friends.
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Kathryn Guare who is the author of, Deceptive Cadence our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Deceptive Cadence, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.