Green author Kathyrn Long has published a spooky new novel, just in time for Halloween. She will discuss it and the writing process during a special program at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Portage Lakes Branch Library, 4261 Manchester Road in Akron.
Kathryn Long’s career began like many aspiring novelists – with more desire, imagination and flat out gumption than actual writing experience.
Unlike a good number of her contemporaries, however, Long’s trajectory has hit upon nearly every aspect of the publishing world, from self-publishing and e-books to traditional presses. And, as a retired Green Local Schools teacher, she simply loves to talk about that journey.
That’s precisely what she will do at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Portage Lakes Branch Library, 4261 Manchester Road in Akron.
A Barberton native, Long’s writing ambitions do trace back to childhood. A reader and writer by nature, Long was a member of her high school writing club and managed a Walden Books store after earning her bachelors in French from the University of Akron – all the while juggling marriage and family – and continuing to write.
In 1987, Long returned to school, earning her bachelor’s in education. After retiring from the Green Local Schools, her writing ramped up even more, leading to a slew of short stories, and novels of the self and traditional publishing variety.
“People will ask why did I go the traditional route this time – I think it was just something I wanted to do, to say I could do it,” Long said of Mainly Murder Press’s publication of “Dying To Dream.” It’s the most recent in a line of delightfully imaginative – and at times, mightily spooky– novels that tap her lifelong love of both romantic suspense and paranormal mystery. “It gave my ego the few strokes it needed and I just contracted with The Wild Rose Press for a new one, ‘The Deadly Deed Grows.’”
Although Long found success in publishing – she received three offers before securing a contract with Mainly Murder in 2012 – she was no stranger to the self-publishing world. While that route is often derided by wordsmiths of all stripes, Long, for one, does not consider self-publishing shameful in the least.
“The only (people) who are going to lose respect for you are other writers,” she deadpanned to the full house gathered for her most recent “Dying To Dream” book signing at the
Barberton Library. “Most readers don’t even take the time to look at the publisher information; if it’s interesting, you buy it – not because it’s published by Random House.”
And given the nature of the modern publishing world, Long said, even a writer with a traditional publishing arrangement will do a yeoman’s share of the title’s promotion work, both through social media and other online outlets, including e-books options, and good old-fashioned book talks.
“Writing mysteries has always been my passion and niche,” Long said. “I enjoy creating the intricate details and weaving them together into the clues which the reader will enjoy collecting to solve the crime.”
Page 2 of 2 - At the Barberton Library appearance, Long’s blunt and good-naturedly self-deprecating appeal was on fine display.
“(Dying To Dream) takes place in Louisiana, so people ask ‘oh, have you ever been there?’ and the answer is no,” Long said. “But I am the research queen.”
Setting the novel in Saint Toulere, La. had other, more obvious advantages.
“They say to write what you know and I do incorporate a lot of what I know,” Long said. “I have a passion for ghosts and ghost hunting and Louisiana has been noted to be the most haunted state in the U.S. So, I thought, what better place?”
“Dying To Dream” begins, appropriately, with a death. It’s described exquisitely, from the standpoint of both narration and dialogue as the novel recounts Marin Seurat’s return to her hometown . Her special gift – the ability to communicate with spirits through her dreams – helps her to solve mysteries both the past and present along the way.
With another homerun of a novel under her belt, Long is far from settling.
“Every time I reach a goal, I set a new one,” Long said. “The ultimate goal would be to get published by one of the big ones – a Random House or Simon & Schuster. But you have to have an agent to present (a manuscript) to get that. Though that might be a little easier now with (having had) two traditionally published.”
No matter what publisher is listed on future dust jackets, Long’s love for and camaraderie with her audience is obvious . When an audience member at the Barberton Library appearance asked if Long was still considering using the city’s historic Anna-Dean Farm as a setting for a future novel, Long chuckled and said the idea is, indeed, still percolating.
“But in my story, they never tore down the farm, and Anna Dean is a ghost, so I’m not sure how the family would feel about that,” Long said. “But I don’t know, she is a nice ghost.”
For more information, visit http://kathrynlong.webs.com/