As many people know, Kaylin McFarren wasn’t born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors. However, she has been involved with business and personal writing projects for many years. Her careers have taken her in all directions, ranging from fashion modeling and interior design to office manager and art gallery director. Yet her love of reading and interest in creative writing has remained ever present. As a result of her tapping into her imagination and utilizing her own life experiences, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards. Her first novel, Flaherty’s Crossing was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest and her second book, Severed Threads, has already garnered two first place awards.
Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation – a non-profit she and her husband formed to fund expanded research, and the care and treatment of cancer patients and their families.
Her latest book is a romantic suspense titled Severed Threads.
You can visit Kaylin online at www.KaylinMcFarren.com.
Believing herself responsible for her father’s fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father’s death.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
Rachel is an attractive thirty-two year old, brown-haired, hazel-eyed former marine biologist who’s lost everyone she’s loved for one reason or another and is simply going through the motions after giving up her passion for diving. Four years earlier, her arguments with her father ultimately lead to his accidental drowning. As a result, she’s buried her emotions, taken a job in a foundation office and experiences reoccurring nightmares.
Chase Cohen, Rachel’s ex-lover, is a charismatic thirty-four year old, blond-haired, blue-eyed treasure seeker who’s fun loving, brave and caring, but he’s also hiding a world of secrets that caused him to leave town four years ago. He’s become obsessed with finding the mother lode and although he blames himself for his part in Sam Lyon’s death, the success of his latest endeavor depends on Rachel’s generosity and willingness to forget their damaged past.
Devon Lyons, an ambitious high-powered stockbroker, is Rachel’s younger brother. His preoccupation with money and blind love for Selena, the sister of a notorious drug-dealing mobster, has resulted in his involvement with an unsavory group of characters.
My characters originally come from my imagination as a transitory illusion and over time become more concrete and defined. Eventually they are chiseled into complex, interesting individuals, aided by my interactions with memorable people from my travels to various places around the world.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
I tend to start with a story idea and know pretty much where it begins and where I want it to end. As I grow my characters, I turn them loose and let their personalities help shape the story, often detouring it in all directions. Oddly, it’s not unusual to see the solution to a painted corner buried within the developing story.
Q: Your book is set in San Palo, California. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
Actually, I invented this city to mirror communities similar to San Diego and Port Angeles, where I’ve spent a great deal of time. I find it’s often easier and more fun to create unique places than worry about accurate details of a thriving, well-known community.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
Yes. This is a struggling mid-size town that depends on fishing, charter boats and tourism for its economic survival. The discovery of an ancient shipwreck with a valuable cargo onboard affects everyone living and working there.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Devon Lyons is tied up in an abandoned warehouse and being forced to watch a gangster beat his financial partner and best friend to death.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
“Rachel, I’m not going to lie to you. I heard you’d given up diving, that you were working for the Warren Nash Foundation. But I honestly had no idea you’d be here.”
Her spine stiffened.
“And as for your dad,” he continued, “not a day goes by that I don’t feel responsible for what happened. Sam was a good man. Like a father to me.”
She bristled. Her gaze burned with emotion. “Oh, really? Then why didn’t you have the decency to show up at his funeral?”
Chase’s gaze slid from her face. His brows met when he looked up again. “Look, I really wanted to come. It’s just that after the investigation and everything – ”
Her anger ripened. “Yea, right.” His scrawled note had left her brooding for weeks. Something urgent came up…have to leave town. After professing her love, he turned out to be the scoundrel her brother Devon had painted him out to be. Her teeth clenched at the memory. “You were a complete asshole. Now, get out of my way.”
Using both hands, she shoved hard against his taut chest, but he rocked right back in place. He grabbed hold of her wrists and pulled her in close. “You have every right to be angry,” he said quietly. “But there was a good reason why I stayed away. Why I never called you.”
An involuntary shiver ran up her spine. She averted her gaze toward the marina, wishing the drifting fog could shield her from his soul-searching gaze. She didn’t want him to see how broken she’d become. Or how much, deep inside, she had never stopped yearning for his touch.
“It had nothing to do with you and me,” he insisted.
She stepped back, breaking his grip. “It still doesn’t.” Venom dripped from her words.
Chase nodded slowly. “Maybe not. But right now, I need this job. More than you know.” His blue eyes intensified. “What will it take for us to get past everything? An apology? You have it. My promise to stay clear of you? Done.”
His words reminded her how easy it was for him to dismiss her. She’d been such a fool in allowing his charm to blind her. He obviously cared about no one but himself. And deep down inside, no matter how hard she had tried to dismiss it, they both shared the blame in her father’s death. Nothing would change that.
She drew in a deep breath. “There is one thing that will make me feel better.”
His face relaxed. “You name it. Anything you want.”
She pulled back her arm and swung with all her might. Her palm connected with his cheek so hard it stung her hand to the bone.
“Damn!” He grabbed his face, wincing from the blow.
She pressed her palms together, nursing her own pain, and addressed him again. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time. If you think you can just show up and expect me to – ”
Before she could finish, he pulled her into his arms. His lips found hers, launching a current through her veins. The parking lot was spinning out of control and he was the driving force. Her legs quivered, leaving her unsteady on her feet. When he finally lifted his head, she leaned against him, breathless, betrayed by her body’s weakened state.
His warm breath brushed her cheek, lifting tiny hairs on her skin. “And I’ve wanted to do that,” he whispered raggedly, “from the first moment I saw you in Doc’s office.”
Of course. His agenda. Her senses sobered. She distanced herself and firmed her tone. “Nice try. But you’re still not getting a dime from me.”
Chase bent his head and seemed to be strategizing his next move. When he looked up, his crystal eyes chipped away at her soul. “For what it’s worth, Rachel, I really am sorry…for everything. Should’ve said that a long time ago.” He rubbed the back of his neck. An emotion resembling disappointment crossed his face. “Believe me, I would’ve stuck around if I could have.”
She was surprised by his show of sincerity. But nothing he could say would lessen the pain she still felt from him abandoning her when she needed him most.
She jutted out her chin. “It was just a summer fling. A mistake from beginning to end. We should have ended it like adults, is all.”
Her final words hung in the air. A nerve jumped at his temple. “I didn’t know you felt that way,” he said.
Chase’s kiss still simmered on her lips. His nearness threatened her reserve. It wasn’t in her to be cruel, but she’d been hurt far too long to back down now.
“So…now you do.” The lie tasted bitter in her mouth.
Chase’s eyes darkened. He gave a rueful nod. “Good thing we got that cleared up. Wouldn’t want to make any more mistakes.”
As he strutted toward his truck, anger gathered in Rachel’s chest. Anger over his words, his deeds, his presumptuous kiss. Over the fact that for a split second, he had made her feel like the bad guy. Her mind threw daggers at his back. “Damn you, Chase Cohen.”
She slid inside her silver Kia and slammed the car door grateful the museum’s security guard was now watching from a distance. If he hadn’t been, she might have acted on a homicidal impulse and run Chase over, the manipulating jerk.
In fact, it made her feel better just to imagine it.
Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?
Oddly, I haven’t had this problem. My issue is that I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all down.
Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
I’d love to have an hour to pamper myself and simply relax, since my life seems to be going a hundred miles an hours most of the time. J
Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?
The Help. I love this book! The characters and their voices are real and their stories incredibly compelling. Plus I really enjoyed the dark humor tucked inside.
Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?
There are so many options available to authors with everything ranging from traditional queries and submissions to well-known literary agencies to self-publishing and working with print on demand companies. My only piece of advice to a new author would be no matter which route you elect to take, be sure you’re representing quality work that you’ve spent time polishing and that you’ll be proud to see in print. Become familiar with market trends and public demand while having realistic expectations for your potential sales.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kaylin. We wish you much success!