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Kathryn M Shanahan

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Meet Kathryn M. Shanahan Merchantville Author and Dreamer
Saturday, May 18, 2002  5:28:00 PM

by Kathryn M Shanahan

Article published in "The Retrospect" on Friday, May 17, 2002 written by Mary Krein

Kathryn M. Shanahan of Merchantville has just had her first book pubished-"Brianna's Escape". She has written two more books which are not yet published and is currently working on four more that are set in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

She said that she dreams all her books from start to finish. She knows what the characters wear-what they say-what they cook and bake-everything about them. "I just got another idea recently when I was taking a nap." she noted. "That happens quite a few times."

"Brianna's Escape" is basically the story of a romance noveist who is living in New York and she gets a little bored." she explains. "In her dentist's ofice one day, she finds a real estate magazine fr Arizona.

She gets own there and sees a six-foot-tall Native American who will be the love interest. She goes through a few things while she is down there and what ends up happening is a man who kidnapped and held her in New York finds out that she is living in Arizona and he comes after her. She had to defend herself from him and learns right after that she is pregnant and has to tell her that not only are they having a baby but the neighbor up in New York she was living next to door to is raising a little boy who's 10. She is his grandmother and has made arrangements that Brianna is to care for this boy if anything happens to her. She dies and Brianna, at the age of 27, becomes the mother of a 10-year-old and has twins on the way

It is a romance novel and you have to have a little something-you have to make it exciting even if it is over the line." she adds. "I wrote a realistic contemporary romance novel and it is a bit of a thriller."

Shanahan was born in Florida and lived in Ohio, Georgia and Maryland before moving to Merchantville in 1984. She attended Merchantville Elementary School and graduated from Pennsauken High School. Her family has been in Merchantville since the early 1900's. They were there when Maple Avenue was a dirt road! She lives with her mother, Louise, and her brother, Matt. Her grandmother, Kathryn Doherty, still lives in town.

"I have always been writing." she says. "When they aske my in kindergarden in Ohio what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said that I wanted to be a writer and I was only five. I usually make mental notes everywhere I go. Basically, if you read my books and you see a small town set somewhere-it is Merchantville but I don't call it that. I call it Sellerburg. When I went to Arizona, I made a lot of notes and ended up putting quite a few things like the air and the scenery into the book.

"Living in Merchantville, I love the idea that if I want to take a walk and go uptown, I can get something to eat and sit down and watch the people go by." she added. "I have the library there. I love hunting through the sale section at Merchantville Library-books that they take off the shelves and sell for 50 cents or something. I love going through there because I have gotten a few of the reference books that I used when I was a student and I bought them."

"I have one that I am actually using as the plot of another book that I am setting up in the Trenton area." she continued. "It involves my character needing to find out what variety apple tree she has on her property. You can't find books like that. So, I have one of all the old heirloom apples-the different apples and trees planted that we don't have anymore. I used it in a paper at Merchantville when was in the 7th grade and I loved it but it was never available until I went to the library one day in January and found it on the table and bought it for $1. I like specific books and most of them are old. I love finding an old book-like an old friend, I guess."

Shanahan wrote the first draft of "Brianna's Escape" in a month after dreaming and thinking about the story for seven years. At 19, she had a life-threatenng bout of Lyme Disease and was treated for two-and-a-half years. She lost her ability to draw and her short-term memory and concentration were affected. She started reading easy romances and kept complaining to her mother about the limited storylines and characters. She encouraged her to write the story she dreamed-just the way she told her about it.

She wanted to be an archaeologist or a forensic pathologist. However, health issues made that impossible but she is still fascinated by the subjects and says that future books will contain murder mysteries in addition to romance.

She has donated a copy of "Brianna's Escape" to the Camden County Library System and there are copies in the Merchantville Library and the Rogers Library in Pennsauken. The book is available online and it can be ordered at book stores like Barnes and Noble if you provide her ISBN number 1-58851-829-9. They can put it on their computer system and obtain it for you.

"I don't know how well the book is doing because I won't get my statement until October." she commented. "I have been invited to speak and am available for speaking engagements. I have done quite a few of them. I will speak to anybody! I have just finished speaking at the Merchantville Library, the Senior Group in Mechantville, the Retirees Club of South Jersey, the Rotary Club of Merchantville and the Merchantville Business Associations. She will speak on writing for and reading the romantic fiction genre as well as sign copies of her novel.

You may order "Brianna's Escape" from the publisher, Publish America, at 1-877-333-7422 or from your favorite book store. You may also order from one of the following Internet addresses:, or If anyone cares to E-mail her, she will get right back to everybody.

"If you have writing ambitions, read everything you possibly can." Shanahan advises. "Write when you get up in the morning-if you want to write 2 lines or 20 pages. If you have two minutes and you have an idea-write it down. Carry a tape recorder and record your thoughts. That is what I do. I have a small tape recorder in my handbag and if I get an idea while I'm walking uptown, I put it on the recorder. I have gotten some funny looks but I don't care. I write!"

 More News about Kathryn M Shanahan
Guest Speaker - 11/17/2001 5:59:00 PM

Author Night at the Reading Center - 11/14/2001 7:04:00 AM

Short But Sweet from my town paper - 8/27/2001 8:40:00 PM

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