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Member Since: Aug, 2009

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  Kaylin's Success Story
Excerpt from Romance Writers on the Journey:

Kaylin McFarren writes award-winning romance. Her debut novel, Flaherty’s Crossing, was a 2008 Golden Heart® finalist. It’s placed in several contests as well. The novel is scheduled for release by Champagne Books in February 2010.

Although Kaylin wasn’t born with a pen in hand like many authors, she has been actively involved in both business and personal writing projects for many years. As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in furthering the careers of numerous visual artists who, under her guidance, gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to spread her own creative wings, she has since steered her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards including her Golden Heart final.

Kaylin lives in the Pacific Northwest with her very supportive and patient husband, two competitive dogs, one meandering cat and a pond filled with incredibly hungry Koi. Her interests include reading, international travel, wine tasting, interior design, golf, skiing and visual arts. She makes an annual visit to Japan to enjoy the cherry blossom season, to watch her husband in action (giving motivational speeches and appearing on television shows), and to visit friends and family members who live there.

•You took a course fourteen years ago called Writing the Novel as well as similar ones before that, so the desire to craft a story has been part of your life for a long time. Where do you believe this interest comes from?

Actually, I’ve always had an active imagination, probably my Irish roots burrowing into my brain. For most of my life, I was an avid romance reader, longing to slip into Jane Austen’s corset.

I tried my hand at poetry and writing short stories…anything to express my love of the written word. In high school and college, a few of my short stories actually ended up in school publications, but for the most part, they were tucked away in various drawers.

As time went by, I married and was fortunate enough to travel to exotic places, meeting remarkable people, each with a unique story to tell. And along the way, I found inspiration and plenty of ideas to now channel into what I hope will be a long series of entertaining books.

•When did you begin writing Flaherty’s Crossing, which involves a woman dealing with her father’s death due to cancer? What led you to explore such an emotionally charged subject?

Sixteen years ago, following my father’s death, I found myself obsessed with sitting in front of a typewriter, coming to terms with unresolved issues by banging on keys. This silent venting became a sort of “therapy through writing” exercise. However, this exercise slowly evolved, taking on a life of its own. I began creating a related fictional story about a woman’s personal journey, and in the process of exploring my main character’s growth, I found myself learning and growing as well.

Eventually, I came to believe I had a meaningful story to tell, one through which I could possibly touch other people who shared the same complicated family relationships – and maybe even make a difference in their lives. Yet I still struggled with bringing this tale to a close.

It wasn’t until my eldest daughter provided her amazing writing insight that I finally came to realize why I struggled with the ending, for both the book and my father’s passing: the true resolution didn’t rest in holding onto the past; it came from opening my mind to future possibilities and honoring him – not only by setting this story free, but by becoming the professional storyteller that had been hiding in my genes. And I don’t mean blue jeans… :-)
Kaylin’s Process

•What is the spark of your story? Is it the characters, a particular scene, a stunning beginning or something else?

I would love to think it’s my “stunning beginning,” the first turning point in Kate Flaherty’s life. But honestly, I believe it’s the unexpected characters she encounters who impact her life in ways she could never foresee and remind her of the importance of being true to her heart.

•Do you stick to a rigid schedule, writing a certain number of hours a day? Or do you experience creative bursts and sit at the keyboard until fatigue finally forces you to quit?

I guess I’m one of those compulsive writers who love to sit at the keyboard from 8 AM to 5 PM or until someone demands I move. In other words, until I eat, sleep or actually talk. Writing takes me to another world that could easily shut everything around me out. Fortunately I have patient, loving people in my life to ensure I remain part of the general populous.
Mountaintop Experiences

•On March 25, 2008, the Romance Writers of America® board members made some special phone calls. You received one telling you Flaherty’s Crossing was a Golden Heart finalist. What were you doing when the call came? And what did you do afterward?

I was in the shower, of all places, when the phone rang, and I still remember my voice echoing over the receiver. My first reaction was that my daughter Kristina was playing a joke on me, but then I got it. This was a real person. The news was real. I think I must have said thank you a dozen times before dancing around and screaming. My husband came running, thinking the hot water had run out.


•Last month you received life-changing news. The Call. Your hard work and dedication had paid off. Champagne Books bought your GH finaling story. Please share your reaction with all its emotionally charged details.

My “call story” is pretty straightforward. With a few months of sending out the requested full manuscript of Flaherty’s Crossing to Ellen Smith at Champagne Books, I received an exciting email from her offering a contract. I was ecstatic to say the least. I called everyone I could think of and poured myself a large glass of wine to celebrate. Even now when I think of it, I have to pinch myself to confirm it’s real.

•The good news just keeps coming. Your new story, Severed Threads, took first place in the Utah RWA’s Great Beginnings contest. I understand this win means a lot to you. Why is that?

With Flaherty’s Crossing in the “process” of release, I got busy trying my hand at one of my favorite genres – action/adventure romance. Being my first attempt at writing in a very competitive category, I was anxious for feedback on my wip, and although I couldn’t help but hope, I didn’t expect the entry to even final. So, when I received word that Severed Threads had won first place, I was blown away. Winning this contest has not only been an honor, but affirmation that I’m headed in the right direction with a book I’m having so much fun writing. :-D
In the Valley

•You received a number of rejections on Flaherty’s Crossing. No matter how much we brace ourselves, it hurts to have our work turned down. Who or what enabled you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and send your story out again?

Flaherty’s Crossing was truly a labor of love, but it also crossed a few genres – making it a difficult book to place with a large house. At first I took the rejections as reflections on my writing skills, then I realized although they didn’t accept it, I was receiving a great deal of praise from publishers via personal notes and emails.

Rather than hold back to see what might happen way down the road or completely reinvent the novel based on suggestions I didn’t feel were true to the core of my story, my daughter Kristina McMorris encouraged me to take hold of the reins. I pursued smaller houses, where they are more open to books that are out-of-the-box. Fortunately, Flaherty’s Crossing and I have found a wonderful home at Champagne Books!
Partners on Kaylin’s Journey

•You had a special editor assist you on Flaherty’s Crossing. Your daughter Kristina. What contributions did she make to the story? Was she tough on her mom, pushing you to new heights, or did she serve more as grammar patrol?

Although Kristina is my daughter, she is also my best friend and strongest supporter – you might say, my other half – thus my pen name, Kaylin (K = Kris, Lin = Linda). She is an amazing author in her own right and my toughest critic. She can peel the toughest hide by shoving creative vision to the wayside or insulting suggested word choices during the course of editing. But in the long run, I admire her honesty and tenacity. As far as I’m concerned, every project I sink my teeth into is a collaborated effort in every respect because of her. (Even if I secretly want to pitch her halfway across the room.) :-D

•You have a number of multi-published authors as critique partners. Do you meet in person, or do you exchange your work via email? What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your CPs?

On occasion I meet with my CPs to get feedback, but for the most part we discuss our plot issues, story lines and dreaded synopses via email.

I guess the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in this shared process/partnership are: 1) Keep an open mind – just be willing to see the whole movie and don’t fall in love with a slide; and 2) Sometimes you’re so busy stepping around holes in a story, you don’t take the time to fill them until your favorite CP falls into one.
Kaylin’s Journey Continues

•Your debut novel, Flaherty’s Crossing, is in your publisher’s hands, and you’re awaiting feedback. What requests for revisions, if any, do you expect?

I’ve been told my assigned editor will provide “suggested changes” to my story in August. I can only hope these revisions are limited to word choices or spelling errors. But in a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any, right?


•Your new novel, Severed Threads, is making a splash on the contest circuit. What are your plans for it? Revision? Submission?

Although I would love to believe otherwise, Severed Threads is still a work in progress. From contests like Great Beginnings, I’m looking forward to receiving helpful feedback that I can apply as I continue to develop the story. Once it’s completed and thoroughly reviewed, I’ll be actively engaged in the submission process all over again.


•What are you working on now? Something similar to one of your other stories or something entirely different?

Although I’m still working on Severed Threads at this time, I’m also a sort of “research assistant” and most likely assistant editor for Kristina’s second contracted book, which is presently in the works.

In addition, I have ideas for another exciting story that will follow on the coat tails of Severed Threads, which will take readers into the mysterious and entrancing world of Kyoto’s geisha quarters. Did I ever tell you I’m never short on ideas? Irish storyteller, right?

Your First Book


Please tell us about your debut novel, Flaherty’s Crossing.

Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother’s death. While racing home, Kate’s car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the balance. When her night takes an unexpected turn, however, she flees for her life, a life desperate for faith that can only be found through her ability to forgive.

Five Fun Facts About Kaylin

~ Even though I already had a boyfriend, my future husband told everyone we knew in college I was the girl he was going to marry – only two days after we met. (Believe it or not, we were engaged two weeks later.)

~ I’m crazy for dessert and sometimes would prefer to skip dinner altogether just to indulge. (Crème Brule and Amaretto Cheesecake are my all time favorites.)

~ I love large family get-togethers where everyone talks over each other, even though it drives polite introverts crazy. (I was blessed with three daughters, but would have loved to have had eight children.)

~ I’m kind of a neat freak. I can’t leave my house without making my bed first, and I always clean up before my housekeepers arrive. (I wouldn’t want them to see how messy I am.)

~ Whenever I feel depressed about money, I go shopping. For some strange reason, it always makes me feel better. (I figure I’ll deal with the guilt later.)
Kaylin’s Question for You

•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Kaylin. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. And now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors. What would you like to know?

After being married for 36 years, I’m often asked, “How have you managed to stay together for so long?” Everyone has their pat answers, but I’d really be interested in knowing what people attribute their successful marriage or relationship to? Do you give in, never go to bed mad or avoid each other at all costs?

Learn More About Kaylin

Visit her Web site:

Friend her on Facebook: Kaylin McFarren

Road to success story available at

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