Q. Intentional or not, your trademark is poignant tales laced with humor that melds perfectly into the story. How do you manage to keep the proper balance between humor and tragedy without it appearing contrived?
Cathy: Ah, that’s a hard one. I bang my head against the keyboard many times as I write each book to make sure that I hit that sweet spot. I try to mirror life: Sometimes life is devastating. It’s hard, it’s trying, it’s exhausting, it’s so very painful. And, sometimes life is a glowing rainbow. It’s laughter, contentment, gratefulness, excitement, peace and joy, all wrapped up together. I blend the two for my books, so it’s realistic.
My books always end on hope, though. That I will guarantee for every book I write: hope.
Q. In “The Last Time I was Me,” you introduce a bevy of women at a B&B and anger management classes who interact with the main character Jeanne, searching for her perfect version of life. These secondary characters are memorable. Will we see them again?
Cathy: No. Once I finish a book, despite my readers begging, I don’t plan on writing the second chapter, so to speak, of my characters’ lives. Sometimes readers will write to me and ask what happened to my characters, and I’ll tell ‘em so they can sleep at night, but I won’t be writing stories featuring the same groups again. I feel like I’ve told their stories, the characters are living their own lives, they’re off and running, and I’m moving on to a new family that’s already frolicking around in my head.
There is only one exception, a minor character, Cherie Poitras, a kick – butt divorce attorney who wears leopard prints and bang up high heels, has shown up in a couple of my stories.
Q. Any parting thoughts for your readers and those not familiar with your stories yet?
Cathy: Please read them! And to my readers, thank you for reading them. I mean that: Thank you.
I have many letters from readers telling me that my books make them laugh and cry. Sometimes they laugh and chortle and cry and sob on subways and airplanes and people stare at them strangely. Basically, I love to write and tell stories. I always have, even when I was a kid. I listen to my characters talk and sometimes I talk back. I live in my imagination a lot. It’s an odd place to live. I blog and I Skype with book clubs all the time, so if you would like me to visit your book club, I’m happy to.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net