HC: Kathi, thank you for joining us on High Cotton. You are a seasoned writer. What generated the Summer in Sweetland series?
Kathi: I originally wanted a follow-up to The 12 Days of Christmas series and was considering a Mother’s Day series, but Giovanni (Helping Hands Press) and I decided it was better to spread the stories out over the summer, rather than one holiday in May.
HC: Can you explain the concept of “installments” and “series” writing?
Kathi: Though this sort of writing has been around for a while (think “soap operas”), it is really starting to catch on in books. In the case of these series with Helping Hands, each story is written by a different author, but each episode takes the reader to the next step or “installment” in the overall story.
HC: What is unique about the Summer in Sweetland series?
Kathi: Unlike the Christmas series, where each episode took the reader one day closer to Christmas but otherwise did not connect (some were historical, some contemporary, some Amish, etc.), each episode in this series builds on previous episodes. All take place in the same town, with some characters overlapping and others unique to that particular episode. All will culminate in the final episode (to be written by yours truly), which will take place at Sweetland’s city park on Labor Day, where loose ends from previous episodes will be neatly tied together.
HC: What brought the eight authors together? Similarities of style? Friendships?
Kathi: All had at some point expressed to me a desire to be part of something like this. I brought Anne Baxter Campbell in to help me pull the authors together and coordinate the project (could NOT have done it without her!), and though most of the writers didn’t previously know each other, we are all now talking and sharing and working together as a team.
HC : What are the challenges about working with seven other writers on one project?
Kathi:HA! Ever heard the terms “herding cats”? Seriously, though, the writers have been fantastic. The primary challenge has been developing the little town of Sweetland so we didn’t trip one another up somehow. In other words, if I want to include a barbershop in my story, I need to check with the other writers to see if anyone else already has one. If not, I can create one, but then we must decide where to put it on our town map. It’s been fun!
HC: Can we expect other projects from this group?
Kathi: I certainly hope so! We’re in the talking stages about that now and hope to confirm very soon!