Book Blog Tour: Kathryn Leigh Scott

Author Kathryn Leigh Scott is on a Blog Tour to promote her latest release, Down and Out in Beverly Heels.


Where were you born and where do you call home?

I grew up on a farm in Minnesota after living in Norway for a year when I was a toddler. How different my life would be if my parents had chosen to remain in the small Norwegian village where my father was born! Yet I think I would still have become a writer and actor because so many of my family members, including my parents, wrote and acted. My brothers are both excellent writers. I am thoroughly American, yet I’ve lived, worked and traveled all over the world, filling notebook after notebook with journal writings. For many years I called Zurich, London and Paris home. Now I divide my time between New York and Los Angeles.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve been drawn to writing and acting since I was a child and they are still my twin careers, one always feeding the other. I wrote a play about George Washington in second grade, but it was all about Martha, the role I intended to play. I wrote short stories all through grade school, worked on the school newspaper and in high school won a state award for an interview I did with Carl Sandburg. I attended the summer “cherub” program at Northwestern University on scholarship when I was 16, after applying in both the journalism and theatre departments. I consider myself so blessed that I am still working as a writer and an actor, and I’ve though of myself as both since I was seven years old!

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Much of what I’ve written is nonfiction. I am very drawn to memoir, having written books about my experiences working as both a Playboy Bunny while in drama school and as one of the original actors on “Dark Shadows.” When I turned to fiction with Dark Passages, I was able to incorporate everything I knew about the behind-the-scenes world of Playboy and live soap opera in the 1960s… that’s very rich material! I also tend to write funny and it reflects my take on life. I’m essentially a happy person with a robust sense of the ridiculous… and I do love taking a poke at artifice and complacent thinking. Down and Out in Beverly Heels is about a homeless woman, but however harsh her life becomes, she deals with it in a very resourceful, humorous, upbeat manner. My work as a writer is very much character driven and dialogue comes naturally… is that a surprise?

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I’m currently writing a sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels because I love the character. I sometimes wish I were Meg Barnes! She’s tenacious, fun, resilient and so appealing to me. I’m writing in the mystery romance genre, but I tend to choose plots that have serious underpinnings, in this case sex trafficking. I guess I need a bit of fire in the belly when I write and dealing with the harsh realities gives my character some bite and purpose. I like that.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I’m an early riser and quite often go straight to my desk with a cup of tea to read over what I’ve worked on the day before.  My goal is 1000 words a day and I usually manage it. However, I’m also an actress so sometimes auditions and acting take me away from my desk. For relaxation, nothing’s better than a long walk or cooking for friends. There’s no point in trying to write at night because I simply can’t!

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I can’t not write. It’s as simple as that. It’s hard and sometimes I wonder what I could accomplish channeling that time spent writing into some other endeavor, but I keep writing. For one thing, you learn things about yourself you never suspected.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I write a synopsis that is very complete and then I outline. However, invariably by chapter 6 the characters take off on their own. It’s easy to write yourself into a corner that way, but at a certain point you have to trust your characters to figure things out.

What inspired you to write this book?

Down and Out in Beverly Heels is about a woman who leads an enviable life until it all comes crashing down when it’s revealed that her husband is a conman who has fleeced her and her friends… she loses everything she’s worked so hard for and ends up living on the streets of Beverly Hills is what she calls her “Ritz-Volvo.” The novel is inspired by an experience my brother had when he unwittingly hired a man in the witness protection program, who was an embezzlet… and my own experiences meeting women living on the edge, “homeless and hiding it.” It takes so little: career meltdown, bad investments, catastrophic illness or accident, natural disaster, etc. I think we all live with the apprehension that we could lose everything in a blink of an eye. The “What if” factor is the springboard to imagination, making me ask myself what I would do if the worst happened? How would I cope?

What kind of research did you do for this book?

For a number of years I’ve volunteered serving weekly meals to the homeless in my community and volunteered in other capacities where I’ve assisted people in need. Without prying, I’ve come to know a few women who are living on the edge, who have lost everything, but are not recognizably homeless… what I have come to call “homeless and hiding it.” I drew on all those experiences in writing this novel. I also stockpile clippings and read up extensively on any of the matters that touch my characters. One of my characters is an FBI agent and I spent some considerable time talking to a friend who is an FBI agent.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Several reviewers have referred to my array of “quirky” characters. I think my acting training comes in handy in building very specific characters with lots of back story and dimension. I haven’t based any of my characters entirely on real people, but as I write about them they become very real to me. One of my favorites is Ariana, a former actress with great style, who is completely batty… and I realize she sprang from my memories of a great friend who was a fashion designer. Believe me, the fashion designer would never recognize herself, but I blush when I think how similar they are in their eccentricities.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The sequel is almost completed. I’ve pulled in my favorite characters from the first book and developed the wonderful relationship between Donna and Meg. Donna is essential to Meg, I realize, and a great foil. Only now do I realize how much I’d like to change a few things in the first book that would make this sequel easier… but alas, I have to move on within the confines of the characters I’ve already established.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I feel a great kinship with my lead character, Meg Barnes. I’m sure friends who read the book think she’s based on me… if only! I admire her tenacity, resourcefulness and great sense of humor. She’s much freer and looser than I am. She’s brave and can endure hardships that I’m afraid would break me. Perhaps I’ve just written the woman I’d like to be, but frankly I’m a bit envious of her.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I’m blessed to have an office in the back of my house that looks onto the garden and is awash in sunlight. Writing is a lonely business, but there’s comfort in looking out at trees and my rose bushes… and having my cat, Daphne, curled up on the window bench. At odd times she’ll get up and meander across my keyboard, but you can’t blame a cat for being a cat.

Book Description

DownAndOutInBeverlyHeels_Front_Cover_FinalFrom brunch in Bel Air to homeless in Hollywood…

Former actress Meg Barnes used to have it all: tony Beverly Hills address, Amex Black card, Manolos for every day of the month. Not to mention a career as a popular TV detective that made her glittering life possible. But her lifestyle of the rich and famous has turned into a reality show for d-listed starlets. Lost in her Louboutins, she has one man to thank: her con man of a husband.

Handsome FBI agent Jack Mitchell knows a suspect when he sees one—even if she’s as beautiful and gutsy as Meg. Meg’s ex “made off” with half of Hollywood’s wealth in an epic real estate scam. And Jack thinks Meg may have been involved.

Determined to prove her innocence Meg teams up with her quirky, movie-mad best friend to track down her fugitive husband and exact justice. But getting her life, and her career, back on track is harder than auditioning for Spielberg. Especially when her life is threatened. Meg has to trust Jack, the man who may want her behind bars…or as his leading lady for life.

About the Author

KathrynLeighScottKathryn Leigh Scott, author of Down and Out in Beverly Heels, is probably best known for her star turn as Josette Du Pres, ingénue bride of reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins in the TV cult classic “Dark Shadows.” This is her second work of fiction, following her debut novel last year, Dark Passages. While continuing her acting career, Kathryn launched Pomengranate Press to publish books about the entertainment industry, “Dark Shadows” fan books, and other nonfiction and fiction titles. For more about Kathryn, please visit her website.

You can purchase Down and Out in Beverly Heels on Amazon.

Where did this outgoing, friendly girl come from?

“That girl is going to be my friend,” my five-year-old declares as we find our seats in the school cafeteria before my son’s first-grade shoebox float parade.

And with that, Lexie goes over to the little girl and introduces herself. Morgan seems a little unsure of the outgoing girl before her but within minutes, the two are sitting together talking.

CIMG1108I love that Lexie has this attitude. Every little girl is her friend as far as she is concerned. In fact, while standing in line for a ride at Six Flags, she gets invited by another girl to sit with her. By the end of the ride, they are already making plan together as if they have known each other for months rather than minutes.

As much as I love this attitude, I don’t know where it comes from. Neither my husband nor I are outgoing. I am not the type to go up and introduce myself. At a party, I will be the one hanging out in the background, observing everyone else. (Hopefully, all the observing is beneficial to my writing.)

I have always been slow in making friends. I don’t tend to open up and talk about myself to very many people. I contribute some of that to my childhood. My father was in the Air Force, and we moved a lot when I was little. I was always the new student. I think that helped reinforce my shyness.

My son, Jase, is very much like me. He is the type that needs to observe and analyze before he takes action. He needs time before he feels comfortable with new people, situations or experiences. For the first two years of preschool (ages 3 & 4), he barely spoke to the teacher. This shy attitude was part of what convinced us to hold him back from Kindergarten. By the time he finished his Gift of Time class, he was more outgoing. As I write this, he is playing with some boys he met at Lexie’s dance class. On the first day, they approached him because he was playing a video game. It took him a class or two, but now he looks forward to playing with these boys. In fact, they all bring Legos and have a blast playing together.

But if the tables were turned, Lexie would have been the one approaching the other kids on the first day. She is definitely not shy. In fact, she will talk to anyone, often non-stop as if everyone is thrilled to hear what she has to say.

Of course, this outgoing, friendly attitude has me concerned about her talking to strangers when I am not with her. This is an issue that has not come up, but we will definitely be having some discussions about strangers in the next month to prepare her for the summer’s activities. I want to instill rules such as not going off with any of these new friends, but I don’t want to necessarily change her wonderful outgoing, positive attitude that others should want to be her friend. As with everything, it is a balance act.


Today’s Featured Author: Catherine Converse

Today I have Catherine Converse, author of The In Between and Fade to Silver, on my blog talking about her life as an author.


Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I am a mom full time right now. So my writing time is quite limited. Everyone is at pre-school/school three days a week so I squeeze a few hours in those days. But it is super hard to find the time right now, but it’s also my sanity. Writing soothes me in the chaos.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing about being a writer is setting the stories free. I love releasing them into the world and making them real. It is such a great feeling. The worst is what it feels like to stare at a blank page or feel completely stuck. Not fun!

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

The worst advice (as a self-pub author) has been to fit into a formula. This story should be so and so # of words and characters fits these molds and story has a defined flow and so on. I do believe in story structure and character development, but I do also think a story needs room to breathe and thrive. The best advice was to get an editor. This is the one area I wouldn’t ever do myself personally!

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

What fuels me? Coffee. And the people that write me and say, “when is the next book coming out????”, and my kids. They think I am cool because I am an author. That in itself is enought to keep going.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

My plots seem to slowly come to me over time. Music is a huge piece. It really spurs my imagination. Fade to Silver was written to The Xx and Florence and the Machine mostly. Once I turn that music on, my brains just fires off. It’s cool. I have always been a daydreamer that way.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

The first book, I just started writing because I had no idea I was actually writing a book! The sequel had a very loose outline, but my characters basically had their own ideas and it ended up very far from the outline, but sooooo much better!

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Research: I did a ton. I shocked myself when I started writing and it became science fiction. So I had to see where I might go with technology. Also there are psychological factors with some of my characters that I wanted to make sure I understood.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

I think there is probably a little bit of people I know in every character. But not necessarily based on one particular person. Experiences I have had over time with different people and relationships I have had definitely have impacted how my characters developed. People are complex so I really appreciate differences and I am super intrigued by the brain. I’dlove to explore this even more in future books to help shape my characters.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

If I could be any character in my book, I’d be Dannika. I know she’s wild and has some mental issues, but she’s strong and loyal and her heart is always in the right place. Also, she kicks a lot of butt!

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

I would have loved to meet the late Phillip K. Dick. After seeing the movie The Adjustmaent Bureau, I read the short story and then got hooked. Started reading lots of his stuff. His style spoke to me as a storyteller and a writer and his work has definitely inspired me and this series. I would also love to meet T. Greenwood. She writes beautiful literary fiction about the human condition, and delves into the psychological issues behind common issues in everyday families that struggle with economic and social issues. It’s always heartfelt and has so much depth. Just love her.

Book Description

fade_to_silver_cover_final-199x300Adie is forced into new territory when her dream overlaps with a complete stranger in a different part of the country, while Dannika escapes from Research, not accepting the new assets in her brain that will change the way she works forever. Despite their separation, their lives merge once again to solve a major corporate conspiracy case, where one man has already lost his life, and Adie has set interference in motion on the next victim in line. But the corporation holds something that is so special, they aren’t the only ones that are willing to kill for it.

With two young men battling for her affection, Adie struggles to keep focus on the case. Once again, Adie and Dannika become the targets, as they become identified as obstacles for those who are after the corporation’s unique discovery. Until it becomes clear that only one person has the power to stop the chain reaction that has begun. And only one question will reveal that person. Who holds the key?

About the Author

Catherine Converse lives with her husband and four children in beautiful Montana.

If not writing, or researching, she would really like to be outside with her family, preferably snowboarding in winter, and playing with their horses in summer.

Grateful for such a blessed life and the ability to do the kind of work she loves, she just hopes to bring stories of all kinds to life, and enjoyment to those who read them.

Catherine also writes children’s books under the pen name Lizzy Anne Reid. Check out Wubba the Wizard and the Sally Series on Amazon Kindle.

You can find out more about Catherine on her website or receive updates on current books and new releases on Facebook.

You can see all of Catherine’s books on her Amazon Author page or go straight to The In Between or Fade to Silver to purchase them.

You can see video trailers for her books here.

How fast can your hero travel? (Fantasy writing series)

Two weeks ago, I wrote about food in the fantasy novel. Today I want to discuss travel. If this is modern-day fantasy that takes place on Earth, then this discussion will probably not pertain to you. I am mainly thinking about those of us who have created a world where modern conveniences such as cars and planes don’t exist. Your hero or heroine is walking, riding a horse or riding in a wagon or carriage. Once again, you need to do your research and make the distance traveled in one day or even a month believable.


Northern Wilderness 109A healthy person can walk three to four miles in an hour on flat, even ground. So figuring your character is walking all day (say 12 hours), then he/she will cover about 36 to 48 miles in one day.  Most websites I checked estimated travel on foot in one day to 30-40 miles. Of course, a well-trained  army might be able to do more (or travel slower if they have to wait for the supply wagons).

The speed of travel also depends on the health of the walker and whether they are used to walking long distances. Keep in mind that a group walking will travel as fast as their slowest member.  And if your crew is traveling over uneven ground (say in the mountains or a thick jungle) then the distance they cover in one day will be affected.


horseSo instead of walking, you decide your hero and his friends will be riding horses. Now it is much harder to figure out how far in one day they will travel on horseback. Many factors such as type/age of the horse, how much weight they are carrying and the type of terrain will play into the distance traveled.

A horse walks at the speed of about three to four miles per hour, trots at about eight to ten, canter at ten to seventeen and gallops at speeds of thirty to forty miles an hour. But remember that horses do not canter or gallop all day long. Leave the gallop for quick chases from the encroaching hoards.

There are too many variables to give one “correct” answer, but you are probably looking at covering about 20 to 30 miles a day by horse. But horses that are bred and trained for this could possibly go 50 to 60 miles in a day.  Remember horses need to rest and will have to be cooled and rubbed down at the end of the day.


TRNGR090Another option is to have your hero and companions travel in either a wagon or a carriage. But wagon travel is slow. You are looking at covering 15 to 25 miles a day.

If perhaps you are thinking more of a stagecoach that uses relays of fresh teams of horses, then you are probably looking at covering 100 to 150 miles in a 24-hour period. But a lot of this also depends upon the condition of the roads and how much weight the horses have to pull.

Just remember that whatever mode of transportation your hero relies on, it will take them much longer to travel places than it does today. You need to make the time it takes to travel realistic or risk jolting your reader out of the story with your unbelievably fast horses.

When researching travel speeds, I found this information from a group of published western writers particularly interesting.