Today, I want to welcome back author Kathryn Leigh Scott to my blog. Kathryn appeared on my blog during her Down and Out in Beverly Heels blog tour back in April 2013. Now she is back with her latest release, Jinxed, which came out in February.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an author/actor — twin pursuits my entire life. I draw on both, one informing the other in my work and both careers are important to me. I grew up on a farm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. My earliest memories are writing and performing plays with neighborhood kids, often costume dramas since my dear aunt worked in a bridal shop and gave me the castoffs. How lucky can a little girl get! Velvet, tulle, chiffon and silk, with hats, gloves and shoes to match… it’s a wonder I don’t write historical romance! I’m blessed I had family and schoolteachers who encouraged me to write and act. Of course, I was on the school paper and performed in every school play. As a teen, I won a state award for an article I wrote after interviewing the poet Carl Sandburg, and also took first place in a state drama competition for a Strindberg monologue. I can’t imagine my life without writing and acting.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born on a frigid morning in Minneapolis and have thrived in cold climes ever since. While I grew up in the country, I’m a city girl these days, living and working in both New York and Los Angeles. I also lived in Norway as a child, and for many years called London home… and lived a year each in Zurich and Paris. I refuse to make comparisons among these wonderful places; wherever I am is “home.”
What or who inspired you to start writing?
I’ve written since I could hold a pencil, but discovering my mother’s old Olympic typewriter when I was seven years old was a huge inspiration. She showed me how to use it and I slowly poked out one letter after another to write a play about George Washington for my second grade class… and gave all the good lines to Martha Washington, the role I set aside for myself.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I first saw something I wrote in print, which happened to be a short story that appeared in a little mimeographed booklet when I was in grade school. But everyone in my family writes. My dad, who was a farmer, wrote a monthly humor column for several Norwegian newspapers, called “Brev Fra Amerika.” My mother and brothers are also excellent writers.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
We write about what we know, of course, drawing on our acquaintance with all the arenas of life we experience. But I do love the jolt I get when I write something and wonder how I knew it or where it came from! We learn such a lot about ourselves by writing, which is particularly true in fiction where what we’ve experienced is simply the inspiration, the jumping off point for imagination.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Yes, I am about two-thirds along with a stand-alone novel I’m calling September Girl. It’s mainstream fiction, a considerable departure in style from my other books, which have been mystery, romance and paranormal novels. I’ve also completed a nonfiction book, Last Dance at the Savoy. The next title in the “Jinx Fogarty Mystery” series will be set in London.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
Frankly, the best thing about being a writer is seeing your work in print finding a readership. The worst thing is facing the blank page (screen), which is daunting and certainly inspires humility.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
There’s always another story to tell.
Please tell us about your current release.
Jinxed is the second installment in a story about actress Meg Barnes, who had it all and lost everything and ended up living on the streets of Beverly Hills in her “Ritz-Volvo.” She’s now finding redemption, rebuilding her life with work in a new television series… but also solving a crime involving the mysterious disappearance of her young co-star.
What inspired you to write this book?
Leslie Stahl did a “60 Minutes” segment years ago about once-wealthy, now destitute women living in their cars on the streets of upscale Bel-Air. I came to meet such women while working in a homeless program in Beverly Hills and imagined “what if” I were in such a situation… how would I handle it? Everything I write begins with “what if?”
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Yes, but no character is based on any one single person. All my characters are a mixture of traits and personalities of people I know and observe, just as it is with roles that I play. The downside of knowing a writer is that you’ll eventually get written about, but I’ve never had anyone say, “You wrote about me!”
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
Too many favorites! They all become very real to me. I write about an elderly down-on-her-heels actress, who is so elegant and well-groomed you would never know she lives in her rusting El Dorado parked on a shady side street just close enough to Neiman-Marcus that she can use their public facilities… I love this woman!
Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
The blackest moment is when Meg realizes her own life is in jeopardy and that it’s because of her that other people have been harmed in her stead.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
Love scenes. One risks such terrible public exposure in writing scenes of intimacy!
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
The villain! A motive became so clear to me and then I knew who the villain was. I really became the detective as a writer.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Meg Barnes. She’s funny, resourceful… and she blurts out exactly the right retort that in real life I would only come up with in the middle of the night when it’s way too late.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I worked as a Playboy Bunny while going to school in New York, and took Bunny Training with Gloria Steinem. (Then wrote about the 25-year history of Playboy Bunnies in The Bunny Years.)
In Jinxed, Meg Barnes is back on the comeback trail. Beloved for her role as amateur sleuth Jinx Fogarty in a renowned detective show, Meg assumes she’ll star as Jinx in the revamped TV series, only to discover that a young ingénue has been cast instead. Meg swallows her pride for a paycheck to coach Chelsea Horne—until temperamental Chelsea goes missing before filming begins. Meg ignores the warnings from Jack, her FBI-agent boyfriend, not to do her “Jinx thing.” But when Jinx’s iconic top hat goes missing and someone from her past is murdered, it’s clear her life— and more— is in jeopardy. As in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Scott once again pulls back the curtain on the grit behind the Hollywood glamour, taking the reader on a wild ride in this mystery-suspense/romance novel.
About the Author
Kathryn Leigh Scott, author, publisher and actress 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.” Her third novel, Jinxed: a Jinx Fogarty Mystery (Februrary 2015), is a standalone sequel to the successful Down and Out in Beverly Heels (Montlake Romance, 2013). While continuing her acting career, Kathryn launched Pomegranate Press to publish books about the entertainment industry, “Dark Shadows” fan books, and other nonfiction and fiction titles. She continues her acting career playing George Segal’s girlfriend Miriam in “The Goldbergs” and recently appeared in the 2015 mid-season launch of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
A native of Minnesota. Kathryn landed the ingénue lead in the classic Gothic daytime drama “Dark Shadows” (ABC, 1966-1971) upon graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She also starred in the 1971 MGM feature, House of Dark Shadows. Kathryn played four roles in the series: Maggie Evans, Josette du Pres, Lady Kitty Hampshire, and Rachel Drummond. Kathryn wrote Dark Shadows Memories to coincide with its 20th anniversary and Dark Shadows Companion as a 25th anniversary tribute. Both were book club favorites. Including her history of the Playboy Clubs and the various audio and digital editions of her work, Kathryn’s literary sales exceed 165,000 copies. Kathryn appeared in a cameo role in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp. Her latest nonfiction title is Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood.in the U.K. by Bloomsbury.
Kathryn’s theatrical credits include a lengthy run with James Stewart in Harvey in London’s West End. She has appeared in many television series and mini-series, including Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Voice of the Heart, Dan Travanti’s wife in Murrow, George C. Scott’s mistress in The Last Days of Patton, Philip Marlowe’s girlfriend in Chandlertown, and series regular with Brian Dennehy in Big Shamus, Little Shamus. Feature films include Providence, The Great Gatsby, Brannigan, The Greek Tycoon, Assassination, 187 and Parasomnia, Dr. Mabuse, and Dark Shadows.
You can purchase Jinxed on Amazon.