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.
Flaherty’s Crossing was completed – a labor of love, but it ran into unforeseen problems. Due to the fact that this story crossed a few genres, it became a difficult book to place with a large publishing house. At first I took the rejections as reflections on my writing skills, then I realized although they didn’t offer a contract, 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 eldest daughter, who is also an author, 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 and it will be officially released on February 1st.
I never expected this exercise in writing to go to press, touch lives, or win literary awards. But as a result of my good fortune, I’ve arranged for all the proceeds from the sale of Flaherty’s Crossing to go directly to the cancer research center at Providence Medical Center in my father’s name. I’m now convinced and proudly share the belief that good things can grow out of the worst times in our lives if you just take the time to open your heart.
Linda Yoshida, aka Kaylin McFarren, is a rare bird indeed. Not a migratory sort, she prefers to hug the West Coast and keep family within visiting range. Although she has virtually been around the world, she was born in California, relocated with her family to Washington, and nested with her husband in Oregon. In addition to playing an active role in his business endeavors, she has been involved in all aspects of their three daughters’ lives – taxi duties, cheerleading coaching, script rehearsals, and relationship counseling, to name but a few. Now she enjoys spending undisciplined time with her two young grandsons and hopes to have many more.
Although Kaylin wasn’t born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow 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 and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest.
Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
UPDATE: Kaylin has added an e-Book reader to her amazing Virtual Book Tour contest! Here’s the rules: anyone who posts comments on ALL of her book tour locations has an opportunity to win a Sony Pocket Reader valued at $180 – along with copies of Flaherty’s Crossing and other great prizes. Simply visit the Events page on her website at http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com where you’ll find a complete listing. Winners will be announced on March 28th. Good luck everyone!