Tonight, a little over 24 hours before my 14th book is released, I'm reflecting on those individuals who made this book happen. It's funny because every so often, I can look back and see how the stars perfectly align to create events in my life (like meeting my husband). Often, things are set in motion months before the dominoes click down into place.
The direct road that led me here started in January 2018, when I became involved in a bit of a conflict in a private group. I was overwhelmed by the mob mentality when fellow author Kristan Higgins reached out to me and offered support. She's one of my favorite authors and if anyone compared my writing to hers, I'd be over the moon. In thanks for her support, I told her I'd buy her a drink at the RWA National Conference that July.
Fast-forward to July. It's about a week before Nationals when my friend and fellow author, Erin Huss, has her prophylactic mastectomy. I'd been wrought with anxiety all day, waiting to hear how she was doing. I woke up to find this message.
Erin had come out of her surgery. Then, a little while later, my phone pinged with this message which changed everything for me.
So that's how Ready for Whatever came to be. By the morning, I was able to send Erin this in return:
Obviously that's not the cover we went with, but you can see the inspiration my awesomesauce cover designer used.
Now jump ahead about two weeks to RWA Nationals. I'm writing Ready for Whatever and continue in my quest to buy Kristan Higgins a drink to repay her for all her kindness. My um-tenacity (yes let's call it that) paid off because Kristan invited me out to dinner with her group! Holy cow, me, going out to dinner with Kristan and McIrish (I had to ask his name so I didn't actually call him that) and other fabulous people like Sonali Dev and Vanessa Riley and Xio Axelrod and Adrienne Mishel and Julie Evelyn Joyce, to name a few. Heaven, right?
Pretty much except for the phone call I'd received from home earlier that day that my daughter's pet rabbit had died suddenly. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Partly because she was the nice rabbit, but mostly because I knew how devastated my daughter was going to be.
While walking to dinner, still not sure of how I got into this group, I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman named Kris. When I brought up the rabbit thing, we started talking about our daughters and how much they loved animals. It turned out, her daughter was finishing up an internship at a zoo and was going to be working as a zookeeper. After that dinner, we connected on social media and every so often, I sent Kris a picture of my daughter with some animal or another. She'd send a similar picture back of her daughter, Mackenzie.
The months rolled by as I continued writing Ready for Whatever. I was heading into the home stretch on the book when I took my daughter, the lover of all things animals but especially sloths, to a traveling animal exhibit. She got to see a real-live sloth that day. It was sort of nuts. But also, a plot bunny was born.
And that's when the idea for my main characters in Seize the Day was born.
But I needed help. I remembered that Kris's daughter worked in a zoo. Perhaps she could help, when the time came. Perhaps indeed.
Mackenzie wrote pages and pages of information for me, painstakingly answering my questions to really capture the essence of what working with animals is like. Basically it comes down to checking locks and cleaning poop. Actually, there's a lot more than that. But as I look at the pages of notes sitting on my desk, I'm floored that this young woman would take the time to help a total stranger with such an obscure project. How do I even begin to repay that?
Then there was my friend Julie, the genetic counselor, who not only answered my questions but proactively posted articles for me to read.
And Erin Huss who talked me through so many aspects of being a previvor.
And of course, Kristan Higgins, who gave me input on the covers and blurbs to tweak them just so for both books in the series.
I am so lucky ... blessed ... honored ... fortunate to be in the acquaintance of such amazing, resilient women who have made such a difference in my life with this book series. I feel as if each one of them (and so many other great people in my life as well) have given me the shirts off their backs. I sort of feel like this:
Let's recap: social media conflict + drug-hazed texting + rabbit dying + dinner with famous people + sloths= The UnBRCAble Women Series.
It totally makes sense.
I don't say it enough, so let me correct that now. THANK YOU to all who add to my whacked-out equations. To all who are a brick in my wall. To all who go that extra inch and that extra mile to help when you have no reason to, other than you're a wonderful person. I'm so very grateful.
Telling stories of resilient women with humor, heart, and a happy ending, Kathryn R. Biel is an award-winning author of numerous women's fiction, romantic comedy, and contemporary romance books. Her newest book, Seize the Day: The UnBRCAble Women Series, #2, releases November 7, 2019.