An Interview w/Kathleen Rodgers author of The Final Salute…

I would like to introduce you to author Kathleen Rodgers. She is a facebook friend that I want to meet ‘In real life’ one day. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have…

Where did you grow up?

Clovis, New Mexico, home of Cannon Air Force Base and the Santa Fe Railroad. Growing up in a family of six kids, I spent countless hours in a rocking chair, daydreaming about what it would be like to be someone else. Little did I know then that I was simply creating stories in my head. Then one day I learned that I could write them down.

Through my writing, I’ve been able to explore many subjects. My goal is always to get to the truth through the people and places I write about, real or imagined. Along the way, I’ve encountered many roadblocks and detours, but I’ve pressed ahead and kept my eyes on the goals I mapped out years ago.

Tell us about your family,[ husband, kids]

I am the mother of two grown sons, Thomas (an award-winning artist) and J.P. (a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army). I live in Colleyville, TX, with my husband, Tom, a retired fighter pilot who currently flies for a major airline, and my Chocolate Lab, Bubba. My husband and sons have always supported me in my work. When the boys were younger, they were the inspiration behind and oftentimes the subjects of many of the stories I sold to Family Circle Magazine and Air Force, Army & Navy Times.

 What was your first published piece?

Not counting my time as a staff reporter for the Clovis News Journal, I sold a humorous story about bass fishing to Bass n’ Gals Magazine. I got paid $25 and never cashed the check. Silly me!

Being a military family, I am guessing you moved a bit. Excluding your home state what was your favorite state?

Alaska and here’s why:

(I was twenty-seven when I wrote this poem, a newborn cradled in my lap and a yellow legal pad absorbing the scribbles of my restless pen. Back then, the days seemed endless and my thoughts came faster than I could catch them. The temperature outside hovered around thirty below zero. Somewhere off in the distance, beyond the Alaska Range, my husband flew his single-seat fighter high above the snow clouds.)

The Snow Comes Early

in the high country of Alaska.

The midnight sun

has long since vanished.

The days are now short-lived;

dawn, noon and dusk less than a handful of hours.

The birch are stripped naked;

their chocolate chip trunks

sticking out of the snow.

The hills of Tanana Valley

are like mounds of flour dumped on the floor

from an opened sack.

And we are the inhabitants

in this whitewashed land,

where sixty degrees below zero

can kill even the strongest of men.

But we are risk takers!

Riding the open road of the military…

a journey we often complain of,

but a dream voyage for others

fenced in by fate.

So let us be thankful

when winter sets in,

that we are here, at the top of the world-

Closer to our Maker,

when the snow comes early

in the high country of Alaska.

© Kathleen M. Rodgers   — Alaska 1985

Tell us about your book/books.

In my debut novel The Final Salute, I wrote about U.S. Air Force fighter pilots and their families at the time of the first Gulf War. Two key themes I explored: How fighter pilots often die in peacetime training missions and how the brass and bad commanders cover up sex scandals in the military.

Without the help of an expensive publicist, I used modern technology and old-school methods to gain national attention for my book. Write-ups have appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, Military Times, Family Magazine, Mobile Press-Register, Midwest Book Review, Fort Worth-Texas Magazine, the Star-Telegram, and many other publications. The Final Salute hit  #1 on Amazon’s Top Rated War Fiction in 2012 and #2 on Amazon’s Bestseller list in Military Aviation in 2010. In 2009, Army Wife Network selected The Final Salute for their July book club, and that same year I won a Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America.

What are you writing now?

A mid-life coming of age novel about a woman named Johnnie Kitchen.

In Johnnie Come Lately, closet writer Johnnie Kitchen has a crisis that turns explosive, exposing a secret that tears her family apart. Still haunted by her mama’s disappearance and her father’s death in Vietnam, Johnnie turns to her journal, penning irreverent letters to the missing and dead. It’s 2007, the country is involved in two bloody wars, and her youngest son enlists in the military against her will. Rebuffed in her efforts to repair the damage she’s inflicted on her now-estranged husband, Johnnie finds herself trapped in a terrifying emotional spiral that threatens to trigger a relapse of her bulimia, which almost killed her. On top of that, a mysterious woman who looks like her mama has been seen around their small town of Portion, Texas.

Do you live with a pet?

Yes, a Chocolate Lab named Bubba. He is my loyal companion and helps me with my writing. I think of him as my third son. He’s 90 pounds of chocolate love. J

What was the last ‘out of the house job you held?’

I was a nanny for five years to my three young cousins (boys). This unexpected job came at a time when I had walked away from writing and my oldest son was graduating from high school. Those five years were a gift. Being around young children helps put life into perspective.

What is your least favorite holiday? Why?

Any holiday that is abused by commercialism, especially Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. These holidays are sacred and should be marked by a time of respect.

Red or White wine? Coffee or tea?

Chardonnay – Nightly glass with dinner.

Coffee in a.m. and hot tea on fall and winter afternoons.

Tell us the story on that amazing drawing on your facebook page…

Motherly Secrets is a lithograph by my artist son, Thomas Rodgers. I’m honored that he captured the essence of me as a young writer. It hangs in a prominent place in my home, and it’s one of the first things you see when you walk in my front door. It announces to all that “A WRITER LIVES HERE.”  Thomas will graduate from University of North Texas this Dec. with a BFA in Printmaking.

Please visit my website at: http://www.kathleenmrodgers.com/Kathys_website/Welcome.html

FB: http://www.facebook.com/KathleenMRodgersAuthor

On June 21, 2012, I was thrilled to be on stage with two publishing luminaries: New York Times Best-selling author, Parris Afton Bonds, and Rita Clay Estrada, namesake of the coveted “Rita Award” from Romance Writers of America. I take the podium about 22 minutes into the program and then we open it up for questions and answers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMlh4Fg33wY

The Final Salute is available on Amazon:  

http://amzn.to/OtFBNI

Thank you Kathleen and thank you to your family for their service to our country…

 

5 Responses to “An Interview w/Kathleen Rodgers author of The Final Salute…”

  • Dear Bonnie W., Kate, and Bonnie L.,

    Thank you, sister writers, for taking time from your day to read my interview. Each one of you inspire me and push me to get my work done. Bonnie Latino – So grateful for all your input on Johnnie Come Lately.

    Putting one word in front of the other and moving forward… 🙂

  • Kathleen Rodgers is also one of the most generous authors I’ve ever known. She has helped so many of us achieve our dreams…and we admire her persistence…!

    Her WIP is going to be an important book, beautifully told. I can’t wait for “Johnnie Comes Lately” to be published.

  • Kate Defrise:

    Great interview! Kathleen, you are a true inspiration to us all.

  • Bonnie K. Winn:

    Great insight to why you’re such an incredible writer and person. What stands out so much to me is that you write and live what you are passionate about. I am impressed, amazed and extremely grateful for all the talent and kindness you share.

  • Dear Doreen,

    I am so honored to be featured on your wonderful blog/website. I had fun answering all of your questions. As a “stage mom,” my favorite question is when you asked about my son’s artwork. I love seeing his litho “Motherly Secrets” displayed here.

    Thank you again for featuring me as a guest author,

    Kathleen

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