Today I’m joined by Kathryn R Biel, Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author and all round good egg. She’s the author of Jump, Jive and Wail… Read on for an excerpt! It sounds great in my view, not least because of the title which appeals to the former modern jive/Ceroc dancer in me !
Over to Kathryn to tell us about inspiring story ideas, airport security and a heroine with an anger issue…
I always get a little nervous when someone asks me how I come up with my story ideas. The best I can come up with is Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl, defending herself in the elevator to Mr. Trask. She has to explain how she came up with the pitch that Sigourney Weaver is claiming was her idea. I feel the same way. It’s hard to explain. I usually start with a kernel of an idea. It’s a basic character or plot, but certainly not enough to carry a book. While I am mulling over that idea, something else comes to me. Something catches my eye, and then voila! I have the idea for a book. For my third novel, I’m Still Here, my friend called to tell me my email had been hacked and her husband had received a spam email from me. While discussing the content of the email, she read that even though it had my name on it, the address was e-comely-cox.net or something quite horrid. I started laughing and said, “That would make a great character name!” And before I knew it, I had my main character, Esther Comely-Cox. It immediately occurred to me that Esther was a twin and her sister’s name was Aster. I was driving while telling my friend this, and I passed a bus stop in which, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman who reminded me of an acquaintance who had committed suicide earlier that year. It had taken months for her body to be recovered, and my friend and I also talked at length about that. Immediately, I knew that Esther would experience something like that with her twin sister Aster. I can never predict where or when the ideas will strike, I just have to be open to them, and write them down before I forget!
I’d like to share an excerpt from my new novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.
I’ve been told I have an anger problem. Yeah, so what. You would too if you were living my life. Once destined for greatness—for gold—now my life is crap. Complete and utter crap. So, yeah, I’m angry. Angry all the flippin’ time. I also have a swearing problem. I’m working on that.
The focus of my anger at this moment is two-fold: the TSA and my brace. My stupid brace. Always that. If it weren’t for the brace, I’d only be mildly annoyed at the TSA right now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d still be annoyed. What kind of idiot puts a bomb in his underwear or shoe? Why’d he have to go and spoil it for the rest of us? That kind of imbecile deserves to have his frank and beans blown off. Okay, so my anger here is actually three-fold and includes the eejits who attach bombs to their privates to blow up planes.
Struggling to manage my overstuffed carry-on while holding my bulky winter coat, boots, and the brace, I finally manage to get through the security gates. Careful not to let my right toes drag on the ground, I step aside, drop my load, and set about donning it—that damn brace. Kirby. That’s its name. Or at least what I call it. Because having to wear a brace sucks more than an expensive vacuum cleaner. Shoving the bags off to the side and not wanting to sit down on the airport floor, I bend forward at the waist and precariously balance on my left leg while I lift my right one into the air. I’m out of the habit of squatting these days, since the plastic of my constant companion doesn’t let my ankle bend that way. Sliding Kirby beneath my dropped foot, I quickly get my limp, numb, useless right leg safely encased in its flesh-colored plastic tomb. It reminds me of a coffin because my foot just lays there for all to see—dead. One nylon Velcro strap across the ankle, another around the calf and I’m good to slide my useless appendage into my Ugg. Yes, I know; it is like the worst possible choice in shoes, other than flip-flops, which I’ll never be able to wear again. But I rationalize, like I do with so many other things, that my bad foot is fully supported in the brace, so the supportiveness of the shoe itself doesn’t matter. (I do completely ignore the fact that I have another leg and foot that is working, for the most part.) My physical therapist doesn’t buy my rationale but whatever. Let her walk—or limp—a mile in my shoes and see how she likes it.
I am getting lightheaded from being bent over, and I’m sure my ass in the air isn’t the most flattering view, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m sure the underwear bomber felt the same way, but I mean, who would ever think that that was a good idea?
The real reason I like the Uggs is that they hide the ugliness that is Kirby. I look pretty normal wearing them. They’re totally flat, which I need anyway, and they’re in fashion. Don’t know what I’ll do when they become passé but, like so many other things in my life right now, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
So here I am, keister in the air, just getting ready to lift my left foot up. Balancing on my right leg is always a bit dodgy so I have to mentally psych myself up for it. The brace gives me some stability, but it is still not a skill in which I excel. The last thing I want to do is fall down in the middle of a busy airport. I open up the mouth of the boot and as quickly as I can, slide my left foot in. When I put my foot down, my weight shifts back slightly and my rear end bumps into something.
Not something, someone.
A man, to be precise. A man’s crotch to be even more precise.
Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn Biel hails from upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her musings and rants can be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather. She is the author of Good Intentions (2013), Hold Her Down (2014), I’m Still Here (2014), Jump, Jive, and Wail (2015), and the short story, Fly Robin Fly (Part of Cupid on the Loose!: A Valentine’s Anthology of Short Stories, 2015).
JUMP, JIVE, AND WAIL Links:
Kathryn’s Social Media Links: