An Author at Work

Classic Film and TV Café chats with Kathryn


Best known for her roles on the classic TV series Dark Shadows, Kathryn Leigh Scott continues to find success in both the entertainment and publishing industries. She has remained in demand as an actress since she made her television debut as Maggie Evans in Dark Shadows in 1966. Over the next five decades, she appeared in numerous films and TV series--to include the theatrical film House of Dark Shadows, acting opposite John Wayne in Brannigan, and making memorable guest appearances in TV shows such as Dallas, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Police Squad. She continues to be in demand today with a recurring role as George Segal's girlfriend on the hit sitcom The Goldbergs. In 1986, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Dark Shadows, she wrote the book Dark Shadows Memories. Its success inspired her to launch Pomegranate Press that same year. Pomegranate Press has published books about Dark Shadows, other TV series (e.g., The Fugitive Recaptured), a biography of Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Coya Knutson, and Ms. Scott's 2011 novel Dark Passages. 

Café: In 1965, after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York City, you were acting on stage and working at a Playboy Bunny Club. How did you get the role of Maggie Evans on Dark Shadows

Kathryn Leigh Scott: Richard Bauman, a theatrical agent who had seen me in an AADA production, sent me to audition for Dark Shadows. I was brought back several times to read for Dan Curtis and the director, Lela Swift...but it was while I was in Hollywood for a screen test that I got word I was wanted for a camera test in New York. I took a red-eye back, found the script on my doorstep and managed to get to the camera test by 9 A.M. I think by then I already had the role because I auditioned with several different actors up for the role of Burke Devlin, including the wonderful Mitch Ryan, who was cast. Afterward, we went to Joe Allen (a NYC restaurant) to celebrate with breakfast!

Café: You appeared in the very first episode of Dark Shadows, but Barnabas isn't mentioned until the 202nd episode. Was it always Dan Curtis' intention to bring a vampire to Collinsport?

Jonathan Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott.
KLS: We started out as a Gothic romance "bodice ripper" that was contemporary but had the feeling of Jane Eyre and quite a departure from the usual soap opera fare of the time. There were paranormal elements from the beginning because Dan Curtis conceived of the story in a dream he had about the ghost of a young girl inhabiting a country home. Our first "ghosts" were a sea captain and young Sarah, who later was identified as the sister of Barnabas. The story goes that our ratings were down and to avoid cancellation, Dan pulled out the stops by introducing a vampire...the rest is history. I worked the first day Jonathan appeared on set in his Barnabas regalia and I remember that as charming as he was the cast members all thought we were going from Chekov to Boris Karloff. But, believe me, Barnabas was entirely the inspiration of Jonathan Frid...his charisma made Barnabas Collins into an iconic character.

Café: During your five years on Dark Shadows, you played four roles: waitress and later governess Maggie Evans; Barnabas's lover Josette DuPres; Rachel Drummond, another governess; and Lady Kitty Hampshire. Which was your favorite role and why?

KLS: I'm drawn to Maggie Evans because there was so much of myself in the role. I drew on a Carl Sandburg poem that begins "Maggie beat her hands against the bars of a small Indiana town . .. " that I completely understood. I'd met Carl Sandburg when I was 16 and knew his poetry and that particular poem had such resonance. I had my own dreams and catapulted out of Robbinsdale, Minnesota for New York City. Maggie came from the wrong side of the tracks, raised by a dissolute artist...she grew up without a mother and ached to make something of herself. My favorite scene in Dark Shadows is my very first encounter with Barnabas Collins in the Collinsport Diner. It's such a defining scene: two outsiders drawn to each other, reaching out. If Maggie was looking for her knight in shining armor, she found him in a 200-year-old vampire! I think Dan Curtis saw that scene and created the relationship between Josette and Barnabas. Of course, I loved playing Josette...such a romantic, tragic character. I was newly out of drama school and there I was utilizing all I'd learned doing the classics.

Café: You seem to have kept in touch with several other Dark Shadows cast members (e.g., you've published several books written by Lara Parker). What was it like working with the other "residents" of Collinsport on the Dark Shadows set?

KLS: I love writing and have thoroughly enjoyed running Pomegranate Press. I've encouraged all my colleagues on Dark Shadows to write books and many have: Lara, David Selby, Chris Pennock, Marie Wallace, Sy Tomashoff, among others, and they've all found their own publishers. Needless to say, we're all still close friends. I see Lara, David, Jerry Lacy and many of the others when we record the Big Finish original dramas on CD and when we attend the annual festivals. We became a close-knit family working in our own little studio on West 54th Street, isolated from the other soaps...honestly, it felt like we were hanging out together in Collinsport!

Café: It's a tribute to the immense popularity of Dark Shadows that a big screen version (and a sequel) were made while it was still on the air. How did making the movie differ from doing the TV series? And given the TV series' tight production schedule, how was a movie made concurrently?

With Frid on the set of House
of Dark Shadows.
KLS: Filming House of Dark Shadows on location while continuing to tape the series in New York City was a logistical nightmare. Jonathan and I were put on hiatus from the series because we were required on set almost every day, but several of the other actors were doing both. For Joan Bennett, a legendary Hollywood movie star, and Grayson Hall, an Academy Award nominee, filming a feature version of Dark Shadows was an easy transition, but for me and the other younger actors, it was a new process, a different sort of intimacy with the big screen. We were accustomed to doing a “live” show with one take, mistakes and all...learning to do a master shot and closeups with a lot of time in between for setups took some getting used to. You have to remember that when we did the series live, it never occurred to us that anyone would see an episode a second time. All of it was new to me. In fact, I didn't realize until I watched the film many years later that I had a starring role in it!

Café: It sounds like writing has always been a part of your life. What inspired you to start a dual professional career as an author with Dark Shadows Memories?

KLS: Sixteen is a magical certainly was a huge transitional time for me. At sixteen, I met and interviewed Carl Sandburg and I wrote a newspaper article that won a state journalism award. In that same year, I won a state drama award and it made me realize that acting and writing were twin pursuits that complemented each other in my life. I then applied to a Northwestern University summer program in both journalism and drama and got a scholarship to their drama program, which really opened me up to the possibilities of pursuing both. I later got a drama scholarship to the American Academy in New York, which meant acting was the dominant career path for a while...but throughout my life I've pursued both. I also love business and launched Pomegranate Press, a book publishing company, 29 years ago that specializes in nonfiction entertainment subjects, a perfect blending of both writing and acting.

Café: How did you go from author to publisher when you co-founded Pomegranate Press?

KLS: I was asked to do a magazine article on Joel Crothers, who had played my boyfriend, Joe Haskell, on Dark Shadows. He was a dear friend and his death in 1985 was a profound shock. I wrote the article, reminiscing about our days on the series, and then just kept on writing until I realized I’d written a behind-the-scenes book about Dark Shadows, the show kids “ran home from school to watch.” Ben Martin, a Time magazine photographer I’d dated while doing the show, had become my husband and we had stacks of photos he’d taken on the set that had never been published...a gold mine! Rather than send my manuscript off to a New York book publisher, I decided to start my own company. My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows sold 35,000 copies in both hardcover and tradepaper, earning enough for me to publish four books the following year, including a coffee table book and a Hollywood guide book. Pomegranate Press was launched. Today, my entire backlist is available as ebooks and everything is available on Amazon. All are also available on my website:

Café: As a publisher, what do you look for when you decide to publish a book?

KLS: Books become children that you conceive, nurture and watch grow to adulthood...yes, a long process! To carry the analogy further, you do not want to get into bed with just anyone without considering the consequences! If I like a manuscript but it doesn't suit my catalog, I've often helped an author find another publisher. But if I do take a book on, I want to work with an author who is cooperative and wants to be part of the process from editing through marketing. I certainly wouldn't want an adversarial book is worth the trouble and I like working closely and collaboratively with my authors. Frankly, I publish what I want to read.

Café: In your book The Bunny Years, you interviewed over 250 women who worked at Playboy Bunny Clubs, to include Lauren Hutton and Deborah Harry. Did the majority of your ex-colleagues feel it was a positive or negative experience? And if you could go back in time, would you work there again?

KLS: The joy of writing The Bunny Years was re-connecting with the amazing women I worked with at the New York Playboy Club when I was a student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was in Bunny Training with Gloria Steinem, who wrote about me in her magazine article, a negative, misrepresentative piece compared to my own experiences and those of the other young women working at the club at the time. My book was a direct response to her article. I wanted to give voice to the many women who worked as Bunnies during the 25-year history of the Clubs. Read the book, which was also the basis for the A&E documentary The Bunny Years, and make up your own mind. Lauren Hutton and I were hired as Bunnies at the same time...and Susan Sullivan and I became lifelong best friends after working as Bunnies. For me, it was a wholly great experience and I would do it again were I to go back to that wonderful period of time.

Café: You've hinted that you're working on a sequel to your 2013 novel Down and Out in Beverly Heels. You continue to appear at conventions and we assume you'll be back on The Goldbergs this season. That's a packed schedule! Are there any events or projects you'd like to highlight for Cafe readers?

KLS: I adore working with George Segal, playing his girlfriend Miriam on The Goldbergs and hope I’ll be invited back again and again. I've also completed Take Two, the sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels, and Last Dance at the Savoy: A Caregivers Journey, a memoir about my husband’s long bout with PSP, a neurological disease that claimed his life in 2011. I’m also completing another novel, May to September. I hope to keep doing what I’ve always done: writing and acting. I’m thrilled that I will be joining my other Dark Shadows castmates on a January 2015 cruise (January 10-17) in the Caribbean . . . please come along! Call (800) 828-4813 to book the cruise. Lara Parker and I will be visiting Martinique, the birthplaces of Josette and Angelique!

Kathryn and the Collinsport Historical Society Get Jinxed... the Podcast!

Kathryn talks humor, magic, and authorship in this brisk and revealing interview!  Click the dashing, intense, and sensitive Canadian to listen....

KLS on the Let's Talk About It Podcast!

From the Dark Shadows television series in the late 60s to a slew of other television series and movies, Kathryn 

HeadshotLeigh Scott has had (and still has) an exciting acting career.  We were honored to chat with her about her latest book, Jinxed: a Jinx Fogarty Mystery.


We also had a great time talking to her about her years as a Playboy Bunny.  She has a memoir on this experience too.  

BookWhen Kathryn began writing she had to discover her voice, which she told us is humorous :) But, here is a huge tip that seemed to jump out at us as she was explaining just how she goes about it.  She draws on her acting skills to write and becomes the character.  She told us that she thinks in scenes and the dialogue comes quite easily.  So, your tip? Taking some acting classes because they could ultimately develop your writing skills!

Now, backed to Jinxed. Even though Jinxed is a standalone sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels, it’s interesting to note the treatment of actress Meg Barnes in both novels, and how disposable she seems to be in Hollywood’s eyes. In the first book Meg ends up homeless on the streets of Beverly Hills, and in Jinxed it’s assumed by the producers that she’s not integral to the reboot version of her old TV series.

Okay…you just have to hear our conversation with Kathryn, and of course, pick up a copy of her book!

Kathryn and the freewheeling crew at Straight from the Author's Mouth...

Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I’ve been obsessive-compulsive about writing since I was eight years old and figured out how to work my mother’s old manual Smith-Corona . . . maybe I’m just a typist gone mad, but I really enjoy the physical work of being a writer. I love being alone with my thoughts and planting them on the page.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

 I’m also an actress. Trust me, the pay is better, even the hours, and I belong to several actor’s guilds. Writing is a lonely business and no one cares how long and hard you sweat to deliver the goods . . . but I love it. And it’s the perfect antidote to acting, which is a collaborative craft. Writing is, as I said, a lonely business, but it’s all you and completely original.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I’ve been a book publisher (Pomegranate press) for 29 years, publishing nonfiction entertainment subjects. I know the business well and I have also fully embraced all the new digital platforms of publishing. My nonfiction backlist is available on every app you can think of. But for my first novel, I chose to go with Montlake. I like their style, and frankly wanted their expertise in marketing fiction. I didn’t want to publish my own work of fiction because it meant entering an entirely new market place that was unknown to me.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

 My husband, a wonderful editor and magazine publisher (founding editor of Los Angeles Magazine) passed away, but I still feel his presence in my office when the sun goes down and it’s dinnertime. If I worked late, he would stand at the door of my office and flick the lights, a signal to pack it up for the day. He knew brutal deadlines and was so understanding, but he also knew that burnout was the price one paid for working too long, too hard. Now that he’s gone, I appreciate even more the times when I closed my office door and spent time with him.

This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

Daphne, my cat, runs the house. You would have to ask her.

This is for plant lovers. If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?

I’m a farmer’s daughter. Plants, like animals, come first. (Come on!)

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I have the luxury of time. I live alone now, with Daphne as a companion. She often sits in my lap as I write. If the phone rings, I’m thrilled to answer . . . and if there’s any excuse to go in the garden and dead-head flowers, I jump at it. I never stop thinking. Writing isn’t just typing.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

 As a publisher, I once got a call that a shipment of books was delayed from the printer to the warehouse. They were in Indiana on an overturned truck that was also delivering frozen pies. Don’t ask.

How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

 I don’t understand printerest. Is that what it’s called? I’m always alarmed when a friend says they sent me something on a social media network and I didn’t respond . . . believe me, you will never find anything even remotely personal about me on social media. Would I stand on a stage in an auditorium and tell personal secrets to strangers? Why would I do that anonymously on social media? Let’s have coffee, just you and me, and talk about that.

Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?

(Social media.)

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I’ve already screamed myself hoarse about selling my first novel! But I am also completely blown away that Krikus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist gave my book great reviews. It’s tough enough getting reviewed, but then to rate the trifecta . . . wow.

Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I have already alluded to it . . . writing is a lonely business. Every time you sit down in front of the blank screen, your craft and creative juices are being tapped in aid of your story. The gift of being able to tell your story as you want it told is such a privilege it makes everything else involved in the struggle worth it. Most other performance and creative endeavors are collaborative, but writing is one of those sole enterprises . . . what an amazing high it is to see your book published, your work appreciated!


Find out more about them at

Blogger Nalini Haynes speaks with Kathryn about Down and Out in Beverly Heels...

After many long months of working alone, my novel is now published and I’m out on a book tour talking about Down and Out in Beverly Heels. I’m really enjoying meeting my readers at book signings and answering questions about my writing process. Invariably I’m asked, “how do you come up with your ideas for stories?” Well, sitting in front of the blank computer screen, I often wonder myself! But, for me, it always begins with “what if?” I’m an actor as well as a writer and I find that asking myself “what if?” ignites my imagination and opens a whole universe of possibilities. Once a character begins to inhabit me, I start seeing the world through a different set of eyes, becoming aware of things I hadn’t noticed before.

As a writer, I place the character I’ve come to know and love in the most demanding, difficult circumstances imaginable, thwarting her every attempt to achieve her goal and then, when all seems lost, help her to find a truth, a strength within herself, so she can overcome the obstacles I’ve put in her path. In Down and Out in Beverly Heels, actress Meg Barnes marries a man who turns out to be a con artist and she loses everything she’s worked so hard to attain. Worse, her husband has bilked her friends and they, along with law enforcement and the press, think she was somehow involved in the scam. Homeless and living in her car, which she calls her “Ritz-Volvo,” Meg tries against terrible odds, to clear her name and regain her career. The novel is a mystery romance, fun and light-hearted, but I couldn’t write it without examining the reality of what it is to be “homeless and hiding it.” I also wanted Meg to find both redemption and retribution―there must be that moment when she faces the man who caused her downfall.

Love and Hate

I live across the street from the house where George Reeve (Superman!) died mysteriously. A friend wrote a book about the possible cause of the suicide/murder/accidental shooting, and Ben Affleck did a film about George Reeve, so I am familiar with all the theories of his demise. And I’ve been inside the house many times because the people who live there are good friends. I was even responsible for arranging for a team of psychics (“ghostbusters”) to tour the house one afternoon. But I am not as intrigued about how the actor who portrayed Superman may have died so much as the dilemma he felt in his lifetime about being so closely associated with the super hero role. Full disclosure: I used to run home from school to watch the show. I also know the lovely Noel Neill, who portrayed Lois Smith, a role I would have dearly loved to play!

As an actor myself I’m well aware of the trap of early success in a role that comes to define you. George Reeve is far from the first actor to face typecasting. Our own Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows was played by Jonathan Frid, who for some time wrestled with the fate of always being associated with his role as a vampire. Sally Field has made no secret of her wish not to be known as “The Flying Nun.” But it’s certainly not a fate worth shooting oneself over, as it’s claimed George Reeve may have done!

All of us on Dark Shadows went through a period when we hoped we’d heard the last of “I used to run home from school to watch you!” I would get stopped in the grocery store or on the bus by fans who would ask, “What was it like to be bitten by a vampire?” I’d go to auditions for roles I was entirely unsuited for and realize that the casting director had grown up with a poster of me on his bedroom wall―he just wanted to meet “Maggie Evans.” But at a certain point, when I’d been cast in many other roles and my career was established, I embraced my association with the series that launched my career. Now, some 47 years after I spoke my first lines on Dark Shadows, it gives me pleasure to know young fans are getting their first taste of the show on DVD.

At a recent book signing for Down and Out in Beverly Heels, I acknowledged that as thrilled as I as with the reviews for my second novel, every reviewer referenced me as a Dark Shadows actor. Do I mind? Not at all! In fact, I understand it so well that I made my heroine, Meg Barnes, deal with the same situation. She’s an actress who once starred in a wildly successful television series playing an amateur sleuth, Jinx Fogarty. No matter what she does the rest of her life or in her career, she will be known as Jinx Fogarty! I get it. I embrace it.

I can only smile when someone comes up to me in the post office and says, “I used to run home from school to watch you” . . . except when the fan appears to be older than I am!

KLS answers three questions from Los Angeles Magazine

While this novel is, ostensibly, a breezy mystery/romance, you also hoped to highlight the very real issue of homeless women who live in moneyed cities like Beverly Hills. What type of research did you conduct on that front to create a three-dimensional protagonist like Meg?

More than 20 years ago I watched a 60 Minutes segment in which Leslie Stahl interviewed homeless women who were living undetected in their cars in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, what I term "homeless and hiding it." Women who had once lived in comfort and security were eking out a day-to-day existence in a confined space that came with four wheels and a dashboard, and I was struck by the resourcefulness and determination of these women to survive on their own. I was also alarmed at how little it takes to lose everything: divorce, catastrophic illness or accident, bad investments, career meltdown, physical or mental health issues and natural disaster, situations any of us could face. I got in touch with Dr. Marjorie Bard, a UCLA professor, who wrote Shadow Women, which provided inspiration for the 60 Minutes piece. I learned much from her book. I also met a couple of “shadow women” during the time I volunteered at All Saints Episcopal Church, one of the four churches in Beverly Hills that provide meals for the homeless on weekdays. Of course, once the story began to inhabit me as a writer, I became so much more aware of the undetected homeless living among us. Meg Barnes springs from these observations, but also my own imagination wondering, What if? How would I deal with not only subsistence survival, but also the pain and humiliation of losing everything, including the means to earn a livelihood? The novel is indeed a light-hearted mystery/romance, and very funny! But that’s due to Meg Barnes’ resilience and her own brand of humor in coping with her dilemma.

Your last book, Dark Shadows: Return To Collinwood, delves into the making of Tim Burton's 2012 film as well as the history of the original Dark Shadows TV series, on which you starred. Obviously a very different beast, both in terms of genre and structure. Was it difficult to switch gears for Down And Out in Beverly Heels? Which genre comes more naturally to you?

I’ve primarily written nonfiction books and magazine pieces, but knew I would eventually turn to fiction. After writing about what really happened all those years ago when a small company of actors created the world of Dark Shadows, I had some fun writing Dark Passages, a paranormal mystery/romance about a young actress, who is a real vampire, cast in a television series about vampires―it’s very much Soapdish meets Dark Shadows. Down and Out in Beverly Heels is my second novel, and now I’m hooked! I love writing fiction, particularly in the mystery/romance genre, but nonfiction is so much easier! Nevertheless, I’m almost finished with a sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

What would you say are some of the biggest myths about Beverly Hills? Things the average Angeleno might not know?

My husband, Geoff Miller, was the founding editor of Los Angeles Magazine, which opened its first offices on Rodeo Drive in 1960. He thought of Beverly Hills as a village, recalling that when he was a youngster growing up near Roxbury Park, there were schoolteachers living in a boarding house on Rodeo Drive. His mother had a small porcelain shop on Beverly Drive, where she taught ceramics―and most of the shops were family-owned. People actually rode horses on the bridal path along Santa Monica Boulevard, and he remembered riding the street trolley from Beverly Hills to the ocean. He also remembered the day in 1946 when Howard Hughes crashed his experimental spy plane into a house on Whittier Drive as Geoff and his mother were strolling through that neighborhood. I suppose I’ve busted one of the biggest myths about Beverly Hills by writing about the undetected homeless living among us.

From the Library Blog... Kathryn explores writing, acting, and Down and Out in Beverly Heels

I have been a published writer as long as I’ve been a working actress and there are times when my two careers unavoidably merge. While I am completely thrilled with the book reviews for Down and Out in Beverly Heels, almost all the reviewers also identify me as a Dark Shadows actress. Over the years I’ve come to embrace the inevitability of always being referred to as the fiancé of vampire Barnabas Collins and I drew on that in creating the character of Meg Barnes in my novel. Meg once played Jinx Fogarty, an amateur sleuth in a wildly successful TV series, which means that no matter what she does in her life or career, she will always be known as Jinx, just as I will always be remembered as Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres. Just ask Sally Field what it’s like to always be reminded she was once “The Flying Nun!”

The downside for an actress like Meg Barnes, who has some celebrity attached to her name, is the harsh glare of the media when the spotlight is attracted for the wrong reasons. The tabloid press is rife with examples of wonderfully talented, successful performers suffering career meltdowns because of problems in their personal lives. In a nutshell, Meg faces intense public scrutiny when her newlywed husband turns out to be a con man, who bilks her out of everything she owns, and she ends up living in her “Ritz-Volvo” on the streets of Beverly Hills. Worse, her friends, law enforcement and the press all think she was in on the scam.

All of this is revealed in the first few pages of the novel because what really interests me as a writer and actress is how Meg rebuilds her life in the aftermath. What happens months later when the paparazzi is no longer on her doorstep―when she no longer has a doorstep!―and must deal with the pain and humiliation of having been stripped of everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. How does it change you? What do you do to survive? What is it you find in yourself that allows you to pull yourself back up? For Meg, it’s even harder to bear knowing that her life of comfort and security, and the enjoyment of doing work she loves, has been ruined through no fault of her own.

I’ve been an actress since 1966, when Dark Shadows first went on the air, and I appeared in the new Dark Shadows film with Johnny Depp in 2012, so I know how challenging it is to sustain a long career. Reputation means everything, and so many careers have been destroyed by a negative public image. Obviously, the process of aging also takes its toll, and leaving the profession for any length of time makes it even more difficult for an actor to find work again. Meg can’t afford to lie low licking her wounds. “Homeless and hiding it,” she ends up living in her car determined to eke out an existence until she can regain her livelihood.

Writing about a show business world that I am very familiar with, I don’t make it easy for Meg. It’s a tough, unforgiving profession in which even the most talented face rejection on a daily basis, but Meg is resourceful, resilient and blessed with a wonderful, ironic sense of humor. In the end she finds redemption and retribution. I care too much about Meg not to give her a chance to confront the person who plunged her into these dire straits, and also allow her to once again shine as an actress.

KLS and the Examiner... and Down and Out in Beverly Heels.


Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I grew up on a farm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and wrote my first piece when I was in second grade. My mother showed me how to work her Smith-Corona and I managed to find the strength to punch out the letters. I wrote a play about George Washington, but gave all the good lines to Martha, the role I’d set aside for myself. Our class produced it for the school. I know as an actress the applause set my heart thumping, but the fact that something I wrote was appreciated also set me on my course as a writer. I’ve been a writer/actress since I was seven years old.

Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?

In a nutshell, it’s the story of Meg Barnes, an actress beloved for her role as TV detective Jinx Fogarty, who has it all and loses everything—and ends up living on the streets of Beverly Hills in her Ritz-Volvo—thanks to her newlywed con-man husband. It’s also a story of redemption and retribution because I couldn’t let this strong-willed, independent woman not have that ultimate moment of confrontation.

Why did you choose your particular genre?

Mystery romance provided me with a good format to tell my story, and I’m a great fan of the genre.

What was your greatest challenge writing this book?

Eliminating back story! I’m an actress and have such a lot of really fun detail that I wanted to incorporate . . . but I had to edit out anything that didn’t move the story along. I could probably have eliminated even more!

Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?

I’m published by Montlake. As you may know, I have been a small press publisher for 29 years, publishing nonfiction entertainment subjects under my imprint, Pomegranate Press, so I know this world of publishing quite well. Montlake is terrific and I am so thrilled my first fiction is published by them.

Was it the right choice for you?


How are you promoting your book thus far?

Montlake is doing a terrific job (I highly recommend them!) and I am augmenting their marketing and PR with a personal publicist, Darlene Chan. Frankly, despite my many years promoting the nonfiction books of my Pomegranate Press authors, handling PR for oneself is daunting! Believe me, “I” is so much more difficult saying than “my author.”

How is that going for you?

I’m hugely gratified by the excellent reviews by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and with all the online reviewers! My book is reaching readers, who are responding with wonderful comments.

Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?

Without any question, having the opportunity to address readers directly through blogs has made a great impact. One can discuss specific areas of interest and it feels so much more personal. I see an uptick in sales the moment one of my blog pieces goes “live.”

Do you have another job besides writing?

Acting. I am currently mid-way through filming a small independent feature. Also, I just did three audio recordings of original drama for Big Finish, a UK-based company specializing in recordings of Dr Who and Dark Shadows.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

 Invest in a publicist. You can’t write your next book and carry the burden of promoting the last without a severe case of burnout. Do what you do best.

What’s next for you?

I’m completing the sequel to Down & Out in Beverly Heels, then writing a stand alone novel I’ve already outlined. I’d also like to write a sequel to Dark Passages, a paranormal coming-of-age novel.

Kathryn chats with the Chick Lit blog...

I’m an actor as well as a writer and in my novels I can’t help but draw on my theatrical training in developing a role. A character I’m playing tends to get under my skin and inhabit me, allowing me to see the world through different eyes and experience things with different sensory perceptions. As a novelist, there are times when I really feel I’m living the life of the character I’m writing about. In telling the story of Meg Barnes, whose newlywed husband turns out to be a conman, I felt her rage and humiliation at losing everything she had worked so hard to attain. When Meg is forced to live in her car (which she calls her “Ritz-Volvo) I found myself imagining how I would turn my Prius into a living space with four wheels and a dashboard―and even tried to spend a night parked at the curb of a Beverly Hills street to see how long I could manage it. I couldn’t help but wonder if, like Meg Barnes, I had an audition the following morning at Warner Bros., would I be able to use the public restroom in the park to groom myself―and make myself presentable enough that I actually got the role in the new television pilot!

Because the press, law enforcement and most of Meg’s friends in her show biz world think she was in on the scam, she really has nowhere to turn. So I created the character of Donna, a wealthy woman who befriends Meg―and soon I started thinking of her as my own friend! She’s funny, sharp, quirky and becomes Meg’s sidekick as they track down the fugitive husband. There was a point where Donna started taking over, actually elbowing Meg out of her own story. This happens when characters start telling their own tale and the writer’s outline and synopsis go out the window. I find this usually starts happening around chapter 6! In this case, I just allowed Donna to run with it and let Meg deal with the fact that Donna was taking over, getting a bit too bossy and controlling. In doing so, I had real conflict that I could use to wonderful effect. Meg, after all she’s been through, is thin-skinned and not very trusting. But Donna, who thinks her own life is boring, sees nothing but glamor and adventure in Meg’s show biz world.

The women manage to establish their own boundaries, with some hurt feelings and misunderstandings along the way. But when all seems lost for Meg, Donna comes through for her and the two become partners in a quest to track down the conman husband. There is an element of “Thelma and Louise” (though not so dire as to spoil a sequel!) because I wanted Meg to enjoy her moment of retribution when she confronts the man who put her in such dire straits.

I adore Donna! She’s everything I would want to find in a good friend. It was great fun writing the banter between these two highly independent, strong-willed women― but also discovering the bonds that deepen their friendship.

Meg finds a new romance in Down and Out in Beverly Heels―and now that I’m writing the sequel, I’ve found romance is blooming for Donna, too. These are women who met in adversity and found strength in each other, which helped them to find it in themselves. They will be friends forever.