Katherine Owen is the author of two great novels, Seeing Julia, and Not To Us. Please stop by this weekend to read her exclusive interview.
Belinda G. Buchanan: Tell us a little about your new novel, Not To Us?
Katherine Owen: Not To Us is the roller coaster ride story of Ellen Kay “Ellie” Bradford. Ellie—a successful editor, a doting mother, and a loving wife—discovers her perfect world has been rocked by her best friend Carrie’s betrayal with her husband Robert. Since college, it’s been the two couples: Robert and Ellie; and, Michael and Carrie. Ellie’s world unravels even further when she learns she has breast cancer from Michael, the brilliant surgeon determined to save her. With an unexpected pregnancy further complicating Ellie’s cancer treatment, Michael and Ellie marry, both intent on building another perfect life together with their blended families. But soon after, their extraordinary bond is tested like never before.
Not To Us is an insightful look into one woman’s personal journey in discovering the only way to keep her one and only wish is to trust the ones that count, beginning with herself.
Belinda G. Buchanan: In this book, you write entirely from Ellie’s perspective. Why did you choose to go that route?
Katherine Owen: I’m fond of first person present tense as a writing style. I enjoy the challenge that comes with writing a story from a limited point of view where, sometimes, the readers, themselves, can put together more of the underlying theme of the story than even main character may actually be aware of or revealing.
Belinda G. Buchanan: The book shares a lot of details about breast cancer. Are you yourself a survivor?
Katherine Owen: The answer is no to the second part of that question, however, I did experience a quiet ah-hah moment for the impetus of this book when I contemplated the news that one of my friends was dealing with breast cancer which led me to posing the “what if” kind of questions: What if you were facing a life-threatening illness? Would it change you?
I would actually assert that Not To Us is never really about breast cancer; cancer is a side issue, while the rest of Ellie’s life falls apart. I don’t want to be too specific because some of you read the last pages first, but this is about one woman’s journey in discovering who she really is and what she really wants, when her life tragically falls apart and she has to make choices. A subset of this theme is the impact that grief and loss have on all of the characters in this story, though the main focus resides with Michael and Ellie.
Obviously, it’s Ellie’s story, told from her point of view, but readers get a sense of all the other characters that touch her life in some way. Keep in mind the first two lines of the book: There are all kinds of ways for a relationship to be tested, even broken, irrevocably. It’s the endings that we’re unprepared for.
Not To Us deals with a lot of different relationships throughout the story that are broken or end, some, irrevocably.
Belinda G. Buchanan: If readers could walk away with one thing after reading your book, what would you wish for it to be?
Katherine Owen: Life is precious. Every day counts; you never know when you might lose the ones you love the most.
Belinda G. Buchanan: What do you have in the works? Can you share any tidbits with us?
Katherine Owen: It’s not always easy to talk about my future novels because I have a tendency to let the story lines unfold as I go along, however, here is what I’m working on right now:
The first one is When I See You about a young woman whose husband is killed while serving as part of a sniper team in Afghanistan. Jordan Holloway tries to cope with the loss of her husband Ethan and rebuild a life for herself and her young son, Max, when she discovers a letter from Ethan that leads her to Brock Wainwright, her husband’s sniper partner. Jordan has been blaming Brock for Ethan’s death, but she soon discovers Brock battles his own demons about the firefight in Afghanistan that killed his best friend and partner. When I See You is told from both Jordan’s point of view as well as Brock’s and explores the grief they both share over the loss of Ethan as well as their attempts to find their way back to new, but very different life.
The second novel I’m working on is Saving Valentines about a brilliant surgeon who’s been serving in Afghanistan and returns home, expecting to resume the life he left behind, only to discover that everything has changed, perhaps, himself, most of all. Saving Valentines is about one man’s journey back to himself in realizing that all his sacrifices for the cause may have cost him the things he loves the most.
I’m also playing around with a story tentatively titled Finding Amy about sixteen-year-old Tally who grieves the loss of her mother and on one fateful night meets a college boy, named Damon—their connection rocks their worlds in different ways for years to come. Here’s the tagline for this one:
The one night they share leads to a life of searching. She: to stay lost. He: to find her.
So, those are three novels that I’m busy writing, writing, writing. Visit my web site for the latest updates on all of my novels: http://www.katherineclareowen.com. As always, thank you so much for reading my work.
Belinda G. Buchanan: Thank you Katherine for sharing a little insight with us on your book. Congratulations on it’s success. And I look forward to reading your next novels!
Belinda, thanks for reading my work and allowing me to discuss Not To Us.