Kay Springsteen, author of Heartsight, has joined us today to give us a little insight in to what makes her tick, how she came about writing the book that she did, to assure us Buckeyes that she is, in fact, not a Wolverine fan and to give us a peak in to her new book. I hope you enjoy getting to know about her as much as I did!
Would you tell us a little bit about who Kay Springsteen is?
I was born Katherine Mary Springsteen, named for my maternal grandmother, Catherine and my paternal grandmother, Mary. But from the time I was born, my parents called me Kay. My mom was a post WWII immigrant from England, who met my dad over the back fence in the Township of Redford, just outside the city of Detroit. They married, had two children. I am the youngest. I’ve never seen a couple who was more fitting of the term “soul mates,” than my parents. My parents and their relationship with each made me into the romantic heart I am today. I believe in happy endings–sometimes it might not seem like it will happen, sometimes it might end different than the person thinks he or she wants it to, but in the end, I believe the potential for happiness is always there.
I see in your bio that you are originally from Michigan. Does that make you a Wolverine fan? I’m from Columbus, Ohio and a die-hard Buckeye fan! Do you suppose that makes us natural enemies? LOL
…Big Grin! If I follow college sports, we undoubtedly would be on opposite sides of the field. But I only follow two sports, pro-hockey (Go Wings!) and pro-baseball (yay, Tigers!) so I’ll keep my wolverine claws sheathed.
You went from Michigan to the Virginia mountains…what made you choose the North Carolina coast as your location for your book?
I actually came to Virginia from Detroit via Annapolis, where I spent eight years living on the Chesapeake Bay. I love the water, so mountain living is a little new for me. One of my twins is engaged to a United States Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune. I’ve visited the area in and around Jacksonville and it’s very pretty (not to mention filled with hunky-hot Marines!). Since Dan, my hero in Heartsight, was a Marine, I could have chosen one of the bases in Virginia for him to live near but North Carolina is more often the primary target of Atlantic hurricanes.
What inspired you to write a romance that included disabilities like blindness and Down Syndrome?
The blind hero came about as a result of a combination of things. A TV show with a blind character in a supporting role intrigued me. Then I was watching something about blind athletes and found myself amazed at all they can accomplish, especially the ones who go out for extreme sports like triathlons, endurance swimming, rock climbing and the like. That got me thinking what I could do with a blind hero. The idea for rescuing a child in a dire circumstance hit next but I realized an extreme sports athlete who happened to be blind wouldn’t carry the same emotional impact as someone who had been blinded and was feeling he no longer had a purpose in life. When I started writing the book in December 2010, the news was doing stories on wounded military personnel wanting to remain in the service. So I decided a career US Marine might feel he had no purpose if he could no longer see and perform the duties he was accustomed to carrying out. I then realized I needed a circumstance where a sighted person would be possibly more impaired than a blind person. So I needed darkness. I went through two low-grade hurricanes/tropical storms while I lived in Maryland. Even though we were just at the edges of these storms, the sound of the wind is something I’ll never forget, and it got pretty dark. So, having my hero and the circumstance, I decided I wanted a child who was a challenge also. That one was perhaps the most natural choice of all. My first child was a daughter born with Down syndrome. She had a very bad heart condition and only lived for 2-1/2 years, but that short time with her changed my life forever in terms of me learning patience, acceptance of others, compassion, and understanding.
How did you learn about the Wounded Warrior Program and what made you decide to donate a portion of your proceeds to it?
I knew I wanted to give to a Military-based charity simply because our military personnel give us so much in terms of protecting our way of life and keeping us safe, and they sacrifice so much anyway. I’d seen advertisements for the USO Wounded Warriors on TV, but ultimately, I left the choice of which charity I gave to up to my daughter and future son-in-law, and they chose the USO Wounded Warriors. When I told Astraea Press about my desire to donate $1 to the USO for purchases through their website, they decided to match the donation, so each purchase of Heartsight from Astraea Press actually generates a $2 donation to the Wounded Warriors.
Has anyone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
Every person who tells me they like something I wrote has been part of my overall inspiration. My family supports me 100% and that’s part of my inspiration, too. And then there are my friends and critique partners who encourage me. But I think ultimately it comes down to feeling like God inspires me in all areas of my life, including the things I write.
What do you think the hardest part about writing is?
Realizing when it’s time to let go of what I wrote and turn it loose into the world because there is nothing else I can personally give the work.
Where can we find you?
Would you care to give us an excerpt?
The third day Bella found Dan, he’d made it to the dunes by Harkening Point. This time when he heard the shuffling, he stopped and waited, and wasn’t in the least surprised to feel Bella’s hand push into his.
“Giggles, you’re gonna give your poor mama gray hairs if you keep sneaking out to follow me.”
Bella giggled. The sound splashed up against the wall Dan had used to keep the world out for the past four years and an unexpected, unsettling little crack began to form.
“We’d better head for home before your mom misses you and blows another gasket.” Dan dug deep, striving for a kernel of irritation to shore up his wall but came up empty-handed. With a sigh, he tried not to think about what that might mean.
“Isabella!” Trish’s sharp voice cut across the distance between them.
A smile tugged at Dan’s lips. “Too late, kid. You’re busted.”
Trish began her rant even before she was close. “Bella, you left again without asking. You are never, never allowed on the beach without me. Never. It’s not safe and if—” She stopped in front of them, gasping for breath. Then she sniffed. When she continued, her voice wasn’t as steady and he could hear more fear than anger.
“It’s not safe down here, Bella. If you want to visit with Mr. Conway, maybe he’ll—maybe you can—” A sob escaped. “Come on. We have to go.”
Bella slipped her hand from his. “Okay, Mama. We go home now.”
“Thank you once again, Mr. Conway.” She spoke stiffly; the gratitude hadn’t come easily at all.
They were several feet away from him before Dan realized he hadn’t spoken. “Ms. Evers,” he called out. “I take a walk down here most mornings around seven. If you want, I can stop by your house and get Bella. She’s welcome to tag along with me. It . . . might be easier than fighting her over it.”
She hiccupped another sob, but when she spoke, her voice was even again. “Thank you, but Bella has to learn to follow the rules. If she stops sneaking out, I’ll consider your offer.”
Dan listened to Trish admonishing her daughter about the dangers of the beach as they walked off. She was kind of a prickly parent. He supposed it couldn’t hurt to hang around their area on the beach for a few days, maybe point Bella back in the direction of home before she went too far. It beat the alternative of her slipping away from her mother to follow him and ending up hurt. Or worse.
Thank you for spending some time with us!
Thank you very much for having me.