Kathleen Morgan is a successful romance writer whose work includes fifteen published novels. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been a popular conference speaker. Her newest series The Brides of Culdee Creek, are her first books for the Christian fiction market. Christianbook.com spoke with Kathleen recently about her writing and this new series.

You are a registered nurse with a Masters Degree in counseling. How did you go from that to being an author?

Well, I never believed that you have to stay in one career your whole life. There are just so many interesting things to do out there! I see them all, in a sense, tying in with one another. Nursing and counseling have to do with people and books have to do with people. I've always loved to write but I never thought I'd be a writer. I always wanted to be a nurse. But in a way I feel like I have come full circle because what I've learned from being a nurse and counselor and just living life are now what I can use for my books. In a way I see a thread through it all.

You've written many novels for the secular market. What made you decide to enter the Christian market?

In 1996 my youngest son died of cancer unexpectedly. It really threw me for a loop. It was devastating but it made me step back and look at life—my life, my expectations, my whole concept of what life was about. I had been a Christian all my life but I had not been a really strong, faithful, practicing one. It made me step back and look at that too. I did a lot of reading, I went back and read the Bible, spiritual books, and Christian fiction. I was really amazed at how the Christian fiction books touched my heart even more than some of the other spiritual books did. Fiction can convey spiritual truths in a more subtle way. Rather than just touching your head, they can touch your heart. The Bible is a heart-touching book too and a lot of that is because it's full of stories. Christ used parables to get a point across in a way that touched people's hearts and the point stayed with them because of that.

Do you plan to continue writing inspirational fiction? Will you continue to write for the secular market also?

Right now I think I can keep myself quite busy just writing for the Christian fiction market. I don't necessarily plan to go back and write for the secular market. Of course it's always a possibility because there are people out there who can be touched that wouldn't buy an obviously Christian book. Inspirational stories are actually harder to write in a lot of ways because you're not just weaving in the character's personal journeys, or in romance stories their love journeys, but also their journeys to God. It's like a third plot line.  You need to develop all these things in a natural, plausible way.

Tell me about your Brides of Culdee Creek series.

At this point there are going to be three books in the series. It's set in Colorado in the late 1800s and takes place on a ranch called Culdee Creek. The men who own it are the MacKays. They are the descendants of Scottish immigrants because I just love Scottish things. Each book is based on a woman who is either related to the MacKays or marries one of them. Each title is based on one of the big themes—especially the spiritual themes—as well as the meaning of the heroine's name.
Daughter of Joy is based on Abigail's story. Abigail means "source of joy" and the book is about her journey to find joy in life after she loses her husband and young son. Woman of Grace is Hannah's story. Hannah means "full of grace" and she is looking to discover, accept, and understand God's grace. Lady of Light, which is the one I am working on right now, is Claire's story. Her name means "source of light, bright, illustrious" and her journey is to find her purpose in life within her family situation. She is a source of light and inspiration, kind of like how the mother is the heart of the home. Without the mother being a strong, guiding light the home falls apart. So she's got to discover that role within herself.

Where did you get the idea for this series?

Originally Daughter of Joy was going to have a different title. It was still going to have a theme of joy in it but my editor wasn't so sure that this would be the title that they would use. With my background in the ABA market I thought that generally it's smarter or best if you as a writer be proactive and come up with titles yourself, because once they come up with titles they tend to want to stick with those. So that got me started. It was kind of serendipity. I was going to do joy and I picked Abby for her name and when I looked it up I saw it had to do with joy I thought, Whoa! Then it just kind of evolved from there. I thought Ok, well if I do another book . . . Sometimes things just click. This just fell together wonderfully.  I even have an idea for a fourth book that will follow in with the theme.

Of the three books, Daughter of Joy, Woman of Grace, and Lady of Light do you have a favorite?

Daughter of Joy I think because her issues were a lot of mine especially at that time, dealing with the loss of a son and trying to find joy again. Although each book does have some theme that I'm dealing with. I think it helps me write the story better and to deal with the characters in a more true to life way if I'm actually thinking about and questioning these things in my own life.

It's interesting that my editor was hesitant about buying Woman of Grace. It wasn't because of Hannah who is a prostitute, but because of Devlin, which is understandable because of what he is set up to be in the first book. But I thought, Yeah, but he has the right to be saved. He messed up, messed up bad in a moment of weakness, and he's going to have to pay for that for the rest of his life in a sense because of the guilt. But the message I wanted to get across is that God forgives everything if you are truly repentant. I thought it was an interesting contrast, these two—Hannah and Devlin. Originally it was going to be Hannah and Evan when I was doing Daughter of Joy, but by the end Devlin was becoming so interesting, I thought Oh, wouldn't that be a neat twist. As a writer you want to do the unexpected. A couple of the reviews I got said that they really didn't expect these two to get together.  I decided that Evan needed a different kind of woman. Hannah and Evan wouldn't really have been right for each other. I could have forced it if I had wanted to but I thought it would be better to go with something a bit different. It makes it fun for the writer, too, to have surprises.

The third book in the series takes Evan MacKay to Scotland. Have you been there? Did you go there to research for your book?

No. I would love to though. I'm going to get there someday. I love Scottish things and I have some Scots in my background. My last name—Morgan—which is my married name, is a sub family of the clan MacKay. That's why I used that name. I get all my Scottish ideas from movies like Robb Roy and Braveheart as well as from books.

You have an interest in science fiction. Do you have any plans to write a book in that genre?

I've got an idea that I've got to let percolate a bit. Science fiction is such a wonderful medium to slip in thoughts and principles in a different setting and different time. Firebird by Kathy Tyers is a wonderful science fiction book. It's a little high techy because she's really into fighter space ships and things and goes into great detail of those, but it's a wonderful story. It has a good love story, a really good spiritual theme, and has a lot of action and adventure. I tend to be softer in my science fiction. I like to deal more with the people and the culture and the times.

Do you have anything new in the works besides Lady of Light?

I just sold a book proposal to Tyndale, which is going to be my first women's fiction book. It will be a bigger book and is set in Scotland in the 1690s. It has to do with the Glencoe Massacre.

What do you hope to accomplish through your writing?

I'd like to tell an entertaining, can't put it down, engrossing story where the gospel shines through in a natural, non-preachy way. I want my readers to identify and care for my characters and their struggles, both their everyday life struggles as well as their spiritual struggles. And I want to touch the reader's hearts and inspire them and strengthen them on their journey to God. But most of all I want to serve the Lord through my writing. I think this is what He has called me to. I want to make the best use of the gifts He has given me which I guess is the gift of writing. 

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