Thursday, April 21, 2011

Author Kat Henry Doran takes a bite out of social injustice

Hi, Judy,
          Thanks for inviting me to your blog.

          You asked that I talk a little about writing for the sub-genre of older heroes and heroines. I do it because I'm attracted to men of this age group: those who have a few life experiences under their belts. It follows naturally, that the women these men are attracted to are the ones I want in my books. And if they only go for brainless twenty year-old twits? They're no heroes to me and find their asses kicked to the curb right fast.

          All of the books and novellas I've written have heroes and heroines in their very late 30's and into their 50's. I had an awful time pitching the early stories to the usual suspects in New York City houses which is why I'm grateful to The Wild Rose Press for their Last Rose of Summer line. The two books I'd like to focus on are Try Just Once More, a full length romantic suspense novel set in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State and Embraceable You, part of the Class of '85 series.

          In TJOM, registered nurse Maggie McGuire has returned to her childhood home in Saranac Lake to regroup after being cleared of all charges associated with her husband's death and continue her journey down the rocky road to sobriety. Just when things are going pretty good, she learns someone is trying to kill her children. On top of that, the new chief of police in town keeps nosing around, asking all kinds of intrusive questions in order to solve the crimes. To keep her kids safe, Maggie must put her trust in a cop—not easy for a woman who narrowly avoided a maximum security cage after the machinations of the corrupt police detective assigned to investigate her husband's death.  Chief Mike Brandt, wildly attracted to the smart mouth Maggie, despite a nasty track record with nurses, must put aside his contempt for women with chips on their shoulders to keep the McGuire family safe and intact. Both must learn to try just once more.

          Several years ago, while researching one topic, I stumbled across Las Madres de la Plaza, a group of women who lost their loved ones [children, siblings and/or spouses] to the military junta during Argentina's Dirty War, 1976-83. Las Madres are amazing for their strength of convictions, inspiring in their devotion to los desaparecidos, the disappeared ones, and to this day demonstrate weekly—thirty years after the events—to show we cannot forget nor tolerate tyranny and murder. The group became an integral part of Embraceable You after the heroine, Druzilla Horvath, finds herself in danger after photographs she took during a Las Madres march uncovered an escaped war criminal living out in the open in Buenos Aires. The hero, Rory McElroy, volunteers to provide protection during Dru's appearance at an awards banquet at the reunion for the Class of '85. After witnessing the work Dru has accomplished, Rory realizes she is the woman who will complete his life, someone to embrace forever.  

          I love to hear from readers at:
          All of my stories can be found at:

Kat will offer a download copy of Try Just Once More to one lucky visitor who leaves a comment the day this post goes live.  
          The woman showed more brass than the Marine Corps Band. “Look, Miz McGuire, could we start over?”

          She glared down her nose at him, like she'd just stepped in something foul. “You're too late, Chief. Much too late.”

          With that, she stalked toward the exit door, leaving an open-mouth Mike wondering where he'd lost control of the situation. Staff at the desk immediately sought avenues of escape. As two nurses slipped past him, one said, “It's always a treat to watch the Reigning Queen of Man-Haters kick some guy to the curb.”

          “That Maggie,” the other sighed. “She's my hero.”

          Taking a slow count of three, Mike bolted for the door, and found the Queen in the parking lot. Posture military stiff, she strutted toward a red Saturn, hair flowing around her shoulders in a halo of copper. Despite his mounting agitation, he couldn't help but admire her guts. And her fanny.

          “Maggie. Please. Let me apologize.”

          Still moving, she called over one shoulder, “As I indicated before, you're too late.”

          Bitterness, an emotion tied too closely to his failed marriage, scalded the back of his throat. “You know something, lady? A couple hours ago, I couldn't decide if your beef is just with cops, or men in general. Clearly that's not the case.”

          She came to a stop, drew back her shoulders, then turned. “Who awarded you the right to pass judgment on me?”

          The verbal exchange gave him the time needed to reach her side. To get in her face. “Don't try to convince me that all men rank as a lower life form with you. Not after I saw you hanging all over Investigator Jackson.”

          She reached down to jab the key into the door lock. “Obviously, my convincing skills need a bit of polishing.” 
Suddenly, Dru remembered the back-up phone tucked inside the double zippered pocket in her satchel, right beside the extra flash cards and rolls of antacids. Hot damn. All was not lost. With a grin, she hefted the bag over her shoulder and turned toward the bathroom. “I won't be long.”

            Before she made the first step, he slid in front of the door, blocking her access. “Give it up.”

            Down to her last strike, she pulled the affronted female card. Granted, she used it maybe once in a decade, but Fiona was probably tearing her hair by now. “I beg your pardon?”

            Leaning forward, he brought them nose to nose. “Play much poker, Horvath? Your face just lit up like the Fourth of July, which tells me you've got something more stashed in the tote. Unless you let me search it, it stays with me.” 

            Clutching the canvas bag to her chest, she sneered, “The only thing in here is my outfit for tonight, McElroy. If you think I'm parading around naked in front of you, one of us is a couple fries short of a happy meal.”

            His response came in the form of another gimme motion with those thick, blunt fingers. “I'll close my eyes if I encounter any lacy unmentionables.”

            She knew the instant he found the back-up. The screw-you look morphed into a smirk. “It's not wise to mess with Homeland Security, sweetie. Those guys eat small animals for breakfast.” 

Monday: Clare Austin


Keena Kincaid said...

Good morning. I've written heroes and heroines of all ages (from late teens to mid-40s). Each age group possesses it's own challenge, but the writing the older ones is more fun and more frustrating. By the time they reach the middle years, they know themselves, and they know what they will and won't compromise on. The hurts are real and deep (not just dramatic, as it sometimes is when we're young) but their ability to heal and heal others is also mature and resonate.

Cheers to older leads in our stories.

Jannine Gallant said...

Hi Kat,

All your heroines are tough on the outside with soft centers. Hmm, sounds like their creator to me. Congrats on these terrific stories!

Emma Lai said...

Nice blog Kat. I've always been fond of older men. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact my dad is 12 years older than my mom...though there are definite challenges with such a large discrepancy. Anyway, your books sound enticing. Congrats on the new release.

Lynne Marshall said...

Both books sound really interesting Kat. the beauty of small presses is they're more willing to take stories that don't always fit the NY lists.
P.S. I love Nurse/Cop stories : )

kerryhayes79 said...

Hi, Keena,
thanks for stopping by.
yeah, the old bags really light my fire.

kerryhayes79 said...

You got me pegged.
Thanks for stopping by.

kerryhayes79 said...

Thanks for stopping by, Emma.
Mike Brandt, the hero of Try Just Once More, is a special favorite of mine. He has a warped sense of humor and isn't put off by a strong woman.

kerryhayes79 said...

Hi, Lynne--
Yup. Nurses and cops; an attraction as old as time and often a fatal attraction! Not literally, I hope.
I just realized my responses are coming from my daughter's email address. I'm baby sitting as I write these responses and the house is falling down around me!
Thanks for stopping by.