Guest Post with Giveaway ~ Reconnecting by Katalin Kennedy

guest-post

Thank you Lori for giving me the opportunity to feature my second novel “Reconnecting” on your web site.

As a brief background, I am a retired civil servant who had worked in Ottawa with the Canadian Federal Government.  My husband the Rev. Duncan Scott Kennedy and I moved to Cornwall, Ontario, following my retirement. In my attempt to discover what it was that gave me a sense of passion, I realized it was in writing. I was delighted to be given a column in the community newspaper “Seaway News”; with somewhat more confidence, I also began writing a novel.

My first novel “The Women Gather” was released by Baico Publishing in 2012. It traces the story of a group of women, who came together in 1998 to consider how they might influence change in the world and create a better place for their children’s children. From that time together, the Assembly of Friends was formed and expanded to establish Sanctuaries throughout the world for learning and developing solutions. The story line is told through emails, letters, newspaper clippings, articles, videos and journals looking both backwards and forwards. It covers a Gathering Symposium in 2066 whereby the solutions of their findings are presented. I consider the content to represent a Utopian perspective on how the world could look in 70 years.

My new novel “Reconnecting” released again thanks to Baico Publishing in June 2015 is the story of four women who had made a pact years before: “When we get to be older women, we’ll find a place to live together.” At the request of her friends Kendra, Vanessa and Iris, Marlie Deering moves back to Ottawa in 2012 to the Condo Complex where the other women live.

What Marlie hadn’t counted on were the endless entanglements their reconnecting would entail. They were each experiencing a period in their lives, when they were inadvertently searching to reinvent who they were, what their purpose was and where the future would direct them. Their stories unravel and intertwine during shared dinner gatherings when each confides a little more about her fears, her hopes, her loves, her beliefs, her family and her secrets all of which enhance their relationship which each other, even further.

Overview

I wanted “Reconnecting” to be completely different from my first novel. “The Women Gather” was an approach to give women confidence as they went into the future: that they are worthy and have a right to offer solutions to world order.

Whereas “Reconnecting” is on a different, more tangible scale looking at women today, who are confident enough with themselves and who see the importance of connecting and being part of their immediate community.

Thus, the setting, genre, style, characters, content of their discussions and story line of “Reconnecting” are all quite different from my first novel.

Setting:  I chose Ottawa, the capital city of Canada for the setting first because I’ve lived there for forty years and I know it well. And second, because the city is as beautiful as any city I’ve visited throughout the world; yet sadly, it doesn’t get enough mention, even by Canadians themselves. I feel a homey comfort whenever I return, and I want the readers to feel that way as well.

Genre: I’m often asked what genre my novel fits into.  For “The Women Gather” I’ve used the term ‘Utopian’ because it presents a positive perspective of what the future could be like. I did this to counteract the ‘Dystopian’ perspective which so many novels seem to portray, and which I don’t share.

For “Reconnecting” I’m using the term ‘plausible fiction’. Although not based a

‘true story’ per se, the content is such that it could in fact take place. I really don’t like to consider that my writing fits into any specific category; rather, I draw on aspects that will work for the story line, but may hint at various aspects of different ‘genres’.

Style:  I wanted “Reconnecting” to be as different as possible from my first novel. And I chose this story to have a connection with current time. From the moment the novel unfolds there is dialogue, and that style continues throughout. I consider this approach to be an integral aspect in getting to know the women. We learn about them, not only from what and how they think, but also what they tell each other. After all, what do we really know about our friends but what they themselves disclose to us? I also think this approach draws in the reader; there is a certain comfort level to feel part of their discussions. To some extent, this lighter approach is a foil against some of the harder hitting aspects of the novel.

Characters: I am rather obsessive, (a trait I share with Marlie the author) about character development. First, I searched out appropriate names for each, based to some degree on meanings of names; the meaning has some bearing both to the purpose of the character and to the content of the story line itself. Second, I chose ‘older women’ as the main characters in “Reconnecting”, partly because I am an older woman and know something about what matters to me. But also because when I began my career, years ago in the Canadian Federal Government working with seniors’ issues, I bought-into the need to promote aging from a positive perspective.  Wisdom, autonomy and respect are attributes that need to be endorsed as characteristics of and for the older generation. I have become disenchanted by how the new Face Book ‘selfie’ generations see the elderly: at best comical, at worst childlike and dependent. And sadly enough, as a result of this view, older people themselves have adopted negative humour as a way to describe themselves. Well NO! That is not who we are. The four women in my novel are ordinary yet exceptional women in their 60s who continue to lead productive lives even after retirement from the work force: Kendra the psychologist, Vanessa the artist, Iris the health-care activist and Marlie the writer. And more to the point, they continue to engage learning as part of their journey in their life course.

I have come to the realization that character development is a favourite aspect of my writing. Beyond the traits I give each of them, at some stage they come into their own. I know that writers have said this repeatedly and I share this view. The mystic and the magic that evolves are the best reward of writing. The characters jump off the screen and sit beside you as your friends. The challenge is to ensure that as the writer you take some control over them, so that they do not digress farther than you need them to go within the story line.

Content of their Discussions:  It is here that so much is revealed about issues which women experience and which concern them. I unabashedly address gender identity, religious views, violence, political matters concerning how various nationalities were treated in the past, personal secrets and skeletons in the closet and the struggles of living alone as older women. These are issues we all know about, which may in fact apply to all age groups and possibly future generations, but are such that we’d rather not address them. Of course there are more joyful discussions about dreams, loves, families, friends, the divine and the importance of ‘reconnecting’.

Story line: As with my first novel, the germ of an idea began with a tiny seed. I won’t state what that is, because to some extent, it becomes part of the mystery.

(Yes, I do like the idea of a mystery that gradually unfolds in a novel; but I’m not a ‘mystery writer’ as I believe that requires a different approach and technique. And as I implied earlier, I don’t want to be identified with any specific genre.)

The initial idea for this novel came to me during the time I was writing the first one. On the one hand that became a little distracting; I was already steeped in the story line of “The Women Gather”, during my dreams and waking hours, and here was another concept, creeping in to distract. In hindsight, however, that was more positive than I credited at the time, as I happily later realized I still had more to say.

I continued to think a great deal about that initial idea, but was hesitant how far I would take it. I have a tendency to grab onto ‘causes’ and this time, I wanted the ‘cause’ to be less ‘in your face’ so to speak, and more subtle. Thus, I worked the story to focus on the women getting together, sorting out the ‘entanglements’ their reconnecting represented and working out a personal growth within each of their lives, rather than only on that initial idea.

My method is always to outline the overall points of the story. I also detail what each chapter will convey, gradually unveiling more and more of the hidden elements. I refer to these outlines throughout the writing as there are shifts that become incorporated. I need to ensure that consistency and the main intent are sustained.

Again, as with the characters taking on a life of their own, story lines expand based on new insight and research. I am in awe of the web technology which brings so much learning to our fingertips. But I am more in awe of the human brain that can weave stories from nothingness. And more so about the magic of story telling which connects us to each other, not only in our own time, but in years to come.

Thank you again, Lori, for giving me the opportunity to discuss my novel.

I hope you and your readers will enjoy the experience of my second novel “Reconnecting”. 

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reconnectingPublished: June 3, 2015
Publisher: Baico Publishing
Genre: Women's Fiction
ISBN – 10: 177216030X
ISBN – 13: 9781772160307
BuyChapters, Baico

Years before, the four friends had made a pact: “When we get to be older women, we’ll find a place to live together.” When Marlie finally decided to move back to Ottawa in 2012, it wasn’t because she was encouraged by Kendra to join her, Vanessa and Iris to live at the Condo Complex; but rather, it was because she felt a calling to return.

What Marlie hadn’t counted on were the endless entanglements their reconnecting would entail. They were each experiencing a period in their lives, when they were inadvertently searching to rediscover who they were, what their purpose was and where the future would direct them.

Their stories unravel and intertwine during shared dinner gatherings when each confides a little more about her fears, her hopes, her loves, her beliefs. her family and her secrets. As time goes on, their sagas gradually unveil connections through their parents, about World War II, which none of them had expected.

And overarching it all, Marlie’s dreams and waking hours mingle with mystical messages which she sacredly guards but which she whole heartedly accepts to be from Owen, her late husband.

post-divider leftKatalin Kennedy's pictureKatalin (András) Kennedy escaped from Hungary with her parents on Christmas Eve 1956. She married Duncan Scott Kennedy in 1972 and graduated from Ottawa’s Carleton University. In the latter part of her career, she managed major national projects with Health Canada’s Family Violence Prevention Programs, until her retirement. Her beloved soul mate, the Rev. D. S.  Kennedy passed away in 2006. She now resides in Cornwall, Ontario and continues her involvement in various organizations: Canadian Federation of University Women, Probus Club of Cornwall and Area, Encore Seniors’ Education Program and the Cornwall and Regional Writers’ Society. For ten years she was a columnist for Seaway News. In 2012, Kennedy launched her first novel “The Women Gather” and in June 2015 “Reconnecting” was also released by Baico Publishing.

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Giveaway

First prize: $25 Amazon gift certificate and autographed copy of Reconnecting
Second and third prize: Autographed Copy of Reconnecting



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Comments

  1. Hello Lori,

    On behalf of Katalin Kennedy and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Katalin today on Lori’s Reading Corner. If anyone has any questions and/or comments they would like to share, Katalin will be by later in the day to respond. 

    Katalin is having a giveaway during her tour. 1st prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and an autographed copy of Reconnecting; 2nd Prize: autographed copy of Reconnecting; 3rd Prize: autographed copy of Reconnecting. Click here to enter:  http://gvwy.io/j9884y3

    Please join Katalin, tomorrow, Friday, November 6th, 2015 for the last day of her ten day virtual book blog tour for Celtic Lady Reviews review of Reconnecting.

    Check where Katalin is each day on her tour by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/EmesesDreamProduction or on her website: http://www.katalinkennedy.com

    Best regards, Della

  2. I enjoyed preparing the post for your web site. It gave me the opportunity to be reflective about the various aspects of writing my new novel "Reconnecting". Thank you again for featuring my work.  All the best! Katalin Kennedy

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