Kathleen Rodgers joins us this week to discuss her latest novel, The Flying Cutterbucks
Author Name: Kathleen M. Rodgers
Book Title: The Flying Cutterbucks
Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction/Political Fiction
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Welcome to The Spotlight, Kathleen! How would you describe The Flying Cutterbucks?
“When national politics triggers a buried family secret, the Cutterbuck women do what they do best, persevere” ~ Johnnie Bernhard, author of Sisters of the Undertow
“Book forces reader to examine what it means to be a woman in America” ~ Jodie Cain Smith, author of Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe
What sparked the idea for this book?
The 2016 presidential election along with my longtime dream to set a contemporary novel in New Mexico, the land of my birth and where I declared myself a writer at the age of fifteen. I wanted to write a novel that would empower women, and I wanted to speak out against male predators at the highest levels of our government. It was also important for me to give a voice to military families whose loved ones are still missing overseas.
How long did it take for you to write it?
I started the novel shortly after the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. in early 2017. I turned it into my agent on my sixtieth birthday in October 2018. Once the publisher came on board in late 2019, I wrote an additional chapter and added a brief new opening.
What’s your favorite part about being an author? What do you find challenging?
Favorite part: Getting to emotional truth through the guise of fiction. I love living alternative lives through my characters and taking chaotic ideas and thoughts and shaping them into the framework of a story. The most challenging part? Facing down the look or feel of indifference from potential readers and industry professionals.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
Looking back over my years as a freelance writer, I really did enjoy having millions of people read my work in magazines and newspapers, particularly Family Circle. Today, I get to work as a novelist who incorporates magical realism into my work, along with plenty of critters and characters who keep me awake at night as I worry each novel into being.
Any words of wisdom you’d give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?
If I could hug my naïve teenage self, I’d wrap her in my arms, pat her on the back, and say, “Hang on tight, sister. Don’t let the naysayers get you down and never give up.”
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
Yes, I’m working on my fifth novel. I’m about halfway through. Here’s a teaser:
Set in a small town in eastern New Mexico, where water and opportunity are as rare as a mermaid sighting, three sisters and two friends form a secret club and dream of the ocean. But betrayal and broken promises threaten to tear everyone apart, and friendships and family bonds are tested.
Where can readers find you?
Thank you, Kathleen! The Flying Cutterbucks is available everywhere NOW.
Decades ago, Trudy, Georgia, and Aunt Star formed a code of silence to protect each other from an abusive man who terrorized their family. One act of solidarity long ago lives with them still. With the election of a president who brags about groping women without their consent, old wounds and deep secrets come alive again, forcing hard truths to be told and even harder truths to be left to the dead.
On the outskirts of Pardon, New Mexico, Trudy returns to her mother, Jewel, to navigate an old house filled with haunting mementos of her father who went missing in action over North Vietnam. As she helps her mother sift through the memories and finally lay her father to rest, Trudy will do her own soul searching to say goodbye to the dead, and find her way along with the other women in her family, and through the next election.
2021 WILLA Literary Award Finalist in Contemporary Fiction from Women Writing the West
“I am always the daughter trying to write my way home.”
Kathleen M. Rodgers is a novelist whose work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, and in several anthologies. A professional writer for more than forty-five years, her novels have garnered many awards and favorable reviews from readers. She’s been featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, and Military Times. The audiobook of The Flying Cutterbucks released June 29, 2021 from Skyboat Media and is narrated by voice talent and longtime friend, F Michelle Williams, based in New Mexico where the novel is set. The author is represented by Diane Nine, President of Nine Speakers, Inc.