Photo by Brenda Ahern
Flathead authors Kathy Dunnehoff and Deborah Epperson had few expectations when they placed their books for sale on Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Both had their hearts broken before when literary agents accepted their books but never secured publishing contracts.
But these days, both Dunnehoff and Epperson can’t stop smiling as their novels jump up the e-book charts and they finally see their years of effort starting to pay off.
At the beginning of 2011, writer Kathy Dunnehoff had little social media savvy.
An instructor at Flathead Valley Community College, she knew and shared a lot about writing, yet had never had a book published.
She celebrated 2012’s arrival with a blog, two Facebook pages, a Twitter account and a publishing company as her two e-books shoot up the Amazon charts in several categories of romantic fiction. Dunnehoff tweets that she has begun the final revision of her third e-book, called “Back to U.”
“It was a huge learning curve for me because I hadn’t ever done social media,” she said. “I went from nothing to a small publishing company, Blue House Publishing.”
The name describes the cottage on Kalispell’s east side where Dunnehoff spun her first two romantic comedic novels, “The Do-Over”and “Plan on It.”
The company name also reflects Dunnehoff’s desire to publish both e-books and physical books. She learned from a friend that her house combines the earlier traditional Victorian style as well as the more modern Craftsman styles of architecture.
“That’s exactly how I felt I was,” she said. “I had come up with traditional publishing, and then I kind of felt like I had a foot in both worlds. That’s why I called it Blue House publishing.”
With the morning sun highlighting her dark hair, Dunnehoff looks like one of her heroines winding up an escapade, such as the one who took a vacation from her life in “The Do-Over,” or the professor who set up her hunt for a sperm donor like one of her biology experiments.
At 47, with one of her two children nearly grown, Dunnehoff could play the role of her next tortured female lead in “Back to U.”
“It’s a woman whose only child is going to college and her husband has just left her,” Dunnehoff shared. “The night before her daughter leaves for college, she announces that she is running off with an-all female Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band and will not be going to college.
“The mom is now alone in the house with absolutely nothing that she previously had. She goes to the university to take care of the paperwork for her daughter and ends up taking her daughter’s place. It’s the university she dropped out of 20 years before, and she runs into a man there who was the cause of her dropping out, who is now back as a professor. In my mind, it’s set at the University of Montana.”
… Dunnehoff completed her first novel, Plan On It, by cramming in scant hours of writing while caring for her own two girls and swapping babysitting with a friend a few hours a week. One day a little blurb in the paper caught her eye about a writing contest and she decided to enter on a whim. Months later, she received a phone call. Dunnehoff’s manuscript had won a Zola Award from the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association.
…With her husband Thom as a rock, Dunnehoff the writer climbed out of Dunnehoff the doubter. She credits her husband with refusing to give up on her ability to achieve her dream.
“?If I could have given up, I would have,?” she said. “?I feel like he absolutely held on to it for me ? he handed it back to me.?”
Dunnehoff recommitted to writing, accepting that she can’?t control what happens to her work when it leaves her hands. She decided to focus on what she can control, the quality of her work.
She keeps a simple phrase from novelist Dennis Foley, “the cream always rises to the top.”
?”Now, when I have a setback, I say to myself ?Be creamier,”?? she said. ?”That just means I have to be better.”?
Guest Author on Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog:
The Do-Over highlighted on: “Hey, I Read That Book Too!”