I’ve got the privilege today of announcing one of my Wild Rose Press and NHRWA sistah’s newest book release! My friend, uber-talented writer, and all around fabulous gal Kathryn Hills has a brand new book instores today, titled Hellfire and Handbaskets ( great title, isn’t it??!!) She dropped by recently to talk about the book and give us a little snippet of what the story’s about, so sit back and relax.
Kathy, what drew you to this genre?
It was a dark and stormy night. Funny, I know. And oh so cliché, but for me those words always spark interest. A heroine (hero, or both), alone in a haunted mansion or scary castle. Unknown dangers. The weird, mysterious, and frightening. Strange things, lurking around dark corners. Shivers, and goosebumps, and I love it!
My affair with gothic romance started early. While others in elementary school were reading babysitting adventures, tales about animals, and biographies of famous people, my favorite books were spooky. Kids versions of Dracula and Frankenstein. My poor mother. Makes me wonder if she had to sit through teacher conferences, hearing about my odd taste in reading material. Although, she never said. Probably because she loved a good story as much as me.
In my teen years, I discovered mainstream romance. I became a big fan of the romance genre overall. Historicals, contemporaries, mysteries, and later paranormals as they grew in popularity. Far-off lands, grandiose adventures. Plus, the guarantee of a happily-ever-after made romances my go-to reads throughout college, and still to this day. Yet I’ve never forgotten my roots as a gothic reader.
Are you going to keep writing in this genre?
Absolutely! These types of stories, inspired by paranormal investigations and haunted history, are a huge part of what I’ve got coming up. Book 2 in my Time Traveler’s Journey series (Hellfire and Handbaskets) lures readers deeper into the frightening world of time-travel and the dark magic that created it. The setting is the city of Boston, a modern-day hospital, and a medical school in 1895. And, the “Lair of Lucifer” a.k.a. America’s first subway system. An ominous place, under construction beneath the teeming city streets.
These books also explore woman’s issues—aspirations, sexuality, and their inevitable clashes with the values of society. Central themes of Gothic romance, going back to stories like Dracula. I challenge the notion of a “woman’s place,” both in turbulent Victorian America and today. Whether she’s a modern woman traveling back in time, or a lady from the 1800’s stuck in our present day, it’s tough for my heroines. But their heroes get dragged along for the ride, so it’s all good. 😊
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you love. And if possible, experience first-hand what you’re writing about. A wise man—renowned paranormal investigator John E.L. Tenney—told me something inspiring. Paraphrasing here, he said… “If you can visit a haunted house, explore the mysteries of the universe, experience the paranormal safely, then do it. Your life will be richer for it.” Obviously, don’t put yourself in harm’s way or break any laws, but get out there. Visit a place, hear the sounds, smell the air. Feel it.
I hope my writing is enriched by my personal experiences. I know my imagination skyrockets when I hunt ghosts or stumble through history’s mysteries. I also hope I’ve inspired you (the reader and/or writer) to explore that “dark and stormy night.” You never know what you’ll discover. Maybe the best, new story. One I’ll put on my “favorites list.”
Peggy here: great advice!!! And now: here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin about Kathy’s newest release.
Hellfire and Handbaskets – A Time Traveler’s Journey, Book 2
It’s hell in the ER, but Army veteran Dr. Rick Hauser wouldn’t work anywhere else. The hardened combat medic thinks he’s seen it all. Until she storms into his life.
Amelia Pennington is not just a pretty face. She’s a time-traveler. A medical student from 1895, forced to flee a madman. She’s been in trouble before, but this time everything she loves is at risk. Can a reluctant hero be the key she’s searching for?
What’s left of Hauser’s heart is still on the battlefield. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a mystery woman. But when he finds Amelia on the streets, he ignores the warning shots firing off in his head and takes her home. In less than twenty-four hours, she’s upended his self-protected world. Even his dog, Rocky, is in love.
Hauser looked up from his work station. The blonde from the waiting room was in the ER corridor, looking crazed. Without thinking, he headed straight for her.
She rushed forward when she saw him and threw herself at his feet. “Please, Doctor, help me.”
Rick grabbed her under the arms and hauled her back to standing. She looped around his waist before he could stop her.
“Security,” someone else yelled.
An alarm code sounded.
“I got this,” Rick relayed. He captured her face and made her look at him. Wild blue eyes shot from side to side. “Hey. Eyes on me. Only me. There ya go.” His voice calmed when she complied. “Tell me what’s going on.”
“Please,” she begged in a low tone meant only for his ears. “Something dreadful happened in the tunnels.”
He recognized it then, the ghost of real trauma. She’d been through something bad. “All right. You’re safe with me.” He relaxed his hold and felt her tremble in his arms. Her head came to rest against his chest. With a ragged sigh, she nestled into him.
A shudder of unfamiliar emotion shot through him. He hadn’t held a woman in years. Heck, he hadn’t even been this close to another human unless they were injured or dying.
“Tell me your name,” he insisted. Still, he held her.
Bo Peep felt good. Damn good. Slim but strong, all curves and sweet, sexy woman pressed full against him. Rick’s sex-starved body surged to life as if he’d been hit with paddles. Her blonde head rose, and she met his stare. Trust had replaced the fear. When she moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue, his resolve took a nosedive.
Sweet Jesus, what the hell? Rick cleared his throat and untangled himself from her. “I can’t help unless you work with me. What’s your name? I’m Hauser. I mean…Dr. Rick Hauser.”
She stood straight. “Amelia Pennington, and I need your help, Doctor.” Her voice had turned steady. Steadier than his.
“That’s why I’m here. Tell me what happened.”
“There’s a man,” she began. Her gaze snapped to those entering alongside them.
Rick held up one hand to stay the guards, twitching to haul her away. “What happened with the man?”
She didn’t answer. Her laser focus remained on the others.
“Well then, Amelia Pennington…” He took her hand and drew her back to him. “You sure know how to make an entrance. But security is gonna need to ask you a few questions before I can help.”
“No…” she moaned.
“Yes,” he commanded.
She looked to the other men again, appearing to size them up. With surprising strength, she shoved Rick and darted past the guards. And she fled into the night as if the devil himself chased after her.
The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect backdrop for Kathryn’s books. Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts… All sparks for her imagination. Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present.
Taking it further—to have her characters experience the past or present, opposite to “when” they belong—is the fun part. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories involve time travel. And ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.
When not writing, she’s exploring history and taking photographs of the beautiful landscape that surrounds her. Kathryn shares her colonial home with those she loves most—her wonderful husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.
Romance author, ghost hunter, and lover of things that go bump in the night.
Kathryn Hills ~ Hauntingly Romantic
When she’s not writing, or ghost hunting, or taking pictures, can You find Kathryn here: