Interview and Contest with Katharine Britton

Jen: Today we have a special guest with us.  Please help us welcome Katharine Britton to RtB.  Katharine, will you please share a short bio with us?

Katharine: I’d love to. I live in Vermont with my husband and my very old, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Maggie, who is currently snoring under my desk. I have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and teach writing at Colby-Sawyer College. In the summer, when I’m not at my desk, I can often be found in my garden, waging a non-toxic war against the slugs, snails, deer, woodchucks, chipmunks, moles, voles, and beetles with whom I share my yard. My defense consists mainly of hand wringing, after-the-fact.

Jen: Tell us about Her Sister’s Shadow and where is can be purchased.

Katharine: Her Sister’s Shadow is about two sisters, estranged for forty years, who come back together in their childhood home on the south shore of Boston. It is set in two time frames: present day, when the two reunite and work through their differences; and the 1960s, when the sisters were young, and we learn what drove them apart. Her Sister’s Shadow is available wherever books are sold.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Katharine: I entered college as an English major because I loved to read and dreamed of, someday, writing a novel. Four years later, I graduated with a degree in Bacteriology; science just seemed more practical. Soon after graduation, however, I discovered that I had neither the precision nor the patience to be a scientist. I eventually became a staff trainer, consultant, and group facilitator, and dreamed of writing a novel. At some point, I decided to stop dreaming and start writing, and enrolled in the Master’s program at Dartmouth.

My freelance writing has been published quite a bit. Her Sister’s Shadow is my first novel.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?

Katharine: My grandfather was in advertising, and I have several cousins who dabble.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Katharine: “Touching. Seamless. Intricate” That’s what Publisher’s Weekly said, at any rate.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Katharine: I definitely plot. I begin with characters, a setting, and a theme, and then ask a lot of questions.

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from? Why?

Katharine: I’d love to write a mystery. I include suspense in my stories to help move the plot forward, but I think it would be great fun to invent a recurring character, like Lord Peter Wimsey or Miss Marple and write true mysteries. I don’t see myself writing in the horror genre or science fiction. My mind just doesn’t go there. I also write screenplays, which are great fun.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Katharine: Originally, my characters were older and their childhood was in the 1940s, so I did a lot of research on what life was like in the US during WWII. The publisher thought the characters should be younger, so I moved their childhood to the 1960s. I also had to research sailing terms.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?

Katharine: First drafts are the most challenging. I love revising and could do it endlessly. The most rewarding is having an editor say she loves your novel and wants to buy it!

Jen: How do you pick character’s names?

Katharine: I try to make them mean something. For instance, my character Randall is, well, randy. Obituaries make good sources for names, as do graduation rosters.

Jen: If Her Sister’s Shadow was made into a movie, which actors would you cast as the main characters?

Katharine: I would love to see Susan Sarandon as Lilli, and Annette Benning as Bea in the present day. I think Emma Watson would make a very interesting young Bea; and for young Lilli, either Emma Roberts or Kristen Stewart, perhaps.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Katharine: I just finished Room by Emma Donoghue and loved it. I also really liked her earlier book, Slammerkin. Kate Atkinson, speaking of mysteries, is another favorite author. Two other favorite novels from the past year were Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson and The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m currently reading Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks. My all time favorite novel is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Katharine: I’m currently working on a screenplay, and I have bits and pieces of a novel waiting to be assembled and finished.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Katharine: My website is and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Amazon… I’m pretty easy to find!

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Katharine: What do you look for from a novel? (Do you like to be entertained, informed, moved…) How much physical description of characters do you want the author to provide? (And, of course, what did you think about Her Sister’s Shadow?)

  • The prize is a print copy of Her Sister’s Shadow.
  • The contest is open to our international readers.
  • You must leave a comment for entry.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT  You can also send a message to that email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, June 19.
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