Renee Russell

KATE’S PRIDE is my debut novel. A lot of people have asked me where the idea for the story came from and how I came to write it.

KATE’S PRIDE is actually based very loosely on one of my great great grandmothers. I’d been bitten by the genealogy bug years earlier, but when I was researching the branch of my family that descended from Kate, I came to a screeching halt with her. All I could find out beyond public record information was that she’d had two illegitimate children and been disowned by her family not long after the end of the Civil War. I couldn’t find out who that family was. I still haven’t found out – even though I continue to take a stab at it occasionally.

Before I began writing KATE’S PRIDE I’d find myself up at 3AM poring over genealogy sites and all the paper documentation I’d managed to locate trying to find that elusive piece that would give me the names of Kate’s parents. It had to be there somewhere. I knew if I kept trying I’d eventually find it. Didn’t happen. My life became frustration station with regard to Kate and it drove me up the wall. The less I could find, the more I wanted to know. The more I had to know. Can you say obsession?

Eventually, my husband suggested I write a book about Kate. I sniffed. What did he know about writing a book? Didn’t he know if it was easy everybody would do it? And I was surprised because I’d never told him my secret dream had always been to be an author. I’d never shown him the poems and short stories I’d written over the years.

His suggestion sat there in the back of my mind. Whispering in my ear. Here’s your chance. You can give yourself some closure on Kate AND take a shot at your dream.

I think the scariest part was worrying about what my family would think of the story I was telling. Kate’s story isn’t a happy one. How could it be? She’d been left to raise two children with no one to lean on. In a world that had been turned upside down by war and a world where women had no value or rights outside their own family.

I pushed aside those worries about what the family would say and wrote the story I thought could be true based on the time and place and circumstances. Is KATE’S PRIDE the real story? No. I can never know that because her real story is lost in the mists of time. But I wrote the truest story I could think of. The story of a woman who took the worst life handed her and made a place for herself and her children.

Last Sunday was Decoration at the church where Kate is buried. When I placed my flowers on her grave, I impulsively pulled a bookmark from my purse, put it among the flowers and, silently, said to her. “I hope you approve.”

I hope you’ll want to read Kate’s story and find out how she made that life for herself.

Stop by and visit me at www.reneerussell.com to find out more about me, Kate and my next book release this fall. A romantic suspense under the pen name Darcy McKenna. You can also friend me at http://www.myspace.com/reneerussellauthor

I look forward to hearing from you!