Crossing Oceans
Kim Ford 

Author Interview

Kim Ford Interviews Our Featured Cover Author
-Kathy Herman

Kathy Herman

Kathy Herman’s life is a myriad of suspense stories, fishing trips with her husband, and spending time with her grandchildren enjoying God’s creation. Though she began her writing career later in life, Kathy has enjoyed much success. Striving to follow where God leads, Kathy balances her writing career with a busy, close-knit family that supports her effort to keep her writing suspenseful, successful, and a showcase of God’s love and mercy.

You were associated with the Christian book market for years in jobs ranging from buyer to human resource management.When did you recognize that you were called to write stories for this market? Have you always loved to write?

I wasn’t published until I was fifty-one. I never aspired to be a writer. I loved writing poetry from an early age and always knew I had a flair for writing. It served me well in every job I had. But it wasn’t until I was the buyer/manager for the children’s department in our family-owned Christian retail store that the thought ever hit me that I might have something to offer this market. Since I had read every book in the children’s department and had helped hundreds of parents find just the right book for their kids, surely I could write one. I had even contacted a children’s author and suggested a more meaningful ending for her book. She had the publisher change it in the next printing!

It wasn’t until I retired from the bookstore that I began writing children’s books. I was overflowing with confidence and anticipation as I sat at my laptop, my fingers itching with creativity. Much to my chagrin, I spent the next two weeks staring at a blank screen! All my book knowledge didn’t equate to anything creative. Finally my husband, Paul, sensed that I was getting depressed and said, “Honey, write something—anything—it doesn’t have to be a kid’s book.”

So I wrote a detailed and mysterious scene that involved a detective sitting on a park bench, staring out at a beautiful lake, intently waiting for something to come up to the surface. I had no idea what it was, but the thought intrigued me. The next day, after being confronted again with a blank screen, I focused on this scene and completely reworked it, finally writing what later became the prologue to my first novel, Tested by Fire. I’ve been writing suspense novels ever since.

Your debut novel, Tested by Fire, was a CBA national best seller. Did this surprise you? How did it affect the stories that followed in the wake of its success?

It was surreal just being published—not to mention having a best seller right off the bat. The significance didn’t really hit me until later. It was exciting and humbling to have achieved three months of best-seller status on my first effort, but it was also a hard act to follow. I didn’t let that affect my writing. Each story got the same attention to detail. Not all of my books have made the CBA best-seller list, but they’ve all done well.

“Page-turners that challenge my thinking” is a quote from your Website that seems to encapsulate the heart of your stories. Which of your stories best exemplifies this goal? Why is it your favorite?

That’s hard to answer because each of my books challenged my thinking, and my favorite is always the one I’m currently working on. I think my two most recent series, the Sophie Trace Trilogy and Secrets of Roux River Bayou, are far superior from a writing standpoint. But the story that impacted me most and will be forever engraved on my heart is my second in the Baxter Series, Day of Reckoning. This is a story of a young man, Wayne Purdy, whose father was laid off five years earlier. The hardship the family endured as a result was so severe that he became bitter and sought revenge on his father’s former boss by kidnapping his sixteen-year-old daughter and her best friend. One of the girls who didn’t cower in fear and refused to hate him—because she knew she was going to die and didn’t want to face Jesus with hate in her heart—confronted Wayne spiritually.

Numerous adult readers found the message in this story life-changing. I also heard from a fourteen-year-old girl who said she had hated someone who had hurt her, but decided that if Sherry Kennsington (my character) could forgive Wayne for all he had done, she could forgive too!

Many people find the words suspense and Christian fiction mutually exclusive. You capture the essence of this very popular genre in this statement: “Stories can present the application of biblical truth through the actions of believable characters facing true-to-life, even gut-wrenching, dilemmas yet provide safe boundaries in which to consider what we would or wouldn’t do given the same situations. In a very real sense, a well-crafted story is a means to gain life experience without suffering loss.” How has this philosophy become the bedrock of your stories?

False PretensesI’m one of the temperaments that thinks a lot about “worst case scenarios” and then tries to improve upon them so if I’m ever faced with a crisis, I know what I’ll do. When I write, I want to provide a true-to-life crisis that will cause the reader consider what he or she would do given the same circumstances. For example, in my newest book, False Pretenses (March 2011), my main character has a dark secret she has withheld from everyone, even her husband. That dark secret required many lies to keep it intact. When circumstances force her to finally admit the truth, she stands to lose everything she holds dear. Through a series of painful and terrifying experiences, she learns that it took a lot more energy to hide the truth than to confront it. That’s a lesson we probably all need to remember. Secrecy is never positive when it’s done to cover our tracks. The truth will always catch up eventually and confrontation is inevitable, if not in this life, then in the next. The truth really does set us free, and after we experience that freedom, we often wonder why we worked so hard to conceal it. The consequences of telling the truth is often less painful than the consequences of withholding it. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

Again, quoting from your Website: “My stories rarely come to me until I actually sit down and begin typing. In fact, what intrigues me most (and sometimes plays havoc with my deadlines) is that I don’t outline the stories.” Tell us a little about this very writing style!

I’m what is known as a seat-of-the-pants writer (aka “pantser”), which means I don’t follow an outline or know the storyline in its entirety before I begin. Every writer is different, and even pantsers are different in how we approach a story.

I start with a Scripture verse. Then I choose the setting. For example, False Pretenses, the first book in the Secrets of Roux River Bayou Series, is based on Hebrews 4:13: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (NIV). The story is set in the bayou country of Louisiana. Before I started writing, my husband and I drove to Louisiana and wandered around the region, taking notes, meeting people, and noting the unique architecture, customs, and manner of speech. Then I found a physical location and mentally inserted my fictional town. That picture will be in my mind and imagination while I’m writing the Roux River books.

Once I had researched the location, I began writing the prologue. I never know what is going to flow from my fingertips. Then I created a cast of characters and brainstormed the storyline. The plot ALWAYS deepens as the story comes together, and there will be twists and turns I have no idea about at this stage.

Once I have a barebones idea of the story line, I start typing and the characters take the story where it needs to go.

What does a typical writing day look like in your life?

My usual routine is to answer e-mail and take care of business so that by 9:00 a.m. I’m writing something in my WIP. And I usually do that six days a week until about 6:00 p.m.—sometimes longer. Before I start writing new material, I reread my work from the previous day and edit it. I have found that I prefer closure, so getting the editing done before moving on helps me to let it go. As I make changes to the story, I often have to go back and add something to previous chapters for consistency. But for the most part, when I’m finished there is little to no shuffling of paragraphs or chapters. The book is ready for my final editorial changes before sending it to my line editor. Writing is a full-time job for me. I’m committed to taking Sundays off, but I haven’t been able to justify relaxing on Saturdays when I know a deadline is out there.

Secrets of Roux River Bayou is the beginning of your latest writing project. Can you tell give us a sneak peek into this exciting series? What are you most excited about in this series?

The first book, False Pretenses, features Ethan and Vanessa Langley from the Sophie Trace Trilogy, along with a new main character, Zoe Broussard. Each story will deal with someone’s insidious secret. As I mentioned earlier, this is a story about the importance of honesty and accountability and how we will eventually reap what we sow, but it also demonstrates the beauty of grace being extended in the most unworthy of circumstances. A fun aspect of this series for me is creating a town with authentic Cajun roots—street names, surnames, cuisine, customs, history. It’s a suspense story, first and foremost, but it’s got a strong element of historical too.

In addition to your writing, your hobbies include fishing, hummingbirds, travel, and photography. Can you tell us about your most memorable fishing trip? Your favorite travel location?

Kathy's fishI can’t remember any place on earth where I’ve been more touched by natural beauty than in the rainforest of Costa Rica or the glaciers of Alaska. Those are my two favorite travel locations.

But my husband, Paul, and I have also enjoyed deep-sea fishing in Florida, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. One adventure I’ll never forget was a five-day trip to Panama, where Paul and I shared a chartered yacht with twelve male anglers and full crew. I was the only female except for the maid. I was used to that. What I wasn’t used to was the attitude of a couple of the anglers. There were ten who thought it was great my husband and I fish together—and two who didn’t take me seriously at all.

What is the most exciting thing that God has shown/taught you lately?

Something the Lord seems to be making clearer to me is the sense of how quickly time is racing by, and how so much of what I once waited for has now come to pass. In the same way, we are moving toward a time when all His promises will be fulfilled. I have a wondrous sense of it. That doesn’t sound terribly profound, but it feels profound. I long for the new earth Randy Alcorn describes in his book Heaven. At a time when things around the world are getting more unsettled, the world economy is teetering, and safety is uncertain, it’s exciting to embrace the fact that there really will be a new heaven and a new earth. And believers really are going to reign with Christ for eternity.

What would you most like to share with your readers about your passion for writing?

It thrills me to write stories that inspire and challenge as well as entertain, and I never take for granted the gift the Lord has entrusted to me. What I love about writing fiction is that I’m able create exciting stories where my characters live out the practical (and often times difficult) application of biblical truth.


Kim Ford has been a resident of Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of Christian Fiction for more than 20 years. A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies she teaches. She blogs at: Window To My World