Kathryn Shay is a lifelong writer. At fifteen, she penned her first ‘romance,’ a short story about a female newspaper reporter in New York City and her fight to make a name for herself in a world of male journalists – and with one hardheaded editor in particular. Looking back, Kathryn says she should have known then that writing was in her future. But as so often happens, fate sent her detouring down another path.
Fully intending to pursue her dream of big city lights and success in the literary world, Kathryn took every creative writing class available at the small private women’s college she attended in upstate New York. Instead, other dreams took precedence. She met and subsequently married a wonderful guy who’d attended a neighboring school, then completed her practice teaching, a requirement for the education degree she never intended to use. But says Kathryn, “I fell in love with teaching the first day I was up in front of a class, and knew I was meant to do that.”
Kathryn went on to build a successful career in the New York state school system, thoroughly enjoying her work with adolescents. But by the early 1990s, she’d again made room in her life for writing. It was then that she submitted her first manuscript to publishers and agents. Despite enduring two years of rejections, she persevered. And on a snowy December afternoon in 1994, Kathryn sold her first book to Harlequin Superromance.
Since that first sale, Kathryn has written twenty-five books for Harlequin, nine mainstream contemporary romances for the Berkley Publishing Group, one mainstream novel with Bold Strokes Books and two online novellas, which Berkley then published in traditional print format. There are five million copies of her books in print. She has three never-before-published novellas, one firefighter anthology and seven full-length novels up on Kindle, Nook, SONY, iTunes, Kobo and Diesel.
Kathryn has become known for her powerful characterizations – readers say they feel they know the people in her books – and her heart-wrenching, emotional writing. (Her favorite comments are that fans cried while reading her books or stayed up late to finish them). In testament to her skill, the author has won five RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year and several “Starred Reviews.” Her work has been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine.
Even in light of her writing success, that initial love of teaching never wavered for Kathryn. She finished out her teaching career in 2004, retiring from the same school where her career began. These days, she lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children. “My life is very full,” she reports, “but very happy. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to pursue and achieve my dreams.”
on Dec. 22, 2010 :
4.5/5 stars. Might be considered a bit spoilery...
At the root of this book is a very controversial idea - a high school student and teacher falling in love. And while many (including myself) view this as completely taboo, I can appreciate that most teachers are in their early to mid twenties when they start, and high school kids can be 18. That's not a huge age difference. (In a TMI aside, I became great friends w/ a new teacher at my high school in my senior year, and he was HOT. He wasn't my teacher, and I definitely wouldn't have ...more4.5 stars. At the root of this book is a very controversial idea - a high school student and teacher falling in love. And while many (including myself) view this as completely taboo, I can appreciate that most teachers are in their early to mid twenties when they start, and high school kids can be 18. That's not a huge age difference. (In a TMI aside, I became great friends w/ a new teacher at my high school in my senior year, and he was HOT. He wasn't my teacher though, and I definitely wouldn't have minded something happening, although it never did. As far as I know, it was completely one-sided on my part).
Annie was an 18 year old senior when she fell in love with her English teacher, 24 year old Dylan. He returned the emotion, but refused to act on it. When Annie pushed him to act, he left his job and moved away in order to keep his integrity intact. The story takes place 20 years later, when they meet again. Dylan is interviewing for the high school principal position, and Annie is now the English teacher. Dylan is unaware of what his leaving did to Annie, and she is too scared to take the risk of loving him again, having lost him once, and having subsequently lost her husband in Iraq. Plus, she has twin 8 year old sons to look after.
Kathryn Shay never shies away from tough or controversial subject matter. I thought all the issues in this book were handled with care, and ably so. She made both characters immensely appealing, so I was really rooting for them to make it work. It was as difficult for the reader to find a way out of their predicament as it was for Annie and Dylan. But Shay comes up with the perfect (and only, IMO) solution available to them.
The only things that keep this from being a 5 star read for me are the overtly jealous and almost evil former classmate of Annie's, and wondering why Annie was so adamant about staying in a town where she was faced with such animosity from some folks. I think had the book been a little longer, this may have been addressed, but a revelation on why it was so important to her would have helped me to understand.
Plus, there is that uncomfortable feeling of reading about a taboo subject and finding yourself feeling ok about it. That was very strange. It was only that Dylan refused to acknowledge his feelings for Annie to her back in the day and left town in order to keep from acting on those feelings that give credibility to the plot. It was handled in about the only way Shay could have to make it acceptable. And she does, amazingly.
Looking forward to book 2.
(review of free book)