Keli Gwyn
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Meet the Author: Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. After graduating with a Communications degree from Southern Illinois University, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work with a well-known gospel music quartet. A few months later, The Oak Ridge Boys began their transition into country music, and Kathy had the opportunity to help build an entertainment empire from the ground up.

She worked her way to becoming a member of the Operations Management Team, eventually heading up the company’s public relations and marketing department. A lifelong fascination for books and editing led to her working as a book agent for Oak Ridge Boys’ vocalist Joe Bonsall.

For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications. She’s had non-fiction stories and devotions published. And just last month, her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, was published.

Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their two Shiloh Shepherd dogs. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog, DivineDetour.com.

Welcome, Kathy. It’s great to have you here.

What an interesting career you’ve had. Your work with the Oak Ridge Boys must have been fascinating. What stand out as the three most interesting aspects of that experience?

Keli, thanks so much for having me here today!

It’s difficult to choose only three because I’ve had a fun career. Quite often it has been challenging, and I love a good challenge!

1) For several years we organized an annual concert at Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX. Stars for Children always featured a big lineup of pop and country acts. Proceeds benefited child abuse awareness and prevention. It was a lot of work logistically but very rewarding. I remember running around and around the indoor perimeter of that place chasing down talent, stagehands, etc. By the end of the night I was usually barefooted. Shoes were definitely optional after the first two hours and/or five miles, whichever came first : )

2) I don’t tour with them at this point, but I have gone on tour for many special occasions over the years. The biggest challenge in touring is overseas when you don’t speak the language. On one trip to France we stayed in a non-English speaking hotel. Just asking for a wake-up call or instructing a cab driver required diligence (and a good sense of humor—lol!).

3) Another wonderful experience was being a part of the entourage when the Oaks performed on the lawn of the White House for the Third Annual Congressional BBQ in 1983. Ronald Reagan was President at the time. A very special memory.

You spent a good deal of time immersed in the country music world. Are you a country music buff, or do you have another favorite genre? Who are your favorite singers or groups? Do you sing, too?

I love country music now, but I initially came to Nashville to work in Christian music. I sang in a semi-pro gospel group throughout most of high school and college, although I never felt I was good enough to pursue it professionally.

One of my favorite formats is Contemporary Christian. I love just about anything that fits into that format. One of my favorite new CCM artists is Karyn Williams. Karyn’s debut CD, Only You, is packed with great songs. One track, This Is Freedom, blew me away the first time I heard it. I got in touch with her through mutual friends, and she gave me permission to use the song as the soundtrack for The Road to Mercy book trailer. You can hear it if you watch the trailer below.

You’re a veteran interviewer. What are your best tips on how to conduct a successful interview?

LOL. You have to love asking questions.

Seriously, I think the best interviewers have a genuine interest in people and the topic of discussion. I love interviewing authors and musicians about their creative works and their faith. So, I suppose, my best advice would be to interview people who fascinate you and/or with whom you have a common interest.

I’m guessing those Shiloh Shepherds are great company. Where is your favorite place to take them walking?

Definitely THE BEACH. : )  However, that’s not something we can do very often. We have a great park close to our house. The dogs love going there. We usually take turns, i.e. one dog a day. Two 100+ lb. dogs are a lot to handle at once.

Let’s finish by talking shoes. Are you a cowboy boots, trainers, high heels, or flip flops kinda gal? (And why?)

I’m all about blue jeans and slides. I like simple and comfortable.

Kathy’s Question for You

In The Road to Mercy, Josh Harrison’s faith is tested. What good thing(s) do you think can come from having your faith tested? If you’re willing, give an example from personal experience.

• • •

The Road to Mercy

Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife Bethany face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth’s carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she’s pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term.

During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

• • •

• • •

Kathy’s Drawing

Kathy has generously offered to give away an autographed copy of her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, along with a copy of Karyn Williams’ new Contemporary Christian Music CD, Only You.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Sunday, Oct. 7. (Be sure to provide your email address in the appropriate field so I can contact you if you win.)

I’ll select the winner Monday, Oct. 8 and post the name here and in a comment.

Congratulations the Lindsay Harrel, winner of the drawing!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.

U.S. and Canadian addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.

 

Keli Gwyn

32 Comments

  • Ohhh, I love the Oak Ridge Boys! They’ve performed in my neck of the woods often, and I would love to hear them in person.

    It’s wonderful to meet you, Kathy. You’ve had an exciting life and a fun career. And now, you’re an author! So cool!Congratulations on your debut novel, The Road to Mercy.

    What came from having my faith tested? Personal growth and INCREASED faith. Painful, but life-changing. (Our son almost died in 2003. Things that seemed so important at the time became piddly. God changed my perspective about many things.)

  • Blue jeans and slides–yep, that’s me and I’d love to wear that walking my dog on the beach.

    Fun to visit today. Sounds like my kind of book!
    ~ Wendy

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    I loved this interview. And what a good question…

    I went through a hard year after college…definitely a faith-testing time…did I really believe God had a good plan for me? If so, I needed to make some changes in my attitudes and actions…and stop trying to hold so tightly to control over my own future. He did a work in my heart that year, for sure. It wasn’t fun…but it was worth it!

    • Kathy Harris says:

      I can relate, Melissa. For some reason, I think all/many of us go through a searching period in our lives, especially in our twenties. I love the analogy of faith to a muscle. When it’s worked or tested, it grows stronger.

  • Kathy, your life story is so fascinating and I love the blurb about your book. I think the best thing that comes from our faith being tested is strength. It always reminds me of going to the Bio-dome in Arizona when I was a little girl. We went on a tour and they told us that the trees in the Bio-dome never fully matured or strengthened because there were no storms and no wind to push against the trees, so there was no reason for the trees to gain strength. Our faith is the same. If there are no storms in life, nothing to test the strength of our faith, nothing pushing and pulling against us, then we would never fully mature as Christians. Sometimes this knowledge gives me encouragement when I’m going through a tough time.

    Hi, Keli! Thanks for introducing us to a new author. 🙂

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    The Oak Ridge Boys were a staple in my house growing up. 🙂

    Your debut novel sounds so heart-wrenchingly good!

  • As a singer and author myself, I find your story fascinating, Kathy!

    I believe times of trials can draw us nearer to God. Never do we realize how much we need Him than when we’re walking through fire.

  • What a fascinating life you’ve led! I love that you’d take off your shoes. 🙂 Your book sounds very interesting and possibly sad. The cover is beautiful too.
    So nice to “meet” you!

    Oh, I clicked to hear the song but I think the link may be broken?? Just an fyi. 🙂

    Thanks for the lovely interview/spotlight, Keli!

  • So nice to meet you, Kathy! You have quite an interesting background. I’m sure it paints the canvas of your stories.

    Thanks for hosting, Keli!

    • Kathy Harris says:

      Nice to meet you, Sarah! Music has been an important part of my life, so it does seem to find its way into each of my stories in one way or another. I don’t write about the perceived glamour of the music business, but about the human/emotional elements. (Because I love animals, a dog, feline, and/or horse seem to find their way into each of my stories too.) : )

      That suggests another question. As a writer, what aspect of your life seems to always find its way into your stories? Or as a reader, what element is common among books you usually read and/or prefer?

  • Loree Huebner says:

    Wonderful interview, ladies. Great to meet you, Kathy!

    I think we become stronger each time our faith is tested or trials come. I should be Hercules by now! LOL!

  • karenk says:

    a great posting, keli…thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story.

    i, too, believe that trials bring us closer to the lord.

  • What an interesting career! Oak Ridge Boys? I remember hearing them when I was a girl. How fun.

    Thanks to both of you for this interesting interview.

    Rhonda
    rschrockmt@yahoo.com

  • What a great interview! And having a music background must have been great experience to write that kind of novel. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the great interview today, ladies!

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    This comment was sent to me via email by Janet E.

    I believe our faith is tested every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, and every month. In other words if we are still breathing and are Believer’s in Christ, than our faith is being tested all the time.

    One example of my faith being tested was when my husband broke his neck two years ago. Due to the prayers of God’s people, my husband’s stubborn streak, and my faith that God would heal him, he is a walking miracle.

    Thanks for entering me in your contest.

  • brianna says:

    The Road to Mercy sounds great. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Kathy. How cool that you got to spend a portion of your life on tour.

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Oops! I was supposed to pick a winner for Kathy’s drawing days ago. My apologies for overlooking this.

    I’ve visited random.org and have a winner now: Lindsay Harrel!

    Congratulations, Lindsay! I’ll be in touch.

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