Dawson woman awaits word on publication of 5th novel
Katherine McClelland set a goal to publish a book by age 30. Now at age 31, she's published four books, and she's finished writing a fifth.
McClelland, of Dawson along the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, works full-time as a novelist and full-time as a customer service representative for TeleTech near Uniontown. She and her husband Terry also are raising their 6-year-old daughter Jordyn.
“I wanted to write a book before I was 30. I started at 28, and it took me two years to finish the first one,” she said. “I just sat down and started writing. It was one of those things that I knew I always wanted to do.”
An avid reader who devours 20 to 30 books each month, McClelland said she decided to try her hand at writing about seven years ago.
“I figured why not give it a crack. I read enough,” she said. “Words have been there for thousands of years. They'll be there for thousands more after we're gone.”
Her four books so far — “Ruthless,” “30 Days in Scotland,” “Patience” and “Second Chances” — are fictional romance novels. All have published within the past two years.
“Ruthless” scored five-star and best-selling ratings on bookseller Amazon.com.
She published “Second Chances” this month.
It chronicles the story of a ballerina and a former military serviceman struggling with the effects of coming home from war. It's set in “woodsy, very beautiful” Jackson Falls, N.H., where McClelland has traveled.
“They kind of find love through each other,” McClelland said. “I think everybody's a romantic at heart.”
McClelland said she doesn't have a formal writing degree. A Connellsville Area High School graduate, she always scored well in English. She then attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics where she studied airframe and power plant work.
She credits the Scottdale Writers Group for their help to transform ideas “from the head to the paper.” To this day, McClelland continues to participate with the group.
When she writes, she lets the characters chart the course.
“I don't always have a true destination in mind,” she said. “I never really know where it's going to go. I kind of let the story tell itself.”
Her advice to young writers: Set a clear goal and be persistent.
“It doesn't matter how bad you think it is, write it out all the way first. Don't get a chapter in and erase it all,” McClelland said. “This day and age, the written word is dying. ... It takes a lot of will to write this day and age.”
Publish America published her first three books. Oklahoma-based Tate Publishing and Enterprises published the fourth and is reviewing the fifth.
Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.