Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Kathy Howard wrote the upcoming novel, From Dishes to Snow. Here are Kathy’s “five things”:
I ran from books until I was in my thirties. Growing up, I wanted nothing to do with reading. I truly despised any book of any topic. Even the idea of reading was hard to swallow. Now, give me a good movie and I was in, but a book – you couldn’t pay me enough. I come from a long line of readers and it pained my mother to see a love she cherished skipping the next generation. Years later, after I had completed my schooling and was no longer told what to read, I finally learned to enjoy the subject. In fact, I can honestly say, reading is now a passion of mine. It took years for my mother to adjust to my new hobby, and I can still see her shaking her head saying, “I never thought I’d see the day.”
I am an extremely picky eater. My parents tried, to no avail, to encourage my taste buds in a normal direction. The fact of the matter is, I am and always will be a picky eater. I can count on one hand the essential foods I prefer to eat. I try to venture outside of that number for the sake of my family, but I don’t go far. Because of my lack of food interests, I don’t know how or what to cook. So, when writing about the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in From Dishes to Snow, I had to turn to others for help. If I hadn’t, the main characters might have had boxed mac-n-cheese, deli sliced turkey, and store bought cookies.
My grandparents mean the world to me. I am blessed to still have three living grandparents at my age. And I’m even more blessed to have the ones I have. All three of them have had an enormous positive impact on my life. Their walk with the Lord and their constant love and encouragement have been a guiding light, an example to follow. I wanted to bring them into the book. Several of the characters’ names are theirs, whether in exact form or a slightly altered form. The descriptions of the elderly neighbors fit each of my grandparents in some way or another. I will always picture my beloved Granddaddy, Granny, and Grandma each time I read my first novel.
The mountain house in the book is based on my family’s actual mountain cabin. My grandfather built our red mountain cabin when my father was just a child. It was a simple house with no hot water or connection to the outside world. Not much changed throughout the years as my family made dozens of trips to the higher elevations each year. We had to boil water for baths or hot cocoa, just like it says in the book. Because there were no phone or television, I dreaded going as a teenager, not wanting to miss out on weekends with my friends. However, once we arrived, we did nothing but hike, play cards, grill hamburgers, dance in the kitchen, and laugh. My fondest memories are from my time in those mountains and in that little red house. I can still remember hearing oldies music play in the next room as my brother and I made shadow puppets from our bunk beds at night. My father knew it was important to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules and reconnect with each other without the distractions. We were and still are a close-knit family and I am grateful to God and my father for giving us that mountain get-away.
I prayed every time I sat down to write. While writing From Dishes to Snow, I tried to put aside myself, though unsuccessfully at times. I gave the book and its direction to God. Before a writing day began, the words were prayed over. I did not have an outline because I had no idea where the story would go. I just sat down, prayed, and trusted that God would take it where He wanted it. It was an incredible experience, not knowing what was going to happen, and then suddenly realizing I was writing the last chapter – the story had found an ending. My prayer today is that I heard God correctly and did not write anything I shouldn’t have. God may take this book and reach hundreds of individuals or He may take this experience and reach just me. Either way, From Dishes to Snow is not mine, it is God’s and I have already been blessed by what He has taught me on this journey.