Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown: Interview with Excerpt

Winter Fire
by Kathy Fischer-Brown


When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her.

Banished by the Seneca Indians who had adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.

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Silently admonishing himself for setting traps in so secluded a place, Ethan edged down the snow-slick slope into the ravine. He lowered himself cautiously, positioning each step with care, clinging to the scrub peeking out through the snow.

He was halfway down when something moved in the periphery of his vision. Anticipating a deer come to water, he quickly dug a foothold in the snow and, bracing himself, raised his rifle.

Immediately, he lowered the weapon and expelled an impatient breath. Just his luck!  Not a deer at all. A woman.

And a foolish woman to boot!  She had wandered out onto the thin ice, and now stood stock still—as if in fear or uncertainty—her faded brown wool cloak seeming to tremble all around her.

“Get back!” he shouted. “The ice won't hold you!”

She whirled around in alarm.

And in that split second, he saw her eyes. Those startled doe's eyes. Zara Grey!

In the next instant, a crack—like a musket shot—echoed through the ravine. She reeled as the ice heaved up beneath her amid an angry surge of black water. And then, her face frozen in a look of surprise, her mouth open in a semblance of a silent scream, she disappeared through the widening breach.

His gaze fixed on the roiling chasm, Ethan hurled himself down the slope. She surfaced--flailing arms and legs, and gasping desperately for air—churning up the black water into an icy froth. She grasped at the splinters of ice.

“Keep your head up!”

Racing along the bank, he ripped off his deerskin jacket and hurled it, along with his rifle and belt into the snow. If she went under again, she’d be trapped. Already the current had taken her, sweeping her like a bobbing cork toward the opposite bank where the ice was thicker.

“Keep your head up!”

But the frenzied movement of her arms had slowed. She gasped at the water along with the air. She could barely keep herself afloat. As if she had made a conscious choice to surrender herself to a stronger power, he saw the spirit drain out of her. An eerie calm settled over her eyes as her gaze met his, then she slipped under again without a struggle.

Without stopping to think, Ethan tore off his shirt and moccasins, and dove through the opening.

The frigid water jolted him, but he swam with determined strokes for the spot where she had disappeared. He stayed under until his lungs were ready to burst, then surfaced just long enough for a gulp of air.

This time, a ceiling of ice loomed above him. He ignored the danger, for something just ahead seized his attention.

Billowing like water-feathers, her hair brushed his face. She, too, appeared to undulate to a silent rhythm, her clothes swirling around her slender body in a strange and seductive dance. But she didn’t move under her own power. Like a marionette, she danced to the will of the current. His blood quickened, hammering with exertion and something bordering on fear.

She was trapped just beneath the surface, her cloak snagged on the submerged roots of one of the trees along the bank. He tugged once to release her, but the fabric of her cloak was hopelessly twisted around a snarl of root. He tore at it. Still, it wouldn’t budge. If only he hadn't tossed away his knife!  Once more, his lungs burning, he yanked. The cloak gave, a little at first, then a little more. Then it ripped away, launching them both toward the ice.

He grabbed her hair as she drifted by. Wrapping his arm around her shoulders, he broke for the surface with the last of his strength.


Thank you for hosting me today, Laurie!

Welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by and agreeing to answer a few questions so we can find out more about you and your work. It's so nice to host you! So... to start. What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I know I’m not alone in this. It’s not necessarily difficult; I’d say it’s more frustrating than anything else when the images, sounds, and dialogue come through crystal clear through my Muse’s movie channel, but something gets lost in translation. Transferring the cinematic presentations from the neurons and other signals doesn’t always meet with my expectations. Though the attempt to get it down on paper (or in pixels) is invariably disappointing, I sometimes find that its very difference is “better than the original.” Unfortunately, this is not always the case and after all these years, I can’t say I’ve accepted it. I still try, as Virginia Woolf described the writing process, to drag that imagined world fully formed realized across the chasm. After I’ve managed to get a semblance of this vision into words, it takes time, adding layers to hone the words into a breathing, moving, speaking version of that original inspiration, but still never quite hitting the mark. Something I strive for.

Where do you research for your books?
I’m fortunate to have built up a decent library over the years. But today nothing beats what can be found on the Internet…that is, unless I can “be there.” I love attending re-enactments and living history sites, and picking the brains of the docents and re-enactors. One of the most exciting by-products of the Information Age has been the Project Gutenberg, which since 1971 has been digitizing public domain books and uploading them for anyone to read for free. In addition a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, many of these books are primary and secondary source material, such as diaries and journals. Years ago they were found only in special collections or in far-off libraries available through inter-library loan or as non-circulating reference books. Times have changed, and today I spend more time researching online than I did 15 to 20 years ago.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
There comes a time in the course of just about every book when the characters “speak.” It’s terrifically exciting when this happens, but also incredibly frustrating if you happen to be in the shower or driving a car. The impulse to get it down as soon and as quickly as possible is often futile. Once I’m able to write down these brilliant tidbits, the moment is gone and I have to reconstruct it as best I can.

Who are your books published with?
Books We Love, Ltd. is a medium-size Canadian publisher of ebooks and quality paperbacks. You can check out their website at:

Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?
Since the last quarter of 2014, I’ve been barraged with reminders of a MAJOR milestone.  Insurance companies are making certain I won’t forget by sending me pamphlets, flyers, forms, telling me they’re the one I should go with for all my changing medical needs. Wading through them has been … well not depressing, because I’m fortunate to have made it this far. But the one from the US Department of Health and Human Services, complete with Medicare application card, which needed to have the proper boxes checked off, and returned in the postage paid envelope, really gave me pause. Yes, I’ll be turning 65 in April. A time for reflection and giving thanks. After surviving breast cancer ten years ago and a stroke over a year ago, I thought I had my life figured out. Now, as I step over the threshold from middle age to…whatever awaits on the other side, I wonder if I really want to observe this birthday with a nice dinner out, cake and candles. Maybe I’ll just hole up in my room and pretend it’s a prank someone has pulled. Because, honestly, I don’t feel that old J

Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?
I attended my 20th reunion and my 40th (and plans are currently afoot for the 50th in 2018). One thing I’ve learned is that some people age very well, some not very well, and, by their conspicuous absence, some not at all. Some people, despite their age, never change. Others have been through life-changing experiences that sent them down paths never envisioned in high school. The biggest lesson learned is that life is temporal and time is fleeting (flying by faster every year). We can never regain time lost, but we can always find ways to make the most and best of it.

How do you react to a bad review of your book?
I try not to dwell on “bad reviews” by reminding myself that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinions. That doesn’t make them wrong if I disagree. It’s simply an opinion. That said, most “reviews” these days are not reviews per se. The reader has not studied literary criticism or literary structure and can only comment as one would on a sweater or other purchase in a mostly subjective way. It’s not worth the time or the angst to stress over them.

If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?
If you knew me, you would know better than to visit or phone until after noon J I’m a confirmed old night owl and don’t see any reason to change. I do some of my best writing at night and when I’m really on a roll, I can completely lose track of time. There have been occasions when I shut down my computer in the wee hours just as my husband (a teacher) is starting his day. Early mornings I’m a bear in hibernation.  I can’t remember when I was awake and fully functioning much before 10 a.m.

Does your significant other read your stuff?  
My husband is a drama teacher, who directs and writes plays. We read each other’s work and actually discuss what we like or dislike, offer suggestions and support. I consider myself fortunate that he’s not there solely to provide me with an ego boost J .

Do you have a Website or Blog?

I have both, although the blog has been languishing from under use since the summer. My website has been up continuously since 1999 and has gone through many changes and redesigns over the years. I try to keep it as up-to-date as possible, and find it relaxing to go in, rearrange and keep it current. You can visit my site at: 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid-West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs. During stints in advertising, children’s media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could.

Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived.

Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan’s Wife.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing “ball” with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams.


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Amazon US paperback:

Amazon Australia kindle:


Kathy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Kathy Fischer-Brown said...

Thank you for hosting me today. I enjoyed answering your questions.

Rita said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Curtis heining said...

Nice interview

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Kathy Fischer-Brown said...

Thanks to Rita, Curtis and Patrick for stopping by. Glad you liked the interview. I enjoyed sharing.