Ed Goldman, president of Goldman Communications Inc., writes a daily column for the Sacramento Business Journal. The following October 2012 article can be found in his book, “But I Digress,” available at Amazon.com.
NEW PLOT TURN FOR NOVELIST BY ED GOLDMAN
El Dorado Hills-based author Kathryn Mattingly says that her debut novel, “Benjamin” available in bookstores and online since May shares some traits with her previous stories. “There’s always a strong female heroine, a love triangle, a child to save and possibly a villain.” (Sounds a little like a session of marriage counseling, doesn’t it?)
But these are no bodice-ripping romance books, she’s quick to clarify. “I write literary suspense,” Kathryn tells me over coffee the other morning. “Literary fiction is character driven rather than plot driven. In commercial fiction, authors decide what the action’s going to be, then drop their characters into it, whereas in literary fiction the characters drive the plot.” (Details about “Benjamin” are available from her Sacramento-based publisher, Winter Goose Publishing.)
Mattingly could be one of her own protagonists. A pretty, diminutive woman with pale blue eyes that also look green at certain angles, she’s won awards for her teaching and short fiction. She is also the mother of four children and has a degree in art, which she’s taught, but says she cut back on painting when she was a young mom. “It takes all of your focus — and when you have four babies all demanding your attention, there is no time to paint.”
Her husband, Dennis, is currently working as an arborist for a PG&E contractor. He previously worked in forest management and did marketing for a helicopter company before the economy went into its own tailspin. An athlete and outdoorsman, he sometimes accompanies his wife to writer conferences — and, while she’s “sitting in a comfortable, air-conditioned lecture hall,” she says, “he heads off to participate in extreme sports like deep sea diving and sailboarding.”
I’m guessing that dinner conversation has to be lively in the Mattingly household.
Though she was a department chair and won outstanding teacher awards every year from 2007 to 2011 at the International Academy of Design & Technology — a private college with campuses in Natomas and other parts of the country — she was laid off more than a year ago when the institution decided to downsize departments. Mattingly says she’s still in touch with her colleagues at IADT and has “No bad feelings about what happened.” She smiles. “Being laid off from the college has allowed me to take the time to find a publisher for my books.”
Kathryn holds an MAT (master of arts, teaching) and has directed faculty and educational programs both here and in the Northwest. Someone hire her before she sells “Benjamin” to a film producer — though either way, this story could have a very happy ending.
Visit Kathryn Mattingly at goodreads