Post Title – Kathy McKinsey, Christian Author and Blogger.
I met Kathy McKinsey when I was taking an Intensive Life Skills (rehabilitation) training tailored to me at the Cleveland Sight Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She was one of my rehab counselors there. In 2015, I contacted the Sight Center to let them know there was a chapter in my book about the center, I was somehow put in touch with Kathy and asked her if she would mind reading the book and reviewing it—which she did. Shortly after that, I read an article in Dialogue Magazine Kathy wrote. I recognized her name and congratulated her. Six months later, she contacted me about subscribing to a blog she had recently started. With all that crisscrossing of our paths, it is no wonder we are firm friends. She is now one of my beta readers and a published author.
What is your background?
I have worked in a college disabled student services office and as a rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
What interests and hobbies do you pursue?
I love to read, knit, crochet, make braille drawings, and on a good day, cook.
Can you briefly tell us about your sight loss journey and some of the obstacles you have overcome?
I was born with vision loss but lost most of my sight by the time I was in my teens. I do not see myself as a go-getter. For everything I’ve accomplished, I have to give credit to the people who journeyed beside me and encouraged me, my parents, my friends, my counselors and teachers, my husband. With their support I went to college, got a Master’s degree, was a stay-at-home mom, and held a professional career.
What are your core values?
My most important focus is my faith as a Christian. Whatever I do, I want to keep in mind to give Jesus glory.
What type of work do you do?
Because of a health issue, I had to stop working as a rehab teacher eight years ago. I now work at home, writing and editing for other writers.
You’ve just had a new book released. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about your book and what motivated you to write it?
My newest book is Gifts of Grace, released February 23. I have loved reading and writing fiction since I was a child. Through stories, I hope to show people that God wants to walk beside them through the struggles of life.
That’s exciting. Your release was just a few days ago! So, if I remember correctly, this is your third book? How do you approach a new book? What is your process?
I do not write a full outline. I have a basic story in mind and flesh it out as I go along. My stories don’t surprise me much, but I do sit down without knowing what all will develop in a scene.
Does this book share any common themes with the other books you have written?
My main theme in writing is grace. I want to share with readers that God offers them grace, no matter what, again and again, as long as they turn to him. And he also seeks us.
Also, I want to show people giving grace to each other. We need each other so much.
What has been the most challenging part of your writing journey?
I started writing as a preteen. I had a few stories published when I was in high school. Then for more than 30 years, I let school and work and raising a family keep me from writing. I always said I would take it up again when I retired.
When I was forced to quit full time work due to health issues, I decided it would be silly if I didn’t use this time to write. I was basically starting over again; I needed to learn so much about the craft. But it has been a fun journey.
I can relate to studying the craft. Even though I have written most of my life, I still took two courses in writing for publication. So I know that learning the craft can take time. How have your other jobs in life contributed to your writing life?
The people I’ve met have left many sparks to draw from for characters.
What languages do you speak, other than English?
What do you mean, ‘just’ Braille? It’s a challenge to master Braille! I approached it like a foreign language, and I guess I’m still at the first level. I worked with two rehab counselors on it. I need to have some organized study. I know Hadley School for the Blind offers a course.
When did you learn Braille? How do you use it today?
I learned Braille when I was eleven. Mostly now, I use it for reading the bible and other books. I have used it for labeling clothing, food, cleaning products, etc. I don’t do that so much anymore because my husband does most of the cooking, and since I don’t work outside the home, my wardrobe is mostly sweats, T-shirts and jeans. I also used it a lot for keeping notes for myself and recipes, but now, I use the computer mostly for those things. When I can talk us into it, I love to play Scrabble and cards with Braille.
Can you tell us a little more about your Braille drawings with us?
I am not an artist. I can’t make up my own braille drawings. But, just like with crocheting and knitting, I can follow a pattern, and I’ve found some fun patterns, online and in a book. I use my braillewriter. The patterns are written out line by line, dictating which letters and contractions to put together to make circles and angles and boxes and body parts.
I’ve drawn Christmas trees, and snowmen and horses and dogs and cowboys, and bunnies, a teddy bear, trucks and trains, birds, a pumpkin, a turkey, sailboats, Darth Vader, so much more. I just wrote “Braille drawings” into Google, and I got so many links, I could hardly pull myself away. But here is one link, in case your readers would like to check it out. https://www.perkins.org/library/for-kids/braille-drawings
How has Covid-19 changed your writing?
It really hasn’t. I already was pretty much a home-body, so working from home was not new for me.
What is the one thing you miss during lockdown?
We have not been able to visit our family in other states, including our daughter and my mother.
What has been your greatest challenge to date?
As I’ve said, I’ve been visually impaired all my life. I was used to dealing with that. Then, eight years ago, I had an accident which caused a brain injury. It has been a struggle for me to learn to deal with multiple disabilities, including hearing loss, memory problems, difficulty thinking of the right words to use in a conversation.
What do you feel the proudest of achieving?
Though I don’t believe I can take a lot of credit for them, my children bring me the most pride and give me much joy.
How do you stay positive in the world today?
I find much comfort by reading God’s Word.
What are your writing goals by the end of 2021?
I don’t plan to try to get another book out in a hurry. I want to work more on marketing. However, I always want to be working on fiction, so I’ve started a new women’s fiction story. Also, I’m thinking of putting many of the memories we’ve recorded of what our children said when they were growing up into a book.
What message would you like to leave with my readers?
When I was about 40 years old, I figured there wasn’t much new that I could face in life. What a surprising 20 years I have had! Don’t give up on your dreams because of your age. God is able to show you new hopes and amazing turns at any point of life.
You’re also a blogger as well as an author, right? Where can my readers find your blog and any other information about you?
Yes, I write a weekly blog, sharing family memories, Bible studies, book reviews, even occasionally a recipe. You can find my blog under Kathy’s voice on my website: https://www.kathymckinsey.com
Three novellas. Three women search with hungry hearts, and God shows them surprising answers. Mourning the loss of her baby, Judy flees to the home she abandoned twelve years ago. The family farm. Is something new waiting for her at this old home? Tammy needs a new goal to fill her empty nest, and she needs to find forgiveness for her heart. Iola, who is blind, struggles to prove herself as a professional and to be the mother her sixteen-year-old daughter needs during a rough time.Watch as God opens doors these women would never expect.
Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for more than 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl. She’s been married to Murray for 33 years, and they have five adult children. Kathy’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.
To connect more with Kathy and learn more about her books, check out the following links: