K.L. McLoughlin, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, author of “Baby Steps” (Langdon Street Press), has this advice for aspiring writers: “Write what you really love and others will love it, too. Write it for you. The big thing is to get the first draft done. Then you can polish it later.” As for her book, K.L. added that it’s “first and foremost an entertaining read with a lot of hope and love and laughter in it, and I want readers to be glad they read it and feel happy … the book can also serve as a jumping off point to think about issues of choice and faith.”
Editing was, for K.L., the most difficult thing about writing her book. The first draft took her a year to complete. Then she spent three years rewriting. “That process was more painful that the initial creation of the book,” she said.
“Baby Steps” is K.L’s debut novel. Currently she’s working on a second book. It’s fiction, she said, and “more dramatic than ‘Baby Steps,’ which has a lot of humor in it. The new book has subplots with themes of gay marriage and that love is a good thing and there’s room for compassion in the world.”
Janet Evanovich is one of K.L.’s favorite writers. “Janet has tremendous power to her voice and a great sense of humor and perspective about the world,” K.L. said. Other favorites are Laurie R. King and English historical novelist Phillipa Gregory. As for non-fiction, K.L. recommends Sudhir Venkatesh’s “Gang Leader for a Day.” “That book is a fabulous and fascinating sociological study of how the underground economy really works,” K.L. explained. “In truth, I read a lot of different genres.”
Weighing in at a slim 196 pages, “Baby Steps” contains several themes. To K.L’s credit, they’re easy to follow and always interesting. The book’s most arresting one is the conflict between the main character, Lynda Blake, a woman of faith and pro-choice, and pro-lifers.
The loss-grief-recovery theme is also crucial. In fact, K.L’s book reminded me of the wonderful British 1990 film “Truly Madly Deeply.” In it, Nina, played by Juliet Stevenson, has lost her husband, while in “Baby Steps” Lynda’s husband died in an automobile accident before the novel begins. Now, the point film and novel make is this: If Nina and Lynda are to live full, happy lives, they must let go of their deceased loved ones and stop mourning. When Lynda begins a romance with Michael, a physician, she realizes, “ … it was okay for her to be with this man” and she “knew that she would discover new things about herself with him.” At the end, as her admirable teenage son, Sean, tells her, “ ‘ It’s like you always told me, Mom. Life is for the living and living is for loving. It just took you a while to follow your own advice, that’s all.’ “