Meet Kathryn Shay and THE PERFECT FAMILY, the book of her heart

Thanks to Fictionary for inviting me to post on your blog.  First, let me introduce myself and my new book. I’m Kathryn Shay and I’ve been published by Harlequin and The Berkley Publishing Group for the last fifteen years. The Perfect Family, released from Bold Strokes Books this month, is my thirty-seventh book.

NOTE FROM CHRISTA: Tune in tomorrow when I review Kathryn’s  novel, The Perfect Family. Definitely a breakout book!

The Perfect Family follows the Davidsons, an average American family with a good life and they consider themselves lucky to have each other. Then their seventeen year old son tells them he’s gay and their world shifts.  They have no idea what they will go through after Jamie’s disclosure: Jamie’s father Mike can’t reconcile his religious beliefs with his son’s sexuality. His brother Brian is harassed by his jock buddies and angry at Jamie for complicating all their lives. Maggie, his mother, fears being able to protect her son while struggling to save her crumbling marriage.  And Jamie feels guilty for the unhappiness his disclosure has caused. Their story is full of both conflict and love, ending on a redeeming note.

My path to this book, a mainstream fiction novel, began in 1995 when my first Harlequin Superromance was published. I was a full time high school teacher, mom and wife at the time.  I was thrilled with the sale and couldn’t believe this had finally happened to me—I’d been getting rejections for almost two years.  Once it did, Harlequin was interested in a career, not just one book, and I went on to write first, one book a year, then two or maybe even three.  I sold a single title book to Berkley in 2001 and my second round of publishing began. At this point I should have stopped teaching, but I couldn’t because I loved that job too much. What followed were several years of a balancing act I wouldn’t like to repeat and wouldn’t recommend to anyone. By the time I wrote The Perfect Family, I was happily retired and ready to take on this new project.

The Perfect Family had many iterations, initially written in first person, then switched to third, giving the characters more dimension and finally adding a secondary storyline. It was five years in the making before I sold it last summer.  And now, it’s out!

I love this book with my whole being.  It’s truly the book of my heart.  I have a gay son and when he came out, I decided I to write a coming out story. The Perfect Family is fiction, but touches on some of the things my own family went through. I wished then I’d had a book like The Perfect Family to help me understand that a family’s struggle when a teen comes out is common, but he deserves love and support from them. I was also a high school teacher for many years and I know teenagers. I know how they react to people who are different from them, how sexual orientation can freak them out and how they can be cruel. But they can also be unbelievably loyal and supportive. I tried to show all this in the book.

And we have a gift for readers. My son is a singer/songwriter and made a CD in high school about “loving a boy” and other adolescent issues.  We’re offering it free at the publisher’s website when you order a book from them at and it will also be offered on my website, while copies last.

I’ll check back to see if there are any comments during the day.

Kathy Shay

P.S. Also, many people ask about my next book. I’m working on new projects now, but I’d also like to say here that if readers are interested in my backlist, I’m making plans to put nine previously published in print books up on Kindle and Smashwords around the time The Perfect Family is released.


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