Earthquake Ethel’s was a major influencer, for sure, but it probably all began when my childhood friend and I wrote our first song together and called ourselves the “Screamie Birds” (girl singers). Or maybe when I got my first electronic keyboard for my 7th birthday. Or maybe it was singing along to a guy with a guitar when I was too young to know the words.
There I was growing up halfway between Disneyland and the beach with a book in one hand and a transistor radio in the other. Much later I discovered my paternal grandfather was described in similar terms, except the “book in one hand” was my Uncle Steven – lol! But, music, oh, yes, music was definitely a big part of the equation. That and writing stories about family.
In the Pacific Northwest I discovered Earthquake Ethel’s—a Big Band Jazz Club by day and Disco by night. I fell in love – lol! Then it was on to San Francisco where I worked in advertising in the Flood Building on the corner of Powell and Market by the cable car turnaround.
Fast forward to my career in the Silicon Valley technical writing scene. Burned out after twenty years or so, I started writing fiction during the “chick lit” craze. Real Women Wear Red was my answer to the height of all those pink covers. We had just moved to Florida after meeting my father for the first time. I sat out on the Lanai with my laptop, I was all lathered up with Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, I listened to Jimmy Buffet, and I wrote, so inspired by the tropics and this unusual meeting.
RWWR was my third novel and the first to acquire a literary agent. In fact, my agent said my writing had a “poetic, almost lyrical rhythm” to it. It also garnered my first publishing contract and remains my bestseller. No wonder – one agent said “Cyn was fabulous!”
After my uncle said, “Welcome to the family, Kat; now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music” I began pondering what my agent meant by saying that my writing had a “poetic, almost lyrical rhythm” to it.
Music had always been my first love. Should I be pursuing music in some way? Poetry? I’d heard that my paternal grandmother had written poetry so I started with that. But the family I never knew growing up were all musicians. So after writing Real Women Sing the Blues where Robin longs to ditch her corporate life for singing the Blues in Hawaii, I decided it was time to pursue music for real, instead of just through fiction.
I earned a certificate in Songwriting and Music Production from Berklee College of Music through Coursera, joined Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and was certified as an NSAI songwriter. And then I discovered music production and totally fell in love with the life of a music producer. In honor of Uncle Don, I like to call myself “DJ Kat.”
And all of this while moving from California to the Pacific Northwest to Florida to Las Vegas and back to Florida… a few times. But it’s all been invigorating, a bit of a reinvention along the way… Kathy Holmes… Screamie Birds… DJ Kat…