So, Katherine, we find you here in the Romaniac lair at last, and looking terribly glamorous as usual. Welcome! Did you by any chance bring cake? Only I’ve been a bit busy and the cake tin seems to be empty…you’re shaking your head sadly, guess that one’s a no then. Never mind, settle yourself down and relax. The garden’s looking lovely, we might even be able to open a window today and enjoy the sunshine. The girls have asked me to give you a gentle grilling – here are our questions:
What was the first complete book that you wrote, and at what point in your life did this happen?
Hi, Romaniacs – I wrote my first manuscript after the birth of my daughter when I was 24. I loved the experience of it so much that I couldn’t wait to write another one. I’m afraid I didn’t know much about plotting so it was mainly a story that contained the things I liked to read—a strong alpha hero, a heroine with a fabulous sense of fashion, lots of steamy sex and a bad guy who was always menacing them.
Was the road to publishing difficult for you?
I don’t think so. I just always knew I’d be published some day and when I got a rejection letter I’d l think well they just don’t get me. My second manuscript almost got purchased so I knew I was on the right track. Then when I started writing my third manuscript I decided that if I was going to be any good at writing I needed to master romance or suspense before I tried to merge the two. I made the third manuscript a straight romance. It featured a single mom, a sexy construction worker who moved in next door and her adorable son. I still love that story! It won the Georgia Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence and became my first sale. I was aged 26.
Do you have an agent?
Yes. And I like her a lot. I’ve had three agents over the course of my career.
Where were you born and brought up?
I was born in Haileah, Florida (that’s in the South just north of Miami) but was raised in Central Florida a little bit west of Disney world. My parents are very down-to-earth people who liked living life their own way so we always lived in the country. I grew up with the Green Swamp in my backyard and orange groves all around me.
We didn’t have any neighbors so my sisters and I were each others companions and my mom used to lock us outside in the summer and make us play.
I think those days really fired up my imagination and probably laid the groundwork for me to become a writer.
Does the place that you live influence your plots and characters?
Sort of. I think the places I’ve lived (Florida, Chicago, IL; Dallas, Tx, and Southern California) have all influenced me but really it’s the people I’ve met that have the most impact on me.
Where is your ideal writing spot?
Ideally at my desk, but when I find that distractions like the internet get too much, I move to a recliner I have in the corner of my office or the coffee shop. I don’t play games or waste time if I perceive someone else can see me.
What home comforts do you need to help you to write?
I need something to drink either hot tea (I’m American so usually drink Raspberry Zinger) or coffee and lots of it.
What inspired you to start writing?
My daughter inspired me to start writing. I’d always dabbled in it but when she was born I was working as a secretary and not really loving it. And I wanted her to see me doing something I loved instead of hating going to work every day. So I started writing with the intent to publish.
How do you begin to create your characters?
Usually I have an idea of a character in my head that’s pretty strong so I know where they are coming from. Then I just answer a few basic questions that lay the groundwork for my story. They are What does he/she want? (This is the Goal) Why do they want it? (Motivation) Why can’t they have it? (Conflict) Once I have these three things for the heroine then I do the same thing for the hero and I make sure that they want opposing things because people who are at odds on the page make it more exciting. And it become natural conflict instead of forced.
Who is your favourite literary hero?
I’m not sure if you mean author or fictional character so I’ll give you both. My author heroes are Margaret Atwood, Jayne Ann Krentz and Baroness Orczy. My favorite fictional characters are Claudia Kincaid from E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love which is her memoir.
Do your family read your books?
Yes they do. My mom skips “those” parts, my grandmother before she passed away used to tell me to write more sex, and my daughter says she just doesn’t think of me writing them.
Which celebrity would you like to send one of your books to, and which book would you choose?
I think I’d send it Sandra Bullock because she takes on projects and is passionate about them. I’d send her Bare Facts which is the first in a series I wrote that was a sort of homage to Charlie’s Angels.
How many works do you have in progress at once?
I only work on one book at a time but I am contracted for more than one book that I’ve written proposals for. So right now I’ve got five books in the hopper but am only working on one of them.
If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what sort of book would you write?
I’m writing books I love right now. So more of the same.
Do you have writing buddies?
Yes, I do and I miss them terribly because we live so far apart now. I’m a member of a very cool group called the Evelettes (Eve Gaddy, Lenora Worth, Julia Justiss and Denise Daniels) and then I have my Puffs—self-named after the PowerPuff Girls Bubbles aka Nancy Robards Thompson, Blossom aka Mimi Wells and me Buttercup!
Do you have any say in the cover designs for your books?
I fill in a very lengthy art fact sheet but usually that’s it. For my single title books I had more input and often got pictures from the photo shoots.
Now for some quick fire questions:
Sunbathing or swimming?
Swimming, I was a competitive swimmer for a long time.
Hugs or kisses?
Both but kisses win out.
Roaring log fire or funky high tech gas version?
Chocolate cake or crisps?
Cake I suppose but I can’t resist a bag of Ruffles.
Veggie burger or steak?
Spring, summer, autumn or winter?
Summer and the beach, baby!
Films or TV serials?
Holiday venues – chill-out or active?
I like both.
Best ever holiday?
Venice with my husband and kids last summer.
Favourite ever dress?
Red cocktail dress that dipped to a low V in the back. I think it was a Laura Ashley dress I bought it on sale in New Orleans and wore the heck out of it.
Thanks for giving us an insight into your life, Katherine– come back soon. I’ll make sure there’s cake next time…
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog.