Once Upon A Romance Interview

Kate Hewitt


August 2011

Kate Hewitt, an author who has four children and a flourishing writing career with Harlequin Presents. It was intriguing to hear what she had to say about her characters and how she interacts with them. The added bonus was getting to know a little more about the behind the scenes of Kate's life...

Connie: Hello, Kate! Welcome! Pull up a chair and letís have a chat. If we could Iíd like to talk about your writing as well as learn some things about your personal life, maybe things that are not so well knownÖ

But first give readers a hint of The Lone Wolfe - UK Mills & Boone Modern current release.

Kate: Hello, Connie! Thanks so much for having me here. The Lone Wolfe is the eighth and final book in the Bad Blood/Notorious Wolfes continuity, and it is the story of oldest brother Jacob, who has returned home after twenty years away! It is of one of the most intense stories Iíve ever written, but I loved every minute of it.

Photo: Kate Hewitt

Connie: Presents heroes are all known as being tall, dark, handsome, and more than a little rich and arrogant. What characteristics do you prefer your heroes to have that will balance all of that out for perhaps the "sigh factor" for the reader.

Kate: Thatís a great question. Something I keep coming back to with my characters is emotional vulnerability. I think thatís especially important with a hero who, on the surface, seems arrogant and powerful. The Ďsighí factor for me comes when a man like that reveals his emotions--his needs and fears.

Connie: That vulnerability is what keeps me reading. And sighing. If itís not there it doesnít hold this readerís interest.

The heroines in the Presents line have changed somewhat over the years. What about your heroines? What balances of traits (i.e. femininity, vulnerability, self-assuredness, etc.) do you prefer your heroines to have?

Kate: My heroines have changed a bit as Iíve written more books. I like to write a heroine who has a strong sense of self, whether it comes from her goals or dreams, her job or her family. Yet even her strong identity the hero completes something in her--and she in him.

Connie: Each author approaches POV differently. How do you, Kate? Do you try to equally show both the h/hís POV or does it vary by story and characterís background?

Kate: I like to write a very deep POV. I tend to write more in the heroineís mind, but give glimpses into the heroís mind at crucial moments. That said, the last couple of books Iíve written more in the heroís POV than ever before.

Connie: I suppose it depends on the "story" they have to tell, hmm?

Have you ever renamed a character or even changed the setting in the beginning scene once you began writing the first pages?

Kate: Iím sorry to say Iíve written most of a book and then gone back and changed nearly everything! Sometimes you donít realize itís not working until quite far in the process. I have never changed a characterís name, though. Those are pretty set for me once Iíve decided.

Connie: I can totally relateÖabout realizing somethingís not working until youíre far in the process. It can be very frustrating.

Cover art: The Undoing of De Luca Sensual, tense, and emotional all wrapped up in the packages of suave and alluring characters. A feat in itself, but when you add the fact that it all has to be wrapped up neatly in one hundred eighty something pages, that could present a problem to some. Do you have your own "formula" for keeping the story tight, passionate, and moving along?

Kate: My books all push that word limit, although Iím trying to be better about that! The most important thing is to make sure every scene, every snatch of dialogue or description of setting, needs to move the story along in terms of the emotional conflict. I think always writing with that in mind keeps the pacing tight--and the story within the word count!

Connie: The "what if" gives authors so many ideas and room to flesh out their story and characters. Does your "what if" stop at the germination and general outlining of the idea or does it continue each day as you continue to ponder your characters and story in your "downtime"?

Kate: I think the main Ďwhat ifí comes at the beginning--but sometimes as Iím writing I stop and consider whether Iím having my characters do the Ďobviousí thing. Then I ask myself Ďwhat if he doesnít withdraw emotionally right now, as youíd expect him to? What if he confronts her instead?í Constantly challenging even your own perceptions of your characters helps keep them fresh and three-dimensional.

Connie: That really makes a lot of sense.

I assume a story begins to formulate (the above discussed "what if"), as do the characters. Youíre on your way to a HEA but not before the roadblocks hit and the passion erupts. But what about surprises? What type of surprises have your characters thrown at you and their own story?

Kate: Characters have a way of controlling the story! In a recent release, The Man Who Could Never Love, my heroine Ana refused to be at all swayed by the hero. I thought she wanted him to change her but she informed me she didnít! Giving your characters room to breathe and talk to you (as crazy as that sounds!) helps to keep them surprising you--which always makes for a better story.

Connie: Believe me, that doesnít sound crazy to me at all!

Kate, I realize each story is fiction. But as you lived in England for several years, and now New York, is it easier to translate the descriptions and the atmosphere you want to convey with those settings than it is for any online and paper research you may have to do for a story set in Greece or Italy? Or have you eyes on knowledge of those locales, too?

Cover art: Mr. and Mischief Kate: I love writing evocative settings, and having them contribute to the mood of the story. I try to set my stories in places Iíve been or are familiar with, and even fictional locations are based in real places. If Iíve never been to a place Iím writing about, I do a lot of research and keep the details about things Iím familiar with. Iím fortunate in that Iíve traveled in Europe quite a bit, so I have a lot of places to draw on.

Connie: Though Iíd like to ask more questions about your writing Iíd like to take our remaining time to ask you some personal questions. Weíd all like to get to know you better!

On your website you say thereís a possibility of getting a dog. One day. Everyone has their preference of breed and male/female. What would be the ideal dog for your household? Would it be an adopt/rescue situation?

Kate: This is a very timely question, as we are finally getting a dog later this month! We decided on a female Golden Retriever puppy. We looked into Rescue dogs, but the age of our children makes that difficult, as most Rescue agencies do not want to place dogs with small children. We are greatly looking forward to this addition to our family!

Connie: Iím sure the addition to the family will make your household fun and exciting as well as richer, too.

Four kids. I would imagine that youíve learned there are some things you can never run out of whether in the kitchen or the bathroom medicine cabinet. Off the top of your head what would a few of them be?

Kate: Milk! We go through gallons and gallons of milk. I feel like Iím always running out to buy it. Tissues and toilet paper also seem to constantly be on the to-buy list, and my kids are always needing new shoes. We went to the shoe story yesterday and the sales clerk shook her head and says ĎGoodness, children are expensive!í I quite agreed.

Connie: Me, too! Even when theyíre grown!

Are you still knitting? Have you graduated further from scarves (though they are very fashionable)?

Cover art: The Secret Baby Scandal Kate: Sadly I knit very little these days, and scarves remain the only thing Iím capable of. We are moving this month to a house with a large yard and I am looking forward to trying to grow a garden. Iíd love to have a real hobby, even though one has eluded me so far.

Connie: Kate, you and your husband have two weeks alone. Youíre given the opportunity to either vacation in a fully stocked cabin complete with hot tub and fireplace in the mountains near a babbling brook or on a desert island with a fully stocked fully functioning Swiss Family Robinson type tree house with gorgeous ocean and palm tree view. Which would you choose?

Kate: Now that is an easy question! Definitely cabin in the mountains. A deserted island would make me feel trapped.

Connie: Youíre planning a small dinner party. The guest list totals four and should include any author, historical figure, or celebrity (past or present) of your choice. Who is coming and what would you serve?

Kate: Hmm... that is a tough one! For guests Iíd go with Jane Austen, JK Rowling, John Stott (that one is for my husband) and Elizabeth Prentiss (a hymn writer who has written one of my favorite books, Stepping Heavenward). As for food, I have one basic dinner party menu that I make so Iíd serve that. Chicken with tarragon cream sauce, roast potatoes, fried peas with garlic, and chocolate mousse pie for dessert.

Connie: Sounds like a very interesting and tasty evening.

One last questionÖIt doesnít seem as if you have much time with your family and writing and other activities. When you can, what is your favorite way to unwind?

Kate: Reading a really good book! That wins, hands down, everytime.

Connie: Thank you for your time and generosity with your answers, Kate! I really enjoyed getting to know you. I think I was thorough, but is there anything I forgot that you want the readers to know?

Kate: Thanks so much for having me here. I have a few upcoming releases Iíd love to let readers know about: The Matchmaker Bride, a retelling of Emma, which is out in the US in August in Harlequin Presents; The Secret Baby Scandal, a duo with Jennie Lucas, which is out in the US in September in Harlequin Presents, and Down Jasper Lane, a previously published historical saga in the tradition of Anne of Green Gables, available digitally through Smashwords, Amazon Kindle, and other ebook retailers. Thanks again!

Connie: My pleasure!

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