Connie: Hello, Kate! Welcome! Pull up a chair and let’s have a chat. If we could I’d like to talk about your writing as well as learn some things about your personal life, maybe things that are not so well known…
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 I’ve ever written, but I loved every minute of it.
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: That’s a great question. Something I keep coming back to with my characters is emotional vulnerability. I think that’s especially important with a hero who, on the surface, seems arrogant and powerful. The ‘sigh’ 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 it’s not there it doesn’t hold this reader’s 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 I’ve 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/h’s POV or does it vary by story and character’s background?
Kate: I like to write a very deep POV. I tend to write more in the heroine’s mind, but give glimpses into the hero’s mind at crucial moments. That said, the last couple of books I’ve written more in the hero’s 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: I’m sorry to say I’ve written most of a book and then gone back and changed nearly everything! Sometimes you don’t realize it’s not working until quite far in the process. I have never changed a character’s name, though. Those are pretty set for me once I’ve decided.
Connie: I can totally relate…about realizing something’s not working until you’re far in the process. It can be very frustrating.
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 I’m 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 ‘what if’ comes at the beginning--but sometimes as I’m writing I stop and consider whether I’m having my characters do the ‘obvious’ thing. Then I ask myself ‘what if he doesn’t withdraw emotionally right now, as you’d expect him to? What if he confronts her instead?’ 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. You’re 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 didn’t! 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 doesn’t 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?
Kate: I love writing evocative settings, and having them contribute to the mood of the story. I try to set my stories in places I’ve been or are familiar with, and even fictional locations are based in real places. If I’ve never been to a place I’m writing about, I do a lot of research and keep the details about things I’m familiar with. I’m fortunate in that I’ve traveled in Europe quite a bit, so I have a lot of places to draw on.
Connie: Though I’d like to ask more questions about your writing I’d like to take our remaining time to ask you some personal questions. We’d all like to get to know you better!
On your website you say there’s 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: I’m sure the addition to the family will make your household fun and exciting as well as richer, too.
Four kids. I would imagine that you’ve 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 I’m 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 ‘Goodness, children are expensive!’ I quite agreed.
Connie: Me, too! Even when they’re grown!
Are you still knitting? Have you graduated further from scarves (though they are very fashionable)?
Kate: Sadly I knit very little these days, and scarves remain the only thing I’m 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. I’d love to have a real hobby, even though one has eluded me so far.
Connie: Kate, you and your husband have two weeks alone. You’re 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: You’re 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 I’d 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 I’d 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 question…It doesn’t 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 I’d 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!