Give us a little bit about your background and when you first started publishing.
I have a weird and varied background; I’ve been everything from a headhunter to a SCUBA instructor to the owner of the smallest Chinese(ish) restaurant on earth (I was pretty much the only employee and the seating was two picnic tables.) The restaurant was in the Caribbean and I started writing stories there, during the slow season in 2002. Every year, when the tourist trade dropped off, I’d pick a project to work on. One year I taught myself how to write a patent, in case I ever invented something. (So far, I haven’t, but you never know!) Then in 2002, I decided to write a novel and never looked back. It was, and is, the most fun I’ve ever had.
Historical Setting Related:
Have you visited the places you’ve written about or just read about them?
- I’ve been to London, though one of my long-term goals is to buy a little cottage somewhere in rural England. You know what I’m talking about—thatch roofed cottage in adorable village with a pub nearby. On the other hand, if I ever win the lottery, I’ll buy an estate or castle and have a butler. I always have fun writing butlers and it would be smashing to have one of my own. I would hope he’d be VERY eccentric.
What interesting settings have you used (homes, battlefields, events in history, etc)?
- Carlton House plays a role in The Viscount’s Sinful Bargain, and I had a great time looking at all the available pictures, down to architect’s drawings, so I could see it through Cassandra’s eyes. In that same book, the first visit to the Lord and Lady Blakeley’s house occurs. (And it will not be the last!) That eccentric couple owns such things as an Egyptian sarcophagus, propped up in the drawing room.
- In The Marquess’ Daring Wager (Book 2 in the series), there is a regatta on a lake that plays a pivotal role. I loved going back to my old boating knowledge from when I was a kid and remembering how many things can go wrong. Sailing—so many possibilities for disaster!
Why did you choose the particular period you write in? What is it about that era that speaks to you?
- I was raised on Regency! My Irish grandmother bought every Barbara Cartland ever written and then passed them on to me. As I got older, I became a big fan of Heyer and Austen. There is a sense of honor attached to the Georgian-Regency time periods. Roles and rules were more defined—nobody got dumped via Facebook messenger. Also, there was no cable news, or advertisements for pharmaceuticals, or cell phones tracking your every move, and yoga pants had not yet been invented. It was a more elegant time. It was also a slower era and people didn’t need to be ‘on’ all the time. It’s a lovely era to idealize, and I find it easy to conveniently forget about what would have been the downsides, especially for women, to actually living at that time.
What inspires you to create a certain character (give example)? Have you ever changed the character arc because it didn’t work with the storyline?
- The character’s flaw, the thing that must change and therefore the arc, is so intrinsic to the story line that if they didn’t mesh together I’d know I really went off the rails somewhere. I think I’d be more inclined to change the story line than the character arc, after all if you have a great character, anything can happen.
- Book two of the Dukes’ Pact features a feisty heroine named Lady Sybil Hayworth who makes an appearance in book one as the stalwart defender of Cassandra. All the ladies in the Dukes’ Pact series are strong and bold. For Sybil, she very suddenly appeared in my mind as looking the opposite of what she is. She is quite petite and delicate, and that small frame hides a will of iron. I also knew early on that her family would live by the idea that they are somehow descended from Margaret Beaufort, the staunch lady who engineered the Tudors into power. The Hayworths have a peculiar sense of honor—a feud never dies until all parties to it are dead. This, of course, will cause problems for her poor suitor, as his family is considered an enemy.
Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? Do the stars have to be aligned or do you have to have your favorite tea? Where do you do your best writing?
- Oh yes – quirks are good! I’m convinced that arranging things a particular way is shorthand to your brain about what it’s supposed to be doing. I have a particular ritual for writing, which now that I’m thinking about it, is pretty much all drinks. I start with white tea, then a yogurt smoothie, then a coffee, then a fennel tea, then a green smoothie. I’m very attached to my Nutribullet (I have a spare in a closet in case disaster strikes) and will force my recipes on anybody who expresses the SLIGHTEST interest.
- Aside from all the drinks, I also like nice lighting and have a lot of fairy lights and a little electric fireplace. I like things to be cozy.
- Oh, and I work on very tiny laptops—I like the keyboard to be small enough that I don’t have to reach for keys.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
- Well, they’re all pretty dreamy. Edwin Weston, Viscount Hampton, from The Viscount’s Sinful Bargain is definitely a favorite. He made a mistake, and he could have got away with it with nobody the wiser. I like him for following his own moral compass, owning it, and having the courage to right a wrong.
- Richard Smythe, Marquess of Lockwood, from The Marquess’ Daring Wager, is cheerful in the face of every adversity and, as Lady Sybil discovers, exceedingly bold and determined. He was heroic in the war and his regiment called him the ‘pile of bricks.’ He follows his instincts, risking body and soul and trusting those instincts to be right. Really, nobody else could hope to win Lady Sybil.
Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?
- Outside of romance, I like historical fiction in general. I’m a huge Dickens fan, I really think he has some of the best comic characters ever written. Betsy Trotter! Mrs. Gamp! And, my adored and adorable Mr. Micawber. I also like Trollope, especially since he was so prolific. The Palliser novels can fill up a whole bookshelf. I love Philippa Gregory—all of her Plantagenet and Tudor novels, though perhaps The Queen’s Fool is my favorite of those.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Kate a little better. Her fist book with Dragonblade Publishing releases June 9th. If you are interested you can pick it up HERE.