I've pushed my regularly scheduled Friday Five to the wayside to share something way cooler... an interview with the talented Kate Willoughby.
I met Kate at the Romance Divas forum and I think she's got one of the most interesting blogs around. From her Thursday Three to her artist days to unique contests, Kate's blog is a daily stop for me. I'm thrilled to pick her brain today and hope you enjoy getting to know her...
LB: Every sale is important, but tell us all about your first sale to an epub: Carnal Devotions at Liquid Silver. And don’t leave out the details--Champagne, happy dancing in PJs, ticking off the neighbors with squeals of delight--we want to hear it all!
Kate: Honestly, I don’t really remember much. I recall at least one scream. Some rapid foot stomping as I picked up the phone to call my husband and critique partners. I’m sure we went out to dinner to celebrate, most likely to Macaroni Grill.
LB: This month you’ve got not one but two back-to-back releases from Ellora’s Cave. Tell us all about them. And what’s in store after that?
Kate: Back-to-Back releases... OMG, I’m so ridiculously excited!
When I saw a call to participate in a chain story for a free erotic story site seven years ago, I wrote a chapter for it. The heroine, Erica, experienced a shocking variety of sexual adventures, all penned by different people. I really liked what I had written and after a while, I pulled it from the site with the intention of expanding it into a full length novel. However, other writing projects became more important, and the chapter languished in my hard drive until recently. With Ellora's Cave in mind, I completely overhauled the original vignette and was ecstatic when they accepted A MAN OF VISION (release date 9/23) for their Ellora’s Cavemen Seasons of Seduction, Volume III. At last, bookstores would have a book with my name on the cover on their shelves!!!
For Cristoforo, sculpting marble is his life, but the price of creation is a libido that rides him like a demon. When he discovers his sculpting days are numbered, he hires a mistress to satisfy him night and day.
Modern-day courtesan Delphine arrives at Cristoforo’s villa prepared for the rigors of being on call 24/7. What she isn’t prepared for, however, is the intensity of her body’s response to Cristoforo. When she learns what is driving him so ruthlessly, she wonders if she can protect her heart…or if it’s already too late.
[LB: Sounds great! I'm a sucker for those artist types ;)]
Kate: My other September release is ALL IN. I had written it at the behest of my editor (the wonderful Mary Altman.) She urged me to churn out a Naughty Nuptial Quickie to get my name out to EC readers. Obediently, I did, but when we examined the result, we decided that the characters and story, while good, were rushed. My Quickie was too quick! The good news was that it lent itself very well to a series. Long story, short, we doubled the length and so was born the Be-Wished series!
When three close friends made margarita-fueled wishes on magical woven bracelets, none of them ever dreamed that their sexy wishes might come true. But then a real-life fairy appears with United Wish Federation credentials and a ludicrous claim that Mariah’s wish is her command. And before Mariah can say bippity-boppity-boo, old flame Tucker arrives in town... and in Mariah’s bed.
Life on the road is a lonely one, but when Tucker bumps into Mariah again, all that changes. Sparks immediately fly and it’s all he can do to keep his hands off her. As things deepen between them, he swears he'll be damned before he passes on a second chance to reconnect with a woman he never forgot.
But wishes aren’t always simple and Happily Ever After is never guaranteed. It will be up to Mariah to go all in and make her wish last a lifetime... or lose Tucker forever.
I’m currently working on the next story in the series, tentatively titled A WOLF AT HER DOOR. It's my first time writing a shapeshifter story and I'm having a blast.
LB: ALL IN is out today, so go get it, folks! Kate probably needs a break from writing, but my next question puts her right back to work... You’re given a one-year sabbatical to the perfect writing location--and a personal assistant to proofread and help with your research (no, not that kind of research! LOL). There’s only one rule: You aren’t allowed to write a romance. What will you write?
Kate: Oh, that is such an intriguing question. I’ve always liked ancient Egypt, but I don’t do well with heat. I’m tempted to go to England, because I adore Regencies, but Harry Potter is still saturating society. So, I think I’d get myself a ticket to Rome. I’d rent an apartment with a bedroom for my bilingual assistant, that way I could learn Italian (another thing I’ve always wanted to do) while writing a children’s novel. It would probably have some type of paranormal aspect to it, maybe time travel!
LB: Great answer :) I love how you offer so many cool extras to your readers… A contest that gives away your handmade wishing bracelets. "Artist" days on your blog. A "Behind the Scenes" page of your site that offers deleted scenes, websites used to research a story, and more. Tell us about your future plans for readers. Any other contests on the horizon?
Kate: Oh, yes! I’m always coming up with more goodies for my readers, material and otherwise. What I try to do is put myself in the reader’s shoes and try to do things that would appeal to Kate Willoughby The Reader. For instance, I love being able to write an author a fan letter and have them respond! (Nancy Warren and Eloisa James come to mind.) So, I always reply to readers. I’m also the type of fan-nerd who geeks out over the back flap info--where the author lives and how many dogs they have, etc. So my website bio page is jam-packed with personal info and I blog five times a week.
I also love love love epilogues. Sometimes I just wish a story didn’t have to end and epilogues keep it going for just a little while longer. Because of that, I recently started an Epilogue Blog for one of my novels. I had this idea that it would be fun if my characters started blogging! That way, readers could keep up with the continuing lives of their favorite couples. Finding It is written by Ben and Charlotte, the main characters in LOSING IT, my bestseller from Liquid Silver Books. I plan to start blogs for other characters as well.
Finally, as far as contests are concerned, in ALL IN, Mariah admires a millefiori pendant in an Italian themed store at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel. I'll be giving away a beautiful necklace like the one she coveted -- here's a picture. The contest runs through 9/18. Visit this link for details.
LB: It's gorgeous! Just like your website... On the bio page, you mention that your Chinese-American heritage. Any plans to write a character with this same background?
Kate: I’m really such a banana – yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Seriously, when I’m in Chinatown, I feel utterly out of place. My family has been here in America for five generations. But, who knows? Someday maybe I’ll conjure up a mixed-race character.
LB: Who are your favorite authors, romance and otherwise?
Kate: My favorite authors are many! Romance: Mary Balogh, Linda Berdoll, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Suzanne Brockmann, Jane Austen, Laura Kinsale, Nancy Warren, Robin L. Rotham, Rachel Gibson, Dara Joy, Maggie Osborne, La Nora. Science Fiction/Fantasy: Orson Scott Card, Jacqueline Carey, Stephen King, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks. Thriller/Suspense/Mystery: Perri O’Shaughnessy, John Grisham, David Baldacci, Michael Crichton. Historical: Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant. Children’s: Louis Sachar, Barbara Park, William Joyce, Robin McKinley, Arnold Lobel.
LB: And I'm sure you're on a lot of favorite authors lists as well :) Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and I wish you tons of sales on your new releases!