Kathryn, good morning, and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Please grab a seat in our cozy recliner, and be sure to get some delicious baked treats off the table to go with your hot cup of coffee. Also be sure to slip on the relaxing fuzzy pink slippers. The readers are very eager to learn more about Kathryn R. Blake.
Kathryn, the readers would love to hear what a day is like for you once you awake. How do you begin your busy schedule?
Wow! I don't live a very exciting life at all, but I'll share. My days vary, since there are times when I'm up working until 5 or 6 AM.So, if I have a late night, I usually have a late morning as well.
I use "Klok" to track where I'm spending my time, and it shows me in vivid color what I've done all day.A good week would be equal in all five colors, and that is rare. My goal is to update it daily at night with the previous day's activities. However, during periods of writing frenzy, like NaNoWriMo, I may let it slide, which means I have to go back and recreate my time if I want my yearly graph to be anywhere near accurate. I'm also a multi-tasker, so I prefer to schedule other projects (like assembling book thong packets or updating my web site) during TV time. Doing so, allows me to combine a left-brain activity with entertainment.
Speaking of left-brain vs. right-brain, I recently discovered Scrivener, and I love it. I wrote my latest WIP during NaNoWriMo using Scrivener and managed to write almost 90K during that time. Speed writing like that produces a lot of words, but not necessarily a good story. So, I'm distancing myself from the book for a while before I start ripping my manuscript apart. January will be my review and edit month.
The readers are anxious to hear about your latest book, A Dom's Dilemma, a psychological BDSM Romance. Can you please tell us why you wrote this story?
A Dom's Dilemma (ADD) is the result of written scenes dropped into my cut folder for Arrested by Love (ABL) when the characters began to take over a book that wasn't theirs. They were so insistent I tell their story that I promised them I would if ABL did well. Arrested by Love made my publisher's list of the top ten best selling books of 2011, even though it wasn't published until November of that year.
So, I fleshed out Jim and Kelly's story based on the scenes I'd already written.
Did the story grab hold of you as you composed it?
Yes and no. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but quickly discovered from my beta readers' comments that I had a lot more work to do if I wanted to make the story believable and my characters attractive to those in the lifestyle and to those who knew absolutely nothing about BDSM. It is receiving mixed reviews, primarily because Kelly is a very non-submissive, submissive, and Jim isn't sure he's the best Dom for her.So, it isn't your "usual" pain gives pleasure BDSM story, and some readers are disappointed because of that.They enjoy the whips, humiliation and pain that is inherent in many BDSM stories, and ADD is more of a psychological journey into the mindset rather than a physical glimpse into the lifestyle.
What would you say intrigues you most about developing your characters?
I'd have to say their backstory is what often leads me to telling their "present" story. For my current WIP, I have a novel length backstory for my hero and heroine, which gets a brief reference of a few sentences in the actual book, since the two characters had an unusual past. For A Dom's Dilemma, I indentified mostly with Jim, but Kelly was the reason I needed to tell their story. She is not an easy character to like or understand and her brief appearance in Arrested by Love is a catalyst for the hero and heroine in that book to break up.Because ABL wasn't Kelly's story, I gave readers little to no insight as to why she acted the way she did, and I felt I owed it to her due to the flack she received from readers for her bratty behavior.However, she's still receiving criticisms from some readers because of her mouthy attitude, which some readers find unacceptable.
Did it take you long to compose the book?
No, but it did take me awhile to rewrite it. Again, there's a lot more story to these two characters than I was able to tell in this one book. But as of right now, I've made them no promises to publish the rest. I think readers prefer my books without BDSM, so, for the time being, I'm working on a straight spanking story with a domestic discipline base.
Would you like to share an insight to anything else that you might be working on at the time?
"I'm so glad you asked," she said with a blush. I haven't decided on a title, yet, but my current WIP is a "Kiss Me Kate" come to life story. My heroine, Kate, is a famous Broadway actress who recently starred in her own short-lived TV sit com. Her former husband, Peter, is a two-time Tony winning Broadway director. They've been legally separated for six months, but in Kate's mind, their marriage ended two years before that, after she miscarried their second child.
Though Kate has been successful after their break up, she hasn't been happy, and Peter has been miserable. So, he sets out to win Kate back by getting her to agree to work with him on his latest project - a college workshop production of "Kiss Me Kate." Peter knows he made a mistake in letting Kate go, so he fully intends to do whatever it takes to get her back, even if it means a loving but painful reminder why she originally promised to obey him.
What does your writing place look like?
Hmm. I did say earlier that I participated in NaNoWriMo, right? Well, right now, the house, including my "office" is a mess. I have three bookshelves stacked with books reaching the ceiling. (That's normal.)Three laptop computers with two I work on daily. (Also normal.) Stacks of magazines that I subscribe to and don't want to throw out, even though I haven't found time to read them. (Again, normal, though it shouldn't be.) And boxes of promo materials neatly stacked in plastic boxes filled with plastic bags.(Okay, let's face it, housekeeping is not my forte.) I have a bed in the room, so you'll find me either at my desk pounding the keys of my main laptop, or on the bed typing away on my mini laptop.
Do you write on a schedule or as inspiration hits?
I used to write when inspiration hit, but my muse tends to be shy and will hide unless she's given some gentle coaxing, or a good hard shove. So, I do a quick outline for direction purposes, then schedule time to write.Sometimes she'll show, sometimes she'll remain in the background sulking over my mistreatment of her. Either way, I continue to write. That does mean, however, that I have a lot of rewriting, too.
What time of the day is more productive for you to do your writing, morning or night?
Nighttime, definitely. I'm not a morning person. Never have been, so I'd say afternoon to evening is my most productive time.
Name three things you look for in a companion or friend.
Loyalty, honesty and a great sense of humor. The same qualities I seek to display.
You have just won a day to spend with any writer of your dreams. Who would you choose and how would you spend your day?
I have so many "favorite" writers, so it's difficult to choose. Therefore, I'm going to restrict myself to those currently living and say Sherrilyn Kenyon for her world building and E.L. James for her phenomenal success. Sherrilyn and I have met, and I've had my picture taken with her, but I've never really had a chance to sit down and chat like two friends. I've only seen E.L. James in pictures and on television. I'd like our meetings to be in a hotel room, so none of us is distracted by our normal day-to-day lives. That way I could spend a day chatting with Sherrilyn about her writing career, books and characters, then spend another day with E.L. James to discuss exactly how 50 Shades evolved from fan fiction, and how she got so many new readers to find it.Was it a gradual growth done by word of mouth, or through promotion?
Where has this year gone? With the holidays upon us, why not share, with us, how you spend your festivities?
Unfortunately, both of our parents have passed, so hubby and I spend a quiet Christmas together with his nephew. Hubby is a December 24 baby, so Christmas Eve is spent celebrating his birthday. We have a few traditions that include driving around to view the outdoor lights and decorations in our area as well as visiting the holiday train displays set up at one of our local museums. I love to decorate the house on Halloween and Christmas, and this year I'm trying to be domestic by making some of my gifts. I enjoy the overall spookiness of Halloween, but the yearend holidays are my favorite.
There comes a time when we all need some comedy in our life. What is your favorite comedy show and favorite comic actor?
I'd have to say one of my guilty pleasures is "The Big Bang Theory." Most of Chuck Lorre's shows tickle "my funny bone," but I laugh aloud at some of the lines on "Big Bang." I've even memorized some of the dialogue, which drives Hubby crazy. Although I consider the show to be an ensemble with all the characters playing off one another, as Sheldon, Jim Parsons is given some very difficult lines to say and he rattles them off with an ease that amazes me. I'd love to see outtakes of that show, since I'm sure they'd be equally as hilarious.
Can you tell us something about you that make you unique?
Well, I was a theater major in college and originally set out to be an actress, so the thought of writing as a career came much later in life. I don't know if it makes me unique or not, but I used to create stories when I was a kid and cast my friends in them. We'd begin with a list of characters and an initial set up. The plot would devolve as we acted out improvisational scenes, which I'd later write down.
You are called upon, at a school, to tell those interested in becoming an author, all the ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published. Name three important elements in writing, publishing and promoting that you would give them.
For all three elements I'd say persistence is key. For writing, you should study your craft and enjoy what your write. Don't try writing a story if you don't read or enjoy the genre. Your lack of enthusiasm for the subject will show in your work. Keep in mind that you live with your characters a long time, sometimes for more than a year. If you don't enjoy spending time with them every day, you will begin to dread your writing time, which is a death knell for creativity.
For publishing, you should know your market without being a slave to it. I used to draft story concepts for a particular kind of story, because they were the kind of books I wanted to read, but the market didn't exist so I couldn't sell them. That has now changed, so I'm trying to write as many as I can to get them out. I don't suggest authors write according to the markets, but an author should always make sure to follow the publisher's submission guidelines before sending out anything.
For promoting, an author should focus on the story elements that will interest their potential readers. Give teasers and write a blurb that leave readers wanting more.
Your day is gone, you have time to yourself for an hour, what would be your indulgence?
My Kindle. I read right before I go to bed, then, when my eyes start to cross, I turn off the light and listen to books I've purchased with my Audible subscription.Sometimes I even fall asleep while a book is playing. No problem.I simply reset the reader to the last chapter I recall hearing, and continue from there.
Thank you Kathryn for being with us today. I look forward to reading all your wonderful stories. I wish you the best for the New Year in all your writing.
Thank you for inviting me and letting me sit in your cozy recliner with my fuzzy pink slippers on. It's almost like being at home. I'd also like readers to know I love hearing from them, and encourage them to e-mail me for goodies on my site. I have e-mail links on my website and my blog. And my web homes are always open for virtual visitors. At least I manage to keep them fairly tidy.