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Historical Fiction Author Kathye Quick Talks Books and How American Idol Became Inspiration for New Novel

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Kathye Quick is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.

Kathye Quick writes contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy and historicals for Wings Press, urban fantasy for Cerridwen Press, and most recently medieval historical romances for Wild Rose Press.

In August 2009, Avalon Books will publish her three-book contemporary romance series entitled Grandmother's Rings. The books, Amethyst (August 2009), Sapphire (December 2009) and Citrine (early 2010) follow the Archer family siblings in their quest to find their soul mates using rings given to them by their grandmother. Kathye used the birthstones from her family for her inspiration for this series.

Her latest book is a historical fiction novel, Cynthia and Constantine. We interviewed her to find out more about her new book and her life as a published author.

Thank you for this interview, Kathye.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I live in Central New Jersey with husband, Donald, and am a very happy empty-nester having three boys all with places of their own.  That means one of their rooms is my writing haven. 

In addition to Cynthia and Constantine, my first medieval romance, I write contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy and historicals for Wings Press and fantasy Romances as P.K. Eden for Cerridwen Press with fellow multipublished author Patt Mihailoff.

I am a co-founding member of an incredible writers’ group, Liberty States Fiction Writers, formed this year to further the interests of writers of all genres.  I had been a member of a strictly romance only group for over twenty years, and was even its president twice, but found it to confining for the present fiction marketplace where the lines between genres are blurring.  I do credit some of the members of my former group, some of whom are also co-founders of the new group, with helping me get published. 

My fifth hardcover romance for Avalon Books, ‘Tis the Season, a holiday story complete with Santa Claus, a sleigh ride and a New England snowfall was a 2006 HOLT Medallion finalist.   My debut historical romance, Daughters of the Moon, has been heralded as a flawless glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks.

In November 2007, Firebrand, an urban fantasy, was released by Cerridwen Press, the mainstream arm of Ellora's Cave. Writing as P. K. Eden with fellow LSFW member (and NYC-RWA member), Patt Mihailoff, Firebrand has been commended for having lush worlds and colorful characters full of secrets and magic.  It revolves around the fall of the Garden of Eden and the possibility of the Garden being restored.  Firebrand won a Reviewer Choice Award for Fantasy Romance in January 2008.   One reviewer called it worthy of Harry Potter and the Hobbit Series.  A compliment like that is both humbling and exhilarating. 

While writing romances has been my dream for many years, the book of my heart is a non-fiction work entitled, Hi Mom, How Are Things in Heaven, a book that developed after the death of my mom and deals with coping with grief though humor.   I’ve had to put off writing that to meet some contractual deadlines.  I hope to get to it very soon though.

Do you write full-time?

No, I work for the government full time until I either win a Pulitzer or get a movie deal.  It could happen.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Cynthia and Constantine is a medieval historical romance.  Lady Cynthia of Abertaine is trapped. Not only has her fiancé, Sir William Leyborne, not been back to the castle for over ten years, but she’s also not a titled Lady. Lord Simon of Cowell, a renegade warlord aligned with Mordred against Arthur and his Knights, has declared himself sovereign over Leyborne Castle and everything that once belonged to Sir William – including Cynthia.

Sir Constantine, Knight of the Round Table, has come to the shire to give Cynthia the news that her fiancé has fallen in battle. With him is William’s oral will giving all he owns to Cynthia as though they had been wed. But when he finds Cynthia and discovers the shire under the control of an evil warlord, he knows he cannot leave without first driving Simon and his soldiers from the land.

Drawn together by an attraction older than time, Cynthia and Constantine soon discover that though a vow made by a knight’s honor has brought them together, it may just also cost them their lives.

Why did you feel a need to write it?

Believe it or not, the concept for Cynthia and Constantine sprung up during a season of American Idol.  I work for county government and once a month seven of us get together to have lunch.  We call it the Lusty Ladies Lunch Group.  We keep in touch via email.

During this particular season, Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis were competing.  Two of the Lusties choose these guys as their favorites.  While we didn’t agree on who should win that season, we did all agree that they had ‘romance book cover’ hair; the kind of hair Knights in Shinning Armor had in days of yore. 

Well one thing lead to another and we began to serialize a story about them.  We named our hero Constantine and his lady was Cynthia, one of the Lusties.  We gave Sir Constantine a brother, Sir Braeden and his lady is named Jane, another Lustie. 

The story just evolved on a weekly basis with email scenes going back and forth until I had 100 pages. 

We thought that was the end of the adventure until I decided to flesh out Constantine and Cynthia’s story and turn it into a 55,000-word book.  I was fortunate enough to have the Wild Rose Press express interest in the novel and then publish it.

And yes, you’ll either love this or hate this, but the antagonist of the story is named after one of the American Idol Judges.  I’m sure you can guess which one.

Where do you get ideas to write your books?

Ideas come from everywhere for me. I carry a journal and write down tidbits of life that inspire something in me. 

I based a book – Blue Diamond – on the crash of the Air Force’s Thunderbirds in the early 1980’s and another – Falling For You – on my love of hockey.

I once wrote a song based on a Daryl Hall and John Oates song – Melody for a Memory.  Great song, great title, awful book.  It was the first one I ever wrote.  I still have it on disk somewhere.  Someday I’m going to haul it out, rework it and try to get it published. 

Dreams are an especially fertile source of concepts. 

How do you deal with rejection?

Rejection – ouch.  I’ve had plenty of it, especially in the early days.  It stings, I won’t sugar coat that.  It’s like someone telling you “Your baby is ugly.”   And I’ve had some mighty ugly writing babies over the years. 

But you have to shake off the rejection, learn from anything constructive an editor or agent may have told you, rethink rework and go on.  You never know how close you are to success unless you keep sending out your work. 

Do you write mainly by day or by night?

Because I work, I have to write at night after dinner, but before 10PM.  I met Janet Evanovich at a book signing of hers and she told me the best way to keep the momentum going was to write at least 3 pages a day.  I have tried to do that.  Sometimes it’s more; sometimes less.  Sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t write at all.  But if I can do about 75 days a month, I’m happy.

Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do when that happens?

I do get writer’s block.  It’s inevitable.  Your characters tends to take over at times and take your story in a completely new direction and wham – you hit the writer’s block wall.  Sometimes you don’t know how to get back to your story concept.

When that happens, you can shift gears and write a scene you know you are going to need for later in the book.  Sometimes that opens up possibilities and you can write backwards to the place you got stuck.  Kind of like Bizarro World to Superman.  Writing backwards always works to break that wall I hit.  You then know what you need to set-up to move forward.

Sometimes I just put the book down and watch Camelot or My Cousin Vinnie on DVD.  You have to get away at times.  These two movies are among my favorite and they help a lot.

How do you deal with a bad review?

Everyone is a critic.  No, I mean it.  For everyone who likes your story, there is probably someone who hates it.  It’s a fact of life. 

You have to just turn out the best story you can and love it.  That, for me, soothes the savage beast who has had a bad day and is taking it out on your work, or hates your story because you named your antagonist after an American Idol Judge.

What’s next for you?

While writing Cynthia and Constantine, a secondary character, Jane, came to life.  A few readers and reviewers have wondered what happened to Jane and Braeden, and if they could have their own story. 

Come to think of it, I wondered about that too.

So that’s the book I write next.

Thank you for this interview, Kathye.  Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

Never give up your dream.  It’s what keeps us writing.  You never know when that next submission will turn into ‘the call.”  Visit my website at www.kathyequick.com or my blog at www.kathyequick.blogspot.com.

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About Dorothy Thompson

  • http://www.caridad.com Caridad Pineiro

    Awesome interview, Kathye. Your positive attitude is always an inspiration to me!

  • Kelly Hoffman

    I have read most of Kathye Quick’s books and I have to say they are the best books I have read in a long time. She really keeps you interested. Great work Mrs. Quick.

  • Jane Foti

    This book was so much fun from the idea to the final product. I can’t wait for book two since it is Jane’s book. What will Kathye spin from our conversations to the pages!