“We take books to the virtual level!”
Kathye Quick has been writing since the sisters in Catholic School gave her a #2 pencil and some paper with ruled lines. From stories about her family for Writing Week in fifth grade, to becoming editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Blueprint, to 1999 when she realized her dream of being published, Kathye’s love of the written word span numerous genres. She 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.
Kathye is one of the founders of Liberty States Fiction Writers, a group launched in January 2009 to help writers of all fiction genres in their journey to publication. She had been a member of New Jersey Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America since 1988 and considered it an honor to have been NJRW President in 1992 and 2001. Kathye’s fifth hardcover romance for Avalon books, ‘Tis the Season, a holiday romance complete with Santa Claus, a sleigh ride and a New England snowfall earned a 2006 HOLT Medallion nomination.
Her debut historical romance, Daughters of the Moon, from Wings e-Press has been heralded as a flawless glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks. Writing as P. K. Eden with writing partner, Patt Mihailoff, Firebrand, an urban fantasy based on the fall of the Garden of Eden, has won two Reviews Choice Awards and many five-star ratings. 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.
While writing romances has been her dream for many years, the book of Kathye’s heart, is a non-fiction work entitled, Hi Mom, How Are Things in Heaven, a book that developed after the death of her mother and deals with coping with grief though humor. She is currently still working on the concept for this book. In her “other” life, Kathye works for Somerset County government. She is married with three sons. You can visit her website or her blog.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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 Leybourne 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.
Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?
Kathye Quick: I began to write in 1988 after reading a cajillion romances and thinking “I could do this.” Turns out I really couldn’t. I had an awful lot to learn about writing. Mainly reading romances is not the same as writing romances. There wasn’t one author that inspired me as much as there was one author who helped me. Barbara Breton, a New York Times Bestselling Author was getting started herself back then. She was a Harlequin author who I met at a bank one day. We began talking and she encouraged me to come to a local writer’s group that weekend. I did and that’s when I began to find out just how much I didn’t know about writing romances.
Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?
Kathye: I wrote a contemporary romance I thought was the bomb. It was. Literally. I couldn’t PAY to have it published back then. As I said, I had a lot to learn. Now I’m comfortable writing anything and I do!
Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?
Kathye: WINCH!! The contemporary romance I wrote was called DUTY OR DESIRE. I actually still like the name. It was about a Police Officer and the women he left many years ago. Can you tell he ultimately had to choose between duty or desire? Needless to say it was awful. I had it on disk, but I lost it when I lost my house to the flooding of Hurricane Floyd back in 1999. Maybe that was someone’s way of telling my just how bad it was!
Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?
Kathye: This is probably not the right way to do it, but I research as I go. So far it’s been working. If I find that I’ve written myself somewhere I know nothing about, I get on the Internet and Google.
Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your novel Cynthia and Constantine, which is part of your Beyond Camelot, Brother Knights series?
Kathye: Believe it or not, the concept for Cynthia and Constantine, my new release from the Wild Rose press, sprang up during a season of American Idol. (To find out more about how Kathy came to write Cynthia and Constantine come back on Wednesday, May 20th to read her author guest blog about it.)
Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your Beyond Camelot, Brother Knights series and how many more books do you think will you be writing for that series?
Kathye: If I like something I want to know more. I love the Arthurian Era and mythology, so I knew that just one book was not going to be enough. There will be a sequel to this book called Jane and Braeden because in the course of fleshing out the story so it would be long enough for a book, Jane’s character became an integral part of the story and now we need to hear her story also.
Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?
Kathye: My characters are a mix of people I know and my fantasies. My hero, Sir Constantine is the perfect knight—honorable, brave, kind and gallant. He’s also based on my husband who’s darn cute. Lady Cynthia is definitely based on one of my friends, Cynthia. She’s blond, beautiful, independent and true to what she believes. While the names of my characters in Cynthia and Constantine came from American Idol, believe it or not I Googled to find names. Try it. For my fantasy series I’m writing for example, I Googled “Ancient Greek Names” and then read them until I found one I liked. Then I adapted it to a more modern sounding name. You can also Google “baby names” or something to fit the timeline or genre in which you are writing such as “western names” or “native American names.”
Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your novel Cynthia and Constantine? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your Cynthia and Constantine?
Kathye: I like the feistiness of Lady Cynthia, the mystery of Jane, the honor of Constantine and the loyalty of Sir Braeden. Lord Simon is a necessary evil and of course, he can’t work alone, so we needed someone to be a catalyst to get the action started in the form of Ranaulf, a townsman who found there was money to be made by getting certain information to his lordship.
Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?
Kathye: Start with the blood on the floor, I was always told. That means, start your novels with something happening. Then the reader will need to find out why it happened or who the action is going to affect.
Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?
Kathye: BRADEN AND JANE will be the second book in this series but I actually have a three-book contemporary series done and coming out at the end of this year/beginning of 2010 for Avalon Books. That series, GRANDMOTHER’S RINGS, follows the Archer family siblings, 2 girls 1 boy, in their quest to find their soul mates. I named the books after my family’s birthstones, Amethyst, Sapphire and Citrine. What is fun about a series is that you know the characters from one book to the next. But I also enjoy writing stand-alone books. For me it depends on how involved the plot is and if my secondary characters develop a life of their own.
Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?
Kathye: As I mentioned before, I began writing in 1988 and had a lot to learn. Finally, when I was ready to submit, I wrote about a hero and heroine who met during a Hurricane and submitted it around. The rejection letters came, but some of them were actually encouraging. Then Hurricane Floyd hit the east coast. The foundation of my house collapsed and I lost just about everything I owned up to four feet on the first floor. But I also got a call from an eBook publisher—Starlight Writers—who said they wanted to publish my book. I think that call helped me through the next eight months of rebuilding. Starlight Writers does not exist any longer, but the book was then placed with Wings ePress that is going strong today. I will be forever grateful for that call. It helped me through some pretty dismal times. But if I thought my first book would have been so prophetic, I would have written about a lottery winner instead of a Hurricane!
Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?
Kathye: I live in writer’s block some days. When I hit that wall, it’s normally because I didn’t think through the story enough and I have no idea where it’s going. That’s when I pull out a book and read or pop in a video. That gets me thinking and I can usually restart. It may mean tossing out the last ten pages, but sometimes that’s OK too.
Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?
Kathye: I love bringing the characters to life. They become real people to me over the course of the book. I get kind of sad when it’s time to say goodbye and miss them when they are gone. I detest bandwagons. Let me explain. Once something gets popular in a certain genre, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and the market gets saturated. Like now and vampires. The market is saturated. There are some very talented vampire writers, of course, but there is also a lot of testing the water type writers. Out of respect to the really good ones, I won’t have any of my characters bite anyone.
Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?
Kathye: Actually there are two—Undelete and Google.
Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?
Kathye: A lot of my friends and all of my family say it’s too late already for me to worry about my sanity. Since I work full time until I win a Pulitzer or two, I found it difficult to write and get enough sleep to be coherent in the morning until I met Janet Evanovich one day at one of her books signings. She told me that (at that time at least) she writes 3–5 pages a day and that’s it. That translates to 90-150 pages a month. So realistically your book could get done in 3 months. I gave it a shot. It works. I try to average 75 pages a month, with the first frat done in about 5 months. So far, so good. Thank you, Janet.
Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?
Kathye: Relax? There’s no relaxing in writing!!!! But after I finish a book, I take off two weeks before starting another. At least I try to only take off 2 weeks once that turned into 6 months. Not good. Not only was it hard to get started again, but I was totally clueless on what was happening in the industry. Now I say 3 pages. 3 pages and you can be like Janet Evanovich. (See sanity is not present in me!) But I love gardening, shopping with my BFF, Judy, and watching reality TV.
Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?
Kathye: Advice and insight. Writing is hard! But if you keep at it, keep your dream in front of you, you can do it. It may take 10 years like it took me, but never give up. Failure is simply not knowing how close you were to success before you quit! (I didn’t make that up, but I don’t remember who did).
Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?
Kathye: When in doubt—Google. Seriously, it’s a great tool. You can get enough information on anything to be able to get through your scene. I just found a great article on what it felt like to ride in a Black Hawk helicopter that I needed to finish the last book in my GRANDMOTHER’S RINGS series, the hero is in the military and flies evac missions in Iraq.
Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?
Kathye: I love historicals and sci-fi or paranormal. I started out reading the Native American historical romance by Cassie Edwards and branched out from there. I like Maggie Shayne for paranormals. Yes, I know she writes about vampires, but she’s one of the good ones just like Caridad Piñeiro, who I adore.
Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?
Kathye: I’m reading Nina Bangs, ETERNAL PLEASURE now. It’s a paranormal. Not sure what I’ll read next. It’s time to begin another book soon. Thanks for having me. If so inclined, come by my website at and check out what I do write!