NOP: Please tell our readers about Unatural Calamities.
Kate Rothwell: I had a book out early December, Unnatural Calamities. I’ll have another, very different sort of book out January, 17 The Psychic and the Sleuth. That’ll be a historical male/male – my fifth co-written with Bonnie Dee. Both of those ebooks are with Samhain and released under the name Summer Devon although they are different in tone and feel, not just setting. I’ll tell you about Unnatural Calamities because I’m always annoyed when someone tells me about a book that I can’t buy immediately. Delayed gratification doesn’t work for me.
Fresh Fiction said “Unnatural Calamities is an engaging story full of romantic and family complications. Janey and Christopher confront many unexpected and entertaining obstacles along the way to their happily ever after.”
Romantic Times said “If you’re looking for a light read to breeze through that will leave you energized and smiling, Unnatural Calamities is the ticket!”
Those descriptions are fine with me. By the way, I don’t try to be funny—that always ends up feeling clunky and self-conscious.
Kate Rothwell: UC is an old book, started as an exercise. I’d read a fun Harlequin Presents that contained a millionaire, a woman living under a false identity, and a secret baby. It felt like a challenge—how many tropes can be shoved into one story? I thought of as many clichés as I could: identical twins, mistaken identity, secret baby, amnesia, kidnapping, rich gorgeous guys, a fish out of water. But my goal was to make the whole thing believable and with appealing, real characters.
A couple of chapters in, after I’d introduced the “bad boy with the bizarre power to attract women,” Toph and Janey turned into real people for me and I wanted to make sure they got a fair shake. I still managed to work in a bunch of romance standards, but their story became most important, which is how it should be in a romance.
NOP: Of all the characters you have created, do you have a favorite? If so, who is it and why is he/she your favorite?
Kate Rothwell: I like Mick, the hero of Somebody Wonderful because a lot of other people did too. The hero of Thank You, Mrs. M. , Ben, is my current favorite for a lot of reasons. He’s a strong person who did what had to be done to hold his little family together. Also he stays sane by focusing on his hunger for knowledge. That part of him is inspired by the character of Judy in the old novel Daddy Long Legs. He’s also based on some of the students my husband the professor describes—self-motivated and tough, but open to new ideas. By the way, I made Ben interested in molecular biology so I could use Mike, my husband and in-house resource.
No doubt Ben’s also my favorite because that’s the book I’m working on this morning. I got the rights back for it and will self-publish it.
NOP: How would your hero and heroine have spent Christmas?
Kate Rothwell: Janey and Toph would have a traditional Christmas, no doubt about it. They’d have a huge tree, lots of food, many people stopping by—even uninvited. Their tree might lean a little, but it would remain standing.
NOP: If you were to give a Christmas gift to your hero, what would it be and why?
Kate Rothwell: He’s surprisingly uninterested in gifts—probably because life’s been easy for him and he’s always received everything he wanted. He’d want Janey for Christmas—a date with her alone.
NOP: What advice do you have for new writers who are striving to get published?
Kate Rothwell: If you’d asked me that five years ago, I would have had a long answer, but the game is changing and I’m not sure I’d trust anyone who says they know The Big Secret to publication in New York. I know a couple of editors there and they’re feeling slightly panicky or excited—or both. If you’re going for self-publication, my advice is get help. Hire an editor—at least one—and listen to her.
NOP: If you were unable to write, what other profession would be of interest to you?
Kate Rothwell: I spent a number of years teaching English to refugees. I suppose I’d go into ESOL, although I was never formally trained for that.
NOP: How do you deal with the dreaded “doubt monster”?
Kate Rothwell: I turn up the music and write. If it’s really bad, I stay off the internet—where most of my doubts originate—and exercise.
NOP: Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you deal with it?
Kate Rothwell: Almost every day. I deal with it by whining a lot and then getting to work. Writing is a job—one that I love, but still. A job.
NOP: If you could be any fictional character, who would that be and why?
Kate Rothwell: I think I’d pick someone who can fly and has great powers but is rarely asked to use them. I wouldn’t want to spend all my time fighting demons. I can’t think of anyone who’s written that book because it would be boring. If I had to pick from the stock of human characters, I think I’d choose a Harlequin heroine. They always end up with true love and a fulfilling career.
NOP: Who is your favorite author?
Kate Rothwell: I have far too many to pick one. I just finished a Jenny Crusie book, so she’s on the list. Also on my list: Diane Farr, Terry Pratchett, Michael Connelly, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Edith Layton, Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, Loretta Chase, Bronwyn Parry, K.A. Mitchell, J.L. Langley, Alex Beecroft, Bonnie Dee, A.M. Riley, Lois McMaster Bujold, P.G. Wodehouse, Jane Austen….I know I’ll think of another dozen easily and then feel upset because I left off a real favorite.
NOP: What is your favorite novel?
Kate Rothwell: No way. I can’t even begin to pick a favorite. What I want to read depends on my mood. When I’m feeling gloomy, something fluffy, like a Barbara Metzger Regency. I’ve held onto all of my Metzgers and reread them when I’m down. If I’m cheerful, anything goes; in fact I make an effort to find new authors. Perhaps that’s why I write so many different types of books. I can’t be happy reading just one type of book; I can’t be happy writing just one either. All of the books I create are romance, so that’s a branding, sort of.
NOP: What’s next for you?
Kate Rothwell: More of the same, I hope, only better paying. I love writing stories and want to do it for as long as I can.
Kate has agreed to give away a copy of Unnatural Calamities to one lucky reader. In order to qualify to win, you must comment … and the words “I want Seven Swans a’swimming” must appear in your comment. Best of luck to you.