Thursday, February 5, 2009

Visit the Dark Side with Kate Smith!

by Anna Campbell

I'm delighted to introduce my good friend, Canadian Kathryn (Kate) Smith, who writes wonderful paranormals for Avon, both historical and contemporary. LET THE NIGHT BEGIN, the fourth in her bestselling, award-winning BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLOOD series, has just been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLOOD books feature five Knights Templar who receive a difficult immortality when they drink from a mystical chalice. You can find out more about Kate and her rich fictional worlds at her website.

Kate, fantastic to see you here! You've been on my wishlist of guests forever. Your latest release is just out, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, which is a Romantic Times Top Pick. Congratulations! Can you tell us about this fifth instalment in your great BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLOOD series?

Thanks so much for inviting me! NIGHT AFTER NIGHT is the final book in the BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLOOD series and it was probably the most difficult of all the books to write. Not only did I have to give enough time to Temple and Vivian, the main couple, but I had to give closure to the previous four as well! Reuniting the brotherhood had something of a bittersweet feeling to it as I wrote because while I loved bringing them together after their long separation, I knew it was the end for me and fans of the series. It felt like they were saying hello again and I had to say good-bye! But enough of that! NIGHT AFTER NIGHT is the story of what happened to Temple, where he’s been and who is behind the Order of the Silver Palm. His heroine is a woman named Vivian, who has been raised as part of the Silver Palm and is something of a mystery. Despite being made enemies, Temple and Vivian can’t resist the strange pull they feel toward one another – and yes, the pull has more to it than basic sexual attraction! When Temple escapes his captors, Vivian is sent after him. Then the two of them have to decide whether or not they can trust one another, and where the line between good and evil is drawn.

Sounds fantastic. As you know, I'm a huge fan of your other BOTB books. You’re also doing a series called THE NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES. BEFORE I WAKE, the first book in this new urban fantasy series, was released in July. Can you tell us about this story and also what’s coming up in the next instalment?

THE NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES revolve around a woman named Dawn, whose father is Morpheus, God of Dreams. Dawn is half-mortal and basically shouldn’t exist. She’s able to walk freely in our world and the land of dreams, which makes her a savior to some and a threat to others. BEFORE I WAKE has her realizing how different she is, reuniting with her parents, and saving the guy she’s been crushing on from a dream-world threat. The second book, DARK SIDE OF DAWN will be out in December 09. A bit of a gap between the books, but I’m hoping readers will still be jazzed about it when it hits shelves. In it, Dawn and Noah take their relationship to a new level and Dawn is faced with a new foe – with an unexpected connection to her!

I love that title, THE DARK SIDE OF DAWN. It’s funny - in the lair, I’ve just hosted Nicola Marsh, an Aussie who’s one of the most prolific writers I know. And I think you’re the other! Can you give us a glimpse into your working life? Any hints about time management?

Well, I can be quite a fast writer, yes. I think it has more to do with a short attention span than being prolific! LOL. I do a fair bit of plotting beforehand, mapping the book out so that I know exactly where I’m going, but leaving enough room for surprises. Then, I write. I try to make myself write at least 10-20 pages a day. When I’m done, I let the book sit and then revise. Sometimes I have a critique partner who reads the book for me before I revise, and other times I simply make my changes and send it to my editor. I’m not really good at trusting my own thoughts on whether or not a book ‘works’. I think most of us are simply too close to the projects we create. So for me, I probably do the most work on a book once my editor has looked at it and given her feedback. The revision stage is when I truly feel like I can polish and rework a book into something I can be proud of. So, I have to say that I really enjoy working with my current editor, because she not only knows her stuff, but she seems to really get me, which is a little frightening! LOL. Seriously though, the best part of this job is having someone who sees where you want to go with a story and can help you get there. Time management? Excuse me while I choke on laughter. I can’t manage time at all! I look at it in terms of pages. And most of those are written after midnight, when I can’t phone anyone or be distracted. Well, I could call Australia, but, Anna, you slapped that restraining order on me... ;-)

Ha! I only slapped on the restraining order because I'd much rather talk to you than write a book, but sadly that deadline gets closer rather than further away! Can you tell us about your writing journey?

It’s not that exciting. I discovered writing at age eight and romance at age ten. I tried writing my first historical after reading ASHES IN THE WIND by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and kind of freaked my mother out by including a love scene! Back then I read everything I wrote aloud to my mom – and she listened, God love her. Sometimes she was alarmed – and sometimes I could tell she was really pleasantly surprised – but she never, ever told me what I could or couldn’t write. And she always encouraged me. In highschool I had a fabulous teacher named Larry Bent who also encouraged my writing, and would critique projects I was working on. I remember once I added a twist to a story and he told me he hadn’t seen it coming. Swoon! But it wasn’t until my mid to late 20’s when the man I later had the good sense to marry said to me, “You hate your job. Quit, go back to school and write that book.” It seemed like solid advice, so I did what he advised. I was 26 when I went back to university, and a week before my 28th birthday I got the call from Krista Stroever at Avon. It’s been a long, winding road since then but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I’ve been translated into several languages, made the USA Today list and have made so many wonderful friends I can’t imagine life without them.

You’re a Canadian living in the U.S.A. and writing mainly for the U.S. market. Do you think your ‘outsider’ status helps your romance writing at all?

No! LOL. In fact, there are times when I think it might have harmed me. In Canada I never gave much though to promotion. While genre fiction sells well there, I’ve always thought of my home country as being a bit of a literary snob. So, I did signings and a few workshops, even taught a few classes, but there wasn’t the same kind of attitude about promotion. Then, I moved to the U.S. and it’s all about promoting yourself. At first I went a little nuts, thinking I had to push myself like mad. Now, I’ve relaxed about the whole thing. I think after a while you start to figure out what works for you promotion wise as an author. That said, the whole Canadian thing is great for conversation. America and Canada are so close, and so much alike that the differences in culture can be really interesting.

Most of your books lately have involved strong paranormal elements yet you started your career writing critically acclaimed historical romance. Do you have any plans to return to that genre?

Actually, yes. In fact, in October of this year I’ll have a brand new historical on the shelves. No paranormal creatures to be seen. I’ve loved writing the vampires, but it’s time for a change. I need to write about guys who can go out in the daylight. LOL.

Ooh, sounds intriguing. What else is coming up for Kathryn Smith?

Well, in addition to the new historical books, and the second NIGHTMARE CHRONICLES in December, I’ve been working on another project that I’m really excited about it. I don’t want to say anything at this point since no one but me and my agent has read any of it. Sorry!

I mentioned earlier that I cut my romance-reading teeth on Woodiwiss. I’d like to know who the Bandits and their buddies cut their teeth on and what makes that book/author so special to them today. Have you ever gone back and re-read that book/author only to find it doesn’t have the same impact? Or are you still as in love today as you were back then?

Kate has very generously offered a signed copy of NIGHT OF THE HUNTRESS from her BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLOOD series for her favorite answer. Good luck!


limecello said...


limecello said...

Hi Kate, thanks for visiting with us today! Your books sound wonderful - I've definitely added them to my list. And congratulations on the RT award!
As for the first romance I read... The Honey is Bitter by Violet Winspear. And then... I don't remember what next - another Harlequin Presents. I didn't read romances for a while - then after I finished my classics kick (read too many Thomas Hardy novels in a row and got depressed) - I looked for fiction. Light, happy, love filled fiction, set in the "same" time period - so historicals. And I've never looked back.
Now I read most romance genres, and am always happy to learn of a new (to me) author.

Metonia said...

Loved what you wrote/answered with Anna. To answer your question. I cut my teeth on Harlequins (over 35 years ago) I started with very older books that my then high school girlfriend found in her mothers closet. We had to sneek them. Then once I was married I became a reading addict to them. I never paid attention to the authors until one really caught my attention. I thought... hey.. I really like this one... It was the then new Harliquin Intrigue series and the author was Rebecca York and her 43 Light Street series. I still find I like her work... but as I have matured I find my reading comfort zone has expanded and yes some of the older favorites are less intense to read now but I still go back to the really good favorites. said...

i was 12/13 and was romance books, but not sure all the authors names (hmm not telling my age, but its been a while )
but i do recall barbara something said...

o there is a rereader , the pirate and the pagan, virgina henley

Anna Campbell said...

Limecello, congrats on the rooster! I think he's a bit hungover after yesterday!!! Kate's launch was an amazing party, wasn't it?

Ha, a Violet Winspear fan, LC! Is that one of the stories where he's blind - a lot of her heroes were disabled in some way, I remember. Oh, dear, I did Thomas Hardy at uni - I'd MUCH rather read romance!

My first romance was a Mills & Boon (Harlequin) called A Touch of Silk about an Aussie nurse who went to Macao to look after the daughter of a Portuguese grandee. It absolutely mesmerised me although I suspect it would seem very tame now!

Anna Campbell said...

Metonia, is this your first visit to the Bandits? Don't you run a book club when you're not writing brilliant endings to vignettes? ;-) Love the avatar, by the way! I've read some of Rebecca York's other Harlequins, hot her Intrigues. They're great. Interesting how that's three of us in a row who got hooked on romance via Harlequins!

Hi BlackRoze! Sadly, I lent out a lot of my teenage re-readers (like the Kathleen Woodiwisses) and they never came back. Grrrrr! Be interesting to see what I made of them now, so many years after I was addicted to them!

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, can you tell us a bit more about the new historical coming out (huzzah!)? Is it part of a series?

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kate! Welcome to the Lair. Fab interview, Anna!

Congratulations on all your success, Kate. It certainly sounds like you were born to be a romance writer! Looking forward to your historical in October.

I must shamefacedly confess I've never read Woodiwiss. *Ducking for cover*. I came at romance from a different angle, because I live in Australia and we didn't tend to get any American-published romance here. Cut my teeth on Georgette Heyer. I hadn't read them for a long time because I worry about elements of Heyer creeping into my stories, but I went back and dipped into Venetia recently. I wondered if I'd see Heyer's books differently after so long, but I still love them. Her characters are so brilliantly drawn and she did it all without the really deep point of view that serves many romance writers so well these days.

Ack! That was long-winded! Looking forward to hearing what the exciting new project is all about!

Congrats on the GR, Limecello!

Minna said...

The first romance was historical by Catherine C... something. Not Cookson, though.

We are celebrating Runeberg's Day today here, so I'm going to eat some Runeberg's muffins:

Minna said...

Oh, and it wasn't Catherine either. It was Caroline Courtney!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Kate! Welcome to the lair!

Let's see - I think I discovered romance with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I realize that she claims the book is not a romance, but is. From there I moved on to Kathryn Woodiwiss, Susan Elizabeth Philips (Fancy Pants), Jude Devereaux (Knight in Shining Armor & Lyon's Lady). I haven't reread any of those recently - the TBR pile is just too high to go back to previously read books. I did reread Outlander though while I was struggling with my first book in an attempt to see why I loved it so much (grin). Actually, my first "no one will ever read this book" manuscript is a contemporary version of Outlander.

I have those early influential books, though, in something of a shrine on my bookscase (grin). Who knows - one of these days I'll go back and reread.

Anna stole my question about your upcoming historical. Can you tell us the period?

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Minna - I thought you were going for Catherine Coulter!

Jane said...

Hi Kathryn,
Congrats on the new release. I'm so glad you'll have a historical release this year. I loved the Ryland brothers. My first romance was Julie Garwood's "The Bride." I reread it every year and it still has the same impact on me. Even though my tastes have changed a little, the story doesn't get old and tired. It still seems fresh.

Congrats on the GR, Limecello.

Minna said...

Hey, guess who is celebrating her 50th birthday? It's Barbie:

Helen said...

Congrats limcello enjoy your day with him.

Loved the interview Kate and Anna I have heard so much about this series of books Kate I have the first one on my TBR pile and must get to it.

The first romance book I read was Rosmary Roger's Sweet Savage Love and have never looked back I then read Kathleen Woodiwiss Johanna Lindsey and Shirlee Busbee I have all of their books and have read them a couple of times and I always enjoyed them.

I am very much looking forward to your historical Kate it will be a must get for me.

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I can't remember the author's name of my first romance, I have been reading Harlequin since I was 12 or so the first author I remember was Rosemary Rogers and Woodiwiss. I do re-read and for the most part I enjoy them just as much, just for different reasons now.

Congrats on the GR Limecello, hope you guys have fun today. The GR does seem to be a little wobbly after yesterday.

Laurie said...

Hi Kate
I have read and enjoyed several of your historicals: Elusive Passion, Into Temptation, A Game of Scandal, A Seductive Offer, Be Mine Tonight and For the First Time. I also recently bought Into the Night. I'm thrilled that you are writing another historical!!
Keep on writing!

First books: Lavyrle Spencer, Laurie McBain and several others: Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown,Heather Graham, Catherine Coulture, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell, Diana Palmer,Jude Devereaux, Johanna Lindsey,Kasey Michaels,Betty Neels,Joan Honl,Julie Garwood, Penny Jordon, Margaret Way,Janet Dailey and Debbie Macomber!

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome Kate! What a fantastic interview - and I'm so impressed with all your books. They sound fab - especially your Dawn series.

I cut my teeth on Mills & Boons and Denise Robbins at around age 11. Betty Neels, Charlotte Lamb et al. Was never really into Barbara Cartland - her heroines annoyed me *g*.

I remember one of my favourites was by Robyn Donald - Bride at Whangatapu. She really made the characters come to life!

When the SSE and SIM lines launched into the UK I knew I'd found what I was looking for - Nora and Linda Howard and the rest of the H/S gang.

Then when I discovered RT - a whole new world of romances opened up for me. We still don't get many US romances over here - more sagas.

Phew! I'm glad Christine is another one who hasn't read KW! I was into Georgette Heyer and Anya Seton - I guess KW never really made it over to the UK. The only name I remember from the time of the bodice rippers was Rosemary Rogers.

Anna Sugden said...

Metonia! Welcome! Gld you could join us.

PJ said...

Hey, guess who is celebrating her 50th birthday? It's Barbie:

Guess who was there to celebrate her birth? :)

PJ said...

Welcome Kate! Wonderful interview! I'm thrilled to hear you have a historical coming out. Can you tell us more about it?

I was 12 or 13 when I started reading romance. I don't remember which book (it's been 40+ years after all) but it was one by either Victoria Holt or Mary Stewart. One book was all it took. I glommed onto everything they had written and never looked back.

HistoricalGoddess said...

Hi Katheryn..I cant remember what books but Liz Carlyle, Sabrina Jefferies, Stephanie Lauren, Connie Brockaway are the ones I first started out with. They introduced me to a world that had glittering ball rooms and beautiful gowns and handsome noble men. My Favourite Books are A Promise In A Kiss, The Rose Series, The Devil You Know and OMG Sabrina's kidnapping one I cant believe I cant remember the name of it. And for many years they were the only ones I would read.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate! I could swoon just thinking about writing 20 pages in a day! I suppose you'd have to build up to that. Like a marathon or something...

Your books sound fabulous, and I totally appreciate the short attention span. I've got one of those myself. If I didn't have a day job to entertain me, I'd probably have written a book in every genre by now. *VBG*

My earliest influences were Harlequin Presents -- Charlotte Lamb -- and tons of historicals. Johanna Lindsey and Laurie McBain were my favorites. I still love Lindsey's old Mallory books. I think they were her best, actually.

Cheers -- and thanks for visiting!!

Treethyme said...

I love these books! I'm eagerly awaiting delivery of the new book, but I'm also sad because it's the last in the series. I want more!

Treethyme said...

As to the first romance I read -- well, for years I thought I only liked mysteries. Then I realized that a lot of my favorites (by authors like Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden, Evelyn Anthony, Victoria Holt, Velda Johnston, Barbara Michaels) featured romances, and the stronger the romance, the better I liked the book.

I discovered Mills & Boon when I was living in England. The first one I read was by Janet Dailey and I remember it was about a woman who worked on a television crew, or maybe she was an assistant producer. I read all of her books after that, and then everything by Mills & Boon, no matter who the author was.

I had a dry decade or so when I got sick of all those twenty-something virgins marrying their rich bosses.

Silhouette SuperRomance, Candlelight Ecstasy and some of the other categories got me going again in the 1990s but it wasn't until I discovered the modern romance genre a few years ago that I became a true addict.

Louisa Cornell said...

After that rowdy party at Uncle Cuthbert's the GR needed some downtime with one of his sweeties, Limecello!

Hello, Kate! I LOVE your books!! I have really enjoyed the Brotherhood series and I am sad to see it end. BUT, I am excited about your new historical and your urban fantasy series!

I cut my teeth on Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen when I was nine - lovely hardbound copies lent by the two little old ladies who lived next door. I still go back and read them from time to time and I still absolutely love them!

Next I moved on to Woodiwiss. The Wolf and the Dove is my all-time favorite. I've worn out a few copies of that one. I am in the process of collecting hardbound copies of her books for my keeper shelf.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Kate. I love your books. My first romances were Harlequin Presents by Ann Mather, Carole Mortimer and Penny Jordan. After those, I read Kathleen Woodiwiss' books.

p226 said...

I don't read romance, so I'll have to talk about the other stuff I cut my teeth on.

It all started with the dictionary.

Then the encyclopedia.

Then I found more entertaining reading in Robert Ludlum. (at age 5)I don't know why my parents let me read The Holcroft Covenant at age five, but they did.

After that, it was kids stuff. Then I went on a Steven King kick, and after that, read a couple of Clancy novels.

Now I mostly read non-fiction. But I'd certainly say that I cut my teeth on Ludlum. Darned near literally cut my teeth on it.

Vicki said...

I guess I cut my teeth on the original HQ books. The small ones with pretty much the same premise. H/H meet, they're immediately attracted to each other/ something happens and (usually) the heroine leaves, the hero realizes he can't live without her, and the next you know there's a knock on her door, or he shows up at her favorite place, and everything is wonderful. The HEA is happy. And back in those days, pretty much the most they ever did was kiss. That was about as steamy as it got. Of course, my mom was cool with that, since I was very young.

From there I became a Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts, and a few others fan. I’m almost embarrassed to say I didn’t read Woodiwiss until way later. Although in eight grade I had to read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and wow, I moaned about the size of the book and having to do a book report on it, only to read it and find there was a beautiful love story within.

Kate Carlisle said...

Great interview, Anna and Kate, and welcome to the Lair, Kate! Your covers are gorgeous! And thanks for sharing your writing process. It's always interesting to hear what works for others, in light of my own pitiful stops and starts. :-)

My first romance was a Julie Garwood historical and I only read historicals for years--until I read Nora Roberts' Born In trilogy. I can still pick up those books and read them with the same excitement I experienced the first time.

Good luck with your new project. Any hints you can give? We won't tell anyone! :-)

Congrats on snagging the bird, limecello!! He's probably exhausted after all that bugalooing with Keira yesterday. And he had to fight off a homicidal parrot, poor guy. He might need a massage. I know I do. *g*

Virginia said...

Congrats limecello for nabbing that rooster. Have fun with him today!

I first started reading those True Story magazines and Modern Romance magazines. I think the first books I read was Gone With The Wind and yes I have reread that book. Then I got hooked on Constance O'Banyon's books and I do have all of her books and still read them when she has a new one. I do go back and reread some of her older books. Rebel Temptress is an awesome read.

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Kate and welcome! I love, love, love your books! Now, my niece is hooked as well.

My first romance was a Victoria Holt, THE PRIDE OF THE PEACOCK, recommended by my 7th grade English teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Parker! From there, I moved on to Woodiwiss, McNaught, Deveraux, etc. And I've never looked back.

Donna, I know that Diana Gabaldon says OUTLANDER isn't a romance, but it most definitely is, and it's one of my favorites! I love Jamie Fraser!

Congrats on the GR, limecello.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Kate! Thanks so much for swinging by the lair today! Not only do your books sound marvelous, they also sound wildly creative, which I love. I'll definitely pick one up next time I'm at the bookstore.

As for who I fell in love with that brought me into romance? Anybody remember Iris Johanssen when she was writing for Loveswept? I loved those books. There was this one about a shiek & a redhead, then this one about a shiek & a rock star...

I've thought about trying to find copies & re-reading them over the years, but I kinda don't want to mess with the memories, you know? Even know, thinking about that shiek & his Pandora (that was her name, god bless my memory finally) I heave a big, happy sigh.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Kate - Got my new Rhapsody Bookclub brochure today and NIGHT AFTER NIGHT has the back cover - very cool!

Donna MacMeans said...

Gannon - I so agree! When I said Diana Gabaldon turned me on to romance, I should clarify that I'd avoided romance before then. After all, I was a business executive and executives didn't read THOSE kind of books. (Yes, I was a foolish, foolish business executive).

I was totally floored by Outlander. Loved it and saw all those romance accolades & awards on the front pages. That's what led me to the romance section of the bookstore - and I haven't left yet! So many fabulous stories there.

So I owe a debt of gratitude to Diana Gabaldon and her "not a romance". In a way, reading that book changed my life.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Kate! To be honest, I can't remember the very first romance I read--it was back in high school, and a geometry classmate lent it to me. That set me off and running in the world of grown-up romances (I probably started with Sweet Valley High and Silhouette First Love before that ;)) After taking a break during college, I was re-hooked by Jennifer Crusie's Crazy for You--that's held up rather well for re-reading :) Congrats on your latest! How exciting!

Congrats on the GR, Limecello--what's he reading today?

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I think given that you write brilliant romances, whatever path you chose to arrive here was a great one! Georgette Heyer is fantastic, isn't she? She's a bit of an institution here - every school library in the land, for example, had lines of her books. I know mine did. I read all of her books as a teenager and then I read them again in my early 30s. I think it's time to get them out and read them again. I know when I read them as an adult, I picked up all sorts of subtleties that had missed me first time around.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Minna, sounds like a fun celebration! Mind you, eating muffins is always fun ;-) Was it Catherine Coulter?

Ooh, just saw your next post. Caroline Courtney. You know, I've never heard of her! Was it a historical?

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, I too have a shrine bookcase in my bedroom. The Loretta Chases are there and the Dorothy Dunnetts and the Laura Kinsales. It's a pretty stellar spot to be! You know how Christine was ducking the Woodiwiss missile, I'm ducking the Gabaldon one. I've never read her!

Jane, isn't that lovely when a book still strikes you as just as good (or sometimes even better) as the first time you read it. I recently re-read Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale for a review. I've always said it was one of my two or three favorite romances but I'd only read it once from cover to cover. Re-reading it again made me realize it really IS a masterpiece! Just as compelling this time round. In fact, more compelling, somehow.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, cool on Barbie, Minna! You come up with the most interesting stuff. Actually I give Barbie a lot of the credit for the fact that I write historical romance. I used to play with her for hours telling long historical sagas. I had a long-haired Barbie and a short-haired Barbie, who always got to be the hero. Hmm, he was a rather bosomy hero! ;-)

Hi Helen! I thought you'd be excited about Kate's new historical. I know I am. Ah, those titles from the 70s. Don't you just love 'em? Sweet Savage Love. Wicked Loving Lies.

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, I re-read too although not as much as I used to. The Banditas have introduced me to too much great new stuff! There's a couple of books I drag out on a regular basis as a comfort read, though. Lord of Scoundrels. A Countess Below Stairs.

Laurie, what a great list of starter reads! My mum was a big romance reader so I used to just read the ones she had once I discovered the joys of Harlequin Mills & Boon. I remember very quickly moving onto what counted as the steamier end of the genre at that stage. Anne Mather had some really hot heroes!

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, Robyn Donald really has that gift of creating emotional conflict, doesn't she? I still read her stuff and think it's great. She can really pack a whammy into a small space of story. Ah, Denise Robbins! I'd forgotten her. My mum loved her. I actually DID love Barbara Cartland when I was a teenager - although all her heroines made me feel like a carthorse! She was great on the history side of things! I LOVED Anya Seton. I got such a thrill when I went to Lincoln Cathedral in 2004 and saw Katherine's grave. It's actually one of the few that escaped desecration during the Reformation because she was Henry VIII's ancestor and he gave out the word that she was to be treated with respect. Clearly it's not what you know, it's WHO you know!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, PJ, were you a Barbie fan? I didn't really play with any other dolls but I loved Barbie. And I already know that you're another huge gothic can. Long live, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I noticed they've recently re-released Mistress of Mellyn. Wouldn't it be great if a whole new generation discovered those creepy moors and lantern-jawed, mysterious men and girls who ran out into the rain in their nightie at the slightest provocation?

Anna Campbell said...

Michele, great to see you here. Hey, that's a great list for a starter reader too. They're still writers I really like. I've actually got THE DEVIL YOU KNOW on my TBR pile right now. I love Liz Carlyle's stuff. Read her NEVER ROMANCE A RAKE over Christmas and just loved it! I'm also really excited that Connie Brockway has just released a new historical. Yay!

Kirsten, do you remember the Laurie McBain about the female highwaywoman? I was absolutely mesmerised by that! What a story!!! And SOOOOOO un-PC! That's another one I lent out that never came home. Grrrrr.

Anna Campbell said...

Um, female highwaywoman. Yeah, right, Anna, you're really expressing yourself beautifully this morning. ;-)

Becke, Janet Dailey was hugely popular, wasn't she? It still amazes me, the range of Harlequin books out now, compared to when I was growing up. One of my favorite series was by Mary Burchell and it featured opera singers. You wouldn't get away with that now but they were tremendously popular at the time. Mary Burchell was an amazing woman. She rescued a lot of Jews from Nazi Germany with the help of her sister. Yay, Mary!

Genella deGrey said...

Kate - I'm still in love with Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux's historicals. Always will be.


Janga said...

What a great interview, Anna and Kate! And cheers for the new historical!

I was blessed to have a reading mother who loved 19th-century poetry and novels and popular romance. She turned me loose with her bookshelves the summer I was ten. I discovered Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and Emilie Loring, who had written a ton of romances. I have happily been reading a mix of poetry, literary fiction, and romance ever since.

I haven't reread Loring in decades, but I do reread Heyer and Mary Stewart along with Balogh, Beverley, Putney, and Nora Roberts--all of whom I discovered in the 80s.

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, I think the Wolf and the Dove turned me into a romance writer - that and Barbie. It was the first KW I read and it was completely unlike anything else I'd ever read. And I'm not just talking about the love scenes although they were fairly eye-popping for the time! I remember finishing that and saying I wanted to write a book like that for Avon. I must have been about 13, I think.

Anna Campbell said...

Crystal, sounds like we had a very similar base in reading romance. And Harlequin has clearly done a huge service to the romance industry as a whole ;-) So many of us got hooked on romance reading category romance, didn't we?

P226, I've got to say I'm laughing at you reading Robert Ludlum at age 5! I was such a voracious reader, most of the time my parents had no idea what was going into my head! Actually I was a kid who was utterly fascinated by encyclopedias too. Still can get lost in them. That alphabetical juxtaposition brings up all sorts of interesting connections!

Anna Campbell said...

Vicki, lovely to see you! Actually that WAS the plot of all those categories in the 70s, wasn't it? And I used to eat them like ice-cream. I went through hundreds. Clearly it's a story arc that appeals to me. Although these days I like them to do more than kiss! I have to giggle though. I remember there were a couple of writers who didn't even have them kiss. Even I as an eight-year-old felt short-changed there. A bit of handholding just wasn't enough payoff!

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, are you awake and coherent? I thought you'd still be sleeping off yesterday's excesses! Wasn't it a brilliant day in the lair? Congratulations on your launch. I think you can definitely say we sent HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER off in style!

I haven't read the Born in series. It's one I'm waiting to get my hands on. The Nora books that converted me to reading her are the Chesapeake Bay ones. I LOVE those stories - even non-romance readers love those stories.

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, I can remember those mags! Actually I was always more a book kinda gal. I love the long stories and being swept away to a different world. Harder in a short story. Actually those early romances were much longer than the ones we have now. I can remember some 600 or 700 page doorstoppers in the 70s! And small print even at that number of pages!

MsHellion said...

I cut my romance teeth on:

Jude Deveraux: in fact I read her so often in high school I actually got an "award" from my music choir as "Most Likely to Publish Sensational Fiction" signed by "Jude Deveraux". My favorites were: The Raider (the same guy playing two different heroes was hilarious and well-done); The Princess (comic timing, fish out of water); and The Awakening (I just loved Hank.)

Julie Garwood: when I couldn't find a Jude book, I found a Julie historical. I read Guardian Angel so often the cover fell off. I wrote book reports on them; I made quizzes about them. Julie was awesome at the ironic one-liner that begins or ends her chapters. I loved how she'd do that. I also loved how all her heroes are grumpy--even the happy one (Colin, from Castles.)

Teresa Medeiros: slightly later, early college--and she raised the comedy to a new level for me. Plus she was so good at lush prose. Reading hers seems so natural, but when I do it, it doesn't work.

Jill Barnett: also early college. I miss her historicals...actually all her stuff. I wish she wrote more. She gave us the ditzy heroine--and for that I adore her. That and her comic timing.

Anna Campbell said...

Gannon, Jamie Fraser definitely seems to touch people's hearts, doesn't he? He (and J.D. Robb's Roarke) are usually voted the greatest heroes in Romancelandia. Hey, another Victoria Holt fan!

Susan, I don't remember the IJs being available in Australia first time around although they may have been. I had a box of my favorite M&Bs, including stacks of Anne Mathers, under my bed. When I went overseas in 1985, my mum had a cleanout and pitched them all. WHAAAAAHHHHH! I don't think I ever got over the trauma of learning that. Those books were classics, I tell ya, classics!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kate, welcome to the Lair! I get shivers when I find a new author and your books sound delicious, especially the Brotherhood of the Blood series.

Is one a handicapped in reading this series by not starting with the first one?

I cut my reading teeth on GWTW and still love a good historical.

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, aren't those Rhapsody books the bee's knees? Thanks to Donna, I got a couple of my hardbacks for TEMPT THE DEVIL and I'm still drooling over it. Needless to say that one won't be going in an auction any time soon! ;-)

Fedora, I missed out on the Sweet Valley High books. I remember seeing them in shops, though. The strange thing is back in the late 60s, you COULD give an eight year old a category romance. There really wasn't the overt sensuality in them that there is now. There was a lot of sexual tension and a lot of travelogue which I liked. They were often set in exotic locales and I'm now a killer player in the geography section of Trivial Pursuit!

Anna Campbell said...

Genella, welcome to the lair! Pull up a cabana boy. Have a margarita!

Actually I'm always grateful to those books I read as a wee gel because even if they aren't to my taste now (I wonder how I'd feel about Dame Barbara at my advanced and cynical age), they turned me onto the genre. And that's fantastic!

Janga, I've re-read the Heyers but never the Mary Stewarts (also good for Trivial Pursuit geography questions!). My critique partner Annie West is still a huge fan and pulls out a Mary Stewart as a comfort read often, I've noticed. I should borrow a few of hers and see if the magic is still there. I suspect it might be. She was a lovely writer. I can remember the settings she described - it really was like being there.

MsHellion said...

OH, and I remember my first real romance I read was "First Love, Wild Love" by Janet Dailey (I think that was the author). It was about a Texas Ranger and a heroine who is mistaken for a prostitute! I loved every word!

Helen said...

There are some wonderful authors mentioned in everyones posts and yes I have read a lot of them I remember jude Deveraux's Velvet series and I have read some great Laurie McBain.

I don't re read as much as I used to either Anna I have such a big TBR pile but I keep them because I know there will come a day when I will want to re read they are so good.

I am eager to learn more about your historical as well.

Have Fun

J Perry Stone said...

Kate said:

"in October of this year I’ll have a brand new historical on the shelves"

Then I am looking forward to October, and now I'm all bunged up about the mysterious new project you can't talk about!

You'll let us know, won't you?

And yes, I started reading romance with KEW, as well. Didn't she deflower most of us?

Great interview, Kate and Banditas.

Minna said...

Caroline Courtney is a pseudonym used by Penny Jordan. And yeah, it was a historical. These days I prefer a bit different kind of historicals, like historicals written by Stephanie Laurens and Candace Camp.

Treethyme said...

Yay! My copy just arrived in today's mail!

Treethyme said...

Anna, one of my favorite Harlequin authors was Australian - Margaret Way. Seems to me a couple of my favorites were from your neck of the woods.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Kate! Your books sound fabulous *g*

My first romances were what I call teen romances, I then quickly moved on to Harlequin/Silhouette books.

My first favorite authors were Johanna Lindsey (I agree with Kirsten about the Mallory stories*g*) Julie Garwood and Sandra Brown.

Thanks for the great interview, Anna and Kate :-)

Nancy said...

Limecello, congratulations!

Nancy said...

Hi, Kate--welcome! I enjoyed reading this chat between you and Anna.

I probably cut my teeth on teen romances--Janet Lambert and Lenora Mattingly Weber. I moved "up" to historical fiction in my teens and loved Inglis Fletcher's novels about the settlement of North Carolina. They were, I later learned, romances. At 13, I didn't understand why people "sank to the ground together" so much! *g*

I remember Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I preferred Woodiwiss. A lot of the 80s romances seem dated to me now, but I do miss the big plots that used to be standard.

BTW, I read Before I Wake and thought it was a highly original take on urban fantasy. I enjoyed it a lot. Your Brotherhood series sounds intriguing.

Anna Campbell said...

Ms Hellion, what a great list of the things that got you hooked into reading romance - and then eventually writing it. Was laughing at that plaque from your schoolmates! I haven't read a lot from the writers you listed but I remember absolutely adoring a Knight in Shining Armour. Wow, what a great story. And that hero was to die for!

Jo, GWTW is a bit like the Gabaldons for me. I've never read it either! I tried but I've never been able to make it past the first 100 pages, sadly.

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, I think I remember that Janet Dailey. Was that her first single title? Sounds like the one I remember. LOVED that!

Helen, I find an old favorite is great for getting me back in the groove after I've had a reading slump or after I've read a new book that was so good nothing else can compare for a while. Does anyone else have that experience - you'll read something that spoils you for anything else for a while?

Anna Campbell said...

Yes, J Perry, DEFLAME AND DEFLOWER. Sorry, couldn't help myself! I think the romance industry as a whole owes her a huge debt of gratitude - those books were massive worldwide bestsellers and inspired a lot of future romance publishing! Lovely to see you here! Have a cabana boy!

Minna, yet another interesting fact. I had no idea Penny J wrote historicals!

Anna Campbell said...

Becke, I was a huge Margaret Way fan. She used to write the most beautiful descriptions. She writes for Special Edition or SuperRomance now (can't remember which but she's still going!).

It always surprises me when the big houses say Australian settings won't be popular. A lot of the most popular Harlequin authors are Aussies and set books here - and they're big sellers in the U.S.

Beth, I had a huge Johanna Lyndsey phase. Haven't read her for ages although her stuff still tops bestseller lists, I've noticed. At one stage there, I used to buy four or five and just take them home and do nothing else but wallow in JL for a whole weekend. One of the joys of discovering a writer with a big backlist (and having weekends free!).

Tawny said...

Oooh, my first romances. I started with anything with a girl and a boy on the cover in the school library and then worked my way through a bag of Harlequins a neighbor had given my mom. After that, Woodiwiss, Rogers, etc... I loved them all LOL.

Kate, welcome to the Lair- Your books sound wonderful.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, KW was an absolute goddess to me when I was a teenager. As I said, I haven't read a lot of her stuff recently. But I remember the sweep and passion and power of those stories. No wonder she launched a million historicals to float in her wake!

I often miss the sheer size of those books. The exotic settings. The big stories. I was never crazy about the ones where the heroine had about a million lovers before settling for Mr. Right but I loved the big intense relationships where it was one guy and one girl and LOTS of problems to work out.

Anna Campbell said...

Tawny, laughed at your description of a couple on the front. I must say I learned pretty quickly that meant a romance!

PJ said...

Anna, I received a Mary Stewart book for Christmas. It's been about 20 years since I read one of hers so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Johanna Lindsey was one of my favorites when I re-entered romance in the 70's. I've read just about everything she's written and the Mallorys are one of my favorite fictional families.

Anna, you really should give Nora's "Born in" series a try. Wonderful books! I also love her Chesapeake Bay books and her Irish trilogy. (Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Heart of the Sea).

J Perry Stone said...

Anna said: "Lovely to see you here! Have a cabana boy!"

Had I known you'd be so generous, Anna, I would have posted earlier.

It's lovely to be in your lair(it's even lovelier to be in the middle of one of your books)!

PJ said...

J, love your avatar!

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, I love the Irish trilogy too, especially the first one. For some reason, the idea of a woman getting a great writing career in midlife and moving to a cottage in Ireland and marrying a gorgeous dark-haired man who was really musical appealed to me. I've never been able to work out why ;-)

Hey, cool on the Mary Stewart! I could never really get into the King Arthur books when I was younger but I adored the romantic suspense books. My first one was My Brother Michael set in Greece and after that I was hooked.

Anna Campbell said...

Oooh, J Perry, praise for my writing? Thank you! Here, have TWO cabana boys ;-) Actually we're fairly profligate with our cabana boys' attentions - we share them out like chocolate at a Hershey's Convention. Here, have a margarita to go with those cabana boys!

J Perry Stone said...

Stop, STOP. I'm drunk with gratitude ... margaritas ... cabana boy sweat.

PJ, do you know where I was? In the Assembly Rooms in Bath. I even took the waters (which tasted like rust).

Anna, do remember me in Dallas? I was the one who stopped short at your table during the lit signing and said, "Oooo, Anna Campbell. I've been waiting to get one of your books."

You told me the next day I'd made yours.

Well, this isn't the first time you've made mine.

J Perry Stone said...

Also PJ, I was reading a book called, THE HISTORY OF UNDERWEAR, which I got in the gift shop.

Now you know what has my full attention in that pic.

Anna Campbell said...

I do indeed remember you - we kept running into each other after that, do you remember? I sometimes think conference might be 3,000 romance writers but I seem to meet the same 20 over and over again. Do you have the same experience? It's nice every time I see a familiar face, like I'm running into a friend but you'd think statistically it was unlikely!

Kathryn S said...

Hi there everyone! Sorry to be so late in responding, but I had internet issues earlier today and then an appointment that took longer than I expected.

I love hearing about these first romance experiences.

Thanks for asking about the new historical series! I think of it as a Victorian soap opera. There's going to be 3-4 families at the center and then the social world that revolves around them.

The first book WHEN SEDUCING A DUKE comes out in October. It's about Greyden Kane, Duke of Ryeton. Several years ago he was the worst sort of man and he was viciously attacked. Now he keeps to the shadows, but when the daughter of his former best friend comes to London to find a husband, she is Grey's responsibility. He's forced to confront the desire he's always felt for her even though he can never have her. And Rose, the heroine is determined to make him admit that he loves her. Does that make sense? I think it's one of the sexiest books I've ever written -- very emotional as well.

Kathryn S said...

I also want to thank those of you who have complimented me on my books -- and say thanks for the congrats on going back to historicals. I loved writing about vampires, but they can't go out in the sunlight! lol. It was time for a change and I was really itching to go back to books where the characters themselves make the brunt of the conflict.

Kathryn S said...

Also wanted to say you all are bringing back some great romance reading memories for me. Catherine Coulter was a huge glom of mine back in the day. Jude Devereaux as well. I think I read everything those ladies wrote -- twice! When I seriously started writing romance in my twenties I was totally addicted to Amanda Quick and then I discovered Lisa Kleypas and Stephanie Laurens as well. Sooo good! I still wish I could write like some of those ladies.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome to the Lair, Kate!

I'm going to have to add your Brotherhood of the Blood series to my TBR....oooo, I have a trip to the new independent bookstore in my town planned for Saturday!! Works out perfectly!

Ah, I cut my teeth on Barbara Cartland and Grace Livingston Hill books, and the few sweet Harlequin's my mom and her sisters deemed appropriate for a pre teen/teen. Then my mother found me reading Mario Puzzo's The Godfather, decided obviously I could handle more, the kid gloves came off and I could read any other book I found in the house.

Kathleen Woodiwiss was quickly followed by the three J's, Garwood, Devereaux and McNaught, with some Laurence Saunders and Robert Ludlum thrown in.

Pat Cochran said...

In my late teens, my aunt began to
share her books with me. I can't
remember the book/author name,except one of the characters was named Etienne & one of my cousins ended up with that as a nickname! I most definitely remember reading Flame and the Flower/Kathleen Woodiwiss,
followed by Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, Charlotte Lamb, Rosalind Brett, Betty Neels, Anne Hampson, Anne Mather, Violet Winspear, Penny Jordan, & Flora
Kidd. How do I remember the names?
I still have the books in my
collection! I can't begin to count the number of romances I
have read. But I can give you an
estimate of the number of years
I have been reading them: 55!!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, I don't know Grace Livingston Hill. Is she historical too? I really enjoyed seeing your reading influences! I could never really get into Robert Ludlum - too much action and not enough character in the books of his I read, although I remember the plots were really ingenious.

Pat, sounds like you and I have a similar reading background! I remember just devouring those Mills & Boons (Harlequins) as a teenager. I could inhale four or five in one go! I'm not quite up to 55 years of reading - I'm heading for 40 though!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Anna, Grace Livingston Hill wrote Christian based romances set usually in her contemporary time periods of 1900-1947, which might be considered historical today. Very good character arcs in both their beliefs and romances, with restoration to grace a strong current in them all. But always a HEA. Very nice for a young pre-teen/teen to read.

Kathryn S said...

I'm making a list of authors to try for myself out of the names you all have mentioned. I feel so lacking in my own reading!!

When I was young I also read Judy Blume and Sydney Sheldon -- how's that for an interesting combination? lol.

Anna Campbell said...

Suzanne, how interesting. I wonder if she was available in Australia.

Kate, thanks so much for asking such an intriguing question today. I think we've all added to our TBR pile with all the recommendations.

Thanks so much to everyone for the interesting insights into what makes a romance reader. A dedicated romance reader, which I think is true for all of us.

Don't forget to check back to see who won Kate's NIGHT OF THE HUNTRESS! Good luck! And happy reading, everyone!

Karin said...

I can't really remember what the first romance novel I read was. However, I do remember the one that got me hooked on them. It was a Harlequin Historical titled Gerritty's Bride that my mom gave me when I was 13. Some of what got me about that book was the arranged marriage as part of an inheritance and the love triangle. The poor hero had no idea the second woman was obsessed with him. She was a bit unbalanced but seemed so normal until the end.

After reading that book, I definitely went on a huge historical binge. All I wanted to read was any type of historical book I could get my hands on. It wasn't until a few years later when my mom let me read a Nora Robert's anthology she had enjoyed that I started reading contemporaries. While I still love a good historical, the majority of what I read is now either contemporary or paranormal.

Treethyme said...

Kathryn - I'm more than halfway through Temple's story -- love it!

Kathryn S said...

TreeThyme, Night of the Huntress is one of my personal favorites. Hope you like it!