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!