Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Katherine Tate a/k/a Kay Springsteen author of Heartsight. Katherine believes in happy endings, and she also has a heart of gold. For every book purchased through the Astraea Press website from March 1 to June 1, Katherine is donating $1 to the USO Wounded Warrior Program, and Astraea Press is matching her donation commitment.
LP: Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live now and where you grew up?
KT: I currently live in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, having moved here in 2007. I grew up in Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and lived there until I moved to Annapolis, Maryland in 1999. Aside from fiction, my interests include photography and gardening.
LP: Do you feel that the environment you were raised in has any effect on your choice of genre?
KT: My parents were the epitome of the term “soul mates.” Their love for each other and the family they created (my older brother and me) was apparent in every interaction and I believe it inspired me to believe in happy endings.
LP: When and why did you begin writing?
KT: I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil and print letters as a child. I only recently entered the published arena with my debut novel, Heartsight, because I raised my family and held a full time job as well.
LP: What inspired your first book?
KT: My first published book, Heartsight, was inspired by heroes everywhere. IN our military, in those who have disabilities, and in parents of children who are “differently-abled.”
LP: Your novel is Contemporary Romance. Why did you choose that genre?
KT: I believe in happily ever after endings. In fiction add in real life.
LP: Is there a specific message in your novels that you’d like the reader to grasp?
KT: A couple of things: (1) That no problem is insurmountable — there are always going to be ways to overcome adversity. And (2) Communication is the key to preventing misunderstandings and getting along.
LP: How much of your book is realistic or based on real life issues?
KT: My book is 100% based on real-life issues. The main characters are a divorced mom, a child with Down syndrome, and a US Marine who has been blinded in battle and now feels like he has nothing to contribute to the world/no purpose in life.
LP: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
KT: I think I’ve always considered myself one, but about a year ago, I began to refer to myself that way out loud.
LP: Do you have a specific writing style?
KT: I do. I try to use dialogue and action to demonstrate chemistry between the characters. I kind of like a quick pace but I like the readers to have all the information they need to understand and enjoy the story.
LP: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
KT: My critique partner, J. Gunnar Grey.
LP: What book are you reading now?
KT: The Search by Nora Roberts.
LP: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
KT: Literally every one of the new authors at Astraea Press. Having gotten to know them on a more personal level first, it’s been amazing reading the things they write. Also, for a great paranormal experience and a warm story, I fell in love with Lisa Ann Vance’s Passing Whispers.
LP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?
KT: I’m really not sure that I would change anything at this point. I had some fantastic editing by my editor, Stephanie Taylor, who helped me polish it. There may be a few sections where I would add a bit more detail, but I wouldn’t change the overall story.
LP: Are you currently working on a new book, and if so, can you share some of it with us?
KT: I’m working on another contemporary romance, set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. This one also involves issues from the pasts of the characters and also has a ghost helping things along.
LP: What is the most challenging part of writing your current work in progress?
KT: Every time I get into it, I am reminded of one of my favorite places on Earth, Michigan, where I grew up, and I get just a bit homesick.
LP: Who are your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
KT: In the past several years, it’s been writers like Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, Tori Carrington, Jill Shalvis, Leslie Kelly, Tawny Weber, Susan Mallery, Carla Neggars, and Debbie Macomber. All contemporary romance, some with contemporary romance/suspense. I like them for the way they draw up and present their characters. A loveable group of characters is what will draw me through any novel.
LP: Did you design your own cover, and if so, what inspired you to use that image?
KT: I did not design my cover. Astraea Press works with the very talented cover artist, Elaina Lee. She asks what the author thinks should be included and then magically puts it all together. I think Heartsight’s cover fits perfectly.
LP: It is a beautiful cover. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
KT: Getting the characters and their motivations for each scene just right. At first I struggled with the hero’s character because I have never been in the military. It took the assistance of a friend who had been in the Middle East to help flesh out the character and make him into a more realistic person.
LP: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
KT: With everything I write, I learn about the elements in the story. I already had a great grasp of what it means to have a child with Down syndrome (my first child was born with this disorder). I did extensive research on the military personna. I go deeply into character development on everything I write. But I also learned much about the mechanics of writing as I do every time I exchange work with my critique partners. Without that critique partnership, I would not be where I am today.
LP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
KT: Keep writing and look for a critique group. Also, feel free to look up the facebook critique partnership page I started.
LP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
KT: For those who have purchased a copy of Heartsight already, thank you–I hope you are enjoying it. Also, I’d like to announce that for each copy of Heartsight purchased through the Astraea Press website from March 1 to June 1, I am donating $1 to the USO Wounded Warrior Program, and Astraea Press has generously matched my donation commitment.
LP: Heartsight is also sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information about Katherine, visit her Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kay-Springsteen-Author-of-Romance/143469035711422
Or stop by her blog: WORDPRESS BLOG http://kayspringsteen.wordpress.com/