Today (Friday August 14th) I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing the fabulously talented Katie Reus about her latest book release. Finding Hope is her third romantic suspense with The Wild Rose Press. She has graciously agreed to give away a digital copy to one commenter, but even if you aren’t the lucky winner, I hope you’ll check out some of her work. Katie always delivers a great read, and the best part is, you can feel good about supporting her because she’s such a sweetheart!
Without further delay, from the Sunshine State, here’s Katie.
Kaylea Cross: How did you come up with the story line for Finding Hope?
Katie Reus: Looks always seem to play a prevalent part in romances, which makes sense because people are visual creatures and attraction is a very important part of a developing relationship, but I wanted to write a hero who fell for the heroine almost despite her looks. Hope, my heroine, is attractive but she also looks exactly like someone he knows and has no attraction whatsoever for. When he falls for her, it has nothing to do with her face.
KC: Did you have to do any special research before writing the manuscript?
KR: I’ve spent a lot of time in The Keys and Miami so I didn’t have to do a lot of research about those areas. However, there’s a scene where Luke and Hope travel to Cuba so I had to do some research on international travel laws. Since some scenes take place on various boats/yachts, I had to brush up on my nautical terms. Luckily, I have my dad for that. I also had some questions about certain government protocols (really small stuff) that I contacted one of my friends about. And lastly, I had to research different Florida laws concerning the statute of limitations for kidnapping and sexual assault. Overall it wasn’t a lot, but it was time consuming.
KC: Ooh, great connections to have! You know, I first found out about you through The Wild Rose Press and your first release with them, City of Secrets. I was hooked from the first page by your voice and the quality of your writing. Was that your first novel? Tell us a bit about the process of writing that one and submitting it, and why you chose TWRP.
KR: No, that wasn’t my first book. That one is still gathering dust but hopefully one day it will see the light of day. The reason I chose TWRP was actually kind of random. After agent hunting with my first manuscript, I hadn’t had any luck so I put that one away and finished another manuscript. I was still in the process of editing it and I had just joined Central Florida Romance Writers. I think it was my second or third meeting and Rhonda Penders (editor in chief) was speaking. One of the members encouraged me to pitch to Rhonda and since I’d just finaled in a contest with COS, I decided to give it a shot. She invited me to submit to them and since I didn’t know much about epublishing at the time, I did some research first. After I submitted to Rhonda she forwarded my manuscript to one of the crimson line editors and not long after, I signed with Jill Williamson (though she’s no longer with the Crimson line).
KC: Your hubby served with the Marines. Does he help you with weapons/tactical questions?
KR: He’s very helpful but to be honest, I didn’t use him too much for my first two books and I really wish I had. Now I ask him any little thing that has to do with weapons or the military or anything I think he might know (he’s seriously like MacGyver). I also ask his friends who were in the Marines or Navy for research help.
KC: Okay, now I’m just jealous. Tell us about your writing process. You churn stories out so fast--how do you make that happen?
KR: I just write every day. Once I start writing a story, it’s like a sickness that I can’t stop. The need to get the words onto paper sometimes overwhelms me to the point I forget to do laundry or dishes. Or at least that’s what I tell my husband. Basically, I make the time to write. It’s not an afterthought or hobby for me. It’s one of the biggest parts of my life and one day I want writing to be a full time career so even if I don’t feel like writing, I plant myself in front of the computer and make myself do it. That doesn’t happen very often though because I enjoy what I do.
KC: I tend to get a little…carried away when I write, too (so my family tells me). Do you plot everything out in an outline before starting the first draft? Or do you know the bones and then dive in?
KR: I envy people who can plot everything out. I’ve only done that once and it was the smoothest time I’ve ever had writing a story (Running From the Past). For everything else, I basically know the bare bones, the characters, the first three chapters, and the ending. However, the ending usually changes by the time I get there.
KC: What do you do when you get stuck during the first draft? Please tell me you get stuck sometimes.
KR: I definitely get stuck and I seriously hate plotting. I love fleshing out my characters but the whole plotting thing isn’t my favorite thing to do. I meet with one of my critique partners (who lives seconds from my house) once every two weeks and we bounce ideas off each other. It keeps me sane!
KC: Yes, good critique partners are a godsend (wink). You also write under the name Savannah Stuart. Can you tell us about your latest/upcoming releases with Ellora's Cave?
KR: I recently decided to separate my erotic romance persona from my romantic suspense persona so even though I have a couple things under consideration with my editor at EC, I only have one release out under that name. It’s Adrianna’s Cowboy, a ‘Quickie’, that I had a lot of fun writing. It’s the first contemporary with no suspense that I’ve written so I’m hoping it’s just as well received as my other releases.
KC: And you've recently signed with Jill Marsal of the Marsal-Lyon Agency. Can you tell us about your reaction when you got "the call" and what sort of projects she will be representing you on?
KR: I was on vacation with my husband at the time so I really wasn’t even thinking about writing and I almost didn’t answer the phone because I didn’t recognize the number. When we first started talking Jill was talking about how I’d need to do some revisions, etc. for some reason it didn’t compute that she was offering me a contract. When it finally sunk in, I managed to act like a normal human being until I got off the phone. That night I celebrated with too many cocktails! She’s representing all my future work except for my sales to Ellora’s Cave. Right now that’s just romantic suspense but I also plan to write paranormals in the future.
KC: Go, Katie! What do you know now that you wish you'd known before you embarked on a writing career?
KR: I’d need a lot more patience.
KC: Oh, yeah (rolls eyes). This business is a killer for uh…type A personalities. So other than joining RWA and finding a critique group, what advice would you offer to aspiring writers?
KR: Don’t get so caught up in writing and the quest to be published that you forget to do other things you enjoy. It’s a mistake I made when I first started writing. I pushed aside what I loved, namely reading, and my love of reading is what pushed me to write in the first place.
KC: I love reading too, especially when I know the author. It makes a book even more special.
Thanks so much for your time, Katie!
For all of you out there, please leave a comment to enter the contest, and feel free to check out Katie’s website and blog. If you're in the mood for a good romantic suspense, try some of her other work. You won't be disappointed! And now that you know her, keep your eyes peeled because her work will be hitting a store shelf near you very soon.
Aloha to Beach Blanket Bingo, Maggie Mae Gallagher, and ASCENDED (The Cantati Chronicles) - *We are less than a week away from the RT Booklovers' Convention (link). I'm packing up my goodies for Beach Blanket Bingo (link),* *Join Annette Funice...
1 day ago