AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: KATE SERINE
Author Kate SeRine has stopped by to chat with the JR bunnies about her debut novel that has just come out with eKensington…
Tell us about your debut novel Kate:
The idea for Red actually came to me during a conversation with my son. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. The question that day: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” We went on to discuss who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on. And as we chatted, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood—all grown up and ready to knock some heads. I practically ran to my computer to get it all down.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I do a lot of preliminary work on characters and their backstories before I start writing. During that process, scenes start to form, giving me some idea of what’s going to take place in the story. But I try not to plot too much at first because I don’t want to get so caught up in an outline that I ignore plot twists that hadn’t originally occurred to me.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’m a paranormal junkie and always have been. I grew up watching the Saturday monster movie marathons and reading everything I could on the paranormal. I was also a voracious reader of romances. It makes sense that I’d end up combining the two at some point.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I have a habit of falling for my villains! They are such a blast to write that I end up very attached to them. But if I had to choose a favorite character across the board, it would be Tess “Red” Little. She is so unapologetically snarky she was great fun to write! And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a character’s voice so clearly in my head as I heard hers. At times it was like she was sitting over my shoulder dictating her story.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
The toughest one so far was probably Dracula because there’s the Dracula as portrayed by Bram Stoker and then the Dracula that we’ve seen in the movies—and they’re very different! So in constructing his character, I had to make a decision about whether to incorporate or disregard those various interpretations. He actually ended up being a lot of fun to write after I figured out how I wanted to deal with him.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I don’t intentionally base characters on anyone I know, but I’m sure personality quirks, catch-phrases, speech patterns, and other mannerisms of the people around me show up in what I’m writing.
Of course, with my Transplanted Tales series, the characters are based on stories most everyone knows from fairytales, nursery rhymes, literature, folklore… It was a lot of fun to reimagine these characters, but it was also a challenge because they are so well known!
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Finding the time to write as much as I’d like. I’d love about six more hours in each day!
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I used to want to be a genetic engineer. Fortunately, I came to my senses and realized I was much better suited to the study of literature. I’m still a science nerd, though! In fact, a novel I have waiting in the wings was inspired by an article I read in a scientific journal.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Traditional Chinese acupressure massage. So. Awesome. I’d have a massage every single day if I could!
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Anything involving the paranormal—Ghost Hunters, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Psychic Kids… Bring it on! And I’m completely addicted to a show on the Science Channel called “How It’s Made”. Never in my life have I wondered how a wicker basket or a glass eye was made, but I can’t stop watching! What is that all about?
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Coffee!!! Gotta have it.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music is a HUGE influence on my writing. In fact, my writing soundtrack starts to come together during the planning stages of a project and helps me set the tone for the book. The music I listened to while writing Red had to be the most eclectic collection so far.
Tess definitely has a theme song—“Red” by Combichrist. It’s very edgy and gritty. Nate is attached to the 1940s, so his music is from the Big Band era. If he could sing a love song to Tess, it would be Vaughn Monroe’s “There I’ve Said It Again.” Of course, Tess would probably roll her eyes and punch Nate in the shoulder if he tried to get all sappy on her, but secretly she’d be melting.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Nate Grimm – Clive Owen
Tess “Red” Little – Not sure about an actress, but Tess Little’s appearance was based in part on Amy Lee, lead singer of Evanescence.
Gran – Helen Mirren
Seth Wolf – Bradley Cooper
I could go on and on! Now that I’ve discovered Pinterest, I’ve been posting my dream cast there to share with readers.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was actually at a conference in a museum when I received the call from my agent that contract negotiations had been finalized, so I had to play it very cool and try not to explode with excitement. Everyone had to know that something was up, though—I’m sure I was glowing! As soon as I left the conference, I called my husband to share the news.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Probably twelve or thirteen, I’m guessing, but I honestly don’t remember the title. I was staying with my aunt and had finished whatever book I was reading at the time, so she gave me a very adult romance novel to read. It was educational, let me tell you!
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Lara Adrian. Her books are absolutely amazing! The characters are dynamic and sexy and relatable. And the stories are incredibly engaging. I’m dying to read her next Midnight Breed novel. I have to be careful when I start one of her books, though, because everything else gets put on hold until I’m finished with it!
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’ve been a fundraising professional for about ten years. Before that I worked in publishing for several years as a proofreader, indexer, and editor.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
Would you believe my all-time favorite movie is “Jaws”? I love it! In fact, I might go put it on right now…
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
The Better to See You (Transplanted Tales #2) is scheduled for release in February 2013, and I’m writing #3 now. I also have a paranormal series waiting in the wings and a futuristic romance that I finished right before I was offered the contract for Red. I just completed another round of edits on that one and sent it to my agent, so we’ll see what happens.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Probably Lara Adrian because I’m such a goofy fan-girl! But I think it’d also be a lot of fun to do something with Alexandra Ivy—her books are dark and sexy, but a lot of fun at the same time!
How do you pick your characters names?
All my characters’ names are very deliberately chosen for meaning or connotation or some other reason that makes them appropriate in the context of the story. One of my biggest pet peeves as a reader is a character whose name is all wrong for the milieu of the novel. For example, if I’m reading a book set in the 1600s and the protagonist has a name that is completely modern, it’s a deal-breaker for me. I won’t even continue reading because I figure if the writer didn’t bother to do enough research to choose an appropriate name from that time period, none of the other details will be historically accurate either.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
It depends on what makes sense for that particular couple in the context of the story. I think both approaches can be intensely romantic if done right.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I guess it depends on the actual comment—and how feisty I’m feeling that day. The one I heard most recently was, “Anyone can write a romance novel.” I just batted my eyes and asked (as sweetly as I could manage), “Really? How’s yours coming along?” That shut her up.
Lately, most people I’ve talked to have been curious more than anything else—especially the men! They start out asking about what inspires me, how the business works, and so on. But they eventually work their way around to asking, “So…are there, uh, you know…sex scenes and stuff?”
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Dark chocolate!! Love the stuff. If there’s a hint of orange or raspberry in it, even better.