1. What inspired you to become a romance writer?
When I began writing, I didn’t think in terms of a particular genre. Rather, I wanted to share the stories that circled in my brain and floated to the surface at odd times--when I was making dinner, watching the birds at the feeders on my back deck, in the midst of watching a television show, while listening to music, driving down to see my son and his wife… Those stories included characters that had captured my imagination and I wanted to learn more about them, too. So, I started writing. The words seemed aimless at first, mostly just scenes that weren’t connected, but which seemed to illustrate something about the character in question. Soon, almost as if ordered by the characters themselves, I had a story with a beginning, middle and end.
When I finished the first draft of my first novel, DREAM CHASER, I realized I’d written a romance that was couched in a contemporary woman’s struggle to find herself. That surprised me. I’d never thought of myself as a romance writer, but there it was. In fact, I should have guessed at the genre long before I finished it, for the wedding scene of Suzannah’s son and the ending scene, too, were written long before I finished the story. I laughed at myself and figured, “why not?” So I went with the notion of creating stories about real people with real problems, who ended up happily-ever-after.
2. Where do you draw your characters from?
My characters are drawn from my imagination, but each of them reflects people I’ve known or situations I’ve experienced or observed. My friends probably wouldn’t be able to say with certainty, “oh, that’s me!” because I don’t write that way. However, if my readers have found themselves in similar situations, I would hope that they recognize the reality of those situations and that they appreciate how the characters deal with those experiences.
3. How much has your own life experiences influenced your writing?
None of my stories are autobiographical, but each of them include details that I could claim as my own. Something as unimportant as the color of a particular car or the way a character describes something, using word phrases I’m familiar with. In GILLIAN’S DO-OVER, the main character has a white-water adventure that paralleled my own except for one important detail. I loved going white-water rafting. Poor Gillian’s experience is less positive, but enabled me to show her in a humorous situation. In CHOICES, my personal experience with divorce was very different from Melanie’s, but her concerns about making enough money as a struggling real estate agent mirrored my own in the early years of my career. Places I’ve visited also figure in several of my novels. For example, I worked on Mt. Rainier several summers while I was in college. That made it easy for me to describe the visit Olivia and Beau make to Paradise Inn in GRANDDAD’S HOUSE.
4. What do you think makes a successful author?
Success is a coat woven in a variety of colors. To me, a successful author is one who creates a world that the readers recognize and might even want to inhabit. That world is real, with all the foibles that real people encounter. Through their experiences and adventures, I hope the reader gains insight into how to deal with real world situations without being preached at. In DREAM CHASER Suzannah finally comes to realize who she is when she finally realizes how much she has changed. In CHOICES, Melanie’s children point the way for her when she has yet to decide how she wants to live the rest of her life post-divorce. And, in HER DAUGHTER’S FATHER, Gretchen uses her own childhood experiences, and how she overcame those difficulties, to help both Laine and Nettie move past their early life problems.
5. Why should people read your book?
When I was in college, I studied family dynamics. In CHOICES, I opted to explore divorce from the perspective of a mother as well as that of her children. On its face, the subject might seem to be a downer kind of book, but it never struck me that way, even when her teenagers were having difficulties that complicated Melanie’s life. And as the words flowed, I realized that the primary message of CHOICES was hope--hope that Melanie could make a life for herself and her children, hope that her daughter and sons were there for her, and that she would find love again--in part because little Jeffrey proposed to Sam and thus precipitated a happily-ever-after conclusion that made me laugh out loud while wiping away tears. I hope the readers of CHOICES feel the same.
BLURB for CHOICES:
Melanie Holmes has her hands full when 15-year-old Keith and 13-year-old Anne, react badly to Melanie’s impending divorce from their father. Only four-year-old Jeffrey is his usual sunny self.
Further complicating her life is her attraction to Sam Hudson, the detective called to her home when Ken runs off, and Anne is abducted from a strip club.
Sam is forced to confront his own demons as he contemplates becoming deeply involved with Melanie’s family after she is seriously injured in the same car accident that kills her ex-husband. After she returns home, Melanie’s kids tell her they want to marry Sam, even though he hasn’t uttered the “M” word.
How will Sam react when her kids do the proposing for him? Can the long-time bachelor commit himself to her and her children?
More about Kate Vale:
Kate Vale lives in the beautiful fourth corner of northwestern Washington state. She enjoys the slower pace of a small city located between Vancouver BC, and Seattle WA. Her stories reflect the many different careers she has experienced and the crises that confront real men and women. Helping her characters get to a happily-ever-after is a continuing goal.
2014 Great Beginnings* 1st prize for DREAM CHASER (the first novel I published) – in cozy mysteries for Romantic Fiction
2014 Great Beginnings* 1st prize for HER DAUGHTER’S FATHER (this comes out on Feb 10, 2014!) – in Romantic Suspense category
Previously, PACKAGE DEAL won 1st prize in Romantic Suspense Category for books published in 2012
In addition to the 2013 1st prize for Contemporary Romance for CHOICES
*All four of these awards were given by Chanticleer Books and Media. The Great Beginnings contest was for the first up to 1500 words only. According to the people running the contest, their intent was to identify titles whose beginnings “captured” the reader, urging them to want to read more. The other two contests required submission of the entire novel.
· Website http://katevale.com
· Twitter https://twitter.com/katevalewriter
· Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Kate-Vale/e/B009SE6634
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