Here's our interview with Kate:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing career. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
About three years ago in November 2010, I was approaching a milestone-minus-one birthday and realized that something I had wanted to do for a while was still on my To Do list: write a book! So I put away fifty thousand words during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), patted myself on the back for a job well done, and then promptly ignored it—but I couldn’t ignore the voice in my head nagging away and asking what was happening to my characters! Coming back to it in March 2011, I knuckled down to get it in shape. I ended up rewriting everything but the opening, which I loved. That was my first foray into writing and about eighteen months later, my fabulous agent, Nicole Resciniti sold that book (Feel the Heat) to Grand Central as part of a three-book deal! (There was a lot of painful rejection and heart wrenching in between, of course J)
What has been the most thrilling part of being published?
Getting reader emails! I love it when someone takes the time to email me and tell me they loved my book.
How did you come up with the idea for your book All Fired Up? What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I had already written Book 1 of the Hot in the Kitchen series, Feel the Heat, about Jack, a celebrity chef and Lili, the daughter of his cooking show competition. Jack’s TV show producer, Cara, is the sister of the heroine from Book 1 and I knew she’d get her own book, but I didn’t really know much about her when I wrote Feel the Heat. Cara and Lili are polar opposites: slender versus curvy, career girl versus homebody, hard-nosed versus soft-hearted. As I was working up Cara’s character sketch and conflict, I thought it might be interesting to explore a woman who feels disconnected from her family and that’s when I hit on the idea to make her a recovering anorectic. Food is the lifeblood of the DeLucas, so a person who isn’t tapped into that might have problems, and as I’d already characterized Cara as Type A, this was an issue that would fit. Cara is a model of self-control and has always felt like she’s a failure as a daughter, a sister, and especially an Italian. She’s already on a knife’s edge before our story starts so then I tried to imagine the worst thing that could happen to her (yes, evil writers do this). Playing with tropes is something I love doing, so I hooked her up to an Irish pastry chef in a drunken Vegas marriage and then watched the sparks fly.
I realize there’s something a little subversive about writing a foodie romance where the heroine has psychological issues about food, and I hope I’ve pulled it off! The hardest part was the research—I read a lot of memoirs about anorexia and checked out message boards. The stories of denial and sorrow are heartbreaking, but my heroine’s a survivor and I knew that with the help of the right guy, she’d come out the other side stronger than ever. Not necessarily cured, but a little less broken.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me about six months to write a single title length book (90-100K words), of which two months is a fast draft and the rest is rewriting and editing (a lot of rewriting and editing).
How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite?
I’ve written three books: two are published and the third will hit the shelves in 2014. All Fired Up, my latest release is my favorite so far. Both Cara and Shane are so broken and resistant to the possibilities of love. Bringing them together was incredibly satisfying.
How did you get published?
I entered my manuscript for Feel the Heat on the RWA chapter contest circuit in 2011 and after a few false starts, I started making finals, winning outright, and getting requests from the judging editors and agents. At the same time, I began cold querying to increase my chances because I was determined to get an agent first. Between February and July 2012, I sent out a batch of queries and had a fairly high request rate for fulls, but still no bites. Enter Nicole Resciniti! I’d heard of her because she represented a friend of mine, Julie Ann Walker, and she raved about her like a fangirl. (Julie Ann Walker, tell me about your agent. Cue symphonic orgasm of slobbery gushing. I got it. She was good.) I sent along a query to Nicole with the first five pages. A few hours later, she asked for the full and told me she was very excited to read! Despite this rush of enthusiasm, I wasn’t holding my breath. I’d been there, done that, got the ‘out of office’ email—and I was still waiting for psyched agents to get back to me on fulls sent in February. Three days later at midnight on a Saturday night, I got an email from Nicole with this in the first line: I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU! (all caps so I knew she wasn’t screwing around!). Then she made me wait until Monday afternoon to actually talk to her. Agh! It was the most nerve-wracking 36 hours of my life. The moment we spoke, I got a great vibe and we agreed to work together. On Nicole’s suggestions, I rewrote the last third of the book in three weeks and she sold it to Grand Central two weeks later.
For the full version of this story, including how I woke up my husband and freaked him out, see: http://katemeader.com/2013/01/09/the-call-blog-hop-getting-the-call/
Who is your favorite author and why?
I’m a big fan of Jill Shalvis, who writes really funny, sexy, and heartwarming romances. I want to be her when I grow up. She and I share a publisher and while, I’ve been to a couple of publisher soirees, I’ve yet to meet her! One day…
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?
Ebooks all the way, baby!
What were the last three books you read?
I usually read a couple of books a week and right now, I’m on a Cara McKenna glom. She writes amazing erotic romances that are so thoughtful, smart, and sexy. I just finished After Hours and Unbound, her most recent releases. Before that, I read Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis. Two completely different authors and I adore them both.
What do you do when you're not writing?
I’m a librarian at a medical library.
Coffee or tea? Tea. It’s the national drink of the Irish and back home I would drink 8-10 cups per day! Now I’ve got it whittled down to a respectable two.)
Morning or night? Night
Rivers or oceans? Oceans
White wine or red? White
Champagne or liquor? Champagne. I’m particularly partial to a Kir Royale, which is a type of champagne cocktail.
Cupcakes or ice cream? Ice cream
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Casual or couture? Casual
Ponytail or headband? My hair’s too short to need either.
Shower or bath? Shower
Summer or winter? Summer
Motorcycle or bicycle? Bicycle
Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. For news, excerpts, and recipes, check out her website at http://www.katemeader.com.
Social Media Links
ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader
Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2
Her sweetest mistake . . .
Cool as a Chicago winter, private events planner Cara DeLuca is a model of self-control . . . until she meets the one temptation she can't resist: Shane Doyle. The sexy, Irish pastry chef is too hot, too sure, too young, and after a crazy night in Vegas-her new husband. While at first Cara wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage to Shane, she soon finds that beneath his farm boy demeanor lies a man who can match her drive, both in and out of the bedroom. How can the wrong guy feel so deliciously right?
. . . Tastes so, so good
Shane has carefully structured his career and life around one goal: connecting with the family that doesn't know he exists. Marrying a woman with more issues than a magazine stand wasn't part of the plan, but melting Cara's icy exterior is so worth the detour. Now as the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves . . . the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.
Short snippet from All Fired UP (use if you want, lose if you don’t! If you want something less risqué, I can provide that…)
“We can get an annulment because we didn’t…Well, it wouldn’t have mattered if we did.” She hesitated, and he could see the gears going round as she rethought her position.
“What if we did?” Shane asked, tamping down on the glee in his voice.
“What if we did what?”
“What if we did sleep together? What if we had sex?”
The way he said it could be construed as past sex or the promise of it. The promise of can’t-walk-for-a-week good times between a man and a woman. “That wouldn’t make a difference?”
“But we didn’t.” Her brow creased in puzzlement and horror descended to her mouth. “But we didn’t,” she repeated, less sure now.
He couldn’t keep it up but every inch of him—every hardening inch—wished it were true. “Nah, we didn’t.”
“Shane!” She socked him in the side and broke into that laugh that he’d fallen in love with the minute she’d graced him with it in the third bar of the crawl. It had taken him that long to get it but it had been worth every bad joke, every cheesy pun, every flash of the dimple Aunt Jo said would be a woman’s downfall.
The old girl had neglected to mention it would be his downfall as well.
Book Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-fired-up-kate-meader/1113785705?ean=9781455599622