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Questions Answered (Part 2)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Carman Boley asked:
What color are your eyes? (I’ve been wondering as they look green in your new pic.)

      My eyes are gray with a hint of olive green. According to my graphics program, it’s HEX #858477, or Red 133/Green 132/Blue 119 (RGB), or Cyan 122/Magenta 123/Yellow 136/Black 0 (CMYK), which is the color this font is in. Depending on what color I’m wearing or what background I’m up against, they can look green, gray, or blue, but this sample color is from doing a color swatch in a graphics program and having it tell me what color they really are. Here’s a closeup, just in case you’re still not convinced.

If you were to compare your writing style to any other well known Christian Romantic Fiction author, who would it be? (Can be more than one). Or, what book would it be?

      Funny, I just had to answer this question for my editor yesterday. The three Christian romance authors I would compare my style to would be Susan May Warren (especially her Deep Haven series), Linda Windsor (her contemporary romances, especially It Had to Be You and Along Came Jones), and Catherine Palmer (her contemporaries and historicals).

Should the contest winners contact you, or will you email them for their info? Also, when should the winners expect to get their prizes?

      E-mail me and I’ll answer this for you.

Do your books have kissing scenes?

      Yes, but only one or two. Why? Because I’ve never been kissed, and I don’t like writing scenes that will show my extreme ignorance of something like that. For me, the genuine intensity of the romance is more about the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection between the characters, not the physical. Plus, I like keeping my characters apart as much as I can throughout the novel so that, just like in all the great BBC costume dramas, when they finally do kiss at the end, it’s all the sweeter because of all the tension and anticipation leading up to it.

Will you be coming to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a book signing anytime soon?

      Probably not, unless one of the publishing houses picks it as a spot for a book tour for me and a few other authors. But you never know!

Also, how do you pronounce your first and last name?

      First name is just like the letter K. When I adopted this new nickname (for Katherine) when I was in my early 20s (after having grown up as Kathy), I decided I preferred the way it looked with an E on the end of it (like Ann-with-an-E from Anne of Green Gables). My last name is pronounced DAY-cuss. Long A (rhymes with my first name), stressed first syllable: so it’s KAY DAY-cuss.

Liz Johnson asked:
What’s been your favorite book to write and why? Is it still your favorite completed book?

      I don’t have kids, but I always compare this question to asking a mother which child is her favorite. I think, though, out of all that I’ve written so far (seven, counting A Case for Love, which technically is only half finished), Ransome’s Honor has been the most fun. Not only did it afford me the opportunity to do more research on one of my favorite historical eras, but I included the antagonist as a viewpoint character, which allowed me to write with very few limitations (mostly just choice of language).

Jess asked:
What d’you think of “Dollhouse”?

      LOVE it! I missed the first few episodes of it due to forgetting it was coming on this spring, but got caught up with them on Hulu, then set up a series recording on my DVR so that I caught the rest of the season. I’ve already pre-ordered the Season 1 DVD set. Click here for more of my thoughts on Dollhouse.

Ruth asked:
I know this is a ways down the road (*grin*), but what contemporary and historical series do you have planned/would you like to see happen after the Bonneterre and Ransome trilogies conclude?

      This is a bit of a self-serving question for Ruth, because she’s already heard a little about my ideas for new series after the Brides of Bonneterre and Ransome Trilogy conclude, but I’ll share anyway.

      Contemporary: The Matchmaking Grannies series. A trilogy of contemporary romances set in Nashville in which each late-20s/early-30s couple’s romance is helped along by well-meaning but interfering grandparents. I haven’t completed the proposal yet, but plan to do that within the next few weeks and get it turned in along with the manuscript of A Case for Love. Hopefully Barbour will like it. As mentioned in the Dollhouse post linked above, Tahmoh Penikett from Dollhouse is the template for the hero of the first book, Bobby Patterson, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent, who is thrown back together with the girl he wanted to marry when he was nineteen—Zarah Mitchell, who works for the government agency his fraud taskforce is investigating. The second book features Sam Talbot (who should have won season 2 of Top Chef, I’m just sayin’) as artist Dylan Bradley who falls for the author who formerly wrote the steamy romances he formerly drew the covers for (and used himself as the cover model), Caylor Evans, who also happens to be about eight years older than him. And the third book features none other than the Young Indiana Jones himself, Sean Patrick Flannery, as Jamie O’Connor, the Marketing/Advertising exec with a bit of a Napoleon-complex over his 5’8″ stature. The heroine, Flannery McNeill, is two inches taller than him and a publishing executive; they decide that turn about’s fair play and turn the tables on their widowed, interfering grandparents, so it’s a dual romance. (And yes, when they get married, she’ll be Flannery O’Connor).

      Historical: The Pembroke Trilogy, a.k.a., Ransome: The Next Generation. The children of the characters in the Ransome Trilogy carry forward some of the conflicts from Ransome’s Honor and finally resolve them, while getting into their own scrapes along the way. I know Ruth is excited about this one, because the template for the hero, Henry Grayson Pembroke, is none other than Sir Guy/John Thornton, Richard Armitage. It will take place in the late 1840s/early 1850, up to and including Victoria and Albert’s Great Exhibition in 1851. While some of it will take place at the plantation in Jamaica, much of the trilogy will take place in England and will be more of a “drawing-room” style romance than the action/adventure I have planned for the second two books of the Ransome Trilogy.

Renee asked:
Which books did you do more research for, Brides of Bonneterre or the Ransome trilogy?

      The Ransome Trilogy, no contest. Though I’d done a lot of research into the era before beginning to write it, through my senior literary criticism thesis I wrote as an undergrad (on money and social status in Pride and Prejudice) and my extensive reading of Jane Austen’s works, I didn’t know much about the Royal Navy beyond what I’d seen in the Horatio Hornblower/Master & Commander movies. I still make no claims toward expertise in any of it, and am constantly finding out new information that could have been interesting tidbits to have included in the first book (such as the fact that townhouses were rated the same way ships were, which I learned just yesterday on the Jane Austen’s World blog). And even though I haven’t started writing the second book in the series yet, I’ve been collecting research books on the Royal Navy and life at sea in preparation for writing a book set almost entirely on the ships traveling from England to Jamaica.

      That’s not to say that I haven’t done any research for my contemporary novels, just not to same intensity, as I don’t have to research everyday life or customs or costuming or furnishings or modes of transportation the way I have for the historical series.

Carman Boley asked:
Follow-up question- Talking about publishers made me think of it. Have you had any trouble with the covers of your books? Do they let you have any say in the design? Are all the covers of your books the original covers, or did they change them before publication?

      Barbour has a worksheet to fill out eight months to a year before the book is released for the graphic designer to work from. We’re also invited to send along any reference images we like to give the designer a better idea of what we’ve envisioned for our books/characters. Here’s the file of reference images I sent along with my worksheet for A Case for Love. And here’s the preliminary cover they sent me yesterday:

      Have I had problems with covers? Not problems, per se, but there have been tweaks I’ve asked for, some of which have been made, some which haven’t. I asked if they could find a model for Menu who better fit the description of Major, who’s about 30-40 lbs. overweight, but they couldn’t. While I loved the original background of the cover, they ended up having to change it at the last minute, due to some licensing problems (probably because there were wine glasses and a wine bottle on the table in the background they wanted to remove, but the copyright holder might not have wanted them to alter the photo in any way).

      When I uploaded the Case cover to Facebook yesterday, a couple of people commented on the continuity they gave me with the series, which I’m also thrilled about. When I met several of the top marketing and sales people on the book tour back in March, I was told that they’ve gotten A LOT of positive feedback on my covers and they’re thinking it’s going to be a good branding image for my books.

      With Harvest House, there was no worksheet to fill out, but I did send them a file of reference images as well. When they sent the initial cover, the model was in white, and since I have Julia make the comment about halfway through the book that she chooses not to wear white (and because it looked like one giant white blob on the front of the cover), I asked them if they could change it to a color that’s mentioned—so they changed it to pale green. Since I think it’s the prettiest cover HH has produced, I’m quite pleased with it. And they did a really good job of finding a model who looks like the actress who’s the template for Julia. (Starting next week, I’ll be talking a lot more about the templates and reference images for Menu and Ransome’s Honor so be sure to come back for those!)

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This was fun. Thanks for thinking of it, Carman! I may make this a regular monthly feature! Of course, you all know that you’re always free to post questions you think will be of general interest, or even e-mail me directly if you have questions about anything (link to my e-mail is on the “About” page).

13 Comments
  1. Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:43 am

    Hey, I’m all about serving the public a.k.a. all of your fans with as much fascinating info as possible about your upcoming works!!! 🙂

    Like

  2. Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:54 am

    Woah! What gorgeous eyes you have…and what super long eyelashes! Totally nice! And I love that cover for A Case for Love. Sigh…

    Like

  3. Thursday, June 4, 2009 8:30 am

    Love seeing the files you sent in to give them ideas ~ and get a peek into your head to see who you are modeling the characters after in your mind!

    I think they have done a great job with the covers {I’m partial to the Ransom’s Honor}.

    And now I am soooo looking forward to the series modeled after Sir Guy! Loved that movie so much!

    Jolanthe

    Like

  4. Lori permalink
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 9:04 am

    or your name is KAAAAAY DACK-us from you friend further south! 🙂
    LOL

    I love learning interesting facts, but I think knowing you and KNOWing you are so different! You are much more precious than a bunch of facts!

    Striving to KNOW Him who Saves,
    L

    Like

  5. Carman Boley permalink
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 9:52 am

    Our eyes are almost the same color! Mine are a little more silver in the middle, with the ring around a little more hunter green.

    I love the idea of The Matchmaking Grannies series! It sounds very funny. I also love the idea of having Richard Armitage on the cover of one of your books ;). *sigh* Love him!!!

    I liked being able to look at your reference file. That was cool! I love the covers for all your books. But I must say my favorite book cover EVER would have to be A Passion Denied. My favorite guy on a cover would have to be Collin from A Passion Most Pure. He is gorgeous!

    Btw, I like the green dress better too!

    Like

  6. Thursday, June 4, 2009 11:15 am

    I don’t usually like having the full face of the character on the cover of the book, but Carman, you’re right, the men on the front of the Passion books are very nice looking!

    It will be interesting to see, if Harvest does buy the second historical series, if they’ll use an image of Henry, and if they can get someone who’s a close approximation to Richard. Wouldn’t that be yummy!

    Like

  7. Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:27 pm

    Wow, yeah, I just noticed the new background on the Menu cover. I liked the restaurant/kitchen picture better, and I didn’t notice the wine bottle. Oh, well. The new one looks nice too. Love the model they picked for Forbes!

    Also, I didn’t realize Kaye was short for Katherine. That’s my daughter’s name, with a K, just like Anne’s co-teacher.

    Like

  8. Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:36 pm

    I am totally with you on the kissing thing. It’s almost cheap, like just having them kiss instead of going to all the work of describing the *feelings* involved there. Instead of kissing every five seconds, go into what they’re thinking or describe the tension. 😉

    And thanks so much for the info on the covers! I wondered if they worked with authors on that. What a blessing that is! It’s something I’ve worried a wee bit about. So far all of the models very closely resemble the actors/actresses, though. Very nice.

    And wowee…that would be great to have (the closest thing to) Richard on a cover! 😉

    Like

  9. Thursday, June 4, 2009 2:01 pm

    @ Lori–Don’t get me started on how Auburn can’t teach no one how to talk proper.

    @ Becky–I changed out the cover here on the website very quietly when they sent me the new one . . . it’s been six or eight weeks ago now, I think. It’ll be interesting to see when Amazon gets the new cover put up. They finally changed the RH cover to the green-dress version (though on the “Look Inside” feature, it’s still the white-dress cover). The only problem I have with the cover for Case is that it isn’t orange and green like the other three covers. 😉 And since I love my name, I’m more than impressed by your choice of Katherine for your daughter!

    Like

  10. Thursday, June 4, 2009 2:05 pm

    @ Alexandra–on the Kissing thing, another great reason to limit the number of kissing scenes is because it’s hard to keep them sweet without starting to slip down that slope into too sensual, plus then there’s the whole problem with the narrative: how many ways can you say that he pressed his lips to hers, their lips touched, etc., and the attendant physical sensations that accompany such actions without falling off the cliff into the cliched/purple prose?

    Like

  11. Thursday, June 4, 2009 2:24 pm

    Kaye,

    Fun to see your character and setting refs–I think both those women are gorgeous. Two of my favorite actors.

    I really ought to put mine together in a single file too.

    Lori

    Like

  12. The Damsels permalink
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 5:23 pm

    Oh I like the cover for A Case for Love!!! You’ve had great covers!

    Like

  13. Monday, June 8, 2009 4:39 pm

    Whoo-wee does Forbes look sharp!

    I do that too with kissing. Partly because I do write mostly historical, and partly because that’s the way I did it myself. We didn’t kiss until the night he proposed, and that kiss didn’t go “all the way” until my grandfather said “You may kiss the bride”. It made everything that followed that much sweeter and that much more wonderful.

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