Monday, November 29, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations: Q&A and a Giveaway with author Kathryn Caskie

   Hello all you fabulous Dames, and welcome to Coffee Shop Conversations! On this segment of the blog I will be conducting interviews with Authors, Bloggers and anyone else relative to the literary world and willing to answer my questions. Coffee Shops are great places to just relax, let the hair down and talk about life, love and good books! So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest:

Author Kathryn Caskie

"Kathryn Caskie has long been a devotee of history and things of old. So it came as no surprise to her family when she took a career detour off the online super highway and began writing historical romances full time.
With a background in marketing, advertising and journalism, she has written professionally for television, radio, magazines and newspapers.
Kathryn lives in a 200-year-old Quaker home nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family, her greatest source of inspiration."sourced from author's bio page

Kathryn Caskie on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Kathryn's Latest Release:

'The Duke's Night Of Sin'
(available Nov. 30th 2010)

"A sin he cannot forget
The Duke of Exeter knows it's time to find a bride, and he's determined to locate the passionate minx who enticed him in a pitch-black library. But how can you find someone you've never really seen? Then, while supervising his young ward's education, he is irresistibly attracted to her exquisite new teacher. He keeps wondering if they've met somewhere before, never suspecting she's the woman he's never forgotten after his one night of sin.
A wicked secret
As a beloved instructress at an exclusive school for young ladies, Lady Siusan Sinclair is a model of deportment. But no one knows her secret - that she fled London for Bath, her reputation on the verge of tatters, her fortune lost. Still, no matter how hard she tries, she can't forget the knee-weakening kiss of the man who led her astray . . . "
[Read an excerpt: here]

Get Your Copy Today:
RJ: Hey Kathryn! Thanks so much for stopping by for a little chat. Firstly, congratulations on your new book, 'The Duke's Night Of Sin', in stores as of 11.30.2010! What have the past few months been like; with finishing the book and anticipating it's release? What have you experienced emotionally as well as professionally with the completion of this new book?
KC: The Duke’s Night of Sin is my tenth published novel, so you would think I wouldn’t be excited when my publisher sends a few copies hot off the press, but it’s like Christmas.  And then, when I get to walk into stores and actually see the book on the shelves, I feel positively giddy.  It feels exactly the same as when my first book was published.  Like getting to experience that “first kiss” again and again.

RJ: Why don't you tell me and the readers a little bit about 'The Duke's Night Of Sin' from the author's point of view?

Lazy Kitty ;)

KC:  I was a little nervous when I started writing The Duke’s Night of Sin, because the sin to be explored was sloth.  I worried that readers might not be sympathetic toward a lazy heroine and I knew I would have to dig deep to develop a character readers would care about. But Lady Siusan Sinclair had already been featured in the first two books in the series, To Sin With a Stranger and The Most Wicked of Sins.  I realized that even if someone reading The Duke’s Night of Sin hadn’t read the previous books, I knew Siusan very well already and knew how much she cared for her family, how much she would sacrifice for them.  I knew her good qualities outweighed her bad, I just needed to write a compelling enough story for readers to be willing to stick with Lazy Siusan until they cared.
RJ: Where did the inspirations for your plot, characters and setting come from?
KC: When I began writing the book, all I really knew was that Siusan’s sin was sloth, and that being the daughter of a duke, she wasn’t used to working.  Everything was done for her, that is, until her father, disgusted with his children’s scandalous antics, cuts them off and sends them from Scotland to London to redeem themselves and become worthy of the Sinclair name.  I’ve visited Scotland and London a number of times, but my research books are my friends.  When I research, I come across facts that will ultimately shape the story.  Happens with every book. For instance, the book is set in 1816, also known as the Year Without a Summer.  A year before, a huge volcano on the other side of the world erupted, spewing ash into the stratosphere, blocking out the sun.  By 1816, the ash had drifted into the northern hemisphere.  Temperatures dropped dramatically, crops died and famine became widespread.  There were riots in the streets of London and the government had to intervene.  This atmosphere, one I didn’t know much about before my research, inspired much of The Duke’s Night of Sin.
RJ: 'The Duke's Night Of Sin' is not your debut novel. How does it differ from your previous novels and what were you trying to achieve with this book? Also, do you feel like it's "mission accomplished"?
KC: I still can’t believe this is my tenth novel.  My books always involve family and the relationships between its members.  They can always count on each other.  This time, in her greatest time of need, Siusan is forced to leave those she trusts and loves, and to rely entirely on her own strength to survive both emotionally and physically.
RJ: This release is the latest book in The Seven Deadly Sins series. What's the series' premise and how did the idea for it come about?
KC: The Seven Deadly Sins series is about the seven Sinclair brothers and sisters.  When their mother died, their father, the Duke of Sinclair, found refuge in drink and left the children to run wild.  Soon all of Edinburgh Society referred to the unruly bunch as The Seven Deadly Sins.  This hurt the children, until finally, Sterling, the eldest, could no longer tolerate the constant tears. He came up with a plan to remove the sting from the words, assigning each of them a sin to portray that sin whenever in public.  They did, delighting in shocking Society. After a time, the name calling stopped  but by then embodying the sins was no longer a game. The sins had become part of their very natures.   One night, their father can’t endure his grown children’s wicked ways any longer.  He tells them that they must redeem themselves or be cast out, penniless.  He sets them off to London with just enough coin to live on, but only if they are frugal.  This was the premise.  The stories themselves pit the sinner against his/her opposite, forcing both to grow in many ways to earn respect and their happily ever after.
RJ: Lets talk about your Hero and Heroine (Sebastian & Siusan). What are their flaws and what are their redeeming qualities? Also, why are they drawn to each other (aside from physical attraction)?
KC: Siusan is lazy and manipulative.  She uses manipulation to get others to do what she wants. Still, she is deeply wounded from her relationship with her father and inside feels unworthy of love.  But her brothers and sister know another side of Siusan, a woman who is passionate as well as compassionate, loving, supportive, caring and self-sacrificing.

Sebastian has been thrust into the role of Duke of Exeter and he doesn’t want the responsibility.  He’d much rather enjoy the rakish life of second son, drinking his nights away and enjoying the ladies.  But now, after both his father and brother have died from their own weaknesses, he has become head of the family.  He knows he must become the man the Duke of Exeter should be. He take  his seat in the House of Lords and works diligently to improve the lives of the people of England, earning the admiration of the government.  Like Siusan, Sebastian is passionate, caring and compassionate and self-sacrificing.

A matched passion first drew them together. But when they met again, it was their wit, and compassion that pulled them together.  Their willingness to sacrifice everything they held dear for sake of the other is what finally proved to them both that, against all odds, they must be together forever[.]
RJ: How did your writing journey begin and how did you get here?  What pit-stops, wrong turns, and perfect lane changes did you make on your road to publication?
KC: At the beginning, I kept writing the first three chapters of books, then I would move on to the next great idea.  Then, a critique partner of mine challenged me to finish the book I was writing in time for the Golden Heart.  I was passionate about the story and so accepted the challenge.  I entered the book in the Long Historical category and was lucky enough to win.  Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martin’s asked my agent Jenny Bent for the book.  Now it was time for me to learn a huge lesson. During the months between entering the book in the Golden Heart and winning it, I had given the book to my critique group and to several bestselling authors.  Everyone gave me great advice, and so I rewrote large portions of the book. I swear I probably had five versions of Rules of Engagement.  Finally, when Jennifer Enderlin read the book, she rejected it.  She told me what she had read for the contest was a romantic comedy.  What my agent had given her was a dark mystery.  Then, she gave me the best advice of my career by telling me to stay true to myself and my vision of the story.  I knew she was right. I had always known this, but until I heard it from her, I hadn’t had enough confidence to trust my gut.  Now, I did.  I dusted off the first draft of the story, my version, polished it up and gave it to my agent.  Right away there was an auction situation and the book went to Warner (now Hachette.)  No one’s path to publication is the same.  And there are going to be potholes along the way.  But if you stay true to yourself and your vision of the story, you will have greatly improved your chance of seeing your book in print.
RJ: The writing process differs from author to author. Some are planners, and others just jump right in. Some consider themselves night writers, while others need daylight and a park bench or a coffee shop (wink) to set the mood for creativity; whats your writing process and atmosphere like?
KC: I try to plot.  I have tried so many different ways to write a book, but it always comes back to sitting down, writing and letting the characters reveal the story to me.  One thing that I have realized is that I can’t have distractions when I write.  I need to be able to skip off into the world of my characters without real life breaking through.  I can’t write in a coffee shop, though I have tried and tried.  I end up listening to conversations around me and making up wild backgrounds for the participants.  I can’t write to music, because the mood of the songs invade my scenes.  So, I usually write in my dining room (too many great distractions in my office) with only china and silverware to distract me.
RJ: Romances has transcended many different sectors of pop culture. I think the Beatles said it best, "All you need is love". This being a Romance Blog, I've got to ask, what are your favorite romance picks of the following:  Favorite Love Song? Favorite Scent on a man? Favorite Romantic Comedy?
Favorite love song- the old classic “At Last”
Favorite scent on a man- I worked in men fragrances at Macys when I was in college.  Paco Rabanne was the one scent made my knees weak. Still does. 
Favorite romantic comedy- there are so many I love, but it’s still When Harry Met Sally.
RJ: Do you have anything that you would like to address to your fans and the readers?
KC:  Thank you all for reading my books and for stopping by the blog today.  Be sure to swing by website for my 12 Days of Christmas book giveaway, excerpts, fabulous holiday recipes from your favorite Avon authors, signed bookplates for your copies of The Duke’s Night of Sin and more.
Not Kathryn's dog, but so cute!
RJ: Final Question: Name something shocking or interesting about yourself that the readers may not know.
KC:  I could tell you that I am an adrenaline junkie who has been skydiving, bungee jumping, elephant riding, diving with sharks, etc.  But after meeting me, most people find it shocking that I have a Chihuahua with a Napoleon complex.
*Kathryn's Question: What would most people find most surprising about you?  
I have three signed sets of the first two books in my Seven Deadly Sins series for the top three (chosen by Rita.)
~*~Giveaway Details~*~
Kathryn Caskie has generously offered to giveaway (3) signed sets of the first two books in her 'Seven Deadly Sins' series: Book One, To Sin With a Stranger, and Book Two, The Most Wicked of Sins to (3) three lucky commenter! Follow the guidelines below and comment for your chance to win! The giveaway will end on Saturday, December 18th, 2010 at 11:59:00 PM. The winners will be chosen, announced and contacted via email shortly after.  

Giveaway Guidelines: To be entered in the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment and answer Kathryn's Question!
*Make sure to include your email address (NO EMAIL= INVALID ENTRY)
*Restricted to US residents only, sorry.

For Extra Entries (do one or more of the following for extra shots at winning):
+2 'Like' Kathryn's Facebook Fan Page
+2 'Like'  The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook
+4 Spread the word: Tweet on Twitter, Post a Facebook status, or blog about this interview and giveaway (provide a link in you entry comment)
+5 Become a Follower/ Be a Follower

(A how-to guide for providing links to specific Facebook and Twitter status': here)

-Tell me in your comment which extra entries you are entitled to or they won't count!
To all the readers, be sure to make use of those 'on the web' links above to better acquaint yourself with this fabulous author! This has been great! Good luck to all of the giveaway contestants and I hope all of you have enjoyed this edition of:  

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