Kathye Quick has been writing since the sisters in Catholic School gave her a number two pencil and some paper with ruled lines. From stories about her family for “Writing Week” in fifth grade, to becoming editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, The Blueprint, to 1999 when she realized her dream of being published, Kathye’s love of the written word spans numerous genres.
She writes contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy and historicals for Wings Press, urban fantasy for Cerridwen Press, and most recently medieval historical romances for Wild Rose Press.
In August 2009, Avalon Books will publish her three-book contemporary romance series entitled Grandmother’s Rings. The books, Amethyst (August 2009), Sapphire (December 2009), and Citrine (early 2010) follow the Archer family siblings in their quest to find their soul mates using rings given to them by their Grandmother. Kathye used the birthstones from her family for her inspiration for this series.
Kathye will be on virtual book tour in May 2009 to promote her latest historical romance novel, Cynthia and Constantine. We interviewed her to find out more about her wonderful new book!
Q: Thank you for this interview, Kathye. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose historical fiction?
A: I have always loved the adventure and story lore of Camelot. When I was a very little girl, and I know I’m dating myself now, there was a black and white television program on called “Tales of Sir Lancelot.” I watched it religiously. I wish I could find it now on DVD.
I chose to write a story from the Arthurian time because it is so much a part of me. I could watch Camelot with Richard Harris every day.
But I also knew the Arthur Legend was done a thousand times and decided that the lesser knights should have stories also. I’m not sure there was a Sir Constantine, but I am sure that the other knights had adventures also. This is merely one of them, albeit one of fiction.
You’re supposed to write what you know and love, so that’s why I did Cynthia and Constantine.
Q: Did you outline before you wrote your book?
A: I knew the beginning, a few scenes in the middle and how I wanted it to end. I just write and let the characters evolve and take me in the direction the book needs to go. Before I started writing seriously, when I heard that an author said that the characters did things that weren’t expected, I never believed it. Well, now I know it’s true.
I never expected Cynthia to be a skilled archer or that she would take up a sword and join the battle alongside Constantine, but she did! And both were what she needed to do to move the story forward. Our characters actually do take on “life” once we write them.
Q: Who was your favorite character in Cynthia and Constantine and why?
A: I like the feistiness of Lady Cynthia, the mystery of Jane, the honor of Constantine and the loyalty of Sir Braeden.
Lord Simon is a necessary evil and of course, he can’t work alone, so we needed someone to be a catalyst to get the action started in the form of Ranaulf, a townsman who found there was money to be made by getting certain information to his lordship.
Q: Who was your least favorite character?
A: I actually don’t have a least favorite character. If I really dislike someone, I usually find myself either dumping the character, or killing him or her off rather early. I try to make even my antagonistic characters interesting enough so you want to know what happens to them. Otherwise readers may find themselves skipping pages. We can’t have that!
Q: Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?
A: As I said, I chose the Arthurian Legend for my story because I love Camelot. First came First Knight, Merlin, Camelot with both Richard Harris and Richard Burton are all DVD collection, along with the Mists of Avalon starring Julianna Margulies.
I am by no means and expert on the era, I just adore the magic, the music, and the lore.
My book has an Arthurian flavor by mentioning some of the events of the legend, but it does concentrate more on chivalry and honor, as well as the romance between a knight and his lady.
Q: What was the hardest part to write?
A: The hardest part was making sure the background information was as correct as possible. Since this was my first foray into that particular historical time, checking the facts such as the make-up of a castle and the customs of the period were particularly important to the book.
There are readers who really know their stuff about medieval history. I know I couldn’t slip errors by them. I took some license with the legend to craft the story, however, to make the story interesting and fresh, and I have no doubt that there will be readers who point that out to me. But that means at least they read the book.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?
A: Believe it or not, the concept for Cynthia and Constantine sprung up during a season of American Idol. I work for county government and once a month seven of us get together to have lunch. We call it the “Lusty Ladies Lunch Group.” We keep in touch via email.
During this particular season, Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis were competing. Two of the Lusties choose these guys as their favorites. While we didn’t agree on who should win that season, we did all agree that they had “romance book cover” hair; the kind of hair knights in shinning armor had in days of yore.
Well one thing lead to another and we began to serialize a story about them. We named our hero Constantine and his lady was Cynthia, one of the Lusties. We gave Sir Constantine a brother, Sir Braeden and his lady is named Jane, another Lustie.
The story just evolved on a weekly basis with email scenes going back and forth until I had one hundred pages.
We thought that was the end of the adventure until I decided to flesh out Constantine and Cynthia’s story and turn it into a 55,000-word book. I was fortunate enough to have the Wild Rose Press express interest in the novel and then publish it.
And yes, you’ll either love this or hate this, but the antagonist of the story is named after one of the American Idol judges. I’m sure you can guess which.
Q: Do you plan on writing more historical romance novels?
A: There will be a sequel to this book called Jane and Braeden because in the course of fleshing out the story so it would be long enough for a book, Jane’s character became an integral part of the book and now we need to hear her story also.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Kathye. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your exciting new book?
A: I hope I have piqued interest enough so readers will want to find out more. They can go to my Web site, KathyeQuick, to find out more about Cynthia and Constantine and me! I also welcome comments from readers. While I hope most of them will be flattering, constructive criticism is also welcome. You have to keep an open mind so you can improve your writing and this sometimes comes in the form of criticism (even though it does sting a bit).
I am curious to know if readers love or hate my naming of the antagonist in Cynthia and Constantine. One reviewer absolutely hated it, but gave the book an overall good review. But then again, for every person who loves your story there is probably someone who doesn’t. That’s why we writers need a thick skin (which we get from all those rejection letters we collect before we publish that first book).
Thank you for having me. It was great!