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March 2016 Author of the Month: Chris T. Kat

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Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children.

She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between her work as a special education teacher, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or does cross-stitch.

Author Interview

What inspired you to start writing?

I started out as a fan fiction writer, and when I couldn’t find a certain type of story in my fandom, I decided to write it myself. The rest is history. 😉

How long have you been writing?

I wrote as a kid and teenager, then stopped for over a decade. I got back into the habit of writing around 2008. I’ve been published since 2012.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

To be realistic, I think all authors hope their book will be successful, but only a handful of new authors land a hit right away. Other than that—don’t just write. Keep reading and enjoying other things as well; writing isn’t everything.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

No, I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever suffered from writer’s block. I’ve had stories veer off and leave me scrambling to make sure all the strings make sense in the end, but I’ve never had writer’s block. Sometimes I reach a point where the story stalls, but that’s a sign for me to set the story aside for a few weeks because something isn’t right. Once I’ve figured out what’s wrong, I fix it and everything flows again.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I’ve got quite a few favorite authors in the m/m genre: Liv Olteano, KJ Charles, Jordan L. Hawk, Josh Lanyon, just to name a few. Lanyon writes wonderful mysteries. Jordan L. Hawk writes fascinating paranormal books, and KJ Charle’s historical books are a delight to read. Liv Olteano has a sub/dom vibe going in her books, which I love. As you can see I like different authors for different reasons. J

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

You should be able to string together coherent sentences. Go figure, huh? For me, good writing consists of good writing skills (grammar, etc.) but I can overlook a lot if the story has an emotional impact on me. The author’s voice is also very important. If I can connect with a character I’ll read their story, simple as that. I also think that a balance between realism, love, and humor is important. I can’t stand books that are complete angst-fests or completely goofy. There’s got to be some balance for me to enjoy a book.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

Most of the time the story simply pops up in my head, or a certain character wants to be heard. Only when I’ve gotten the gist of the story, or what the main character wants to tell me, I sit down and jot down major points of the story. Then I run through ideas on how to develop the story further and see that all the puzzle pieces fit together.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

I’d say they come together in a package. 😉 Usually, I have a rough outline in my head before I start writing but I don’t know all the details. Sometimes characters insist on a change of pace, or they need a different character development, and I usually follow my characters’ lead. Most of the time they know best.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Luca’s parents, Nicholas and Gregory, are important to the story, and Luca has a very close relationship to his dad, Nicholas.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

I’m not working on anything at the moment, but there’ll be a contemporary novella called Stained out in June or July 2016.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Amber Kell’s Keys, and I’m really enjoying the story so far.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I’m not sure I’d say there’s an author who influenced me to write. There are definitely authors I admire—the way they craft their stories, the sheer skill of their writing, but I’m not sure they influenced me. I’d actually say that reading a great book intimidates me and leads me to question myself.

The authors I love to read best are Dean Koontz, Josh Lanyon, KJ Charles, and Jordan L. Hawk.

As for books—I’ve read so many books in my years that I can’t say which have influenced my own writing.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

Don’t get me started on coming up with a title! Titles are the bane of my existence. Seriously!

Usually, I write the story, and for me to find it on the computer, it simply receives a letter, or it’s titled after the main character’s name. At least the story is always easy to find…

While I write the story, I have some vague ideas for titles and scribble them down. That means the main point of the story has become crystal clear for me, so it’s easier to give the story a title. Sometimes, like in A Purrfect Match, it’s a bit of a word play. Mostly, though, I try to give my books a short title that shows the main obstacle / plot.

Mending the Rift came after I finished writing the story and to me it’s the perfect title. 🙂

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I started out as a fan-fiction writer, and I considered myself a writer then. Maybe not right away, because at first I only wrote very short stories. But when the stories became more complex and the word count rose (I started writing novelettes and novellas), the thought that I was a “real” writer popped up. It still took me a long time to consider myself a ”real” author.

Describe your writing space.

I have a small bureau in our living room. It’s cluttered with my laptop, papers, research materials, post-its, photos, and pictures my kids drew for me. I like my little corner here because someone is always around and I’m always accessible to my family.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

This will sound odd, but the hardest part about writing is finding time to write. I can only write on the weekends, so my time is very limited. The weekends are also for our family, to play with the kids, or make trips, or spend time in our garden. Sometimes I don’t write for weeks—especially in the summer months—because there’s so much other stuff I like to do.

When I have time to write, the hardest thing is to stop on Sunday and then re-start the next Saturday. I always have to find my way back into the story and the flow of things. Once I’m back into everything, I have to stop again already!

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

Usually, I write for about three hours each, on Saturday and Sunday. I’m a fast writer, and depending on the story, I write 3 to 10k on a weekend. I also write when I’m on vacation, and that’s when I can write a whole novella in about ten days. 🙂

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t think I’ve got any interesting writing quirks. I’m boring that way. 😉 The only thing that comes to mind is that I write the fastest and the best if my kids are around me. Total silence is a no-go for me when I want to write. I really like it if I can hear the kids playing, and even if it’s sometimes annoying when they interrupt my writing flow, I feel better and the writing itself goes much smoother when they’re around.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I like to spend time with my family, read, go on a hike, or swimming, but I also spend time doing cross stitch or crochet.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

The most surprising thing is how attached I sometimes get to my characters, how real they become to me. Berit, the main character in Breeding Stations, definitely stole my heart. In Mending the Rift, Luca’s dad Nicholas, became my favorite supporting character.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I think Mending the Rift is my 20th book though not all of my books reach novel length. My favorite books are the Alliances series, which includes Breeding Stations and Battle Stations. I loved writing in a sci-fi setting, and Berit and Tom will forever be my favorite characters.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

No, I don’t hear from readers much. When I hear from them, it’s when one of my stories touched them. From what I’ve gathered, they like the realism of the relationships, and the guys’ often humorous conversations.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

For a long time, I wanted to be an archeologist, or a surgeon. I know, these professions have nothing in common but that’s what interested me. I never wanted to become a teacher, but here I am—a Special Education teacher. 😉

How do you do research for your books?

That depends on the books and what kind of research is necessary. When I write shifter stories, I read books about the animals I’m using, so I get their appearance and behavior right. I often write about disabled characters, and usually, I read up on the disabilities, but I also draw from my own experiences here.


MendingTheRiftFS

In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.


MendingTheRift_headerbanner

Exclusive excerpt from chapter three of Mending the Rift:

Luca shifted in his seat, one hand going to his belly to rub there. Damn spasms had begun a day ago and were starting to drive him crazy. Sure, he’d gone through the procedure of stimulating ovulation so he’d be ready when Smith arrived, but he’d gone through test procedures before, something every unmarried breeder went through in irregular intervals to check if their reproductive system worked.

The insemination was supposed to take place right away, and the chance of getting pregnant was much higher with several eggs ready. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and he wiped a hand across it, annoyed to see his hand tremble. At least his dad would be with him during the procedure. He just hoped Smith didn’t insist on accompanying him as well.

To distract himself, he blurted, “Would you just get it over with?”

“What would you like us to say, Luca?” Keith replied. “How worried we were when you took off and we had no clue how to find you? How fucking mad your father is because you cleared off? How your dad hasn’t slept, and how he’s only eaten because your father charmed him into eating?”

Luca snorted. “That’s one way to describe it. Father doesn’t do charm or tact where Dad’s concerned.”

Keith stretched out his long legs, and Marcus’s lips twitched into a smile. Sighing, Keith said, “All right. Admittedly, there wasn’t much charm involved. There was a lot of yelling and blaming each other for you clearing off.”

Luca winced. His parents weren’t prone to yelling, so when they did, it always came as a surprise, and it usually got nasty. Before he could say anything, Marcus added, “Don’t worry about your parents. They’ll be all right once they have you back.”

Luca nodded, guilt blossoming inside him. He didn’t want his parents to fall out because of him, he really didn’t.

Marcus leaned slightly forward. “Luca, are you all right?”

“What? Me? Yeah, sure. I’m looking forward to reuniting with my parents and then waiting for my future husband to claim me.” Sarcasm dripped from Luca’s voice.

Keith gave Luca’s knee a pat. “Your siblings all have good marriages. They all lead comfortable lives; it won’t be different for you. Your father is extremely good at picking out suitable partners. If there were any doubts about Smith, your dad would’ve voiced his concern and your father would’ve listened to him.”

“Why do you all have to be so reasonable?”

“Because you’re not being reasonable at all,” Marcus said.

Luca’s gaze jerked to Marcus’s face, and he waited for Marcus to smile, to give him any indication he was teasing, but nothing happened. From the corner of his eyes, he saw Keith’s stunned expression, but he couldn’t think about that now.


Buy links:

eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7448

Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7449


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