Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Spotlight :: Kate Austin

This week The Pink Heart Society
spotlights NEXT author Kate Austin

About Kate:
I’m a water baby – even though I’m an Aries (the fire sign), so where I live in Vancouver, Canada is right on the beach and you can find me walking the Seawall almost every day. I’ve sold ten books in two years – six published and four more in the offing. I write for Harlequin’s women’s fiction line NEXT. My July 2006 book, Awakening (Harlequin Next), was nominated for a Reviewer's Choice Award from RT (though my fellow Next-er and friend Stevi Mittman won). I love reading almost as much as I love writing, reading an average of a book a day ever since I could hold them in my own little hands.

Spotlight On Kate:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

Just about anywhere – I often get them when I’m walking on the beach or I see a piece of graffiti or I hear a phrase. Not often more than that – if I hear too much more, then there’s too much of a story for me. I like a simple, single image or phrase that I can then play with.

What makes you mad?

Not that much, actually – but the one thing that drives me crazy is when (it’s always the government who does this) someone says you can’t do something in public (smoking, for example, and I don’t smoke so this isn’t personal!) but continues to allow it to be sold so they can collect their money on it. Smoking, drinking, those kinds of things. I don’t know why but that really rubs me the wrong way.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

Falling in love with my best friend. How cool is that?

What in a hero makes you drool?

Two things – a sense of humor and kissing. A man who can kiss me until I can’t breathe and who can also laugh with me has got it all. I’m not averse to a great body, but that’s kind of secondary for me.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I don’t know. I’ve been a writer for so long (although only recently making a living at it) that I don’t know if there is anything else. If there was, I think I’d be an art curator.

What do you do to relax and wind down?
I walk on the beach. Or I go out with friends and have a few drinks and talk. Or I read a great book – that always relaxes me. Or call a friend who I know will make me laugh – there’s NOTHING more relaxing that a great belly laugh.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I try not to get in one – it’s much harder to get out of one than it is to avoid getting in one. I have a metaphor that I use when I talk about writing – think about it like a jet plane. It takes a whole heck of a lot of energy to get that plane up in the air, but once it’s up there, it’s just cruising. Come back down to earth (stop writing), and you have to expand all that energy all over again. I try and write all the time. Makes it easier than getting back up there again.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Paris, I think, or New York, both of which I love passionately. I’m definitely a city girl. But I’d also like to have an apartment on the beach in Vancouver (which is where I live now).
Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Tough call. I read at least a book a day so there are a lot of them. Lately? I’m just reading Michael Ondaatje’s (he wrote THE ENGLISH PATIENT) new book, Divisadero. I want to write just one sentence like him.

How astonishingly beautiful is this? With memory, with the reflection of an echo, a gate opens both ways. We can circle time. A paragraph or an episode from another era will haunt us in the night, as the words of a stranger can.

Although I have to say that I’d like to hug Michael Ondaatje just because he’s also beautiful.

What music do you listen to when writing?

I don’t – I’m too easily distracted. Okay, occasionally, when I’m feeling like things are going really really well, I might put on some classical music – almost always Bach, either the cello concertos (I have three or four versions of them) or Glenn Gould’s version of the Goldberg Variations.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you

I don’t have many secrets – maybe that’s the secret no one knows. I can’t keep my mouth shut, I tell everybody EVERY THING!

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

A million things. Selling and publishing more books (I’ve sold ten books in the past two years and Last Night At The Halfmoon (Harlequin Next) is the sixth book out). Getting great reviews. Growing my hair. Making almost enough money to live on from writing. Getting fabulous covers. The success of my friends. Meeting wonderful new writing friends. Joy, I think, pretty much covers it.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

I change the quotes at the beginning of the year, usually, but I do keep the art. A Weisbuch print called L’ange est venu c’est soir (the angel comes this evening) which is a drawing of an angel (the muse) touching the head of a musician. A drawing by a friend of the Pont Neuf in Paris. A painting – very abstract, very strong and dark – by Antoni Tapies. Another small painting call Verse – a take on the Japanese character. A quote by Mark Messier when the Rangers were fighting for the Stanley Cup – you can’t be afraid to slay the dragon. A magnet that says joy. A stone that says create. Candles.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?
The best friend and lover I ever-so-foolishly gave up. I’m working on it.

What are you working on now?
A new book for Next called THE LOSERS’ CLUB. A group of men in their forties get together every week to play poker and commiserate about the plans they had in college and haven’t achieved. Ben wanted to be a rock star, Teddy a hockey player, Joe the chief of police, Vince the next Basquiat. I’m really enjoying writing this book, lots of great characters, and each of the guys has a significant woman in their life who hates the losers. That makes the book a lot of fun.

Thanks, Kate, for spending time with us here at The Pink Heart Society. Check out her latest title, Last Night At The Halfmoon, on shelves this month. Look for the review coming soon at Pink Heart Society reviews, and a copy of the book will be included in this month's Hamper. To learn more about Kate, check out her website, blog, the NEXT author's blog, or Witchy Chicks. Kate is also particpating in Brenda Novak's 3rd Annual On-line Auction for Diabetes Research as part of the NEXT authors & Witchy Chicks.

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