I am pleased to be welcoming Kathleen Irene Paterka and the blog tour for her new book, Secrets of The Royal Wedding Chapel which has recently been published by Booktrope. Hi Kathleen, thank you very much for joining me today.
Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your blog today, Laura! As much as we authors tend to be private people, living isolated lives as we indulge in the creation of our imaginary worlds, we actually do enjoy connecting with real people!
Can you talk us through your writing process? For example, any rituals before you begin? Are you much of a planner? Edit as you go?
I’m a very slow, methodical writer. And since I’m an early riser, I prefer to work in the early morning. Normally I’m at my computer no later than 6 am. I have a little timer on my desk, and I set it for two hours. For me, writing is like falling into a lovely dream, and I tend to forget about time, space, real life, or anything other than what’s happening in the magical make-believe world appearing on my computer screen. It’s as if I’m watching a movie clip in my mind, and typing as fast as I can to get it all down before it disappears. The next morning, when I sit down at the computer, I normally begin by editing a few paragraphs from the previous day’s work. That helps me fall right back into the tempo of the novel.
Your latest book is called Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Who doesn’t love weddings and all things royal? My day job is as resident staff writer at a beautiful castle located in Northern Michigan. The Castle hosts numerous weddings throughout the year, and I have plenty of opportunities for ‘behind the scene’ peeks at brides on their special day. When I decided to write a book about weddings, I couldn’t think of a better setting than Las Vegas. My husband and I renewed our 20th wedding vows at a wedding chapel in Vegas, plus our daughter and her family live in Las Vegas. Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel combines my passion for royalty and romance with my love of weddings and Las Vegas. The result: The Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, where dreams come true… and are just as easily destroyed.
Here’s the blurb:
Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily Lavender grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. A direct descendent of the British royals, it seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.
Shhh! Writer’s block is something I’ve never experienced, and I don’t want to jinx myself! That being said, I’ve heard other writers say that when they encounter this particular problem, they read over previous material that they’ve written to try and help themselves get back into the ‘mood’ of the storyline.
You are also the author of the James Bay series. What are the challenges of writing a series over stand alone? Do you enjoy the process of writing books in a series?
Actually, though four of my books are part of a series, all six of my novels are actually stand alone titles. My four James Bay novels are also separate novels, each in their own right. You could read For I Have Sinned (Book #4 in the James Bay series) and never realize you’d missed anything by not having read the other three. Working within a series is fun; I love being able to revisit characters that I’ve introduced through other books, and my loyal readers (bless them!) seem to really enjoy reading the James Bay series. They’re constantly pressing me to write another James Bay book, and I’ve finally given in. My current work-in-progress is set in the little Northern Michigan fictional resort town of James Bay. It will be released sometime in 2016.
1) Kindness in all things, and to all people. Life is too short to be overwhelmed by a spirit of negativity. 2) Honesty, with myself, in writing my characters, and in interacting with other people (and at all times, trying to cultivate a persona of kindness). 3) Perseverance. No matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how far away the goal seems, you will never know until you try. Never never quit!
Is there a fictional character you wished you’d created and why? What in their story would you change?
I would love to have been involved in the development of Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With The Wind). She’s one of my absolute favorite fictional characters, and I would have done my best to have figured out a way for Scarlett to win back Rhett Butler’s love. That being said, I do believe that author Margaret Mitchell found the perfect ending for the book. Rhett walks away, and Scarlett is left on her own to deal with the remains of a shattered life. Still, the last few paragraphs leave us knowing she has hope in her heart, and that she’ll figure out a way to win Rhett back. Does she succeed? Some readers don’t believe she does (my mother was such a pessimist when it came to romance) but others (me! me!) believe Scarlett will succeed.
What comes first for you? Character or plot? Any advice on how to develop both?
Honestly, it’s a toss-up. I’m a ‘former fatty’, (I weighed 300 lbs. when I graduated from high school), and I knew that someday I would write a book about being overweight in a world that worships thin. My debut novel, Fatty Patty, began with the idea of an overweight woman who was convinced all her problems would be solved if only she could lose the extra weight. With my new release, Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel, the heroine Lily Lavendar was already firmly formed in my mind before I began dreaming about the plot. Lily is a woman who is trapped in the ‘sandwich generation’: she’s caught between the demands of an aging mother and her own teenage daughter, both of whom are stubborn, temperamental, and difficult to deal with. Add in their family-owned Vegas wedding chapel, grandmother and granddaughter firmly entrenched against Lily’s wanting to sell it, and secrets that threaten to ruin their family forever. As a writer of women’s fiction, I’m always interested in how women respond to situations that have a direct impact on their lives (death of a spouse, betrayal by a friend, estranged mother-daughter relationship, etc.).
I’m currently working on the 5th book in my James Bay series. It’s about a popular restaurant that’s been featured in all the other James Bay novels. Chuck owns the restaurant and his daughter Katie manages it. The story is told through Katie’s point of view. Chapter One starts out with a simmering stew of a story that quickly escalates into a furious rolling boil when a mysterious young woman shows up at Chuck’s and takes a seat at the bar. Who’s the stranger? What’s she doing in James Bay? And why is she so fascinated with Chuck? Katie’s radar is on high alert. She’s very protective of her dad, and she doesn’t appreciate strangers trying to worm their way into his affections. Soon their little family is thrown into chaos. But why does one person’s presence cause such a huge disruption in their lives? The book does not have a title or a release date. I estimate it will probably be available sometime in 2016. It should be a delicious read, especially since each chapter will feature a favorite recipe from Chuck’s menu.
Advice for new writers?
Don’t give up. Work smart, work hard, study your craft, and read, read, read. Don’t give up. This is a tough business, but if you want to succeed at your dreams, it’s totally worth it. Authors today have so many options available to them. When one door closes, another will open. Be ready, and be willing to take advantage of opportunities. Don’t give up! I hope this little bit of info I’ve shared about myself, my books, and my writing life has proved helpful for readers. What I find amazing is that every book in the world is just a combination of 26 different letters. It’s how an author strings those 26 letters together in different combinations that provides for a fascinating read. And isn’t that what we’re all searching for? Whether you’re an author or a reader, all of us want a great book to read. Hopefully I’ve given you a little bit of my inside world. Happy reading!
Kathleen Irene Paterka is an Amazon bestselling author of numerous women’s fiction novels. Her popular James Bay series includes Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned, while her recent women’s fiction novel The Other Wife is set in Chicago. Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel, a Las Vegas tale of romance and royalty, will be released by Booktrope Publishing in October 2015. Kathleen lives in Northern Michigan with her husband Steve, where she is busy working on her next James Bay novel.
How you can connect with Kathleen:
Kathleen’s website: http://www.kathleenirenepaterka.com
Subscribe to Kathleen’s newsletter: http://kathleenirenepaterka.com/for-readers/
Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka/
Find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPaterka/
Find her on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenpaterka/
My verdict on Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel.
Lily lives in California with her seventeen year old daughter, Tori. Lily has a good job, a nice house and she is very proud of her daughter. The one thing she tries to ignore is the strained relationship she has with her own mother.
When Tori runs away to Las Vegas (to her grandmother’s wedding chapel,) Lily is forced to return to her childhood home and not only face her mother but all the secrets being kept from her.
Lily was an interesting character for me. She judges her mother and yet it becomes more evident as the book progresses that she is more like her mother than she’d care to admit. Jack is an old flame and sounds charming. He is Tori’s father and so Lily is connected to him whether she likes it or not. Overall, there were some great characters in this book. Mimi, with her strength and determination reminds me of someone close to my heart and it was lovely to be reading this and have that reminder.
This book is approximately 210 pages and reading it flew by – helped by the fact that I was totally into it and couldn’t stop reading. Kathleen’s writing drew me in very quickly. The plot has many twists and turns and really did care about these people by the end.
This a great book if you’re heading to the sun somewhere in order to escape this horrible weather. I loved it.