Oh, let's get in the mood for Pirates - please join me in welcoming Katharine Ashe:
The American Library Association's Booklist named Katharine Ashe one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her debut historical romance, SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS, was nominated for Best First Historical Romance in the Reviewers' Choice Best Book Awards. CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD has received a "TOP PICK!" from RT Book Reviews: "Ashe knows how to captivate readers with her action-packed romance brimming over with marvelous characters, sexual tension, witty repartee and action, action, action." Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. Please visit her at www.katharineashe.com.
Kim: Armed with research material as a history teacher, how did you break into romance publishing? What's harder - unearthing history or getting published?
Katharine: I love stories—wild, fantastical stories of adventure, heroism, truth, triumph, tragedy, and most of all love. And these kinds of stories really happened! Academic scholarship is fun because you get to dive into the super nitty-gritty of a subject. You also get to do research in musty old archives staffed by curmudgeonly old Italian guys or persnickety young German ladies, suspicious French librarians or stuffy English archivists. Doing that research inspires my imagination endlessly to invent stories of my own.
As to which is harder, unearthing history or getting published in romance fiction—I suppose they’re about the same. I feel very fortunate that as a novelist I am now able to do both at once.
Kim: Your debut series features sea rogues - what inspired the sea theme?
Katharine: First, I love the sea. It is a world of beauty, life, and joy. But it’s also a treacherous mistress, unpredictable and oftentimes violent. Second, I adore Regency England. The niceties of social interaction and proper behavior contrast so deliciously with the rough dangers of a sailor’s life. I just couldn’t resist putting them together, like in the hero of CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD, an indolent rakish earl whose secret identity is a brazen Robin Hood-like pirate. Also, Britain in the early nineteenth century was far more than drawing rooms and London balls. It was a vast empire with all sorts of potential for excitement and intrigue. Since I adore both these worlds of high society and swashbuckling adventure, I write love stories that mingle them.
Kim: Does your sister still review your work? Who serves as your beta reader?
Katharine: I’m so grateful my sister still reads my manuscripts, as well as one of her closest friends. My mother reads the pages the moment I send them to her (God bless my mom and all such moms!). I also trade beta reading with another romance author who is fabulous.
Kim: How do your History colleagues perceive your historical romances?
Katharine: In general they are respectful. They know the publishing world (although not mass market publishing), and understand what it takes to produce a book. A number of them have revealed to me that they have ideas for novels they would love to write if they weren’t so busy. Sometimes they tell me this as though it’s a scandalous fantasy, like they’re admitting they’ve dreamt of spending a week on a Caribbean island with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue models. Since being a romance author is in fact my scandalous fantasy come true, I always smile and say, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”