Thursday, May 19, 2016

Aloha to KC Bateman and TO STEAL A HEART


Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

Historical romance author KC Bateman joins us for a cozy chat.  From her website bio,

Kate Bateman (writing as K. C. Bateman) wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she'd 'never finish the thing.' She gleefully proved him wrong with a historical set in the Italian Renaissance. Now writing for Random House Loveswept, her latest 'Covert Affairs' trilogy features her trademark feisty, intelligent heroines, wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to alternately strangle and kiss--all mixed up in the intrigue and turmoil of the Napoleonic wars.

When not traveling to exotic locations 'for research,' Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK, each of which has up to 2.5 million viewers. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and a husband who has flatly refused to read any of her books 'unless she hits the NY Times Bestseller list.' It is - naturally - her fervent desire to force the semi-illiterate, number-loving cynic to do so. He still owes her that dollar.

Kate loves to hear from readers and writers alike. Contact her on Twitter @katebateman, Facebook, and even via her website at

Kim:  We are arm travelers at SOS Aloha. What is your favorite sight, smell and sound of your native England?

KC: I love the smell of early summertime in England - it's something thing I really miss, living in the US Midwest right now. I want that dry, just-cut grass smell, the sweetness of honeysuckle and old English roses, the sight of the queen Anne's lace / cow parsley bobbing in the hedges at the side of the country roads on the rare English summer day it gets above 70 degrees! Favorite sound? Probably the sound of a teaspoon stirring a nice cup of tea, with a Mr Kipling's cake waiting next to it! Or the tick and clink of ice in a cool Pimm's and lemonade or gin and tonic! Heaven!

Kim: What have you learned from your broadcast career that you have applied to your writing career?

KC: Definitely just be yourself. People often comment when they meet me 'in person' that "you're just like you are on the telly," but that's because I try to be as natural as possible whenever I'm filming for the various antiques shows I do. I don't try to be something I'm not - I really am just a geeky history nerd who loves beautiful things and the stories behind them! In the same way, I've learned to be myself when writing. Don't try to write the books you think other people want to read. Write the books YOU want to read. In the same way, don't try to copy someone else's writing style, just write however comes naturally to you. Obviously there are plenty of ways you can improve your writing from a technical sense, but the voice should definitely be authentic and yours. You're never going to keep everyone happy, you'll always have detractors, but if I can say that what I've done has given someone a modicum of viewing enjoyment or reading pleasure, (and maybe even educated them a little bit in the process!) then it's a job well done.

Kim: Do you have any advice for shopping for antiques?

KC: Absolutely. Don't buy something because you think it's going to be an investment. Buy it because you like it! That's the beauty of antiques - they're the ultimate recycling. If you fall out of love with something, you can always just resell it and buy something else, and it will still be cheaper and more interesting than having bought some boring, generic flat-pack MDF horror!

Kim: Tell us about TO STEAL A HEART - what inspired the series?

KC: To Steal A Heart is a Napoleonic / Regency romance heist! When Marianne Bonnard—the best tightrope-walking thief in Paris—is propositioned by cynical spymaster Nicolas Valette for a mission, her first instinct is to refuse. The job he proposes is dangerous; rescue an important prisoner from the most fortified prison in France, but the sparks that fly between them are even more disturbing. Of course, Nic's not the kind of man to take no for an answer, and soon the two are forced to work together. Both of them are seeking revenge, not love, but as they're drawn into a world of intrigue and danger, will they find what they've been looking for, or discover something even more satisfying?

I’ve always loved antiques and history, hence my ‘other’ job as an auctioneer and appraiser. Every item that comes into my saleroom has a story behind it – a provenance, as we call it in the antiques trade. So it was a natural progression to begin writing my own fiction filled with the historical detail and unusual locations I love.

In the case of To Steal A Heart I drew inspiration from two tiny portrait miniatures that came in for valuation at my auction house - one of a Napoleonic–era British gentleman, and the other of a beautiful young woman. They were painted by the same artist, and in identical frames, but the seller had no idea who they were, - distant relations, perhaps? I thought that was a shame - so I made up my own story for them. Perhaps the man’s name was Nicolas Valette. And the smiling woman was called Marianne. And I bet they had some amazing adventures!

There are also several real-life people mentioned in the book, for example the inspiration for the escape from prison is based on the actual life of M. Latude (link) who wrote an account of his amazing escapes.

There’s also the story of the ‘lost prince’ Louis Charles de Bourbon. In all probability he died as a child in prison in Paris, (most of the documentary evidence points to this sad end) but some still argue that he could have escaped. I’ve taken a little artistic license and played the ‘what if’ game – and imagined him surviving into adulthood as a prisoner and getting his happy ending!

Kim: What's next for KC Bateman?

KC: More books, hopefully! Book II in the Secrets & Spies trilogy, A Raven's Heart, is the story of Nic's codebreaker sister Heloise, and aristocratic smuggler William Ravenwood. We glimpsed them sparking off one another briefly in To Steal A Heart, and their adventure continues as they try to rescue Raven's colleague and keep Heloise safe across the Spanish peninsular in 1816.

A Raven's Heart will be out in September this year, although it's available for preorder now. Book III, A Counterfeit Heart, will be out in January next year (2017). That's about Sabine de la Tour, an irrepressible French counterfeiter who clashes with Nic's elder brother, Richard Hampden. I'm so excited about both of these stories, and I hope readers will enjoy them just as much as To Steal A Heart!

Mahalo, KC, for sharing your "Covert Affairs" series with us! I am giving away British swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. What is your favorite antique ... from your house, an antique store, or a historic place?  I have a Belgian buffet that is a smaller version than the above buffet from the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, May 21, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 22.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

A Raven's Heart
Coming in October 2016


  1. Funny thing, I bought an antique cupboard just last month. So it new for me, but about 100 years old. It's the prettiest cupboard in all the land. The stained glass lead light panels are exquisite.

  2. I love antiques and find myself wondering who it belonged to and what they might have been like. My favorite so far are my vintage compacts I've been collecting for awhile now.
    I'm putting this book on my TRL.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. I purchased candle snuffer and tankard from the 1700's.

  4. I really like roll top desks.

  5. My mom bought us a primitive china cabinet for us when one of her friends was prepping to move & downsize. Have had it for over 30 years..

  6. I agree 100% with K.C.'s comment about what she misses about England.......I feel exactly the same.

    I have an antique gate leg table that belonged to my's probably over 100 years old.

  7. I have antique teacups from my grandmother & on special occasions I actually use them :)

  8. There's a clock my dad bought in Europe, but don't know the story behind it.

  9. I had an antique ring from my grandmother, which had little carvings of birds. Unfortunately, my house got robbed & it got stolen. :(

  10. I have some furniture that belonged to my in-laws but they probably don't qualify as antiques as yet.

  11. Vases I like

  12. I have some old family pieces - some of my favorites are a cut glass vase from my maternal grandmother, canes from my fathers family & some little paintings done by my great- grandfather.

  13. Actually don't have any antiques.

  14. I like many things really. No faves

  15. A side table that my mother in law gave to me. She said my Hubby's grandfather made it. She has also gave us several other pieces. Her father sold antiques and made furniture.

  16. I have lots of favorites, since we furnished our house with antiques. First on the list would be our cradle. It is a spindled platform rocking cradle. My paternal grandparents gave it to me shortly after we got married. My grandmother got it from her uncle. Our great-granddaughter will be the 7th or 8th generation that has slept in it. My grandmother made the quilt for it