Friday, September 11, 2009

Interview with Kate Austin

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kate Austin. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Nymph (part of The Pleasure Club series). Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s a first for me – a short piece of erotica in a story line already established – the Pleasure Club is a place where fantasy meets reality. Professor Geoffrey Jones, noted Marlowe scholar, knows everything about pleasuring a nymph but nothing about real women. So he asks The Pleasure Club to find him a nymph so he can test his fantasy skills before he takes them out into the real world. Calliope has wanted Geoffrey for years and when The Pleasure Club comes to the university looking for an expert in nymphs, they end up in her office. She's going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Professor Geoffrey Jones never forgets their night together.

The Nymph is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My friend Anna Leigh Keaton (who thought up the series and suggested I might write something for it) were talking about this idea and I came up with a few ideas – The Nymph was the first idea, perhaps because I was thinking of Christopher Marlowe at the time. And then there was The Nun – and that story is out in September.
What made you decide to write in this genre? I was thinking about the five senses and how they could be used fully in a story – and erotica (or erotic romance) seemed to be the perfect place to put this into practice.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I’m definitely a fogwalker. I generally start a book with a single line or phrase – sometimes the title, sometimes the first line of the book. And then I start off into the fog, not knowing what the next sentence will be, let alone the next chapter. Because I’ve been writing this way for a very long time, I have a lot of faith in the process and I just keep on going. One of the ways that works for me is each day to read out loud what I wrote the day before and then just keep writing – generally the first two or three sentences each day are me talking out loud, just continuing on from the day before. For this story, I had the title to begin with and then Geoffrey Jones appeared on the page. I needed a nymph – and she came into being a few paragraphs into the story. I NEVER think about what’s next – I’m scared it’s going to ruin something that’s worked for me for years.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I had to do a little research for this story – but mostly it was around Greek myths and nymphs. I really needed a name for the heroine and that’s what I looked at. Research for me is generally on very specific things like names or dates. I have a lot of data in my head (I read a book a day and have done so for many, many years – so I have a lot of information floating around in there) and that gives me the feel for the place or the person or the time. I’m much more about how things feel than I am about specific details.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I said, Anna Leigh Keaton had written a couple of stories for the Pleasure Club series and I’d read those and liked them. So we brainstormed a couple of titles – most of the other stories were women seeking their fantasy evening and I wanted to try writing it from the point of view of a man seeking a fantasy – where would that lead me?

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved Professor Jones (and no, until I typed that right this minute, I didn’t even think of Indiana Jones) and the way he was so discombobulated about himself and his relationships with women. I liked the fact that he knew everything about nymphs but nothing about real women and wanted to put him in a situation where he could combine the two things and find out what happened.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I develop my characters basically the same way I write – I just start writing. But I do, occasionally, put a few things on paper if I’ve got a complicated plot line. I’m working on a book now that spans 1910-1952 and two main female characters. I need to keep track of where and when they are at any given time so I’ve written that down so I don’t get too confused. And my research is almost all things I’ve read. So for the early part of this complicated book, I remember all the books I’ve read either set in the time period or written in the time period – it’s about the feel for me, not the details. And because I love poetry, I also read poetry written in the time period or place – it gives me a feel for the language, I think.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, dozens and dozens. I started out writing literary short stories so people like Alice Munro and Raymond Carver were definitely inspirational to me. Writers like Michael Ondaatje and Marquez (because I love magic realism). Science fiction/fantasy writers Neil Gaiman and William Gibson – I love their worlds and their characters. Alice Hoffman and Barbara Kingsolver – that magic realism and women’s fiction combination just blows me away. Shakespeare – mostly The Tempest, which I’m passionate about. In fact, my muse is named Prospero, though she’s a woman. And poetry – always poetry.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’ve just started using Facebook so we’ll see how that goes. I have a newsletter I send out, my website, my own blogs and guest blogging. My publisher – Cobblestone Press – sends out a huge whack of review copies and those are definitely a way to get the word out. I’m still working on a long-term promotional strategy – anybody got any great ideas?

What do we have to look forward next?

Another story in the Pleasure Club series – The Nun – which will be out in September. And a novella in a new series called The Demon Next Door – this one is about the lord of the demons and how he becomes human – it’s a lot of fun, a romantic erotic suspense, I’d call it. It’ll be available in October.

Thanks, Kate!

To celebrate her book release, Kate is offering a free ebook of The Nymph to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Buy The Nymph at


Anonymous said...

Thanks for joining us today Kate. I love how you get your ideas. I've done that a few times too but usually get about three pages in and then have to stop and research and plot! So were there any scenes or characters that you or your editor cut in the final version? Enjoy your day here.

Kate Austin said...

Hi, Kim -

No, I've had to cut for too much talking and not enough action, but never any characters or full scenes. Mostly what I've had to do is tidy up. I think (although I'm scared to ask this of my subconscious) that the whole story is pretty well marked out in my head (the part I can't access) before I begin.


Amber Scott said...

I've heard great things about Cobblestone Press. What would you say their editing taught you about writing?
If you'd like to learn more about promotion and share what you know as well, may interest you.
:}Amber Scott

Kate Austin said...

Amber - I think their editors taught me to pay attention to the small stuff. My writing's very clean and I seldom have much editing done, but they found things that I probably (and other editors) wouldn't have noticed. I need to find the time to put things away for a few days and maybe I'll catch them that way.

And I'm going to check out the Turning Point too.


Estella said...

The Pleasure Club Series sounds great.
Is there going to be more books in it?

Tia Dani said...

Hi Kate,
Enjoyed your interview. Your new book sound like a fun story. Hope I win, lol.
I'm very envious of you being able to just start writing and come up with a great little story, expecially where the story line is already established. And, it's erotica to boot.
Thanks for sharing,

Kate Austin said...

Estella, actually there are a whole bunch of stories (they're quite short - 25 pages or so) in the Pleasure Club series by a whole bunch of different writers. I'm just finishing up a new one for December called The Demon - and I'm going to publish that one under my new pseudonym (Josee Renard). I really like them myself.


Kate Austin said...

Tia - it is fun. I write poetry too - and this is kind of like writing a sonnet or a sestina or even a haiku. You have the format but not the content and I enjoy both the challenge and the joy of that.


Carolyn Matkowsky said...

I enjoyed your interview. You have an amazing imagination. The books sound fascinating. I admire how prolific you are too. Good luck.

Kate Austin said...

Carolyn - I think I'm prolific because I learned to write in short bursts - half an hour on the way to work, half an hour at lunch, half on hour on the way home. Of course, now that I only work part-time, those half hours seem to be harder to find :)