By Kate E. Stephenson
In this first week of April 2013, I hereby call to order the 17th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every week, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate. If you missed our last meeting, you’ll want to get caught up.
Club members, this week meet Kate Noble.
Kate Noble loves books. Romances especially. But, being born into a family of doctors, scientists, and mathematicians, she didn’t discover she was adept at writing until, oh, about junior year of high school. Which came as something of a relief, as she was hopeless at memorizing the Latin names for all the bones in the human body. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle eludes her to this day.
Kate is the national bestselling author of the acclaimed Blue Raven Series—the latest of which, Let It Be Me, is available everywhere now!—as well as a writer for television and the web, most recently working on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Now settle in as Kate answers all our questions:
Who named you Kate and why?
My parents. I have no idea why, one assumes they recognized my practical yet diabolical nature in utero.
How did you become an author?
Via the usual path of not developing any other marketable skills.
What was the muse for your first completed/published book?
Seeing if I could! I had long loved romance novels, and while working a particularly unhappy day job, I was broke, and bored, and finally decided to try my hand at writing one. It was mostly to keep myself entertained and from going into debt (because writing is free), but eventually it became much more, turning into a real, honest-to-goodness book (Compromised, my first published novel).
What are you currently working on?
What am I not currently working on? I am working on my next trilogy of Regency-set romance novels (the first will be out in 2014) as well as working on the spin-off of the hit web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon. I also have a couple of pet projects in the works, that I hope see the light of day at some point.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Flippant as I may seem, I am really very proud of having been able to actually make a living as a writer. It’s not an easy path, and when I embarked upon it, I had very little clue what I was doing. I’m only marginally better informed now, but I’m far more comfortable in the role.
What’s your favorite word?
What’s your least favorite word?
Who’s your favorite literary character?
What’s your favorite quote?
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
If you weren’t an author, what profession would you like to try?
I would be a professional TV watcher. There are people who get paid for that, right?
If you could do one thing in your life over, what would it be?
Did you not read my quote about choices? The choices in life make us who we are—if I did anything differently, I wouldn’t be who I am now.
Now Book Clubbers, as always, it’s time to read. An excerpt from Let It Be Me:
“Frederico, get the door, would you?”
Oliver Merrick stamped down the stairs of his house, his eyes on the papers in his hand. Bills, bills, a letter from his father, more bills. Damn it all, but none of this was ever going to be under control was it?
Oliver reached the landing just as another tentative knock came from the door to the street.
“Frederico?” he called again for his erstwhile valet/butler/footman/occasional cook. But Frederico did not respond, lazy bastard. Indeed, the only sound Oliver heard was the same phrase of music, repeated over and over again, coming from the main sitting room. It would stop between playings, a scratching of a pencil could be heard, and then it would start again.
Oliver knew this was a bad sign. If his friend was on a good streak, the music would never stop.
“I’ll just get the door myself, shall I?” he grumbled under his breath in his fluent Italian. Even if his mother hadn’t been the classic dark haired, olive-skinned, (both of which he’d inherited) passionate firebrand that typified the race, he’d spent enough of the past decade in Venice to speak like a native.
Strange, he thought as he crossed to the door, it couldn’t be a caller. His friends from the theater and any prospective commissions for Vincenzo would come by gondola via the canal. The latter of which were very few and far between.
The only people who ever came by the street door were the grocer and…
Oh no. Not again.
He knew what he would find. “God damn it, Vincenzo,” he breathed, as he threw open the doors. “You are out to drive me insane with your whores, aren’t you?”
But his self-ramblings were cut short, when he found himself staring down into the greenest eyes he had ever seen.
Like the lagoon when it caught the sun just so, making the water turn jewel-toned and alive, those eyes stared up at him, wide and trembling with nervous resolve. Freckles danced over her nose and cheeks like someone had reached down from above and sprinkled them there. Freckles he found oddly familiar, but could not place. Dark curls were tucked up in her bonnet, but a tendril behind her ear had escaped, trailing down her neck. She had a kind of delicate prettiness rarely seen in the streets of Venice, where bright colors and extravagant beauty seemed the fashion.
Oliver was halfway to enchanted in the space of a breath. But then he remembered he was supposed to be annoyed.
“Sorry, ladies,” he said in Italian, his face as stern as he could make it, “he’s not taking visitors today, nor is there coin to pay for your services.” When those green eyes just blinked, and then looked nervously back at the older, more practical-looking woman behind her, he let out a breath.
“Look, Carpenini might have sent for you, but I’m sending you away. I’m sorry, but the best I can do is pay for a gondola to take you back where you came from.”
“Carpenini!” the green-eyed enchantress finally said, her accent decidedly English. That was shocking enough. What was more shocking, was what she said next. “That is exactly why I am here!”
English. She was English. He blinked twice. And by her cultured tones, she was a lady. One, considering what he had assumed her to be, he fervently hoped did not know the Venetian dialect.
“Er… can I help you, miss?” His English, so rarely used here, felt thick and awkward on his tongue. He suddenly became very aware of the fact that he hadn’t put shoes on yet that day.
“Yes,” the girl replied, unable to keep the excitement out of her voice. “I should like to see Mr. Merrick, please.”
“You are seeing him,” Oliver replied, in shock enough to only wonder where this conversation would lead.
“I thought you looked familiar,” she said, and smiled.
And she had one hell of a smile.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to cozy up in my favorite reading chair and spring blanket, coffee in one hand and Let It Be Me in the other. Until next time…
Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.