What is the hardest thing for you to write?
I tend to get stuck in the same place every single time because of the way I write. I'm a complete fogwalker. I start with a sentence or a phrase and no idea of where the story is going. I take each day on faith. But when I get to the place where the story MUST turn to the end, that paragraph that will inevitably take me to a specific ending, I get stuck. Early on in my career, I used to get stuck for weeks and weeks at the exact same place because I didn't know WHY I was getting stuck there, but I've figured out how to get past it now. I just keep rewriting that one paragraph until it's right and I'm comfortable enough to move on. I might be stuck for a day, occasionally two, but that's way better than weeks and weeks :)
Where do you get your story ideas?
Story ideas are everywhere for me. Mostly it starts with a phrase or a sentence. I might overhear it on the bus, see it on a billboard, hear it on the radio or TV or spot it on some graffiti. They show up in my mind when I'm walking - I'll come up with a line (no relation to anything in particular) and I'll refine it as I walk until it's perfect. Those times are harder. I'm like one of those artists who use found materials - my found materials or sentences or phrases.
How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative?
I just keep writing. I treat myself to a new pair of shoes or I go for a walk or I re-read one of my favorite books. But because I generally have deadlines, I have to wrestle my muse - female, but named Prospero - into submission and, over the years, she's become more cooperative. Or maybe it's that I've figured out what she likes. Writing every day really helps. Being consistent (very difficult for me because of my schedule) helps. I can't always (often) do this but when I can, I feel her joy almost immediately.
Who is your ideal hero?
Almost any one of Suzanne Brockmann's Navy SEALS, though I'd say right now I'm leaning toward Crash Hawken from Hawken's Heart. Or Keanu Reeves' character in The Lake House. Or Aragorn (as played by Viggo Mortenson) in The Lord of the Rings.
What do you like to write about the most? The least?
I LOVE to write about characters, about relationships - it doesn't have to be a romantic relationship, I often (in my Kate Austin writing life) write about women who are good friends. I'm not much of a suspense writer because I'm not a plotter. So that is probably the toughest thing for me to write.
Tell the readers a little about yourself.
I'm two people (at least I often feel that way) because I write women's fiction under my real name - Kate Austin - and erotica as Josee Renard. It's an awkward relationship because I often forget who I am :) But both of us live in Vancouver, a block from the beach, which is a necessity for me because I love the ocean and spend a lot of time on the beach or walking on the Seawall. I'm a shopper - shoes, clothes, household things, groceries - and I'll shop for anything, anywhere, anytime. I love traveling, though as I get older, I want to go to one place and stay there for a while. My favorite places? Cities that you can walk and which have great art galleries - Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Florence. There are many more, but it'd be a very long list. I have, and treasure, my women friends. They have saved my sanity more times than can be counted.
As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
I absolutely do take time to read. I'm an addict and read somewhere between 350-400 books a year. I actually take time to read to the detriment of a whole bunch of things - cleaning, writing, exercise. I'd rather read than almost anything.
I read (and re-read) almost anything - you have to when you read as much as I do. As you could tell from above, Suzanne Brockmann is at the top of my list. I love Nora Roberts' romantic suspense. I read a lot of literary fiction - Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Raymond Carver. I try to read a little bit of poetry almost every day. I've just become delighted with a new author - Kylie Chan - who is writing a series called Dark Heavens. I've read the first two books and am waiting impatiently for the final book in the trilogy. I love Marjorie Liu, Jayne Ann Krentz. I read non-fiction, but for me that's more scattered. If it doesn't tell a good story, I tend to give up on it.
If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
Hmmm, this is a tough one but I think I'd be Mercedes Jones - one of the three Gossip Queens in the series of three novels I wrote set on the Sunshine Coast (PS, these are Kate's books). I love her guts, I love the way she's so honest and open, and I love the fact that she finds the most unusual, and best, love at the end of the third book. It's a complete surprise and it's perfect.
The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?
Read, she says grinning. Shop. Travel. Go out to dinner or for a walk on the beach with my man. Buy beautiful lingerie and expensive perfume. Get my nails done or a manicure.
Blurb for Knocks Me Off My Feet available from Cobblestone Press on November 5th.
Jules has been drooling over Shea, the barista at the coffee shop around the corner, for months. But it’s way worse now that Shea has been away for six weeks. Even a weekend in Las Vegas and his incredibly detailed fantasies about their first naked encounter don’t help. What he doesn’t realize is that Shea has been crushing on him for just as long and when he gets back from Australia, he’s got plans for the two of them—naked, sexy, hot plans.
Where I can be found: