Jen: Today we welcome Katherine L Evans to Romancing the Book. Katherine will you share a short bio with us?
Katherine: I majored in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and went on to work as a marketing specialist. I’ve been a writer in some form or fashion since as long as I can remember, but I first started writing fiction in the summer of 2014 in the aftermath of several tragic events in my personal life. Fiction writing has proved to be an excellent outlet to deal with the complex nature of my feelings about my life experiences.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Katherine: Long Gone Cat is about two people who are bound by fate to be together in spite of being subject to every worst case scenario imaginable. They are forced to stare their greatest fears in the face and figure out how to come out on the other side. It’s about a man’s unconditional love for a woman, and about that woman’s journey to forgive him for what she sees as the unforgivable. At its core, it’s the story of how two people deal with grief and loss, and how they don’t choose the most healthy ways to cope.
The idea for Long Gone Cat came from a few places. I wanted to write a sweet little story about how two best friends fall in love, because that was how I got together with my husband. As I was writing, however, I subconsciously muddled through a lot of heavy feelings over the recent death of my older brother, and the story took on a life of its own. You will see this in the story. One minute, everything is perfect. Then out of nowhere, there is an unimaginable tragedy. This was a depiction of how I perceived the death of my brother. One minute, my life was pretty perfect. Then out of nowhere, my brother was just gone.
I started writing it in December of 2014, thirteen months after his death, and finished it less than a month later. It was definitely one of those situations where the story will simply come when it’s ready.
Here’s a short excerpt from Lone Gone Cat:
Cat passed by a newsstand and noticed a local paper. In the hopes that it might offer some insight into what people did around here, she picked it up and started thumbing through it.
“Two-fifty,” barked a gruff voice.
Cat turned sharply, fumbling in her pocket to pay the man.
New Yorkers seemed a bit rough around the edges. None of them talked to you unless it was to tell you to get out of the way or something else equally harsh. In fact, the only nice New Yorker she had encountered thus far was the handsome guy who had her eyes and carried the box into her apartment.
Alec, Cat thought, smiling softly at the memory of him sitting across the bar from her a few weeks ago. She hadn’t expected to see him again, although it would have been nice. She was still getting used to having nobody to talk to, and the brief conversation she’d shared with the friendly guy was one of the few she’d had since arriving in the city. Alec mentioned he lived near her. Every time Cat left her apartment, she silently hoped to bump into him, since she was desperate for pleasant interaction with somebody.
She sat down on a nearby bench and blindly flipped the paper open to its center, as she skimmed over a few play reviews. She gasped when she saw a familiar face smiling at her through a black and white photo on the page.
He’s an actor, she mused. Fitting. He was very attractive and charming. She was sure that correlated to a fantastic stage presence. She perused the article and his bio, absently smiling to herself, not noticing she spoke out loud when she read his full name.
Cat’s head shot up at the familiar voice’s mention of her name.
As if the universe had granted her unspoken pleas, there he was, smiling at her in real life.
“Hey, neighbor!” She chortled, grinning back and masking the fact that she’d never been happier to see anyone in her entire life. She shook the paper at him. “I happened to stumble across a review of your play.”
Alec blushed and rolled his eyes as he sat down next to her. “Yeah, that play was awful.”
“The writer seems to agree. But he said you were great. That’s something, right?”
“It’s something,” he sighed.
“You didn’t mention you were an actor.” Cat pointed an almost accusing finger at him.
“Well, we only spoke for about two minutes,” Alec reminded her. “It didn’t seem worth mentioning. Especially since I’ve yet to act in anything worth mentioning.”
“The paper thought it was worth mentioning,” Cat offered.
“I guess,” he shrugged, leaning his elbow on the back of the bench and resting his cheek on his hand.
“Wow, you’re completely underwhelmed by yourself.” Cat giggled. “What’s your deal? It sounds like an exciting job to have.”
“It could be an exciting job to have, if I ever got to do anything besides crappy local plays and embarrassing low-budget commercials,” he explained.
“Yeah, but everyone has to start somewhere, right? How long have you been acting?”
“About five or six years. I skipped out on college hoping to break into the biz and make it big, but that has yet to happen.” Alec made dramatic gestures with his hands as he spoke and flipped his eyebrows in humorous facial expressions that plastered a smile on Cat’s face. It was really nice to talk to him, and she found herself feeling much better than she did when she woke up that morning. In fact, she felt a lot better than she had in a few weeks.
“Could be worse. You could be a bartender.” Cat smirked. “At least in your field there’s an opportunity for it to go somewhere. All I’ll ever get to do is assist with people’s legal addictive habits.”
“So you’re not in college or something?” he ventured curiously.
Cat crinkled her nose and sniffed at the idea.
“Why not? I mean, I guess I’m not really one to talk since I didn’t go either.”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I just don’t see the point. I don’t have a future, so funneling a bunch of money and time into something like that seems stupid.”
“You don’t have a future?” He lifted his eyebrows incredulously. “That’s a pretty presumptuous thing to say about yourself.”
Cat flipped her palms upward and shrugged again. “Well, it’s the truth.”
A funny expression crossed his face, and then his gaze drifted briefly behind her head. She figured he was about to tell her he had to get going, and she couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. Much to her delight, however, she realized her assumption was wrong, when he turned those beautiful eyes back to her face and smiled.
“You wanna go grab a coffee, Cat?”
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Katherine: Cat experiences a loss that I relate with personally, but Alec is a total incarnation of my life. Everything he goes through is something I personally experienced. He’s someone who doubts himself and manages to make every wrong decision possible until he finally gets it right in the end, which sums up my feelings about my own life. I didn’t even realize this until after I finished writing. Because I relate to him so much, he’s definitely my favorite in this story.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Katherine: One reader, who is extremely well-versed in romance novels, said she’d “never read anything like it”. According to her, most romance novels essentially follow the same plot, but use different character flaws, but Long Gone Cat is absolutely nothing like that. She went on to discuss the fact that the story forces readers to understand that the coping mechanisms we choose are not always the best and most healthy ones. I really loved hearing this feedback because everything she said summed up perfectly the point I was trying to get across.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Katherine: Emotional, heartbreaking, raw.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Katherine: As far as the personal experiences of the characters, I just took those from real life. The novel is ultimately set in a celebrity environment, and truthfully, I watched a lot of E! TV specials and behind the scenes extras from movies and TV shows. Obviously, I have no personal experience with the entertainment industry, so I drew from how singers and actors described these experiences in their own words.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Katherine: Well… Let’s see. As I wrote the latter half of the story, I was reminded a lot of Christina Aguilera when she was making the movie Burlesque. But to play Cat, I would probably have to go with someone like Jessie J. Someone beautiful with an extraordinary set of pipes. Alec is definitely Josh Segarra (of Sirens and The Electric Company). Sort of a funny, average guy from New York, who happens to be extraordinarily talented and good looking.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Katherine: I’m currently working on a novel called Stay With Me. Like a collision of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Sliding Doors (1998 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow), Stay With Me is a story of “what if…?” Did I just compare myself to Charles Dickens? Absolutely, and readers will see why. It follows hopeless romantic, Samantha, and shameless sleaze, Nick, after a heated interlude cut short. She thinks she’s in love and he’s chomping at the bit to take things all the way. He suggests a camping trip in hopes that he can seal the elusive deal, but twenty-four hours in the desert is about to challenge everything he believes about life and love. This story is definitely me taking a chance with my storytelling style, but I’m really pleased with it, and my beta readers are in love. Stay With Me is expected to be released in Winter 2015.
In addition to that, I’m writing a weekly romance series called “The Arrangement” exclusively for Channillo.com. This series follows college student, Shannon Callaghan, as she becomes the unwitting victim of a whirlwind love affair with Hollywood’s hottest leading man, Jack MacCarrick. It is chock full of sexual tension, personal tragedy, and love against all odds. Updated every Friday for your weekend romance fix.