Friday, September 30, 2016

~ K.C. Bateman ~ Writing Kickass Heroines With Interesting Jobs! ~

I'm thrilled to have my friend Kate, who writes as K.C. Bateman, in the spotlight today! Kate and I met at a local Romance Writers of America meeting, and from the first day that she brought pages in, 
it was clear that she is an extremely talented author. Kate's wit and clever turn-of-phrases make for a delightful read. I hope you'll all pick up a copy of her latest and I know after that she'll be an automatic buy for you. 

Kate used to joke that her Secrets and Spies Series was all about kickass heroines with interesting jobs. And she's right.  Book One, To Steal a Heart, has a heroine that is a tightwalking thief! Book Two's heroine is a codebreaker. You don't meet those everyday.

Whenever we brought pages into our RWA meeting, we all wanted Kate to read them because of her lovely English accent, so try to imagine her voice in her answers. And without further ado...let's find out more about K.C. Bateman...

When did your love for writing start?

I’ve always loved reading, but I stumbled across the romance genre quite late. I distinctly remember the occasion – I was taking a train into London, about an hour on the slow train (which as a 22 year-old graduate was all I could afford), and I randomly picked up a book at the station. The cover was subtle – not your usual wind-blown Fabio, and I didn’t really know what genre it was. The book was Ransom by Julie Garwood. One train ride later, and I was completely hooked on historical romance. But I never really considered writing a book myself – I was busy running my own auction house, being a fine art appraiser, and juggling work and small kids. It was only after I followed by husband to the US that I realized I would go crazy if I didn’t do something other than keep house and taxi the kids around all day. I’d studied English at University, so I knew I could put a coherent sentence together, and I’d read plenty of really awful historicals by this point, and I figured well, if they can get published, why shouldn’t I have a go. . . ? At least my historical facts will be accurate . . .

What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing and/or the publishing business?

You have to write the books you want to read. Don’t try to copy someone else’s style because you think it will sell. It will come across as forced. And always remember that you can improve your writing. The best thing I ever did was join my local RWA (Romance Writers of America) local chapter. It helped me connect with other authors whose support, encouragement, teaching and constructive criticism have been invaluable. I’m always learning ways to better my craft.

What is something you struggle with when you write?

I hate plotting. As my engineer-husband will tell you, I really hate organizing, timetables and planning, but I know it’s just stupid to start writing a book with no idea of your overall story arc, or major plot points. So every time I come to plot a new book I pretend to myself that I’m just ‘jotting down ideas’. I keep a notebook and write down a couple of key scenes or snatches of dialogue. I type them up. I work out the order they have to go in to make sense. I work out what scenes I need to slot in between the big scenes to join them together. And hey-presto! It’s turned into an outline / plot without me noticing! By the time I’ve turned all my scribbled notes into actual, readable sentences, the book’s almost half done. Hurray!

I love how you trick yourself to get the job done! How do you balance the demands of your everyday life and your writing life?

It’s tough. I have three kids under the age of ten, and it’s only this year that they’ve all been in full-time school. A good day is when I drop them at school and manage a solid block of writing before pickup. But I also think it’s really important to keep a work-life balance. You can’t stay slumped over a hot computer monitor all day, so I don’t let myself feel guilty for having lunch out with my girlfriends or meeting for coffee. Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, I sometimes get a couple of hours of writing done when the kids are all in bed – accompanied by just one small glass of wine . . .

Give us a brief glimpse at your road to publication.

Well, my first historical romance was set in the Italian Renaissance, which is, according to most publishers, a completely unsaleable time period. So I received numerous rejections, (ouch!) but took on board the fact that editors and agents liked my writing, but kept suggesting that I try writing a regency romance that would sell better. So I wrote another, straight Regency. I entered a couple of the RWA contests, and finalled in several, and from that I got a full MS request from my now-editor at Random House, Junessa Viloria. There was a terrifying moment when I sent her the full manuscript and immediately received a return email saying that she’d gone off on maternity leave – just my luck! – but one of her senior colleagues was checking her submissions and also liked the story, so I was offered a deal with Random House. I immediately shopped around to find a literary agent to represent me (having had lots of rejections from them too, I might add!), and strangely enough, it turns out it’s much easier to get an agent if you already have an offer from one of the Big Five publishing houses in your pocket! (classic chicken and egg scenario there). I am now represented by Patricia Nelson, at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, who did an excellent job negotiating the contracts for me, and managed to secure a three book deal with Random House. She’s also just sold French Foreign print and e-book rights for To Steal A Heart to J’ai Lu, the French Publisher. I can’t wait to read my own book in French! Oh la la!

And I'll have you know that Italian Renaissance romance is awesome, and I hope it will be published some day. You talked about being an auctioneer earlier. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Before I came to the USA and started writing, I was actually an antiques appraiser with my own auction house in the UK. I also appeared on several British antiques-related TV shows (Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,) as an on-screen expert. I’ve always loved history – which is really just a whole bunch of stories - so it was a natural sidestep to use my historical knowledge to write historical romance.

Where do you live? Where would you love to live?

I currently live in Peoria IL, due to my husband’s work. I used to live near Cambridge in England (which is very lovely) and on the south-east coast of Spain. As to where I’d like to live, I love most places in Italy – the landscape! The food! The wine! The art! — so I’d choose to live in a massive crumbling Italian castle perched on the edge of a cliff with a view of the sea and a lovely garden, scattered with good-looking Italian groundsmen and gardeners, of course! The fact that I don’t speak Italian would only be a minor inconvenience.

I'm sure you could put up with it! If you owned a CB radio what would your "handle" be?

I think it would have to be ‘Auction fembot.’ It’s a name my husband gave me as a joke online alias years ago (I think just after Austin Powers films were released!) and I kinda like it! It sounds pretty kick-ass. No other truckers would mess with me.

No. Surely not. Once they saw your intimidating photo above, they'd want nothing to do with you, I'm certain. Name your favorite children's story.

It’s Goodnight Moon. I read it to my own kids now, and they love the ‘Goodnight nobody!’ page as much as I did when I was a kid.

What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without?

A kettle and teabags. Without a doubt. Life’s just not worth living without a cup of tea!

That's the first time I've had that answer, but it's a good one. Thank you for joining us, Kate, and best wishes for To Steal a Heart and A Raven's Heart. 

And for a limited time only, you can get To Steal a Heart for only 99¢! (Now until October 10th!)

Purchase it here:

And Kate will be back on October 18th to share A Raven's Heart with us. So tune in! 

Pre-order A Raven's Heart here:


  1. Thank you so much for being with us today, Kate! Love your work and I love the covers of these two books! They are probably some of my favorite ones out there!

  2. Oh wow, I can't believe I missed this blog post. What an awesome interview. I would also love to live in a crumbling old castle in Italy. Can you imagine the writing inspiration. :) Ha, I love your 'plotting' method. Works for me! Your books look fabulous. Those covers are amazing. Best wishes!

    1. Kate herself is pretty amazing! You'd love her! Glad you enjoyed the post, Alicia. Thanks for stopping in.