Kate Douglas, after a lifetime of writing, has found her niche with erotic paranormal romances that take readers well beyond the usual limits of fantasy. She freely admits she’s having way more fun than your average grandmother, and is busy plotting her next sensual tale of Chanku shapeshifters.
Awards: Three Eppies for contemporary romance and romantic suspense.
Author Web site: www.katedouglas.com
BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Kate: A Chanku shapeshifter in disgrace, a woman in peril, and a man who will change all of their lives forever . . . these three come together in the next chapter of the erotically charged Wolf Tales saga—a world where pleasure is a rite of passage and desire takes many forms.
BookEnds: What is your favorite thing about this book?
Kate: I’d have to say my favorite “thing” in Wolf Tales III is my hero, Jacob Trent. I had such a wonderful visual of Jake from the first moment he appeared in Wolf Tales II that I knew he would have his own book. Think “Sawyer,” the character from Lost. Strong, unbelievably cocky, yet with a soft, more vulnerable side he hates to share, Jake’s the bad boy among my Chanku, the one with a chip on his shoulder that he’s always daring someone to knock off. I knew it would take a very strong woman to balance his personality, and Shannon Murphy is exactly right for him. Both of them have secrets, and both are, in their own way, very needy, but capable of great moral strength and a very deep, emotional love.
Beyond Jake, though, is an unexpected turn about halfway through the story that I totally did NOT expect, and which changed the entire course of the plot, as well as the romance. I love it when this happens! I was literally blindsided by the appearance of a new character who pushed his way in and wouldn’t leave. I had to laugh when I realized the “surprise” character, Baylor Quinn (the hero in my current WIP), looks just like the doctor Jack from Lost! I think I need to find some new TV to watch. . . .
BookEnds: What is your writing process like?
Kate: I start with my main character and spend days just thinking about him or her. I often “interview” characters to find out the details of their lives. Do they have living family, brothers or sisters? What are their hobbies, their talents, their politics? Are there any traumas in their past that might affect who they are today? I walk at least a mile a day, and when I’m on my walk, I’m wondering how all those aspects of my character will affect my story as well as the other characters who show up.
I have an extremely generous muse, otherwise known as a warped imagination. Once I have my main character, my stories come to me, literally, as I write them. They’re definitely character driven, but to give an example, when I first wrote the original story that started the Wolf Tales series, it was not about shapeshifters at all. It was a one-thousand-word “freebie” about a woman rescued by a man on a stormy night. They have unbelievable sex all night long and yet she never sees his face. In the morning, she awakens beside her stalled car, and that’s where the story ended. When I expanded it into the series, I let the characters tell me what would come next. I didn’t realize until I was a good fifty pages into the story that my character was a shapeshifter, and only then because it suddenly occurred to me why my heroine couldn’t see the hero’s face . . . she would know he was half wolf. (At that point, I actually had to do some research on Tibetan wolves!) I find that knowing my characters leads me to my story, and I can’t get to know them well until I’ve started writing them.
Eventually, there comes a point in every one of my books where my muse seems to take over. I find myself writing nonstop for hours, and when I go back and reread what I’ve written, it’s as if I’m reading it for the first time. My only explanation is that I’m merely taking my conscious grown-up mind, the one that says “You can’t possibly write something THAT absurd” out of play, and letting my writer’s brain take over. (I’ve heard it called the “Lizard Brain,” as if it’s a primitive part of your mind—I actually think of my muse as my lizard.) I love when that happens—it’s a physical sense I relate to a “runner’s high,” that feeling of euphoria when everything is working in sync. I’m not saying writing is easy. It’s hard work and leaves me wrung out and exhausted at the end of the day, but I will always love the process, especially when the lizard is in charge.
BookEnds: Why have you chosen to write in the genre in which you write?
Kate: Ooh . . . this is an easy question—I write in this genre (Erotic Paranormal Romance) because it’s just so much fun! I get to make everything up, write about really sexy men and wonderfully powerful, self-assured women in a world where the women are in charge. My Chanku are a matriarchal society where women have total control over reproduction and everything sexually related in their lives. All the men are gorgeous and sensitive—they have to be, because they can read each other’s thoughts, and when they form a mating bond, they know literally everything about their chosen mate. Intimacy among both sexes is accepted and expected. I love writing those intimate scenes where my characters can get into each other’s heads and experience lovemaking from the other’s point of view. The only downside is that my grown kids probably hide their faces in public, and my 85-year-old mother won’t read my books. “It’s not the sex,” she says. “I just can’t read a book where a person turns into an animal.”
BookEnds: What else are you working on?
Kate: I’m currently writing Wolf Tales V, which is actually the ninth story in my series. (Wolf Tales III is out now; “Chanku Fallen,” a novella in Sexy Beast II, releases in April; Wolf Tales IV—Tinker McClintock’s story—is due out in July; and Chanku Journey is coming out next fall.) Writing a series like this is a mixed blessing. I always know the basics going into each book—my mythology is well developed and many of my characters return in each successive story—but the hard part is keeping track of how all my characters have interacted in past books. I have to keep charts to keep everything straight.
Wolf Tales V has two parallel romances. One is Baylor Quinn’s story. You’ll meet him in WT III. The other is Ulrich Mason’s tale—at 64, he’s my oldest hero to date, a widower and the head of Pack Dynamics, but he’s gone to Colorado to find out if Millie West, who runs a wolf sanctuary featured in WT IV, is actually Chanku. Their romance is very hot and sweet and filled with surprises.
Baylor’s story is really different—he’s fallen in love with a woman who is physically a freak. She’s spent her life caught halfway between wolf and human without knowing what caused it. Believing she is cursed by God, Manda is desperate when Bay tells her he can help. I’m still not sure where this one is going (though since it’s over halfway done, I assume I’ll figure it out shortly), but each day is a revelation when I sit down to write, and it’s all starting to come together in some most surprising ways. One more reason why I absolutely love writing erotic paranormal romances!
BookEnds: What was your road to published author like?
Kate: Long, frustrating, and, ultimately, amazing. I started out over twenty years ago, convinced I would be published within a year. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I wrote numerous books that were rejected numerous times until I finally sold to one of the very earliest epublishers. (Three of those oft-rejected titles went on to win numerous awards.) I kept writing and submitting and learning more about my craft with each book. I signed with Jessica and BookEnds while still writing for my first epublisher. While Jessica was submitting my contemporary romances (I always said she could get me rejected in a third of the time it took me—editors actually LOOKED at my ms. before turning them down!), I discovered Ellora’s Cave and erotic romance.
I wrote a number of stories as one of their first authors. I’m not exaggerating when I tell people I started writing for EC when there were only twelve authors, and three of them were the owner (writing under numerous pseudonyms)! Not only did my StarQuest series at EC take off, the interest in erotic romances exploded across the publishing industry. At that point, Jessica was able to take my Wolf Tales manuscript to editors without fear of arrest. I’ve been very lucky to ride the erotic romance wave over the past few years, developing my writing style right along with the growth of the genre.
In retrospect, I’m glad to have taken the long way ’round. I have learned so much about the business of writing and made so many wonderful friends in this industry, that I truly believe it’s more satisfying to begin seeing some success at this point in my life rather than to have achieved many of my goals when I was younger. There’s a very deep satisfaction in knowing I’ve earned my spot in publishing, though that’s not to say I haven’t developed some wild neuroses while getting there! Thank goodness I have a very patient agent who deals with all my “author angst”!
The point being, don’t ever give up. Believe in yourself and your stories and keep writing, keep learning your craft, and keep a file of your rejection slips. They’re a physical reminder that you’re only one editor’s opinion away from success. Who’s to say, the next editor who reads your manuscript might realize you are exactly what she didn’t know she was looking for.
To learn more about Kate Douglas, see Our Books at www.BookEnds-Inc.com.