September 20, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: Author Cate Lord

We are very excited to welcome author Cate Lord to our little corner of the blogosphere. This is particularly special to us because it is our blog’s first guest post. 

If you are a fan of historical romance you might know Cate as Katherine Kean. Now under the pen name Cate Lord she is embarking on a whole new adventure writing contemporary romance. 

 Her first book, Lucky Girl, came out on September 6th and she is here today to share it with us and to talk about how it was for her to change genres and the difference between writing historical and contemporary romances. 

Without further ado we leave you with Cate Lord: 



One of the questions I’ve been asked quite often since the release of my contemporary romantic comedy Lucky Girl is why I decided to switch genres. Why, after writing six emotionally-charged medieval romances that garnered good reviews and finaled in prestigious contests, did I choose to pen a light-hearted contemporary? My muse liked the idea. She and I are a great team. She inspires me, coaxes me through tough scenes, nags me when my sentences and wording aren’t quite good enough. When the glimmer of inspiration for Lucky Girl came to my mind, I half expected her to say “nope.” Instead, she tapped her chin, murmured “hmm,” and said, “why not give it a try?” 

‘Try’ was a tactful word choice. Angsty medieval historicals and flirty contemporary romances are almost polar opposites on the creative globe. As the excitement of the new project rushed through me, I also tasted dread. A romantic comedy was just so different to what I’d been writing. 

My mind raced to fill in the details of the plot. The premise: American beauty editor Jessica Devlin, recently dumped by her unfaithful fiancĂ©, flies to England to be maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding. There she runs into Nick Mondinello, the gorgeous British marketing exec she met briefly in an embarrassing incident two years ago. She’s intensely attracted to him, but believes he’s completely wrong for her, since he’s a playboy like her dad who left when she was twelve. However, fate keeps throwing her and Nick together. How could Sex God Nick be attracted to Plain Jane her? He wouldn’t be... unless she was one very lucky girl!

As I began writing Lucky Girl, I realized there were at least three important differences between historical romances and romantic comedies I needed to keep in mind: 

1. The Story 

World Writing a novel set in the Middle Ages requires research—at minimum, a basic knowledge of life hundreds of years ago. This includes foods, clothing, social hierarchy, ways of traveling, housing, medicine, weaponry, and more. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but geeky moi actually loves doing research; I get lost in all the fascinating historical details. 

Getting the facts right is important, because historical romance readers know their history. They also want to be drawn back into the past from the first page of the book. Part of their reading enjoyment is an escape from modern reality, and that can only happen when the historical world is vividly drawn. 

Contemporaries don’t demand as much research, because readers of Lucky Girl, for example, are living in the same era as I’m writing. On a daily basis, they hear of or use things Jess talks about: cell phones, the internet, size 2 jeans (even if it’s just knowing it’s a skinny minnie size), and strappy sandals with three-inch heels. They understand the issues that concern modern-gal Jess, such as job security, weight, dating, office politics, mother-daughter relationships, and the longing to find Mr. Right. Sure, if I’d decided to incorporate brain surgery into Lucky Girl, I’ d have needed to do some intensive research, but that’s still less time consuming than creating a medieval story world. 

2. Viewpoint 

Historical romances are usually written from the third person, and from the points of view of the hero and heroine. They get equal focus in the book. We see, feel, and live the story through their thoughts, emotional reactions, and decisions. Lucky Girl, because it was Chick Lit in tone, needed to be written from only one viewpoint: first person. Everything we know about the story is filtered through Jess. All we know about the hero, Nick, is divulged to us through her. Is he as gorgeous as she insists he is? How do we know? We don’t, we just have to believe Jess (but she’s right; he is a hottie!) 

3. Tone 

My medievals, for the most part, are dramatic and emotionally intense. That’s because the stakes are very high, with battles to secure the king’s reign, life and death struggles, and the risk that our hero and heroine might have to nobly sacrifice all so that others can live. There’s definitely angst in Lucky Girl—especially when at her cousin’s wedding Jess runs into Nick again. However, the angst is on a far lesser scale than in my medievals, and is delivered in a funny, self-deprecating way that shines the spotlight squarely on Jess. It’s her story, after all. Lucky Girl is her character journey to overcoming heartbreak, regaining her self-worth, and finding true love, and what better way to get there than by having a good giggle now and again. 

I could find more ways to illustrate the differences between writing medieval romances and romantic comedies. While they are vastly different genres, I came to realize that was a good thing—not one to dread. Writing Lucky Girl challenged my creativity in a positive way. It encouraged me to take a fresh approach to my writing. I had a lot of fun writing Jess’s story and couldn’t be more proud of Lucky Girl. 

Will I write more medieval romances? Yes. My muse is convinced there are more contemporary romantic comedies in my future, too. 

You can find Cate on Facebook, Goodreads and her webpage

Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancĂ©, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal. 
But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess. Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl. 

Entangled Publishing. September 6, 2011. 

GIVEAWAY 

Thanks to Cate and Entangled Publishing we have one e-copy of Lucky Girl up for grabs. To enter the giveaway just leave a comment telling us what is your favorite thing about contemporary romance (mine is that it’s easier for me to relate to the heroine). Please leave an email address in the comment so I can contact the winner. 

Rules: 

  • Winner gets an e-copy of Lucky Girl by Cate Lord 
  • Contest open internationally 
  • Giveaway ends on Friday September 23, 2011 at 5pm EST  Closed, winner is Maria.
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Winner will be announced here and contacted through email and will have 48 hours to respond.

15 comments:

  1. My favorite thing about contemporary romance. Aside from the happy ending....probably that yes, chances are small that it'll happen to me in real life, BUT it's not *impossible* (like for example with PNR, most romantic suspense plots...)
    Also, a contemporary romance just makes me feel good!
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    sk_86(at)gmx(dot)de
    _yay_ @ BookthatThing!

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  2. Readidng contemporary romance for me is like reading about my life sometimes. I can relate to the characters more. I love a Contemporary Romance that involves humour too.

    thanks for the giveaway..
    superauntkx9_atlive(dot)ca

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  3. I loved the author's post. It's cool reading about her discovering the differences in her historical writing and contemporary. I'll have to look up her historical work as I love them. As for CR...I love them because generally the main charcter is always so quirky and lovable. Which makes her easier to relate to and someone who I want to root for to find their HEA. Great post Brie!

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  4. Oh I forgot to leave my email! Sorry!

    jadaloves[at]gmail[dot]com

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  5. @_yay_: you hit the nail on the head! I completely agree with you, as much as I would love to meet a sexy vampire it’s easier to imagine yourself as a contemporary romance heroine because it’s more about real life, especially the part where the heroine embarrasses herself in front of the hunky guy, which always happens to me…

    @Kathleen O: you’re back! I was wondering where you went… Oh I also love a good rom-com, but who doesn’t right?

    @Jade: thanks for the praise but Cate did all the work ;-P… Quirky and lovable are my favorite type of heroines, I don’t see myself as either one of those things, but sometimes I wish I were LOL. Well, I hope I’m lovable because otherwise I’m in serious trouble!

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  6. The thing I like about contemporary romance is the changing roles available for women. In historical fiction the women tend to be ladies or servants, who because of society's rules have to struggle to spread their wings and are often at the mercy of their fathers, husbands or brothers. That doesn't happen in contemporary romance where women have rights and get to make choices. Modern day women set their own limits and they aren't required to be virgins while they do it either. They get totally different challenges for their Happy Ever After:)

    junegirl63(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. I love contemporary romance b/c of the humor and how easy it is to slide into the story. You can pick it up and not have switch mindsets as to the setting(in the past ie HR). Plus, this day and age, the heroines aren't completely and wholely reliant on a male figure for practically everything, so the relationship is a lot more equal.

    Thakns for the great post and giveaway!

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. @Maria: you’re right about historical romance, especially the old school novels, but I think that lately things have changed and even though historical heroines struggle (it’s a matter of setting) they tend to be quite empowering because even with all of those restrictions they do live quite independent and fulfilled lives. But of course there’s nothing like a contemporary heroine who flies Black Hawk helicopters to make you glad you live in this era instead of the Middle Ages!

    @Erin: that’s such a cute dog! I also love contemporaries because of the power balance between the leads, some novels even have a heroine who is the hero’s boss. Thanks for stopping by, good luck!

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  9. Hello, _yay_! I completely agree about the happy ending being a great reason to read contemporary romance novels. There's so much unpleasant stuff going on in the word, it's nice to escape into a book that we know is going to end well for the heroine and hero. Thanks for commenting. :)

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  10. Hi, Kathleen O! I love your reasons for reading contemporary romances. Humor is a good one--and there's tons of that in LUCKY GIRL! :) Thanks for stopping by today. :)

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  11. Hi, Jade! :) You're so right about being able to relate to a contemporary heroine. Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

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  12. Hi, Brie! :) Thank you SO much for having me here today as a guest, and for making my post look so lovely. I'm having a lot of fun reading all the comments! :) BTW, I adore quirky and lovable heroines, too. You'd never have guessed from LUCKY GIRL, huh? :)

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  13. Hi, Maria! Wow, well said! :) Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Hello, Erin! :) It's a plesure to "meet" you! :) That's very true about modern heroes and heroines being more like equals in contemporary romances than in some historicals (especially the ones written 10-20 years ago). However, I think many of today's historical romance writers are finding ways to make their heroines just as kick-butt and independent as the heroes, which is good! :) I love fiesty heroines.

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  15. Hi Cate!

    Thank you very much for stopping by, not just to share your wonderful post with us but for taking the time to answer all the comments. I think we have an interesting little debate going (totally unexpected) and I’m having so much fun reading everyone’s take on contemporary romance.

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.