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 fiancé, 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.
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!)
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.
Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, 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.
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.
- Winner gets an e-copy of Lucky Girl by Cate Lord
- Contest open internationally
Giveaway ends on Friday September 23, 2011 at 5pm ESTClosed, 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.