Janette Kenny

Chat with NY Times bestselling author Kat Martin

Enjoy my interview with Kat that was originally posted on Writeminded.

Jan: I’ve heard more than once how easy it was to “break in” to the romance genre back in the 80s. What difficulties did you encounter getting your first novel, Magnificent Passage, published in 1988? And what stumbling blocks have you’ve encountered since in your writing career?

Kat: I find that so funny! When I started everyone was saying how easy it was to “break in” in the 70’s! The truth is, Magnificent Passage, my first book, was turned down by every publisher in NYC. Then Crown publishing decided to start a new line and they bought me as their lead. Not much money but a nice break. Unfortunately, the line was shut down after my first two books! Again I was turned down by everyone in New York. I finally got picked up by Berkley, who was starting a new line. They featured me as a lead, which was another nice break. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs, have worked for just about every publisher in the city and not because I loved moving around.

Jan: Do you and your author/husband Larry Jay Martin brainstorm/critique each others work?

Kat: Larry and I definitely do NOT critique each other’s work. Good way to wind up divorced. We figured this out fairly early on in our careers. Larry does, however, help me a lot with plotting, particularly once the book is underway and I run into walls I hadn’t expected. He’s great at making me think it through, helping me figure out what is plausible and what isn’t.

Jan: Since you’ve written several series in multiple genres, what appeals to you most about plotting connected works? What do you find is the biggest challenge in writing a series?

Kat: I really prefer to write single books, non-connected. Gives me more versatility, a completely new story with completely new characters. But readers really seem to like connected books. I tried it and it seemed to help sales. I did it again, same reaction. I think connected books are much harder as you need to develop an umbrella from the beginning, covering all three books in the trilogy. I am really just learning how to do that. The biggest challenge is the limitations placed by the characters…for instance three sisters…it’s hard (though not impossible) to have something suspenseful happen to each one.

Jan: You’ve consistently had two or three novels published a year. Do you have any trouble adjusting to the different voice, pace and tone when you switch from historicals to contemporary? Which genre is more challenging to write?

Kat: I write two books a year. Sometimes the publisher stockpiles them and puts out three in a year but really I write two. That is about as fast as I can work. I really enjoy switching from modern to historical because I believe it keeps me fresh. I am getting ready to write 3 historicals in a row, which I would rather not do, but it will make it easier to stay in the time and keep the characters straight, since they are 3 brothers. I think each of the categories are equally challenging, just in different ways.

Jan: What’s next up for you? Any pearls of wisdom you’d care to share about writing?

Kat: As I said, I’m getting ready to start a new historical trilogy—the bride series, about 3 brothers and the women they marry. In the meantime, the last book in my Heart trilogy will be out end of December, then the last book in my contemporary paranormal series is out in July of next year. So I am BUSY!

Pearls of wisdom…? I guess my best advice would be to persevere. Writing is a tremendously difficult business. The task is daunting in itself, and then there are editors and publishers to deal with, and distribution issues. The only way to make it is to put your head down and just keep working—and try not to let the bad times overshadow the good.
Best of luck to all! Kat

Jan: Thanks for stopping by Writeminded, Kat!

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