Wecome to Holiday Bash 2010! Contestant #8:
Once upon a time, a fledgling author fell in love with historical romance novels and began to pen her own stories featuring heroes in breeches and heroines in petticoats. Kismet’s Angel was Katherine Brandon’s result. In fact, Katherine Brandon is the pseudonym for light-hearted contemporary author, Gina Ardito. Katherine/Gina lives on Long Island with her husband of more than twenty years, their two children, a bionic dog, one cat with a foot fetish and another cat affectionately known as “The Skitten.” She is one of the co-founders and current president for Dunes & Dreams, the Eastern Long Island chapter of Romance Writers of America.
Eggnog or Mimosas? Are you old enough to drink? Mimosas. And I’ve been old enough to drink three times already (once when the drinking age was 18, the following year when my state upped it to 19, and two years later, when they upped it to 21)
Are you trying to convince me not to let you in? * wink * We’re also taking pictures with Santa, did you bring a gift for him? (Maybe a new release or a pretty book cover…)
Raised by a ragtag group of tender-hearted sailors in 19th century Hyderabad, Antoinetta Manu has grown into a woman determined to sail her own course in life. But when her past and future collide with terrifying results, only one man can set her free.
American merchant Darian St. Clair has come to India to find out the truth about the death of his stepfather’s only child. What he finds is a woman he cannot live without.
Spanning two continents and two realms, Kismet’s Angel is the story of two extraordinary mortals, one determined goddess, and a destiny that only true love can fulfill…
With a sigh of disapproval, she signaled Darian to her side, near an oaken barrel filled with clear water. “Has anyone explained this to you?” Her sweeping hand encompassed the fallen men, the paper lanterns, and finally, her red-powdered self.
“Daya said this was the Hindi festival of fire,” he replied. “And Ahmed told me a charming story about a demoness burned alive. Something I must remember to tell my children one day.”
Lashes shuttered her eyes as she dipped a wooden basin into the barrel. “You have children?”
“No. No wife, no children.” Nor did he want to discuss his home life. Not when her background held more sway over the coming days. “I’d like to know more about you. Is Ahmed your only family?”
A pile of muslin rags sat near the barrel and she dipped one into her basin, and then wrung out the excess water. “Everyone you see here is family. Daya and Uthman, Ali, Nadir, Hassan.” She handed him the rag and repeated the procedure with another muslin scrap. “I have more guardians than a royal princess.”
Did she know? He bent to study her expression, but she buried her face in the muslin and began dabbing away the colored streaks.
When she finally dropped the cloth, she frowned. “You’re not cleaning your shirt. Here.”
She took the cloth from him and stepped closer. Grabbing a fistful of linen in one hand, she dabbed gently at his chest with the rag. Damp fabric separated her fingertips from his bare skin. His heart skipped and the blood sizzled in his veins. Cinnamon and vanilla surrounded him. Sweet Christ, did she have any idea the effect her nearness had?
Sounds fabulous! But no entrance yet.
You’re at the Holiday Party, surrounded by movie stars. Given a dare, you have to tell your actor/model/hero that you are a romance writer. Who is this person? How do you approach this conversation and what do you think his reaction would be? Oh by the way, he’s standing under mistletoe.
Lucky for me, I’m not shy when it comes to a dare. If I’m talking about Kismet’s Angel, I’m going to approach Brad Pitt. Of course, Angelina’s there, so I’ll probably talk to her first so she doesn’t think I’m after her man (plus, she could totally pull off my heroine). I’ll compliment them both on their latest films and segue right into, “I have to tell you, Brad, you were the inspiration for the hero in one of my books.” That’ll be enough to get Brad (or Angelina) to ask for details: what I write, what the story’s about, etc. Alas, the mistletoe would go ignored. Probably not the answer you were looking for, but I’m a professional and I’m also a married woman so I’d keep my wits about me.
You’re in a Holiday writing contest. You have to plot a book in 30 minutes. You’re given a sleigh, a reindeer and a Santa hat. What do you come up with? How do you go about this?
I’m not a plotter, so I’m coming up with a scene. I’m thinking poor, 30 year old, working-for-a-living Emma works at the local petting zoo and has to wear a Santa hat for the tourists during the holiday season. While decorating the reindeer’s stall with a life-size replica of Santa’s sleigh, the reindeer’s nose suddenly glows red and Emma is transported to Santa’s workshop where she meets Santa’s gorgeous 35 year old son, Spencer Claus. From there, I build: Emma doesn’t believe in Santa because she grew up in an orphanage where Christmas was just another day of disappointment. Spencer’s been stuck in the North Pole his whole life and…no, wait. Reverse that for more fun. Spencer’s the orphan and Emma’s Santa’s daughter. Oh, yeah. Now we’ve got something! And on and on. (And I wrote this within 20 minutes, to be fair.)
*snort* Okay. Please enter. Drinks are served by the elves in the corner.
Why do you write romance?
Because there’s no greater emotion in the world than love. And in the writing world, romance has no limitations: you can write historical romance, contemporary romance, futuristic romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, sweet romance, romantic comedy, the list goes on and on. All you need are two people involved in a relationship and a happy ending. And isn’t that what we all want out of life? A little adventure, a little laughter, a life-changing relationship, and a happy ending. What’s not to like?
Are you a plotter or pantser? What is your routine?
I’m a pantser all the way. Ideas come to me from the ether. At the beginning stage, I generally start with some small seed: a few lines of dialogue, a fun scene, a character who calls to me. From that point, I toy with concepts in my head. Since I write historical novels, I need to find the ideal place and time to set this seed. That’s when the research begins. Once I have a general idea of time, place, and character, I start writing. Each morning, I re-read where I left off the night before and ask myself, “Now what?” I answer that question with the next scene or the next bit of dialogue. And I continue this process until I reach The End. I often write my characters into situations without knowing how they’ll get away, but by keeping myself on the edge of my seat, I hope it translates onto the page for the reader in much the same way.
What characteristics do all your heroes/heroines have in all your stories?
In every book I write, whether contemporary or historical, there’s a character who’s a strong believer in justice for the weak, poor, and/or neglected. My heroes and heroines may be flawed, but they stay on the right side of the law and have a strong moral fiber. I can’t write a happily ever after for any character I don’t believe deserves it.
What are you working on right now? Currently, I’m finishing up Book II of my contemporary series for Avalon under my Gina Ardito persona while the Katherine Brandon side of me is preparing a historical novel that takes place in Eastern Europe during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia for submission.
What news would you like to share with your readers? The Kismets will definitely have a fourth book. I’m just waiting for the right story line to speak to me.
Where can readers find you?
Facebook: Katherine Brandon
List other books you have out: As Gina Ardito (sweet contemporary novels): The Bonds of Matri-money, A Little Slice of Heaven, A Run for the Money, and (coming in April 2011) Nobody’s Darling. As Katherine Brandon: Kismet’s Revenge and Kismet’s Salvation.
Will you be willing to answer questions in regards to writing and publication today? Sure!
Thank you so much for joining us at Romance Author Hotspot!
Author’s Holiday Gift: Free copy of “Kismet’s Angel” Book I of the Kismet Series (e-book or paperback in US or Canada–winner’s choice; e-book only, all other areas)
Remember to enter to win! Check out the other party rooms! See the Holiday Bash Prize List! Click Here.