Monday, July 27, 2009

Interview with author Kimberley Troutte

Can you share a short bio with us?

In my previous lives I have been an accountant, substitute teacher, caterer, financial analyst for a major defense contractor, aerobics instructor, real-estate broker, freelance writer, homework corrector and caregiver to all the creatures my kids/hubby/dog drag in. I live with my husband of twenty plus years, two sons, one dog and three snakes in Southern California.

Tell us about your new release Catch Me in Castile from Samhain Publishing.

This novel is a Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense.

Here is the blurb:

Seeing dead people is bad enough. Loving him could make her one of them.

When the mother of all panic attacks prompts Erin Carter’s boss to pass her over for promotion, her mind doesn’t just crack. It explodes like an egg in a microwave, shattering her career along with the company car she crashes into the office building.

The death grip she’s kept on her sanity slipping, she takes a friend’s advice and flees to Spain. There she finds comfort in the healing arms of surgeon Santiago Botello—until a fifteenth-century ghost warns her that being with Santiago is dangerous, possibly even lethal.

Santiago has his hands full protecting his sister from a dark curse and his family from a very modern-day psychotic killer. The last thing he needs added to his plate is a neurotic American. Yet something about Erin tugs at his heart so hard he wants to wrap her in his arms and never let go. No matter the risk.

Erin’s attraction to Santiago makes her the killer’s next target. Survival means she must face her greatest fear, solve an ancient murder mystery—and hang on tight to the one man she’s fallen crazy in love with.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my heart-of-hearts? Forever. But for many years I wasn’t courageous enough to call myself a writer. Not out loud anyway. I wrote poems, short-stories and dreamed big dreams, but didn’t DO anything about it. I was scared. What if I turned out to be the writing version of William Hung from American Idol She-Banging myself into infamy? How could I live with myself if my one true dream…(gasp)…failed?

Then one summer my entire life changed—I became a mom. I realized that I wanted my boys to dream big dreams too, but more than that, I wanted them to fight for those dreams. Mom needed to grow a backbone. So I threw my hat into the ring and fought hard. I went to conferences, took classes, read, read, read, wrote, learned, improved, wrote some more. It hasn’t been easy, but the journey has made me stronger and a better writer. Shoot, it’s made me a better mom, too.

How long does it take you to write a book?

CATCH ME IN CASTILE is my 20-year book. No kidding. It was my first venture into fiction and I have rewritten it more times than I can count. But again, I was learning how to say I AM A WRITER out loud. And growing a backbone. Those things take time. Plus over the twenty years the story morphed completely. I changed characters, genres (I thought it was a straight Historical when I first started it, silly me), POVs, tenses, dialogue, settings, um, did I leave anything out?

I wrote SOUL STEALER in less than a year.

What do you want to know about the future?

Nothing. I like to keep the future a mystery. If I had even a glimpse of what’s to come, I might do something stupid—take a wrong turn, stumble, jump when I should wait, sit down when I should leap—and the whole future would be down the toilet. No way. I trust that I will be where I am supposed to be in the next five years, ten, twenty, and that I’ll be writing.

Are experiences in your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well, SOUL STEALER is about the bargain a young woman makes with Death. I am a healthy person, but who hasn’t pondered what they’d trade to live longer?

CATCH ME IN CASTILE is not based on anyone I know, but it features a woman with Anxiety Disorder who worries she is truly losing her mind. Again, who hasn’t worried about losing their minds? Wait…just me?

Both of these stories come from the “what-if” side of my brain. What if you met Death face-to-face and he was unbelievably H-O-T?

What if you thought you were losing your mind and then you started seeing a 15th Century ghost from Queen Isabella’s Court in Spain? What if the only person who could help you was a Spanish doctor who didn’t believe you? Oh, and he was H-O-T.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I am a race-to-get-it-down as quickly as I can first-drafter. Then I go back and weave in more details. Again and again. I do several drafts and change lost of stuff before it’s done. I’m starting to think this isn’t the greatest approach in the world. But then again, it is thrilling. It’s like jumping on a runaway train. I generally know where the train is going, but sometimes it jumps the track and heads in a completely different direction.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

To dig deep, get to know my characters really well, then trust them. While I was writing CATCH ME I came to a screeching halt about 85% through. I couldn’t figure out why. I did some free-writing, letting the characters talk to one another and suddenly realized that one of them had a secret. She’d done something really, really horrible that I didn’t know about. (Okay, I know, looney bin time, right? Now you understand the worried about losing my mind thing.) This new piece of information became the turning point that drove the story.

What is planned for your writing in the future?

I am working on a sequel to CATCH ME IN CASTILE plus a children’s fiction novel, or three.

Do you have support from your friends and family? Or do you write in the closet?

I used to write in the closet (see answer to #3), but my family has always supported me. My sons are my beta readers for the children’s fiction. My husband doesn’t read romance (he’s a real man’s-man I tell ya), but he has always supported me, lifted me back up when the inevitable rejections flattened me, and has now read his first romance—SOUL STEALER.

Not everyone understands what a writer goes through, but my friends have always been there for me, never doubting, always getting my back.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep going. You will never get there if you quit. Newbie writers get published all the time, why not you? BUT…there’s always a but and here comes mine…you have to do your part. Read, read, read. Learn what works and why. Take classes. Join writer’s groups. But most of all write. Practice makes perfect, or at least, better. Understand that the first book you sell might be the third one you write. It’s the practice makes better thing. And don’t give up. Rejections cut like a knife so slather on the healing balm of family and friends—those people who have faith in you and encourage you to keep going. The best advice of all: Don’t forget WHY you write. Look deep into yourself and figure out what it is that makes you want to do this crazy head banging against the wall. What’s in it for YOU? For me, it’s pure joy. When those characters come to life, beat all the odds, find everlasting love AND tell me stuff I didn’t now? Man, it’s my dark-chocolate bliss. I eat that stuff up.

What is the best way for readers to contact you?

My website, or blog or email

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you so much for having me here and for reading. If you spend some of your hard earned time and money on my books, please drop me a line. I adore hearing from readers. It’s the whipped cream on my dark-chocolate bliss.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I sneak in as much writing as possible when my sons are at school or during the late-late hours. I print my newly written chapters out and read them while I’m on the elliptical machine at the YMCA (while trying not to fall off), or at the park where my boys are playing, or in the car while I’m waiting for school to let out. I write every day except Sunday.

Anything you would like to comment about?

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it!

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