Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Author Wednesdays--Kate Hofman

                                      © Astine | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

My guest today is the awesome Kate Hofman!!! Welcome to For Whom The Books Toll, Kate and I'd also like to thank you for taking time from writing to answer some questions. Kate is also giving one lucky commenter their choice of an e-book from her back list.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in The Netherlands, and we moved to London, England (Chelsea) when I was 18. Some years later, I moved to Canada. I had an interesting career as P.A. to a very bright financier, and then one day I met a truly fabulous man, Arnold Hofman. We got married and were blissfully happy until his untimely death, 17 years ago. One son, Bruce. To have something to do, I did internet publicity for some writers, and Nina Bruhns said after a while that I should write. I thought she was just being nice, but apparently she meant it and kept after me. One day I sat down before a blank page on Word, and to my surprise I began to write! That is 56 books ago now, plus some short stories… Time flies when you’re doing what you love.

Share 5 fun facts about yourself.
 I’m not a fun person, trust me!
(Oh, Kate that's not true)

What was your ideal career when you were a child? (and teenager)
To become a pianist. I was fairly gifted, but you have to be exceptional to make it in that rarefied atmosphere. It is good if a person realizes that she won’t be able to be THAT good!

Tell us about a typical writing day for you.
I get up when I wake up. Sometimes that is quite late, because at times I have bouts of insomnia, and then I sleep in a bit. I make coffee and go to my PC. Answer emails, read again what I wrote yesterday, and with luck (unless my Muse is vacationing on Mars) I start to write. I am living here alone, so I don’t have to watch the clock surreptitiously to make lunch, I eat when I am hungry. Last thing at night, I print what I wrote that day.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
My first book I wrote in 3 weeks, 123 close-typed pages. I guess I had a lot of stories to tell. I also wrote longer books in the beginning, 150thou words was average, and one when I fell in love with the hero, I made myself stop at 250thou words! I’ve since reduced that to about 178thou words, but I am still undecided what to do with this tome. Now, a book takes about 2 months if I have few interruptions. And mostly they are 50-60thou words.

How long does it take to write sex scenes?
Are you kidding? They just happen! If you have to plot them and work out positions, give yourself some time to think about what you’re going to write. My opinion, if it doesn’t flow spontaneously, maybe there"s something wrong with the scene.

Where do you find writing inspiration?
Anywhere. When I’ve just finished a book, I always think I’ll take my time and start another one next month, but then ideas crowd in—sometimes they crowd in before I’m quite done with the present book!—and I have to force the new one back until the present one is finished.

Do you have a favorite writing snack?
No, I don’t eat while I write, I keep hydrated though, with orange juice (or sometimes orange juice with a slosh of Cointreau – try it! you’ll thank me!) or water. I drink coffee only first thing in the morning. Late afternoon I prefer to drink tea, and late late afternoon, a glass of wine. By that time I feel I’ve deserved it.

Do you have any writing rituals?
No. I just finish with my emails, read what I wrote yesterday and start.

Where’s your favourite place to write?
I only have one place, my PC desk is set up with that lower tray that holds a keyboard, and my screen is opposite my face. Next to it is my printer.

What’s the best way to get over writer’s block?
Thea Devine, the doyenne of erotic novels, taught me how to get past writer’s block: Play WHAT IF… Your story is stuck when he leaves her apartment, say. What if in the elevator he meets a very giving kind of girl? What if they stop the elevator between floors and have a huge clinch? What if she runs after him and says, Come back, you coward? What if… see what I mean? And something will strike a chord, Boom! And you will be over the writer’s block.

What scene for you was the hardest to write and how did you overcome that obstacle?
I have never found a scene too hard to write. I just write and if I don’t like it, I write the same scene differently. I have found certain letters of condolence hard to write. But that’s real life, not romance.

What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
 I think subconsciously we always feel that the book we have just written or are about to finish is our best book. It isnt always true, and it takes time to pick out this or that book as head and shoulders above what one usually writes. My problem with that would be that I wouldn’t want the other books to be out, if they didn’t measure up. You see what a problem that is?

How do you celebrate a new book?
Nothing much, usually the next book is already clamouring for attention. But I usually feel a book is really finished when I print a whole row of asterisks below the last phrase.
****************************** like that.

Can you tell us about your current book, Bored in Barcelona.
What made you write ‘this’ story?
I was idly toying with the idea of a young woman going on holiday and being bored with the city she finds herself in. Bored in Barcelona leapt into my tiny mind. Yes, but how to get that title into the book? Ah, wait now, if she was sufficiently fed up with her thin time in Barcelona, and wrote to the back page of her favorite magazine? And signed the letter, Bored in Barcelona. Yes, fine, but what would this bring about? Oh, justaminnit, how about the magazine owner has a friend, a stunning Spanish …um, writer. Yes, a writer. Of serious fiction. And he meets her and thinks Wow, an answer to my dreams, and then he finds that she denigrated Barcelona, which he loves….By time I had written that much, I also had to find a way of them coming together, and…. Please read Bored in Barcelona, and tell me what you think of it.

What do you think makes a good story?
Sometimes the most boring-sounding details will turn out to make a very good story. It is what you make of the bare bones. If you waited around for a good story, you would write very few books. One time all I had was an idea that the widowed mother of my heroine went to London England, and became enamoured of a 29-year old Greek tycoon. And I thought what if the girl flew to London to spend some time with her mother, and the 29-year old tycoon’s brother had had the same idea and was waiting to speak to the mother about his far too young brother? And the heroine thinks this man is the 29-year old tycoon, and lets him have it. That was all I had, and it became CIRCLE OF LOVE, an 86thousand word book that will be part of my first 3-novel bundle eBook, “LOVERS”. It’ll come out some time in August.

What’s the hardest thing about writing and how do you handle it?
I don’t find anything hard about writing. I just sit down and write.Sometimes my Muse is stubborn and will not show. Tough, then I decide to work on the book’s structure, and as I am working on that, I get an idea how to drag my Muse back by the hair.

If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
You know, I think it would be Rafael de Córdoba, my hero from Bored in Barcelona. He has everything, looks, stunning virility, and he writes those high-brow books, so his mind is of an exceptional quality. Oh yes, I would like to meet Rafael in the flesh!

If you could have dinner with 5 people, who would you choose and why?
I would definitely invite P.D. James, because I love her mystery novels featuring Adam Dalgliesh, and I admire how she parses out little bits of information about him.
And I would resurrect Luciano Pavarotti, so he could sing “Nessun Dorma” for me.
Oh, and let me not forget Vladimir Ashkenazy, who plays Chopin the way I suspect Chopin himself played his music.
And I would love to have my handsome grandson Jamie, whom I love so much. He has the bluest eyes with incredible curling lashes, and a golden voice. I will let him sing his own choice for me.
And my granddaughter, Laura, who is a joy as a person and to behold. Ink-black shining hair, a perfect complexion, green almond-shaped eyes, a beautiful mouth, and a dry sense of humour. Yes, that would round off my five special people very nicely.
(Great choices, Kate.)

If you could travel in a time machine, would go back to the past or to the future?
Definitely the future.

What does your family and friends think about your writing erotic romances?
My grandson Jamie encourages me by word and deed, reading what I write and discussing it with me. Bruce, my son, asks from time to time whether I could perhaps write mysteries, then he wouldn’t feel so embarrassed when his friends ask what his mother writes, and he has to say, sensual romance.

How important is reader feedback, good or bad, to you?
Of course I am always glad to hear from readers, but in my opinion it would be a mistake to let it influence my writing. I write as I write as I write. I write what I know, and it comes naturally. Writing what someone else thinks I should write would NOT come naturally, and I would be surprised if such books sold, because the spirit would be missing.
(An enlightening answer)

What is your greatest temptation?
Goofing off when there is opera or a piano concerto on the tv. Usually, I watch the news, but I don’t care for sitcoms, except the Golden Girls—I adore Blanche! Apart from that, I don’t watch tv, except as I said, if there is an opera or a piano concerto on, and an occasional violin concerto.

What is your greatest weakness?
Dark Lindt chocolate!

What’s the best advice you can give to an aspiring author?
Write, write, write. Don’t show your early writings to ANYone, most people are not competent to judge, and it will be quite some time before a professional can be persuaded to spend time reading the mss. of hopefuls.
I wrote for five years in seclusion, and when I had amassed 25 books in that time, a friend said I should send one in to DCL and I did, and they accepted it there and then. I was so lucky, because usually we writers don’t handle rejection well – well, who does! When you get something accepted, I hope you will be lucky and find an EDITOR, and not a Book-doctor, who will shape YOUR work to the requirements of the publisher. No way. Be protective of your own work, and don’t let others manhandle it. I would rather withdraw a book from publication than have someone else eagerly write their version of MY writing! Belleve me, if you’re any good, someone will notice you sooner or later, and let’s hope it will be sooner.
And do your research. How boring are writers who look up words in a dictionary, thinking that the foreign language is simple – not so! They are usually conjugated, and when you look up a word and write it in your text, chances are that you are using an infinitive of the verb for a conjugated form. This makes the writer look ridiculous and a bit stupid.
If you want to write about a foreign location, you can make do with research, but don’t google a little map and take a few place names at random, that is a big no-no. You have to invest some time to get the feel of the place! Then look at photos, sometimes you will find that the earth is reddish, you should mention that. See what I mean? Either write what you know, or be sure to do your in-depth research.
(Excellent advise.)

How do you relax?
Amazingly, I relax when I’m writing.

What is your favorite all time book?
PALIMPSEST by Gore Vidal.

Fun Questions

Pepsi or Coke?  
I hate fizzy soft drinks

Chips or pretzels? 

Chocolate or vanilla? 
 To eat: Dark chocolate, Vanlla ice cream.

Mountains or beach? 

Favorite color? 
 Olive Green

Favorite ice cream? 

Casual or dress up? 
I always dress nicely when I sit down to write. If casual means a worn out t-shirt and shapeless shorts, then I don’t want to know.

Early bird or night owl? 
 Night owl.

Cook outs or restaurant dinners? 
 Restaurant dinners

Cynthia Wynne writes a disenchanted email to her favorite monthly magazine, telling them how bored she is in Barcelona. When the owner of the magazine shows the email to Rafael de Cordoba, world-famous writer of serious fiction, he becomes incensed.
When Cynthia and Rafael meet, the instant flare-up of interest is quickly doused when he realizes that she is the woman who wrote disparagingly of Barcelona, which he loves and where his parents live.
Later, he softens his stance, and their interest in each other deepens, but when she tells him she is pregnant with his child, he is upset and incensed.
He had an infectious illness as a boy, and as a result was pronounce infertile.
Cynthia points out that she has never lied to him, and insists that the child she carries is his.
How can Rafael equate his trust in Cynthia with the doctor's prognosis of long ago? Will his head rule, or his heart?

Buy Links:

At a party, Bill Castellano, a mystery writer, meets Marie Boudreaux, an actress, and sparks begin to fly. He invites her to come with him to Ocean Breeze, Fl., where he introduces her to the CEO of an Advertising agency, who offers her a job in a new campaign, acting opposite famous model Jamie Christopher.
Marie and Jamie play well off each other, but Bill becomes uneasy watching their professional embraces. Confused by his feelings, he returns to Florida--for his book, he says, but is Marie deceived? Will Bill be able to come to grips with his feelings, and if he does, will Marie take him back?

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Amadeo, the Conte di Sant'Angelo, has met Heidelinde Muller, an advertising designer, on a ski trip. He wants to know this fascinating woman better. Their friendship grows despite interference from their mothers and persistent old flames.
When a trip to his villa in Tuscany ends badly, he whisks her away to the warms sands of Ocean Breeze, Florida.
Pushed to the limit by more intrusions into their private life, they enter a sham engagement. Can Amadeo persuade Heidelinde that he wants the engagement to be 'real'? Will the be able to overcome the obstacles placed in their path to happiness?

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Lover's Meeting by Kate Hofman--Hoping against hope, Andrew returns to Ocean Breeze, Florida after being gone five years, looking for the one woman he should have never let get away.

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When Cristiano discovers he is the next ruling prince of Concordia-a small principality between Italy and Austria-he is dismayed, liking his life as an art dealer in Florida. His mother tries to force him to accept, but he will not listen. His dilemma becomes more serious when he falls in love with Sophia, owner of several flourishing boutiques.. Will Cristiano change his mind once he spends some time in his new country, and will Sophia support him?
A distant cousin who covets the Concordia throne tries to drive Cristiano away by various sneaky plots. Will  he succeed or will his schemes sharpen Cristiano's determination to be a good prince to his people?

My review for Golden Heir is here.

Buy Links:

Prince Ricardo, who hides his royal birth from his friends, meets Maya at a dinner party and is intrigued by her. When she discovers he is a prince, she is dismayed, but in spite of her feelings, sparks fly. When duty demands that he return to Santa Cruz de Borbon, he invites Maya to come with him.
Several aristocratic women do their best to gain Ricardo's interest, but he wants only Maya. The courtiers object furiously to Maya, doing their best to drive a wedge between the lovers, forcing her to fly back home.
Will Ricardo return to Ocean Breeze and Maya? And even if he does, will love be enough to bridge the gap between them?

My review of Love Match is here.

Buy Links:

Born in The Netherlands, we went to live in London, England, when I was eighteen. 

BFA – Art History, Major. Interior Design, Minor.

Moved to Montreal, Canada. (I figured I might as well be paid for being fluent in French). Married Arnold Hofman, a truly fabulous man. Owned and operated an art gallery for twelve years. Widowed ten years ago. Became friends with Nina Bruhns, who urged me to write.

I did as I was told, and in the next five years I wrote two dozen books. I figured that’s what it would take to learn to write. And I was wrong!

Rose Brungard took pity on me and gave unstintingly of her own expertise, sending long teaching e-mails, which helped me a lot.

I also owe my grateful thanks to Thea Devine, who taught me to play “What If” when the writing isn’t going well.

And more recently, I have been given generous help, encouragement and advice by Jennifer Mueller, a wonderful writer, who also provided the stunning cover art for all my books published by Romance At Heart. I owe you all so much. 

Here's where you can find Kate:

Thanks again, Kate for being here today!  Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book from Kate's backlist. You have until Sunday Sept 15, midnight EST to comment.
And I hope you'll stop be next Wednesday and read all about the fabulous Cara Carnes, one of the Cabal of Hotness Authors.

1 comment:

  1. Kate has some awesome books, I hope you'll check all of them out.