Author Interview: Kate SeRine

Hints and Insight from Kate SeRine

Here there might be spoilers – Beware! Or read all the books in the Transplanted Tales series first – that’s cool.

Red

The Better to See You

Along Came a Spider

Kate SeRine Our first question should be about world building. There’s something…Harry Potter about the Transplanted Tales, in that their world exists in our current world. You don’t ask us to imagine another planet or a Narnia. You don’t ask us to believe that these characters simply exist in our world, like vampires. You ask us to consider two separate worlds residing in one and then make us believe. Amazing. How did you come up with the Transplanted Tales universe?

The idea for the Transplanted Tales came to me during a conversation with my eldest son, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. The question that day: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” We went on to discuss who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on. And as we chatted, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood — all grown up and ready to knock some heads. I practically ran to my computer to get it all down. All the other details just fell into place as I began writing.

In creating your characters and interactions, you’ve used readers’ general feelings and preconceptions of fairy tale and literary characters and both built on that and tore those associations apart. Was that intentional, or just character and story flow? Did you sit down and plan, or are you more organic, like “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? A little of both?

Oh, it was totally intentional! I have a very wicked, twisted sense of humor and have a great time turning all these stories on their heads to come up with something unexpected. Some of the characters were planned—working with Little Red Riding Hood meant I’d need to bring in the Big Bad Wolf in some way, and I figured the “biggies” would have to make an appearance (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), but the actual twists on those characters often came to me as I was writing or doing research. If I was stuck on what to do with one of the characters, I would do some reading to see if anything about the origin of the story or the story itself would trigger something crazy.

Believe it or not, one of the characters I spent the most time researching was Lavender Seelie’s brother, Puck. Obviously, most people know him from Shakespeare, but Puck has a very long traditional in folklore that predates the Bard.

Red by Kate SeRineSeriously, how did you come up with Snow White as a madam? Jim “Prince” Charming as such a skeeze? And the “Willies” for the Shakespeare characters. Pure genius in a name.

LOL – You know, I don’t know if I’ve shared this with anyone yet, but Snow White’s character in the Tales was inspired by Mae West’s quote, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” And with Snow White being such a pristine, innocent character in name and deed, I couldn’t resist. Same kind of thing happened with Prince Charming. I had a lot of fun turning him into a philandering, unethical a**hole. One of my very favorite scenes in THE BETTER TO SEE YOU was in the beginning when he and Lavender square off. I still chuckle when I read it.

The Willies just sounded funny to me. Shakespeare’s plays can be rather bawdy and the double-entendre made me grin.

So, I guess, basically, I do all this just to amuse myself and hope it entertains other folks as well. 😉

How do you mix all that with such sexy romance, thrilling mystery, and suspense?

It’s funny — I didn’t start off intending to write mystery or suspense, but it kind of morphed into that as I went. I really enjoy reading plot-heavy novels and so that’s what I tend to write. As Red’s voice took on that noir feel, the mystery/suspense elements all fell into place. And, for me, romance is a must in every project. I gotta have a happily ever after.

As for weaving all those elements together? Part of it is practice. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, but I guarantee you my writing is way better now after writing numerous other novels and partial novels in the twenty-*mumble* years since then. Part of it is study. I’ve read a little bit of everything from all genres and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t and try to figure out how to incorporate certain techniques into my own work. And then part of it is just instinct. I go with my gut.

The Better To See You by Kate SeRineYou announced last week that you contracted with Kensington to write a novella continuing Tess and Nate’s story, giving us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of their relationship hinted at in the second and third books. How did the addition to their story come about?

I’d always intended to tell this story. Nate does something rather drastic at the end of RED that I knew he’d have to pay for in some way, even though his intentions were noble and just. The Fairytale Management Authority was pretty understanding, of course, considering he took out a murderer and ultimately saved lives, but those who’ve read RED and already know Nate’s secret, realize that the FMA isn’t the only authority to which Nate has to answer. And they’re less forgiving.

And a contract for the fourth book in the series – congrats! Gideon! Okay, so, bribe, blackmail, pester, chocolate, champagne, whatever it takes. We gotta know. Who is his heroine?

Hehe. Her name is Arabella Locksley, but you wouldn’t know her by that name because the storytellers got her story all wrong… 😉

Any plans for more? Puck, Mary, Snow, Cindy, what’s going on with Lavender’s parents, and the Pigg brothers? Or have different characters and stories been invading that clever mind of yours?

We’ll have to see where the series goes and if it continues. I’d certainly be open to writing more Tales under the right circumstances. I’ve planned books 5 and 6 in which Al Addin and Mary Contrary would both get their page time. And there are certainly other characters who would be coming back to visit. I don’t know that I’d do much with Snow or Cindy—they’re too much fun to use as foils for my heroines.

If I write another novella, it might be fun to do a story with Puck. He’s such an irresponsible, egotistical jerk it has really surprised me how much people like him. But he shows signs of finally growing up and being “tamed” at the end of book 2, so maybe there’s hope for him yet… 😉

All that being said, I do have other projects I’m working on, so I’d be okay with bringing out something new as well.

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRineGive us some inside info on any (or all) of the main characters–stuff that didn’t make it into the book. Thoughts, feelings, background, anything you know about them that we don’t. We love hints and insights!

Oh, wow. There’s all kinds of stuff that didn’t make it into the books. Let’s see…

Tess “Red” Little – Her father was mayor of the village where she lived in Make Believe, which made her affair with Seth even more scandalous. When Nate calls her cell phone, the ringtone is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Nate Grimm – I reveal a lot of his backstory finally in GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr he drives was won in a poker game with Nicky Blue—one of the few times he’s actually beat his closest friend at the game.

Seth Wolf – He’s a big fan of BAND OF SKULLS (he’s wearing one of their concert T-shirts in book 2) and THE BLACK KEYS. His favorite poets are John Keats and Robert Browning.

Lavender Seelie –She likes to make chocolate chip pancakes for Seth on Saturday mornings. And she’s grown very fond of washing dishes (those of you who’ve read THE BETTER TO SEE YOU will know why *wink, wink*).

Trish Muffet – She has several degrees, including an MD, from various colleges and universities, but she never uses the title “Doctor”. Once tried to dye her trademark blonde ringlets brown, but turned them green instead. It was a reeeeeeally long few hours before they reverted to their natural color.

Nicky Blue – Made his initial fortune during Prohibition and expanded his business interests from there. Owns the Tale pub, Ever Afters, but pays Bob “Old King” Cole to run it and be the “face” of the business.

And, oh, all right… I’ll give you something on Gideon. When I write about him, I’m kind of picturing Chris Hemsworth (Thor) with the longish red curly hair of Josh Knowles from the History Channel’s FULL METAL JOUSTING (might have to look this one up if you’re not a nerd like me). Yummy, right? This is such a tough gig. 😉

Thanks, Kate, for being such a good sport and for the great answers!

Evereyone else, go. Purchase and read. Go now.

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J to tha M: Fangirling on Kate SeRine

Sharing a Big Announcement from a Fave Author

kate serineM: Kate SeRine, one of our new favorite authors, had a super fun announcement this week

and we can feel pretty smug because we kind of chatted/stumbled into/guessed earlier

even though I’m just fangirl excited more than smug

J:  GIDEON!

sorry.

I was overwhelmed

M:  haha – yes!

J:  I’m jumping up and down

and I’m so so happy that we can tell people

M:  Kate SeRine is continuing her Transplanted Tales series

and Gideon is next!

J:  But seriously

for everyone to understand our excitement about Gideon,

they need to read the first three – Red, The Better To See You, and Along Came A Spider

We’ll be talking more about the new one–Spider–next week. Release date Aug 1!

M:  They need to read the first three, period

J:  Because, well, this guy–Gideon–is super hot.

She’s made him so with the least amount of words possible

which is such talent

M:  She’s kind of super talented that way

haha – there we go

on the same page again

J:  Let’s just recap the hotness, shall we?

I mean, we met Nate right away

hot

but she also introduced Seth with such few words

but we still COULD NOT WAIT to meet him in the next one

and then there were the little mentions of Nicky Blue

where he sounded so, so cute, but really steaming hot at the

same time

like a hotter Sinatra

way hotter

and I, for one, couldn’t wait to read his story, just from the few words here and there about him

M:  more like Brando

J:  How does she DO that?

oh, yes. Brando. I’m on it.

M:  I know. Each hero she writes is all swoonified

J:  but I’ve never been so excited about one

even as excited as I was about those heroes

she’s just made Gideon this AMAZING character with so few mentions.

and I already want one.

WANT.

M:  I’m like – Nate’s my favorite kind of hero. Oooh, Seth is. No wait, Nicky. Yes. Nicky. But

wait, Gideon.

She manages to hit all the buttons

all of them

and not just the hero buttons

J:  And I can’t wait to see his actual spot in the Fairy Tale lore

oh, talk buttons

then we’ll discuss his possible character

M:  She hits the heroine buttons, too. And story. And plot. And

characterization. And suspense. Fun. Mystery, worldbuilding. Cleverness.

I have so much love for her writing

just perfect escapism

J:  exactly

so

my guess on Gideon is that he’s more than he’s appeared to be so far

It would be hard to write a whole book about a peripheral character

so I’m wondering if she’s going to bust out some secret fairy tale

M:  or literary character

J:  the frog prince?

M:  or maybe the heroine is a Tale?

whatever it is, I’m looking forward to the unexpected and clever

J:  I’m sure it will be so amazing

who could the heroine be?

who’ve we met so far?

maybe Cindy gets her real Prince Charming?

M:  ooh, I did think Cindy needed a good story and turnaround

or the DA – Mary Contrary

the snarky one

there’s a story there, I think

maybe we can convince Kate to tell or give a hint

J:  I’m for that. gentle persuasion. blackmail. whatever it takes

M:  exactly. we must know so we can discuss and contemplate

and then before we get Gideon’s story, we get more of Nate and Red

Grimm Consequences – a short about the trials and tribulations that were hinted at in the last two books

like a extra little bonus to tide us over while we wait. I think that one will be released February 2014.

J:  siiiiigh

Nate

Look, I really loved Nicky and Seth

But there’s still something about Nate

and the depth of his devotion

he loved the longest

it wasn’t a “hey, she’s cute”

he loved her for years and bided his time

and that…

well, aside from the slight stalker angle

is just so effing sweet

when he told his story, I was just tied up inside

all breathless and near tears.

just unf

M:  Nate was my favorite

But Seth was sooo sexy

and I loved Nicky Blue

J:  oh yes

M:  sigh. Nicky…

J:  they’re all amazing for various reasons

M:  I have such serious sexy fun love for this series

I rec to everyone, and I haven’t heard anyone who has been disappointed

J:  I need everyone to read it

M:  Kate’s giving away a copy of one of the first three Transplanted tales novels–winner’s choice.

J:  wonder if we’re allowed to win. I wouldn’t mind something with her signature on it

M:  yes, a signed paper copy of RED and swag!

We all must enter.

J:  I WANT SWAG

Is it a rafflecopter?

M:  plus, on top of all the talented awesomeness, Kate’s a super nice person.

yes, a rafflecopter entry through the end of the week

enter, enter!

J:  you got it. I’m going to enter rtfn

brb

a Rafflecopter giveaway

photo credit: Alex Dram via photopin cc

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We Want YOUR Recs!

book recommendations from ruthie knox

© Makarand | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J:  I put out a request for geek heroes on twitter

and got responses from Ruthie Knox, Delphine Dryden, and Charlotte Stein

A little surreal

M:  I love recs, and getting some from those ladies has to be great.

J:  reading a Charlotte Stein now

I think you’d like

M:  someone rec’d her to me a while back

I looked at her Amazon author page

she has a bunch that sound good

J:  reading Power Play

geek sub

M:  Right up your alley

J:  only I’m getting the feeling the geek part is an act to draw out the Domme nature of the heroine

there is some suspension of disbelief necessary

M:  I can deal with suspension of disbelief if the story is done right

J:  everything takes place in the workplace so far

which twangs my HR strings pretty hard

M:  see, that would twang my OCD. I sure hope they clean that desk

J:  I can’t watch The Office without stressing out

so you can imagine how tough I find BDSM in the office

M:  heh

J:  But we have to discuss – at least a little – the ARC of Kate SeRine‘s Along Came a Spider. Due out Aug 1?

M: August 1, yes

J:  I mean, Nicky Blue…

M:  I loved him. Loved.

She writes a really great hero

J:  and I got this weird feeling this is the last

which makes me a little sad if true

because I want to see Gideon’s story

M:  I don’t know. I think she left Gideon pretty open for his own story

I’d like to see more about Lavender’s brother Puck, too

And Cindy needs a real Prince Charming. And Al needs a good romance. And…

J:  I hope she keeps going

M:  Oh, yes. Me, too

J:  she did mention she’s got a WIP, so at least we’ll see more from her, whatever it may be

M:  I’ve read a couple interesting ones

I did finish Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha and was caught up so I bought the second in the series, Beyond Control

I really liked that one

I’d highly recommend for those who like erotica that’s a little different and really sexy

and wowsa hot

J:  I’m about half through Beyond Shame

I kinda stopped when I got the chance to read SeRine’s ARC

:-/

M:  I know some readers are looking for erotic tales a little beyond the usual after That Book

and this is a series and writer(s) I’d definitely rec

I liked Beyond Shame, but I really liked Beyond Control

got into the characters a lot more

Looking forward to the third in the series

J:  Well, you know I loved Delphine Dryden’s books and rec Theory of Attraction

and Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster. Hero with a stutter. Be still my heart

even quiet and stuttering, she made him so sexy

unf

there’s something about her technique, too

M:  I’ll try it. I read Big Boy – Strangers on a Train from your rec, and it was good

J:  short and different

M:  I like different

J:  but the technique got me with that one. a kind of ebb and flow to the sentences

M:  got you in a good or not so much way?

J:  mostly good. sometimes I just wanted her to come right out and SAY what was going on

it was hard to imagine that kind of arrangement, for one thing

I mean, for me

M:  I enjoyed the story, but for some reason, it was more like reading, not living the characters and scenes

if that makes sense

J:  yes, it does

like, you’re in the scene, you see it happening, but you have no effing clue why

M:  I felt the connection to the characters and story, but not as deep as I thought I should

J:  because it was like watching two strangers do something a little strange

rather than BEING one of the strangers doing something a little strange

M:  well, I like strange. I’m on board with strange

J:  what did get me, though, was the hero’s attempt to fix things at the end

I like a guy that won’t give up without making it right

even if he knows he may not get his desired result

M:  I like that, too

He was really kind of odd and dislikable in his reaction to her wanting more at first

and maybe the reason came a little too late?

or maybe there should have been more hints of vulnerability? I just don’t know

J:  maybe. but I saw it as wanting to desperately cling to that double life. to avoid showing her anything that might scare her off, even if it meant letting her go. at least it was on his own terms

but then he did show that vulnerability. he did decide to let her in

to take a chance

even if it might have been too late

M:  he did. I guess I would have liked to see a little more a little earlier, been given little hints through her eyes kind of thing

but it was a very fun read. I’d definitely read more by her.

J:  all these things I’ve read lately have helped so much with my writing

**dances**

M:  I’m dancing with you – yay!

reading is good

I read a book by Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island

I’d seen her name here and there, and the ebook went on sale

I’m not a fan of survivor island books, but I liked

J:  oohhh

is this the one where she’s with her student?

I’ve seen such mixed reviews

M:  I liked. I recommend

I thought the whole story was well done

He’s in remission from leukemia, and his parents hire her to tutor him to catch up over the summer

they rent a vacation place in the Maldives, and she and TJ fly out a few days later than the family

the plane goes down, and they’re stranded on the island

Nothing happens between them until he’s almost nineteen

I had my skeptic hat on until I read, but I thought she did a good job of handling the whole situation. I believed, and you know I can be picky

J:  fair enough

M:  She actually took a bunch of my not-favorite tropes and really made them work

well written both in editing and story

very layered

what I really liked is that the story didn’t end when they got off the island (hope I’m not spoiling)

there was still a lot of developing in the characters and plot, which made the second part as interesting as the first. Maybe more

And – ugh. He makes a gesture that just about broke my heart

J:  you’re not spoiling. I need urging to read it. otherwise, it would stay on the shelf

M: read it

J:  heh. Okay.

M:  honestly, the whole book is worth the one line

she nails it

She had the first chapter of her next book at the end. She’s tackling some really difficult and different subjects, and after seeing how she handles this, her next book is going on my buy list

difficult subjects, but handled realistically in my opinion, without the overwrought drama

And speaking of which, pretty much my entire family is coming to visit this week (Stop reading this, Mom. I’m just kidding.)

J:  So you may not brb

M:  probably not

and I can’t say “laters” or you’ll slap me

so…smell ya later?

J: Just go

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Discover New Books

bad hockey romance

© Orangeline | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J: I read a book last night

I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t sleep

so on I read

it was cute

tired trope, but still cute

M: Oh, yes?

J:  I liked the hero so much I kept going

Falling for Her Fiance by Cindi Madsen

one of those BFFs turned lovers while pretending to be engaged things

M:  I’m not a huge fan of the fake marriage or engagement trope

but I am willing to overlook a lot if I like the hero

J:  he was the everyguy

and the heroine was one of those girls I couldn’t get mad at

she had her personal issues, her reasons for holding back, but they weren’t the usual madness

they were more family and financial, which was a breath of fresh air

of course, there was past-love drama

but they weren’t villains

and the hero, adorable and likeable, just kind of fell softly

hints at how he was protective of her before realizing his feelings

how he’d drop everything for her, but not in a whipped, she-demands-it way

M:  ooh, I do like that

J:  so yeah. They were very likeable

I rooted for them

and she spends most of the story thinking he’s still in love with his ex and tries to do the right thing by letting him go

because, believe it or not, his ex is actually a nice person

M:  that’s a nice change

J:  see?

there wasn’t a thing about it that made me >.<

even as used as the trope may be

M:  I can read it if it’s done well and with originality.

make me believe, you know?

J:  yes

then there was Kathryn Quick’s Ineligible Bachelor

Also another BFF turned lovers

also cute and well done

also an adorable hero

though there was some “we hate skinny bitches”

but it worked, because, well, who doesn’t believe women who go on reality shows are looking for attention?

M:  that sounds fun and different

J:  it was cute

you know me and my fluffcloud

don’t mess with it

M:  I do tend to take a blowtorch to your fluffcloud sometimes

J:  you do

M:  I read a couple this week, but there were issues – suspension of disbelief, editing, the slightly overdone/predictable/typical dramz

but they had all the feels and really swoony heroes

Listed by Noelle Adams and Translation of Love by Alice Montalvo-Tribue

I think one was 99 cents and one was free

so, worth the shot

J:  ohhhhhh, Listed. A bucket-list marriage

bucket-list books are always iffy

M:  The heroine suffers from a mysterious virus that will kill her in 3 months

hence the suspension of disbelief. it was a little convenient, but it was explained better than I’d anticipated later in the book

J: and a reformed bad boy

fully reformed or just simmering under the surface?

M:  Oh, yes, the hero – Paul – was great

and it wasn’t insta-love or sex, but nicely developed

and he was just super swoony

super rich, of course, also convenient

but the story was pretty well-written and had a lot of feels despite that

J:  did you finish Elizabeth Hunter’s new one – Blood and Sand – already?

M: Almost done. I’ll finish this afternoon

seeeexyyy

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but yeah

I really like. That was my winner of the week, hands down

J: Also, August can’t get here soon enough for the next Kate SeRine

M: Hah – so you liked the first two in the series?

J:  jeebus, yes

M:  I love her imagination

J:  seriously

I want to roll around in it

plus her heroes are delicious

utterly

M:  They are. So sexy and masculine without being all Alphaholey

J:  yes! gah

Nate in RED was just so

so

*shiver*

dangerous and dark and sweet and…

I loved Seth in the second book, but for some reason, Nate spoke to me

the whole loving from afar thing always gets me

M:  Nate was such a perfect balance of studly and vulnerable without going too far in either direction

it’s hard to hit that perfect balance in a romance hero

how we like to see men that are sensitive but still *men*

and it seems I’ve read too many lately that have been way wrong

J:  hahahaha

the sobbing hockey player?

M:  ugh

I hate to speak ill of anyone’s hard work, I really do

especially when I know other readers are enjoying it, even if I didn’t

but…yes. I had to bail when the hero is on his bedroom floor in a ball sobbing and clutching the ring he was about to give the heroine moments before The Big Misunderstanding

and the hero’s sister, because she’s mad he hasn’t called her in two months, kicks him in the gut so hard he spends the rest of the scene puking

O.O

and >.<

Who does that?

J: I know you want me to read and form my own opinions, but life’s too short

M:  Well, a lot of people really like it, and that’s cool. It just wasn’t for me. I was barely hanging on until that point, but that was my “I’m out” moment

I don’t mind some Misunderstandings, as long as they’re somewhat reasonable and believable

but when they make me throw my hands up and be all “normal people do not DO that!”

but again, I do realize a lot of the time that’s just me

I have a tendency to, you know, ask questions, listen, and talk to people before I throw a total conniption and refuse to have any contact with them for months

J:  exactly

M:  although I haven’t had a good conniption in a while.

brb