Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Author Interview ~ Kate Cotoner

Due to unforseeen circumstances yesterday... and Sunday... circumstances like Blogger HATING me and not letting me do anything: Today is going to be our Author interview day. Our interviewee has been sooooo understanding and sweet as I panicked and kept sending her emails letting her know that I was trying to get her interview up... but Blogger, well, hated me. So, let’s all give a warm Menagerie welcome to Kate Cotoner!

Megan and I were traveling, and even though I'm finally home, I'm still tired, lol. Unfortunately, Megan wasn't able to join us today. And since I have no idea if Blogger is going to suddenly decide it needs to kick me off... We’ll keep it real simple today. When and why did you begin writing, Kate?

I started writing stories for my friends at high school, usually during the back of class when we were bored. A group of us used to write and swap stories around for a laugh, and then much, much later, I wondered if I could still tell a story. Turns out I could, and here I am ;)

LOL, funny how that works sometimes. How did you come up with the title?

Titles are usually pretty easy for me—though sometimes I just haven’t been able to find something that fits and so I ask my OH, who reads my stories, to decide. Most of the time I pick a motif or phrase that underpins the story arc, or it’s just something descriptive. Something simple is usually best. My two latest novellas from Torquere Press have really simple titles: Thunder, which comes from one of the I Ching trigrams and is also the personal name of one of the characters (Tian Zhen, which means ‘Heavenly Thunder’), and Hand of Glory, which sounds terrifically rude *g* but it isn’t—a Hand of Glory is the dismembered hand of a hanged man which has been turned into a candle, and one of these ghoulish items turns up in the book.

:::shudder::: Sorry, my wierd-o-meter went a little crazy there. What book are you reading now?

I’m about to start reading The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland. Her last book, Company of Liars, was set in England during the Black Death and it was a very powerful and clever novel. The Owl Killers is set about one hundred years later and deals with a pagan sect clashing with a group of nuns. I’m hoping it’ll be just as creepy and atmospheric as Company of Liars.

LOL, you like the creepy... What are your current projects?

I’m currently finishing off a novella entitled The Imperial Cat, which is a paranormal romance set in the Heian period (11th century Japan) set to be published by Torquere Press in October, and I’m also co-writing Lion of Kent with Aleksandr Voinov. That’s a novella set in 12th century England and is a prequel to one of Alex’s earlier published stories, Deliverance. Next up is another novella (I seem to be writing a lot of novellas lately!) called Coffee and Karagoz, which is set in 17th century Istanbul, and that’ll be coming out early next year. As you can see, I’m a bit of a history geek *g*

Congratulations on your upcoming release and projects! Nothing wrong with being a history geek. Do you see writing as a career?

As much as I’d like to say ‘yes’, I know my own limitations! It’s more of a hobby for me, albeit one I take very seriously. I write to share my stories with people and hopefully to entertain them. I don’t think I could cope with being as famous as Dan Brown or Stephanie Meyer—though having their kind of royalty checks would be very handy!

LOL, at least you're honest about it. :-D Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure! Here’s an excerpt from Hand of Glory.

Ethan began to scoop the books and papers from the tomb then stopped, staring at the effigy. He’d seen several tombs of similar design around England, but none that looked exactly like this. Set between two pillars close to the high altar on the south side of the church, the sepulcher had a dark wooden canopy plain of any gilt and ornamentation. Despite the sunlight, the effigy remained in shadows beneath the canopy. Rather than resting flat on top of the tomb like other effigies, this one seemed half sunken into the lid of the tomb.

“That’s Philip Fosbroke, the last but one abbot of Hepplewick. A nasty piece of work, by all accounts.” Matthew came over and took a handful of books from Ethan.

“I’ve never seen a tomb like it. The way the figure is almost rising out of the stone--or sinking into it.” Ethan couldn’t suppress a quick shiver. He looked closer at the shadowed effigy, making out a strong profile and rich garments. One hand was curled into a fist. The other was raised in a gesture of benediction, the detail rendered so finely that he could see the abbot’s ring around his middle finger.

“You’re supposed to think he’s rising from his tomb like any righteous man on the Day of Judgment,” Matt said, pulling a face. “But if even half of what I’ve heard is true, I’d rather think of him sinking back into it.”

Ethan chuckled. “That bad?”

“Worse.” Matt gave the sepulcher a neutral look, but Ethan had the impression that the priest was wary of it. He knew how Matt felt. The tomb, with its sunken effigy and shadowed canopy, seemed dark and almost sinister compared to the brightness of the rest of the church.

Matt moved away, sorting the untidy heap of hymnbooks and prayer sheets on the front pew. “Apparently, Abbot Fosbroke was corrupt and unchaste. People say he dabbled in black magic, using young girls and boys from the village for his satanic rituals. Even when he was removed from office, Fosbroke refused to leave. He took one of the monks hostage--some even say the monk was his lover--and threatened to kill him unless the bishop’s envoy tore up the letter of dismissal.”

“What happened?”

Matt smiled grimly. “Fosbroke added murder to the long list of his accomplishments. The monk’s body was discovered in the center of the cloister, the corpse arranged in the shape of a pentagram. The sight was so disturbing, the envoy sent in soldiers to capture Fosbroke. He was arrested and executed. Not even his wealth could save him. His crimes were so terrible the bishop excommunicated him. That meant he couldn’t be buried in here, despite the fact that he’d built his tomb about two years before his execution.”

Ethan glanced back at the effigy. He knew it was usual during medieval times for wealthy, powerful men to construct their tombs long before their death. “So where did they bury him?”

“That’s just it. No one knows.” Matthew handed him a neat pile of hymnbooks and prayer sheets. “Legend has it that at midnight after the execution, a hole opened in the ground and Satan flew out, grabbing Fosbroke’s body from the gallows. In the morning, no trace of the corpse was found.”

WOW, very nice set up, I'm already creeped out and have no idea what to expect, lol. How long does it take you to write a book?

I guess the answer to this one is: How long is a piece of string? *g* I can write a short story in a couple of days, it takes a couple of months for me to write a novella, and for a full-length novel… anything from four months to three years. I’ve been known to walk away from some novels for a couple of years because I couldn’t make them work, and then I came back to them with a fresh eye and bam! Finished ‘em in a matter of weeks. Sometimes it really pays to sit on a story and wait for it to be ready.

Good, another author who doesn't make me feel like a failure with their... "I got it done in two months" comments. LOL, cuz I never get anything done in two months. And now on to our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions! Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with hearts (or anything like that)?

The only odd thing I do with handwriting is curve the upright of ‘d’s over the rest of the letter. I think Spike Milligan used to do that and I loved his stuff when I was a child, so I copied him and it was one of those affectations that stuck!

LOL, funny what sticks with us sometimes. Boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs…. Or commando? Why?

Hmm, well – that depends! I was going to say boxer-briefs because I just like the lines of them and the way the cloth clings, but some of the hunks here on Menagerie Authors are wearing briefs or nothing at all and they’re a real feast for the eyes… so let’s say I’m not fussy ;)

:-D Works for me... cuz I'm not fussy either. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A dried silkworm. My brother bought some over from China one year. Apparently dried silkworms are good for warding off colds… so I ate it. Then my darling brother told me they only worked for men. Thanks, bro! It tasted like a powdery twig, except for the tail, which tasted salty. Eww.

Sounds... disgusting... only a brother could convince us of doing something like that. What is your favorite animal?

I love hamsters. Despite their tiny size, all the hamsters I’ve owned have had pretty big personalities. They have cute faces, too—and they know it! I have five hamsters at the moment and two of them are brothers, they know if they run to one side of their cage and look up in an adorable way, they’ll get flaked almonds as treats. I’m just a sucker for small, fuzzy animals.

Soooo... Rhino was your favorite character on Bolt! I loved him, he cracked me up and I wanted to snuggle him. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

I’ve found that the older I get, the more often I cry at movies. I can’t remember the last one I cried at, but I remember remaining dry-eyed throughout Ghost when I was a teenager while all my friends sobbed openly, and then I cried at the end of Terminator 2! I got a lot of stick for that, as you can imagine.

LOL, you should have told them that you have a major soft spot for seemingly unredeemable heroes... What is your favorite pizza?

A couple of years ago, I lived in New Zealand and they have a pizza chain called Hell Pizza, which make the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted. They even had dessert pizzas, which was something I hadn’t encountered before, so my favorite was called ‘Unearthly’, and had a topping of berries, banana, chocolate, and custard. It was sooooo good!

Ooohhh... sounds good! Are you a morning person or a night person?

A bit of both – sometimes I’m up at 5am and raring to go (I know, that’s sick!), while other times I really struggle to get out of bed in time for work. And some days I’m wide awake and full of energy past 11pm and other times I flake out after 7pm! I just have to be aware of what my mood’s doing and try to adjust writing time around it.

LOL, I am of the mind that it doesn't matter what time it is... I don't want to be awake. And that brings us to the end. Thank you so much for joining us here on the couch, Kate. Thank you so much for your understanding with my fight with Blogger. I hope you enjoyed yourself once we finally GOT here. :-D

Thank you, Menagerie Ladies, for this fun interview—I really enjoyed myself! And keep posting those pics of hotties—I for one very much appreciate them ;)

Kate Cotoner lives in the north of England with her OH and a demanding bonsai named Mr M. She has a fondness for Asian men tempered with a love of hunky Germanic and Mediterranean types, and manages to combine love for all three types whilst watching Formula One motorsport. She loves history, needlepoint, reading, watching brainless blockbusters and meaningful foreign films, staring at US crime shows, and baking French-style bread. She likes strong, plot-driven stories and charismatic characters set against a sweeping, romantic backdrop of history, suspense, international locations and whatever else happens to take her fancy at the time.
Website: www.katecotoner.com

Hand of Glory by Kate Cotoner

Ethan Heng has come to the little English village of Hepplewick to investigate his family heritage. A misunderstanding over some church brasses leads to lunch with Matthew Jennings, the attractive young vicar, but soon the two men are plunged into a five hundred-year-old mystery when a Hand of Glory is discovered in the walls of the local pub.

Ethan and Matt discover clues left by the Hand's original owner, Abbot Fosbroke, who was executed for satanic practices and theft. Local lore states that Fosbroke's treasure is still waiting to be found, though generations have searched for it in vain. While Matt battles with demons from his past, Ethan urges him to rebuild his life and live for the moment. Their happiness--and the good of the village community--is entangled with the mystery of Fosbroke's treasure, and only the Hand of Glory can point the way.


Kate said...

Thank you so much for having me here, Menagerie Ladies! And Kealie, you've been an absolute gem as you battled The Evil Blogger - you deserve some me-time with a couple of the hunky guys you post here so often ;)

Kealie Shay said...

LOL, Kate, you have been so understanding! Ask Megan, I was in tears. Blogger just didn't like me for some danged reason. I'm glad that we finally got you here!

And yes, I think I need some me time with my Cabana Boys... pampering is in order. :-D