Wednesday, May 09, 2007

An Interview with....Kate Bridges

Growing up in rural Canada, Kate Bridges developed a love for wide-open spaces, country sunshine and the Rocky Mountains.

Prior to being a full-time writer, Kate worked for years as a pediatric intensive care nurse. She often includes medical adventure in her stories. Later, she studied architecture and interior design, landing a job as a researcher for a television design program. Booking guests from around the world and coming up with topics of interest to viewers, Kate now uses those research skills to pen her own novels.

Kate has been published since 2002. Her first Mountie novel, The Surgeon, was nominated for Best Western of the Year by Romantic Times magazine, and The Engagement was short-listed for Best Hero of the Year. Some of her novels have been honored as Top Picks on reader websites. Frontier Christmas hit the U.S.A. Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into nine languages and are sold worldwide. In Canada, her novels are being studied in over a dozen colleges in their commercial fiction writing courses.

What attracts you to your chosen time period?

Everything. The wild frontier. The beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The guts it took for men and women to leave behind everything and everyone they loved to pursue a dream and go West. Specifically, I write Canadian and American Westerns set 100-125 years ago. I’m currently writing about the Canadian Mounties. What woman can resist? He’s a man in scarlet uniform with a wide brown Stetson, galloping across the prairies, in control of the land and himself. Except he doesn’t have the control he thinks he does when the heroine comes along. Ha.

This was also a time when women started attending colleges and universities. New laws allowed them to own property. Often in my stories, the heroine is pushing against the hero’s preconceived ideas about women, as well as trying to find her place in society. There’s natural friction!

What is about the heroes from that time period that excites you?

The combination of mystery and danger that swirls about the Mounties. The North-West Mounted Police were formed in 1873. They were highly trained officers. Charming, powerful, sexy!

Klondike Doctor
What is the worst thing about being a writer?

Loneliness. Very little contact with people on a daily basis. These days when it does happen, it’s usually through email. I make a point to take classes and attend theatre groups and get out into the creative world in person. Sometimes just going to the mall for Chinese food is an energy boost, and I can people-watch.

Although many writers know they want to be a writer from an early age,
was there something in particular that made you decide to pursue your dream?

I’d always wanted to write a novel from an early age, but thought it was something only ‘old’ people did. I based this assumption from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old girl looking at photos of authors on book jackets. I was so naive. When my daughter was born, I wanted to stay home with her, so decided maybe I was ‘old’ enough to try my hand at a novel. So, the birth of my daughter was my catalyst.

How long after you first started submitting, did it take for you to have
your first book accepted?

One year. Many sleepless nights.

What is the biggest challenge you face when you are writing a book? The
beginning, middle or end?

Every book is different in that way, but the biggest challenge for me is always the outline stage. Until I get a good grasp on the characters and what it is that really grabs me and makes me want to write their love story, I’m lost. Once I find that spark that thrills me, whether it’s a scene that comes to life in my head, a crazy opening, unique plotline, or a fascinating piece of research that I build everything on, it gets easier.

When you are not writing, what do you do?

I love to travel. North America, the Caribbean, Europe. I love meeting people and taking classes. I’m into comedy—taking courses, reading books, going to Comedy Clubs. It’s something that has always fascinated me.

What are some of your favourite movies?

When I was growing up – John Wayne and Clint Eastwood Westerns. Cary Grant. Doris Day. Alfred Hitchcock. Now – Something’s Gotta Give, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Working Girl, Shirley Valentine, high-brow and low-brow comedies, James Bond, thrillers, historical epics like Gladiator.

Who are some of your favourite romance authors?

Jennifer Crusie, Stephanie Bond, Julie Garwood, Susan Wiggs, Bronwyn Williams, Linda Howard. Harlequin Historicals have a lot of fantastic authors. When I’m immersed in deadlines, I usually read something completely different to get a break -- Pierre Berton, political biographies, nonfiction magazines, CNN news, Sophie Kinsella, Maeve Binchy, John Steinbeck, Jerry Seinfeld scripts, Elmore Leonard.

What does your writing cave look like?

Nice and neat. Everything in its place. NOT! What a mess – research books, papers a foot deep on my six-foot counter. I’m typing this on an L-shaped desk with stacks of copy edits to my left, calendars, due dates, proposals I’m awaiting approval. On my right are publicity files, dictionaries, textbooks opened to history pages. There’s an interview waiting for a foreign magazine, and website photos that need to be uploaded. Oh, and did I mention my humongous stack of papers for tax time?

Can you tell us about your future books?

The next few will be set in the Yukon and Alaska. For photos of my recent research trip, check out my website


Charlene Sands said...

Hi Kate,
We share a love of old westerns. I love Clint Eastwood movies and wish they'd make more of them in the present day. I have a collection of those romantic classics with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and Cary Grant!

Kate Bridges said...

Hi Charlene,

I knew we had something in common! Clint Eastwood was great. I loved him in Space Cowboys, too. And those old romantic comedies were so funny and tame to today's standards...but great for sexual tension. Thanks for dropping by!