Interview with Kathleen Long!

Please welcome today’s guest, Kathleen Long! 
Kathleen wrote the fun romantic comedies Get Bunny Love and Cherry on Top for Zebra! 
She now writes fabulous books for Harlequin! 
I invited her here to tell us more about her books…
 

gbl.gifPlease tell us about your books.
It’s been four years since I got “The Call” – yesterday was my anniversary, to tell the truth.  I started out intending to write only romantic suspense, but it was a book I wrote purely for fun—Get Bunny Love—that garnered my first sale.  Since then, I’ve written an additional romantic comedy, a novella for Harlequin and ten Harlequin Intrigues.  It’s been a busy four years.

My upcoming trilogy is the first time I’ve written connected stories and I loved the process.  Revisiting my characters with each of the three Body Hunters stories for Harlequin Intrigue was a true treat for me.  The books will be released this April, May and June and center around a group of private individuals who’ve formed a secret society dedicated to finding victims and villains that society has forgotten or ignored.pid.jpg 

What inspired the series or story?
The premise for The Body Hunters came to me one summer while watching the news.  Most of my stories, as a matter of fact, are inspired by the news and a “what if” moment.  The first story, Positive I.D., centers around the search for a high school graduate who’s gone missing on a vacation to the Caribbean.  Sound familiar?  That’s right.  The seed of the idea came from the Natalee Holloway case, but I put my own spin on the story by reuniting the girl’s parents for the search—a wife who thinks her husband died years earlier, and a husband who faked his own death long ago in order to save the lives of his wife and infant daughter.
 

Which of your characters is most like you?
It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that my first heroine, Beatrice “Bunny” Love is the most like me.  While I’m no Feng Shui expert, I do crave color in my life.  I also have a tendency to get myself into the worst sort of messes, and I’ve been known to fall over tables, dislocate my back, and get my arm stuck in car windows.  Graceful, I’m not.
 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Least favorite? 
My favorite part of being a writer is the chance to create complete worlds inside my brain then bring them to life using the written word.  I love books…have always loved books…and realizing my dream of becoming an author has been an amazing experience.  And let’s face it, reporting for work every morning in my pajamas is not a bad gig. 

My least favorite part has been my loss of reading time!  Where I once devoured book after book in my spare time, I now must use that same time for plotting, planning and writing.  My TBR pile has taken over the house.

How has your real life influenced your writing?
Tough question.  For me, the real life influence on my writing is best seen in the level of emotional intensity in my stories.  The past year has been one of those years where I’ve focused simply on putting one foot in front of the other, and I do know the intense emotions of real life have slipped into my work.  My editor tells me Positive I.D. is highly emotional, and I’m proud of that.  I believe it’s my best Harlequin Intrigue to date, and I consider myself lucky to have my writing as an outlet for my thoughts, dreams, fears and feelings.
 

Is there anything you’d like to write, but haven’t?  Other genres?
I’d like to write a bigger, more emotional book, shifting into women’s fiction.  Later this spring, I’ll be working on a new project, one that’s far broader in scope than anything I’ve written before, and I couldn’t be more excited to dig in.  As much as I love writing for Harlequin Intrigue, my creative brain needs variety, and I’m looking forward to adding women’s fiction to the mix of projects on my plate.
 

Who has inspired you as a writer?
Two groups of friends and authors have influenced me and kept me sane – Writers At Play and Romance Unleashed.  Both groups include amazing women—all authors—who understand the daily challenges of juggling life, the creative facets of writing and the business/promotional necessities of this career.  
 

In addition, my first daughter, Emily Bernadette, was the initial inspiration for my writing, and the reason I got serious about my dream of becoming published.  She was a beautiful little girl who lived for five days despite all of the odds and doomsday physicians, and she taught me that anything is possible, if only we believe.  Thanks, Emily! 

What would you like to tell aspiring writers? 
Never give up!  There was one piece of advice that kept me going even when I wanted to quit.  That came from an Inside the Actor’s Studio interview with Mike Myers.  When asked why it was that he succeeded, he simply answered, “I didn’t quit.”  That one sentence stuck with me and hangs out at the back of my brain, whispering in my ear whenever I need a reminder to keep going.  Now that my daughter is a full-fledged Finding Nemo addict, I also hear Dory’s voice quite often.  “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” 
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Describe yourself in 3 words. 
Stubborn.  Free-spirited.  Tired. 

What do you like to read? 
My current reading is trending toward more serious women’s fiction—poignant, yet uplifting, as well as memoirs dealing with the topic of surviving life-altering events.  Toss in a sexy romance, a terrifying thriller and a comedic mystery, and you’ve got a snapshot of my tastes in reading.  I’m all over the place.  After all, isn’t that what makes reading such an amazing treat?  As readers, we can experience every sort of world imaginable. 

What is next for you? 
Next up for me is The Body Hunters trilogy—Positive I.D. in April, Cold Case Connection in May, and Undercover Commitment in June.  I’m counting the days until the April release of book one and I hope The Body Hunters team will resonate with readers as deeply as they have with me. 

Is there anything you’d like to ask readers?
Yes!  How do you potty train a toddler?  Just kidding.  Okay, so I’m not kidding.  If you do know the secret handshake, let me know!  Although, I’d imagine successfully navigating the world of potty-training is a lot like writing.  With a bit of practice, persistence, and determination, I’ll find my way through…I hope. 

On a more serious note, in the coming weeks, I’ll be launching a site dedicated to The Body Hunters.  What do you, as readers, want to see in a site dedicated to a series/group of characters?  More detailed character information?  A message/discussion board?  Deleted scenes?  Exclusive short stories and excerpts?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear your suggestions. 

Thanks for stopping by today to visit, and a HUGE thanks to Jennifer for inviting me to be part of her fabulous blog. 

Thanks Kathleen for that great interview! 
Best of luck with the new series and with potty training!  🙂
 

Readers, you can learn more about Kathleen and her fabulous books by visiting her newly updated site:  http://www.kathleenlong.com 

And how about answering Kathleen’s questions for readers… 

Remember, every comment left this month is an entry into the giveaway…details here!

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40 Responses to Interview with Kathleen Long!

  1. JSL says:

    Hi Kathleen & Jennifer,
    Great interview! Kathleen – I often watch the news and think “what if…” as well. As to potty training – no clue, sorry. I’m at the age where I *do not* want to be a parent, and realize that’s a good thing. I’ve got years to go. As to what I’d like to see, I’m a huge fan of excerpts and exclusive short stories. In fact, an excerpt is usually a deal maker or breaker for me. Even if I have read books by the author, if there’s no excerpt, I’ll try to get the book from a library and read it before I buy it. Of course, that’s just how I go about buying books. =)

  2. Eva S says:

    Hi there,
    thanks for the interview! Kathleen, this new series of yours seems very interesting, I haven’t read Intrique for a while but perhaps I’ve missed something!
    I like to read character information and short stories/excerpts. I want to know a little bit more about the book before I buy it .

    I’m sorry but my potty training is so long way back, with grown-up kids that I really don’t remember…Hope you find the secret handshake…

  3. Helen says:

    Great interview ladies these books sound very good and I love it when they come out back to back.
    As for potty training my children are adults now but I found bribery very helpful my Son and Daughter in law are trying to do this with my grandson at the moment we are all having fun with it.

    Helen

  4. Minna says:

    Great interview!
    Well, I like short stories and deleted scenes might be interesting.

  5. Danny says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    that was a great interview. I like site that are dedicated to characters, especially if you can find more information about the characters, or deleted scenes. Great are also short stories, which tell the readers a little bit about how the life goes on after the book. Sometimes it’s hard to let a character go after you finished a book and you want to know about him or her.

  6. brownone says:

    Hi Kathleen and Jennifer! I’d say that I love reading exclusive exerpts of upcoming books in a series. I also like to find background information on the characters and I love finding out what or who gave you inspiration for characters.

    As for the potty training, it’s all just patience! 🙂
    I had three to potty train (they are each two years apart). Thankfully my youngest will be 5 in May and that trial is behind me (no pun intended). I find that it depends on the child. Sometimes it is encouragement and sometimes it’s a treat. I know my youngest took FOREVER. I was freaking out that she would not go to preschool because she wouldn’t use the potty. But one day I explained to her that in order for her to go to school like her brother and sister, she’d have to use the potty..and she did!

  7. Fedora says:

    Hi, Kathleen! (Hi, Jennifer!) Great interview! Kathleen, I’m really excited to read about your new series–I often find suspense a bit too well… suspenseful, but I can’t wait to read yours–it sounds really good–I’m especially fond of a good reunion story!
    As for potty training, I do agree with Brownone–it does depend on the child. Our three were also very different, and our oldest was the one who took what felt like forever. The boys took more motivation whereas our daughter just got interested in trying it out and didn’t look back. Our youngest was inspired with the promise of getting to play his favorite game with his dad, so when he’d potty, he’d check, “OK, play shooting with Daddy?” meaning his beloved Link’s Crossbow Training… We’re not proud of that, but he’s using the potty now 🙂
    And for the site, excerpts and stories would definitely be appealing, as would some character info–how exciting!

  8. Amelia says:

    Great interview Kathleen and Jennifer! I’m not sure about potty training since I’m don’t have kids yet. 🙂 As for the website, I like character stories, background and excerpts.

  9. Beth R says:

    Deleted scenes sounds neet

    Potty training bribery like m & m’s worked for me good luck

  10. Jane says:

    Hi,
    I like detailed info about the characters, meaty excerpts and deleted scenes.

  11. Kath Long says:

    Whew…sorry I haven’t been able to stop over sooner than this! Mommyhood calls. Someone who shall be nameless is finally down for a nap, so I wanted to stop by to say howdy.

    Now I’m off to read your comments and see what words of wisdom you all have for me. ;o))

  12. Kath Long says:

    So, it appears that quite a few of you are women after my own heart when it comes to this whole bribery…er…I mean…potty training thing. ;o) Annie hasn’t been feeling tip top lately, so I’ve had to resort to bribery for a lot of things that used to be struggle-free. Or is this just the terrible twos? Hmm. I suppose I’ll find out. But thanks to Helen, Brownone, Fedora and Beth R for the tips…and the encouragement.

  13. Jennifer Y says:

    Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Kath! Wish I could help you on the potty training thing…I have no kids and the only ones I was around when it came time for potty training were my nephews who were a lot more difficult than my niece it seems. A reward system seemed to eventually work for them though…that and the fact that they are twins and saw it as a competition between themselves. Plus they got to pick their own “big-boy underwear” out.

    As for the site…I love litle trivia and tidbits about books, characters, etc. Interactive sites are a lot of fun.

  14. Kath Long says:

    I’m excited that you all seem enthusiastic about the idea of a site dedicated to The Body Hunters. Sounds as though excerpts are universally popular, and I have to agree. I love them. Way back when I had organizational skills, I actually posted sneak peeks on my site during the weeks leading up to a release. Maybe I’ll incorporate that into the new site as well. I’m waiting now on the cover to book two and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s as perfect as the Positive I.D. cover is. I love that cover!

    JSL, Eva and Minna — you all like the short story idea as well as the excerpt idea. Hmm…I’ll get to thinking. I do have one recurring secondary character who makes a quilt for each case. I’m thinking I could come up with something for her…or maybe a few of the other secondary characters.

    Danny — I love the idea of touching on what happens after the story ends! I got to do a teensy bit of that simply because these three books are a series, but I’d love to do more. What a great concept. Thanks!

    brownone — background info and the inspiration for each character — perfect suggestion. I’d love to do character profiles for each book, and your suggestion meshes with that. Thanks!

    Fedora — if you love reunion stories, I hope you’ll enjoy Positive I.D. The reunion is VERY emotional — and when my heroine, Maggie, first sees her husband she’s just survived a car bombing. She thinks she’s dead because she’s in his arms. And when she realizes she’s alive and so is he (Will) after 17 years…whew…let’s just say she’s a bit angry/relieved/shocked/conflicted… you name it. I miss these two characters.

    Amelia, Beth R and Jane — sounds as though deleted scenes and meaty extras would interest you all, too. Great direction and input. BIG thank yous!

  15. Kath Long says:

    Hey there, Jennifer!

    Thanks again for inviting me over today!

    Competition in potty training….hmm….wonder if I could team up with the toddler mommy down the street? We are about to get a puppy (maybe). Perhaps the dog and Annie could compete for housebreaking bragging rights??

    It’s great to hear you love interactive sites. I’m looking forward to designing this one. Hopefully I’ll have it up and running soon. I’ll keep you posted.

  16. Jennifer Y says:

    ROFL Kath…hmmm…not so sure the dog would care about the competition…LOL. And then you might have Annie going outside…LOL.

    Thanks again for being a guest! You know I luv ya!

  17. Jennifer Y says:

    Oh, and I cannot wait for the new book…the more I hear about it here the more eager I am getting to read it.

  18. Tawny Weber says:

    Kath, you are–hand down–my favorite ‘what if’ author! You have an amazing knack of taking subjects and twisting them into incredible stories.

    I’m a big fan 🙂

    btw, potty training… bribes. It worked with both my girls. We had a chart, they got stickers for successes and after so many stickers, they got rewarded. It worked!!! And hey, they are still potty trained, so I’m thrilled *g*

  19. Anna Sugden says:

    Hey Kath! Hi Jennifer!

    Smooches to Annie when she wakes up from her nap. (sorry – can’t help on the potty training. The only young ones in this house are cats and they are very good at using a littler tray).

    Hi to some familiar faces from Romance Bandits *g*. If you ladies haven’t had a chance to try Kath’s books … go out and get them now. Bunny is still one of my all-time favourite romcom’s (though Cherry comes a very close second – the pink poodle – ROFL). And her Intrigues are fab – great suspense, lots of emotion and really sexy heroes.

    I definitely can’t wait for The Body Hunters series!

    As to what to include on your website – I really like the idea of a special Body Hunters website, with extra info (personnel files?) on the characters and extra scenes or bits of info. I like to be able to find out how the characters relate to each other – especially if I’ve come to a series late. (Not that I would with yours).

  20. Maureen says:

    Thanks for another good interview.
    I found that just like everything in your child’s life they will be potty trained when they decide that it’s something they want to do.
    I like reading about the characters in a series and their background.

  21. Beth Andrews says:

    Hey, it’s my favorite Intrigue author! Thanks for the great interview, Kath and Jennifer! I can’t wiat for your Body Hunters series to come out – and I love that they’re putting the books out back-to-back…to-back 😉

    I love the idea of deleted scenes and I can’t get enough of excerpts and short stories about my favorite characters!

    As far as potty training, as brownone said, it’s all about patience! Actually, everything about raising kids is all about patience 😉 I think we did the bribe thing with M&Ms but luckily, my kids took to it easily.

    Now if only I could train them to not to talk to me when I’m on the phone *g* They’re not the least bit interested in me unless someone else is *ggg*

  22. Virginia H. says:

    I like detailed information on the characters and some short stories might be nice.

    Potty training, all children are different so you have to try a lot of different things to see what works. Sometime rewards work. Making big deals works. You just have to stay with it. I think boys are harder to train then girls. Sometimes letting little boys use the bathroom outside works, you just never no.

  23. Fedora says:

    Kath, like everyone’s said on the potty thing, patience and finding what motivates Annie will help tons. And some kids are more of a little reward each time (a sticker, an M&M…) while others want to work up to a big reward (fill this chart and then we’ll get a Cabbage Patch Kid). Other just want to be like someone–if she’s got an older friend or cousin, that might help. And she might like watching potty videos of some character she enjoys–Bear in the Big Blue House, Elmo… you name it, they’ve probably made a using-the-potty video 🙂 And everyone kept trying to remind me to relax about it–kids do sort of have their own timing about it, and if you’re pushing it too hard, they often decide to wield what power they have and refuse.

    It’s totally a “twos” thing–our youngest is a lot less agreeable these days. He can still be a sweetie pie, but not the in the same very easy-going way as he was when he was a teensy bit younger.

    BethA, if you figure out that phone thing, would you please pass along the secret–that never fails, when I’m on a call where I need to sound the least bit sane, shrieking breaks out over who knows what!! Gah!

  24. Pam P says:

    Hi Kathy, Body Hunters sound great. For a site like that, of course excerpts, and character profile pages, maybe even interviews, and pictures of who you think they look like. Deleted scenes are good, too, sometimes after reading a book, you appreciate that extra bit that had to be cut out.

  25. ThatBrunette says:

    Sorry to post so late! Okay, as for potty training a kid, it depends on the kid. It sounds like a cop out but, it’s true.

    My son was not afraid of the potty so, he got small rewards for going to the potty and larger ones for no accidents. The periods of time between accidents lengthened and his monster truck collection grew!

    You are right, it has something to do with determination. Our friend insisted that her daughter was “very intelligent and could probably potty train herself”. The toddler was determined but not to be potty trained. My friend is still upset that my son was trained before her very intelligent daughter.

    It’s hard not to run in the developmental derby when talking about potty training. Not only is it determination, it is also a bit of luck. We got lucky we found a method that worked for our child and we got lucky our child was motivated. Try something for a week, if it doesn’t work, try a new motivator or a new method.

    I’m glad you write romantic comedies. Laughter is good. I like the cover for GET BUNNY LOVE. The cover looks whimsical.

    A dedicated website is a good idea. Deleted scenes sounds good. What I like to see is information that doesn’t really fit in a book but is good to know. Pieces of information that are not integral for telling the story but gives more information on characters or places. It could be something as trivial as a character’s favorite movie or take-out place to more details about their past.

  26. Janice Lynn says:

    Hi Kathleen! (and Jennifer!) Great blog post. Cherry on Top is still my favorite of your books, but your Intrigues rock, too. 🙂 I’m super excited about your Body Hunter series. That’s such a fabulous concept!! A d you are an amazing writer!!

    I laughed when I read your description of yourself in three words–you stubborn???? Nah. 😉

    Smooches!

  27. Jana Mercy says:

    LOVE YOUR INTRIGUES!!!

    Good luck on the potty training. 🙂

  28. Stacey Kayne says:

    Hi’ya Kath!!! Sorry I’m late — your books are AMAZING! Seriously love your Intrigues…can’t put them down until I finish the book 🙂

    As for potty tips…I went for the no-stress approach *g*—we read books, watched movies and I offered treats to spark interest, but never stressed that they HAD to go on the potty–pull-ups rocked. Neither of my boys started preschool in diapers (or pull-ups) *lol* No stress mama bear 😉

  29. Cherie J says:

    If you find out the secret of potty training please share. I thought I would go nuts before I finally got our 4 year old son potty trained. I am hoping his 16 month old sister won’t be near as difficult.

    As for the site, detailed character information, eexclusive short stories and excerpts sound great to me.

  30. Kath Long says:

    Sorry I haven’t been able to pop in more often — thanks for all of the great comments! We’re headed out of town tomorrow, so today’s been the frenzy-before-the-trip day.

    Tawny — were the charts color-coded, because surely that would make ALL the difference. ;o))

    Anna — smooches on the kind words for my stories! And I love the idea of calling the character profiles personnel files…very clever. But then, we knew that about you!

    Maureen — you are so right about my little one being potty trained only when she’s good and ready. We had company over today and she announced that she had to go potty. Then she did — and she told me when she was done. Hmm…I wonder if she read my post and knew I was going public??

    Beth — lol on the favorite Intrigue author. YOU are my favorite Supers author! And you all should see the cover for Beth’s June debut. HOT, HOT, HOT! Hugs on the phone issue. Annie’s already got that trick down pat and she’s only two!

    More in a bit. ;o))

  31. Kath Long says:

    Virginia and Fedora — thanks for the potty-training encouragement. I am hoping girls are easier than boys. I’ve seen that with my friends. We’ll see if it holds true this time around.

    Pam P — love the idea of including pics that motivated me for the series. The collages for each book are still hanging over my desk in front of me as I type. ;o))

    ThatBrunette — lol on the friend’s daughter being determined NOT to be potty trained. That would fit my kid. ;o)) And I’m so glad you enjoy romantic comedies. I miss writing them. Maybe someday again… Who knows? And thanks for your great input on site ideas!

    Janice — whatever do you mean by suggesting I actually AM stubborn?? Hmm? Me?

    Jana — great to see you here! Thanks for the kind words on my Intrigues. ;o))

    Stacey — you are too cute. Thanks for stopping by. And all right…I won’t stress…much.

    Cherie — thanks for the input on site ideas and you will be the first on my list when I crack the potty-training code. ;o))

    Thanks for a fun day, everyone!!!

    OH — I must tell you that I received the cover today for Book Two — Cold Case Connection (out in May) and I LOVE IT!!

    Best wishes!!

  32. tasha t says:

    i LVOE your book ms long!!!!!!1
    thank you for the interview and thanks jenifer for doing it!!

  33. Tawny Weber says:

    Tawny — were the charts color-coded, because surely that would make ALL the difference. ;o))

    Sweetie… you must know – all my charts are color coded! I’m training a new generation, after all! (omg what a scary thought!)

  34. Kath Long says:

    Tasha T — thank you!! Hey, send me an email and I’ll get you added to my mailing list for free bookmarks and goodies. Or, if you don’t want to be on the mailing list, I’m offering free calendar magnets now that list this year’s releases. How handy. ;o))

    This offer goes for anyone. Thanks again!

  35. Kath Long says:

    Tawny — now, I’m just plain scared. LOL

  36. Good luck on the potty training. 🙂 Oh the fun.

    Loved your romantic comedies! You do humor so well.

    And your harlequin’s have had awesome covers to go with the fab stories. Looking forward to reading lots more of your work n the future.

    Lindsey

  37. Sue A. says:

    Great interview Kathleen and Jennifer! I’ve also enjoyed the comments!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  38. Ruth Chesick says:

    Looking forward to the trilogy.

    Writers really need to be tenacious and just not give up.

    So many authors had to keep hanging in there for years before succeeding.

  39. Cindi Hoppes says:

    I thought my second son would be a breeze to potty train! He had his dad and 3 year old brother as examples. It didn’t help. I was changing his diapers at three! Once, he made up his mind, though, he never slipped once…..Cindi

  40. Nathalie says:

    I am looking forward to your books 🙂

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