Check out this interview with author Kate Condie

Author Interview with Kate Condie

Today we’re featuring Kate Condie on the blog. I love Kate’s advice to newbie writers.

Kate Condie’s Book & Writing Process

Q: What is the title of your book?

A: A Winter’s Vow

Publication date: April 13, 2021

Q: What genre is A Winter’s Vow?

A: Clean American Historical Western Romance

Q: What inspired you to write your book, and how did you come up with the idea for it?

A: The book is set in a real town in history. It is now a ghost town and when the weather allows, visitors can take tours through the remains. My grandparents have a cabin nearby and I grew up visiting the town and reading the information boards. The fact that most intrigued me was the concept of mail-order brides. I always wondered who would agree to such a proposition! So I started creating a woman desperate enough to do so. I decided that being wanted for murder was the only acceptable reason, and Della’s plight was born.

Q: What scene was the hardest one to write and why?

A: The first time Della and Bastien meet. He’s a bit of a grump and I was toeing the line between him being frustrated with her, and him just being a jerk. It has the most edits as I read and tweaked it over and over.

Q: What are some themes and tropes that are included in your book?

A: Tropes would be: snowed-in, mail-order mishap, grumpy vs. sunshine, one bed (but clean), small town, oh man, it’s stuffed full of tropes. Themes would be: Freedom (mostly Della’s)but in some ways Bastien’s too.

She’s grown up as a woman dependent upon men. In her case, the men around her weren’t decent so she had to become a survivor. But surviving isn’t really living. So she gets a taste of living for one winter without any expectations. She just gets to live.

For him, he’s grown up wealthy and his family had certain expectations of him. He followed their path for a while, but something jars him so badly that he realizes that life is not at all what he wants for himself. He runs away to a remote corner of the world to forget his past. But denying his life is still a sort of shackle and Della really draws him out of himself.

Q: Who is the ideal reader for this book?

A: Any lover of historical romance. It has a bit of the wild west, but it also has social/class differences and dances. It’s a bit grittier than most clean romances on the market, but while it deals with a few heavier themes, it remains clean.

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Q: Plotter or pantser? Share a bit of your writing process.

A: Pantser. I’ve tried plotting and it just messes with my head. I usually start with backstory—which I don’t write into the story, just a hint or a line here and there. But it helps me to understand how my characters got where they are at the starting point. By then, I know them pretty well and I just start writing, more like narrating their lives. Sometimes I feel like they are taking me on a journey and I’m just the person with the notepad writing frantically.

Q: What does a typical writing session for you look like?

A: I try to write a bit every morning before my kids wake up. Lately, I’ve been trying to write 2000 words a day because I’ve got a manuscript I’d really like to finish, but I have edits on other books that are calling to me. This is my attempt not to get distracted.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing and publishing? How did you (do you plan to) overcome it?

A: Time. There’s just not enough of it. I have four young kids who all need me a lot of the time. I have to balance work and life. For a while, I was too into writing. Now I’m pulling back and realizing I could do a bit more work. It’s a constant shifting and reassessing of where I’m spending my time. I have to just be patient and try to be happy with this phase of life. When it’s gone, I’ll be in a new phase with its own set of obstacles.

Q: Why do you write?

A: I have stories. So many stories. I used to sit in the food court at the mall with my mom and sister and we’d people-watch and tell their stories. I see random things that stick out to me and I want to create a life out of the people who put it there. I also love the escape that literature can be and I hope my books grant others that luxury.

Writing Advice from Kate Condie

Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out?

A: Write what you want and don’t worry about publishing it. I didn’t publish until my 4th manuscript. Those first books aren’t terrible, and I may pick them up again, clean them up, and publish them. But what I loved was that I wrote for myself a few times before I worried about what the market wanted. I found joy in writing before I ever considered making money with my books.

Q: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received? How has it impacted your life?

A: You can’t edit a blank page. There are plenty of times I’ve written literal garbage words on the page just to get past a tricky spot in a manuscript. But by the end, it’s not garbage anymore and I usually have a few good ideas on how to clean up the mess I made.

Q: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Why do you think this was not good advice?

A: I don’t remember anything in particular. One thing I did do wrong was I had someone who I knew loved reading, read my first manuscript. I remember her feedback was harsh. I don’t remember if it truly was or if I was just very sensitive at that time, but I know now to ask for opinions from readers who enjoy your genre.

There is definitely some disdain in the literary world for the romance genre and for a long time after that feedback, I was ashamed to call myself a “romance” author. I would glance over it and say “Women’s Fiction with some romance.” Now I’m proud to say romance because I love it and know others do too. If someone doesn’t, I feel fine with that and I’d love to chat about what genre they do like and what they like about it.

Q: If you could go back and change one thing in your author career, what would it be and why?

A: I would have started earlier! I truly never thought I would be published. I thought I’d have manuscripts in my closet that were for my eyes only. It wasn’t until someone I respect gave me some GREAT validation that I thought I should go ahead and try for publishing.

Q: What is one writing resource that you couldn’t do without?

A: Wordhippo.com: It’s a website that helps with figuring out which word I want to use. Mostly it’s synonyms and antonyms, but I swear sometimes I get spacey and I CANNOT figure out the word I’m thinking of.

Just for Fun

Q: If you were not a writer, what would you want to be and why?

A: A bookstagrammer! I think if I had learned about the bookstagram community before I started writing, I never would have started. It’s such a great creative outlet AND you get to chat books all the time! WIN! I know most of them don’t get paid, so maybe that doesn’t really count. But I didn’t go to university for anything to do with books or writing or reading, so I already had my chance to be something else. Authoring IS my something else.

Q: What’s the one question you wish I’d asked and how would you answer it?

A: What is the very best compliment you received with regard to your writing?

I had an early reader comment on my book, “A Secret Brother’s Vow” That book deals with illegitimacy. She was an early reader and sent me a message before the book even released. She explained how her parents got married after she was born and though she is much older now, those schoolyard taunts have stuck with her.

She was even worried about reading my book! But she said that reading it “healed another layer” and thanked me for writing it. That was really cool, to think my words could help someone in that way.

Let’s Connect with Kate Condie

Q: What are you working on next?

A: A new series set ON the Oregon Trail in its heyday. A family of brothers is all heading west and they need wives.

A Winter’s Vow Kate Condie

About A Winter’s Vow

A wanted woman. A haunted man. Can a fake marriage save them both, or will their secrets tear them apart?

Della Hampton answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride in the isolated mining town of Kirwin, Wyoming. Her hasty decision turns desperate when she arrives to find her intended dead. Della is determined to do whatever it takes to remain in Kirwin and find a new name for herself. Bastien Graham is a brand-new foreman ready to prove himself.

Within days of stepping into the position, a mail-order bride is abandoned in town. Bastien, now assigned to take her down the mountain and into town, soon discovers the lady has other plans. But Bastien chose this lonely mountain for a reason and helping one woman doesn’t change the past. And for Della, a few months of kindness can’t replace a lifetime of hurt.

Can they part ways when the winter is over? Or will their lies bind them tighter than they expected? A Winter’s Vow is the first book in the Aster Ridge Ranch series. It is a clean romance and can be read as a standalone or check out A Cowboy’s Vow to continue the series.

Purchase A Winter’s Vow on Amazon

Kate Condie

About Kate Condie

Kate Condie is a speed talker from Oregon. Reading has been part of her life since childhood, where she devoured everything from mysteries, to classics, to autobiographies—and of course, romance.

At first, her writing was purely in journal format as she thought writing novels was for the lucky ones. She lives in Utah and spends her days surrounded by mountains with her favorite hunk, their four children, and her laptop.

In her free time, she reads, tries to learn a host of new instruments, binge-watches anything by BBC, or tries to keep up with Lafayette as she sings the Hamilton soundtrack.

Connect with Kate Condie on Instagram | LinkTree

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