Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Guest Author: Kathryn Shay

I (Helen here) met Kathryn at a Superromance author party at conference a couple years ago. It was right after I'd sold and I felt as if I was crashing the party. "Who are you? And what are you doing here?" is what I expected to hear. Instead, I was welcomed with open arms by authors like Kathryn. She's been so helpful for this newbie and it's my pleasure to have her visiting today. Please welcome Kathryn Shay ...

Dear Riding With the Top Down Readers,

Thanks so much for having me blog with you today. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you.

Let me first introduce myself. I’m Kathryn Shay and I write for Harlequin Superromance and The Berkley Publishing Group. I have 23 Supers and ten Berkley Sensations published; there are over four million copies of my books in print. I write contemporary romance, sometimes with a bit of suspense thrown in. I deal mostly with everyday characters like firefighters, cops, teachers and construction workers, but occasionally I have a TV chef, a senator or a secret service agent as the hero or heroine. I like to explore social issues and I’m told my books are highly emotional, often tearjerkers, and have hints of humor.

My current release from Harlequin Superromance, A MAN SHE COULDN’T FORGET focuses on your not-so-average heroine, Clare Boneli. After a bad accident, she wakes up in the hospital with amnesia, and there seem to be two men in her life, vying for her attention and her love.One is the owner of the TV station where she has a local cooking show, and one is her best friend and illustrator of her popular cookbooks. Torn between them, it doesn’t take Clare long to figure out something’s wrong. What the reader knows, and Clare doesn’t, is that neither man wants her to remember everything that happened the night she skidded off the road. The book addresses three main themes: amnesia, friends-turned-lovers and a love triangle.

I don’t know about you but I like amnesia stories because it’s so interesting to think about not remembering anything in your past. How frightening that must be and how disconcerting when memories come back in little bits and you try to piece things together. I also liked writing about friends-turned-lovers because it’s always fun to watch characters who know each other so well discover that they’re in love too! And finally, the love triangle subplot was challenging to write. I hadn’t realized what a delicate balance this needed and how hard it would be to pull off.

A few fun facts about me as a person, in case you’re interested:
***In my life outside of writing, I was a high school teacher for three decades, teaching courses like Humanities, Science Fiction, Women in Society, as well as advanced English and working with reluctant learners. After I got published, I used to get up at four a.m. and write for a couple of hours before I went to work. (P.S. I don’t recommend that.) Thankfully, I have only one full time job now.

***I married my college sweetheart and have two grown children, 24 and 27 who I still spend a lot of time with.

***I take yoga classes, watch TV, which I was unable to do when I was teaching, I love Barak Obama (me and millions of others!), I love to read within my genre and belong to a book club to tackle works outside of romance and women’s fiction.

***I volunteer at a soup kitchen serving hungry and homeless people, and I answer the phones at a battered women’s shelter. After teaching all that time, I can’t stay home and write every day, all day.

So, that’s me and work. I’d love to chat with you anything I’ve written, or anything else.

Oh, another tidbit. Many of the recipes in A MAN SHE COULDN’T FORGET are from my Italian family. They are published on my website at

Go ahead and take a look. And if you try one, Mange!

Kathy's going to give away a copy of A MAN SHE COULDN'T FORGET or another from her backlist for one of today's commentors! And check out the trailer for her new book on her website.


Helen Brenna said...

Hey, Kathy! Thanks for coming today!

Do you find it difficult to switch between writing for two different publishing houses and single title versus series?

amy*skf said...

Kathryn, I admit I haven't read any of your books yet--but this story sounds great, I love amnesia stories too and a love triangle.

I'd like to add a question to Helen's--how much time you give yourself to write both?

Keri Ford said...

Friends to lovers are so much fun! It is interesting to watch when they FINALLY see that spark between them that everybody else has noticed for years.

Maureen said...

Hi Kathryn,
I liked your trailer, it was well done and I think it shows what a tough situation your heroine finds herself in.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Kathy!! It's me. Deb Dixon. You remember my name, right? We've met.

(Folks, that's an inside joke.)

I love love love best-friends stories. Don't know why but I always have. There is something so appealing about the character who's trying not to wear a heart on their sleeve.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Hi Kathryn,

Welcome to RWTTD. So nice to meet you. The trailer is beautifully done and makes the book all the more enticing. I haven't read anything by you in the past, but that is about to change. I've just added A Man She Couldn't Forget AND The Wrong Man for Her to my wish list.

Kylie said...

Hi Kathryn--welcome to RWTTD! Great to see you here. Your cover looks great. When is your next Berkley release?

lois greiman said...

Hey Kathryn, thanks for riding with us. Are you going to RWA this year? RT?

Liza said...

Hey Kathryn. I love your books and think I have most of them. I'll have to head over to your site to watch your book trailer.

Misty Wright said...

This story sounds Great! :) Sounds even better for this rainy day we are having today. LOL.

kathrynshay said...

Hi, everyone.
I'm sorry I didn't get here before this afternoon. Life intervenes when you least expect it. But here I am and thanks so much for your comments.

Deb, first-I do recognize you!!! LOL. For the rest of you: when I was first published, I used to see Deb at conferences and was always afraid she wouldn't remember me, so I'd say, "You probably don't remember my name." She always did, though. How are you, Deb? Oh, and she published one of my favorite category romances, BAD TO THE BONE. God, I loved that book.

So glad so many of you like my trailer and are interested in the book.

Lois, no, I'm not going to RT. I went the first year I got published, and had a ball, though. Do you attend these conferences?

Helen and Amy--writing for two presses works great for me. Both require different skills and I find each rewarding in different ways. I like the shorter category because its challenging to make them complicated and interesting in less pages. I like the longer format so I can delevop the external plot more. They're also a bit more flexible and I can write more flawed characters and grittier plots.

Amy--It takes about 3 months for a Super and 5 months for a ST, now that I'm not teaching full time.

As for my next single title work, Kylie: to my disappointment, Berkley decided not to continue the series I was writing as the numbers weren't growing enough. So now I have another firefighter proposal on my agent's desk (everybody loves those firefighters!), and I'm just finishing the book-of-my-heart manuscript that I've been working on for four years. For contracted work, I've just started a trilogy for Superromance to be out in the fall of 2010.

I'll be back in a few hours to check respones. And I'll be giving away an autographed copy of my new book or one from my backlist if available to someone who's posted.

MaryC said...

Hi, Kathryn

Really enjoy your Berkley books- it's great to find out what is happening in the lives of characters from previous books.

Big fan of your SuperRomances too. Looking forward to reading MAN SHE COULDN'T FORGET.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Kathy!
Welcome to the top down! Mega congrats on your success. You're one busy lady and it's so nice you took the time to ride with us today.

kathrynshay said...

Thanks, Cindy and MaryC. This is a cool place to be.

Estella said...

I'm looking forward to reading a Man She Couldn't Forget.
I really enjoyed your firefighter books.

D Twomey said...

Your story sounds great! I'm not sure that I've ever read a book that included recipes.... but sounds like fun! Especially Italian ones! I'll have to put your book on my list of books to buy.....

kathrynshay said...

Estelle--everybody loves those firefighers. And Twomey.
great to have a new reader.

catslady said...

I too wanted to say how much I enjoyed your trailer and your book sounds great :)

Anonymous said...

I've never read a Super before. I think it's because I, as a man, tend to stick to the actiony books and away from the lighter works.

Though, I can tell you this much, now I have seen the light and will be buying Supers and others to see what the lighter side is like.

tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about your newest release on different sites and I'm looking forward to it!

Deborah said...

Hi Kathy! I can't wait to read A Man She Couldn't Forget and check out those Italian recipes! The book is definitely on my TBR list!

robynl said...

so glad you are busy with different lines of books; I love firefighters so there you have me as a reader, lol.

Lori said...

Hi Kathryn,

Lovelovelove your books! You wrote one of my all time favorite contemporaries - Trust in Me. Absolutely one of the very few on my keeper shelf.

Thanks for all the wonderful hours of entertainment! Can't wait to read the new one.

kathrynshay said...

I'll pass along all these trailer comments to my web person.

Lou--My husband reads all my books, Supers included, so I hope you enjoy my work.

Lori--Now, that's what I like to hear. Thanks so much for the compliment. Oh, and TRUST IN ME is pretty much my favorite, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy!

I started reading your firefighters years ago and still have them on my keeper shelf.

I can't wait to read A MAN SHE COULDN'T FORGET; I too enjoy amnesia stories and I know that with your name on the cover, it'll be exceptional.

But why is there such a trend towards cooking and chefs in Romance all of a sudden? Did something noteworthy happen a couple of years ago to make so many authors decide this was the next hot occupation? I've read several in the past few months.

Enquiring minds want to know ... LOL