Winner of Karla’s giveaway is Melissa Combrink! Congratulations, Melissa, Karla will be in touch!
I’m happy to welcome fellow Tule Publishing author Karla Kratovil to the spotlight today. From the time she read fairytales as a child, Karla Kratovil was hooked on stories that ended in Happily Ever After. Now as an author of sexy historical romance she gets to craft her own happy endings. Karla lives right on the edge of Northern Virginia’s wine country with her college sweetheart, two terrific teenagers, and two blond terriers. She is a Taurus. Like any good earth sign she loves good food, good wine, and getting her hands dirty growing things in her garden.
To keep in touch, sign up for her newsletter on her website.
N: Welcome to the blog, Karla! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Hi Nan, Thanks for having me!
I have always been a daydreamer, stories rolling around in my head. I took some creative writing classes in college, but as much as I wanted to grow up to be Joan Wilder, being an author didn’t seem like a ‘practical’ job. Many years later, when I was about to turn forty, I had a small midlife crisis moment, and I sat down to write a bucket list of things I still wanted to do in life. Writing a book was number one. And I resolved to sit down and get this long-running story in my head onto paper. I wrote my first book without telling anyone, letting the story take me where it wanted. The word count grew and grew, and I became absolutely hooked on writing!
N: What comes first—the plot or the characters?
A: For me, it’s always the characters. The story grows from the character’s goals and motivations at the beginning, and then I see what trouble I can get them into.
N: Your new series with Tule Publishing, The Maidens of Marbury begins with A Perfect Engagement, which just released May 17. That’s so exciting! What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing A Perfect Engagement?
A: Honestly, it’s that I can do this again. Every time I sit down to start a new story, I think will I be able to do this? Is it all going to come together? I have ADD, and somedays, it can be a struggle to start and finish any task. But when I finish a manuscript, I realize that I can accomplish anything I put my heart and mind into.
N: Talk to us about writing historicals. Do you research madly? Do you plot out the entire story or does it simply unfold as you write?
A: My love of history is the main reason I write historicals. I’ll read a historical tidbit, and it fires my imagination. I’m a pantser; that is, I write without plotting first, so the researching madly part takes place a bit at the beginning and also along the way. Choosing what year the book will be set often depends on what is happening in the world on a macro level that would affect the story. Is it wartime? Is it a year of a big blizzard? Then lots of things pop up as the story gets written. What kind of card games would they be playing? What did the inside of the Opera House look like in 1802? And always, word choices need to be looked up. Did you know the word ‘sexy’ wasn’t used until 1912!
But the fun research often involves clothing, even down to what undergarments were in style. In A Perfect Engagement, there is a scene where Charlotte’s mother is in a snit and ties her corset far too tightly, adversely affecting Charlotte all evening. Daniel notices her discomfort and deduces quickly what the problem is, much to Charlotte’s embarrassment. Of course, he insists on helping her out with the problem😉
N: How much of you is in your character Charlotte Grisham?
A: A little bit. For instance, Charlotte and I share a love for gardening. But really, Charlotte is most like my daughter. Charlotte is the consummate good girl, a perfectionist, and worries all the time. A lot of her anxiety stems from wanting to meet other people’s expectations. The dedication in the book is to my daughter, my worrier. It reads, ‘To Evelyn, always remember perfection is overrated.’
N: Tell me about your twins—what a cool idea to have them pull a switch! Are they modeled after any twins you know?
A: Daniel and Miles are not modeled after any twins I know. They came to be because of the heroine, Charlotte. I thought to myself, what happens if she meets a man who is ‘perfect on paper’ but actually falls in love with a man whose life is a bit messy and unorthodox. Oh, and what if he is also the identical twin of the first man?
Miles is older than Daniel by eight minutes. Therefore, he receives his father’s title of the Marquess of Hawksridge. He is very serious and stuffy and a bit of a perfectionist himself. Daniel is the opposite; he is happy to go where life takes him, which is why it isn’t so hard for Miles to convince him to take his place at the week-long party to celebrate his engagement when he needs to attend to business elsewhere.
Charlotte figures out Daniel is not his brother almost immediately, and Daniel offers to continue to keep up the farce until his brother arrives. It’s all too easy for him to pretend to be the doting fiancé when Charlotte is turning out to be the perfect girl for him.
N: Want to give us a quick sneak peek at the next book in the series? Also, what’s next after The Maidens of Marbury?
A: The next book in the series is Saving a Scoundrel. It features Charlotte’s brother Lucius and her best friend Eleanor.
The unexpected death of a friend causes Eleanor to reevaluate her life. In a rare moment of madness, she kisses the man she has been in love with half her life, her best friend’s rakehell brother. The moment of madness gives her the courage to take more chances. This spring she will finally travel to London for the social season. All she needs is to compile a list of adventures to complete. At the top of her list? Kiss Lucius Grisham again…
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: Reading! Cliché but true. I love to read all genres of romance. I’m currently on a paranormal romance kick. And here in the spring and summer, gardening.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. The idea of running away from home and living in a museum was so delicious. I probably read the book a half dozen times.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: I think I would invite Mary Wollstoncraft, Jane Austen, and Agatha Christie because you really can’t go wrong spending an evening drinking wine and chatting with writers.
To celebrate her new release, Karla would love to give one lucky reader an eBook copy of A Perfect Engagement and a $10 Amazon gift card! To enter, comment below, what was the last book you enjoyed?
A Perfect Engagement
Book 1 in The Maidens of Marbury series
When Charlotte Grisham is saved from an out-of-control carriage by a handsome gentleman, she knows fate has sent her the perfect man. The Marquis of Hawksridge is titled, handsome, and heroic — precisely the kind of gentleman her parents want for her husband. Before she knows it, she is engaged to be married. Life is perfect.
Daniel Weston can’t believe his identical twin brother is marrying a lady he barely knows. Moreover, he’s begging off his own engagement party. Daniel allows his twin to talk him into going to the week-long house party in his stead…just for a few days. They used to pretend to be each other all the time in their youth. What could possibly go wrong?
Charlotte immediately realizes her fiancé has sent in a doppelgänger, but continues the ruse so no one will realize her fiancé has all but abandoned her. Everyone sees her as perfectly behaved. But perfect girls do not share searing kisses with men who are not their betrothed. Charlotte knows her duty, but Daniel is turning out to be her real hero.