Celebrating Seasoned Romance: Kathleen Lawless
I was delighted to be able to sit down for a chat with romance author, Kathleen Lawless, who told me her earliest memories are of wanting to be a writer. To create stories that would touch the lives of others who love to read the way she does.
She said, “I’m working on my 24th novel and it’s amazing to see the changes in traditional publishing, including e-books and the opportunities writers have to interact with their readers.” She enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and stories for young adults.
Kathleen also knows firsthand about happy endings. “Can you believe I wrote A Hard Man to Love with a hero named Steele, years before I met my own hero named Steel? His proposal to me on a remote island in the Caribbean was more romantic than anything I could have written about.”
Her books have garnered numerous awards including Romantic Times K.I.S.S., a Scarlett Letter, and a Golden Quill, along with rave reviews, such as:
“…The story is fresh…The dialogue snappy and unique.” Romance Junkies
“HIGHLY ENTERTAINING… Imagine Nancy Drew meets Sex in the City!” Roundtable Reviews
“…Lawless weaves romance, intrigue, and excitement into an impressive tapestry.”
Romance Reviews Today
“An amusing, spirited, adventurous tale.” Romantic Times
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
NAN: Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting.
KATHLEEN: Since the topic is seasoned romance, I thought I’d talk about my recent novel which is a bit of a departure for me, Fabulous at Fifty. I took the chance that I’m not the only baby boomer out there who is tired of reading about a heroine just starting her adult life and finding out who she is. Like my heroine Rachel Fontaine, women are constantly re-inventing themselves during every aspect of life. Rachel’s situation is an interesting one that I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to. I hope readers find Rachel inspiring and empowering.
NAN: What genre(s) do you write in?
KATHLEEN: I write both historical and contemporary romance, dabble in a bit of romantic suspense, enjoy pushing the envelope into “romantica” which is very sexy romance without being erotica, and have one YA out there. I’ve also written extensively for magazines including Cosmopolitan and Teen.
NAN: Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?
KATHLEEN: I have worked with a wonderful agent at Curtis Brown and been fortunate to write for HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Kensington and Harlequin. I knew traditional publishers wouldn’t be interested in a fifty year old heroine, so FABULOUS AT FIFTY is self-published, along with several of my older titles that are no longer in print.
NAN: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
KATHLEEN: Network, network, network. Join professional writing organizations, take courses and webinars, attend conferences and seminars. Writers are the most generous professionals when it comes to sharing and helping others; you will learn far more that way than from any how-to book or article.
NAN: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
KATHLEEN: To join RWA the second the group was formed. I heard about it from an agent and mistakenly thought it was something I should join after I was published. My biggest regret is not joining earlier. The group has changed a lot over the years, but back in the day it was life-changing for a lot of authors.
NAN: Is there an idea out there you wish you’d thought of?
KATHLEEN: Absolutely! I wish I had written Bridget Jones’s Diary. That story was fresh and funny and women around the world related to Bridget. Chick-lit might have had its day since, but Bridget Jones will never go out of style. Wait till the millennials discover her!
NAN: Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?
KATHLEEN: I’ve seen this with a lot of other writers and it’s something I have been very careful not to do. Balance is really important to me. To be the best writer I can be I need to exercise, to get enough sleep, to have girlfriend time, family time, ‘date time’ with my love, and most importantly ‘Me’ time. Keeping that balance is far more important than a clocking a certain number of words on the page every day, and sacrificing my health in the bargain.
NAN: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
KATHLEEN: As soon as I could put pencil to paper. Writers write, and I was always writing. Considering myself an author was a whole other matter. It was probably that magic day when I saw my first published novel in print at an RWA conference and joined the autograph party with the other “real writers.” I was no longer a “wannabe.”
What show have you recently binge-watched?
KATHLEEN: My fiancé and I recently inhaled the new season of Grace and Frankie. So refreshing to see an intelligent and brilliantly written, brilliantly acted show with the main characters well past middle age and still having a blast.
NAN: What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had?
KATHLEEN: Why Romance? I’m a born romantic who believes in Happy-Ever-After. I also believe romance novels fulfill a very real need of empowering women everywhere. They tackle topics that are often difficult, and not that long ago rarely talked about, let alone written about. Today’s romance heroine is strong and independent and capable, a great role-model for future generations. She doesn’t sacrifice herself for love, she doesn’t need a man to complete her, but with the support of her one true love is able to channel her powers for the betterment of society. Also, studies show that women who read romance novels have a far more satisfying love life.
Catch Kathleen on social media and her website and don’t forget to sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter to receive a free download of THE PLEASURE CLUB.
Fabulous at Fifty
Rachel Fontaine has it all! Or so she thinks, facing down the dragon that is the big 5-0.
Then the unimaginable happens. Her job is made redundant; her role taken over by two millennial wonderkids. Seeking solace from her boyfriend, she finds him paying much-too-much attention to a young pupil at the golf course where he is the pro. Apparently it is start-over time yet again. But Rachel is a fighter. She has her daughter. She has her friends. She deals with her mother. And her ex-husband.
In the midst of her re-invention and re-evaluation she becomes a grandmother. Forced to view herself and those around her through newly-opened eyes, she works her way through a succession of lovers, while not getting emotionally attached. Eventually, beset by laughter and tears, friends and foe, betrayal and forgiveness, Rachel lets down her safe barriers as she learns to love and accept herself and those around her. Finally she is ready for her close-up.
Rachel sat very still in the reclining chair, trying not to flinch as the doctor inserted a needle into the ‘frown muscle’ between her eyebrows. Fifty units of Botox, her 50th birthday gift to herself. Would the tiny vial of magic really live up to its promise of eternal youth?
Rachel squinted into the mirror, then leaned closer, eyebrow pencil poised for a direct hit. How unfair the way some body hair thinned while other hairs grew fast and thick in places no one wanted them. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t freak about her birthday. It was only a number. Fifty was now the new forty, or so the advertisers would have you believe. Nothing wrong with marketing. So what if she was no longer ‘the babe’, turning heads when she walked into a room. She had a great job, a wonderful daughter and a nice boyfriend, not to mention her health. So much to be grateful for. She squinted again. Were her forehead muscles frozen, as promised?
Find Fabulous at Fifty on Amazon
I love that cover, too, and the title, too. Gems do great things!
Enjoyed the interview, Kathleen. Great cover on Fabulous at Fifty. I think you’re right about romance readers wanting variety–like older heroines who are fabulous at any age!
Wow! You have accomplished many things in your writing journey.
Your new direction sounds exciting! Bravo for celebrating a woman who is re-inventing herself – and doesn’t happen to be twenty five years old. Thanks for sharing the interview.
Thanks Vanessa. My son did that cover for me.
Thank you, Sylvie. It was near and dear to my heart.
I am very lucky Jacquie. I kissed a lot of frogs along the way, but Steel is a keeper.
Appreciate you comments, Shereen.
So glad you could join us today, Kathleen!
Awesome interview, Kathleen. Loved this line:
“Today’s romance heroine is strong and independent and capable, a great role-model for future generations.”
It was great getting to learn more about your writing journey, Kathleen. Your fiancé sounds like a keeper!
Congrats on the new release, I love the cover!
Well done, Kathleeen, Sounds like a great story,
Lovely article, Kathleen and Nan!
Kathleen, the book looks very interesting – and what a great title and cover!