MamaWriters are pleased to have historical romance author Catherine Kean with us today! She’s talking about how being a mother and a writer are intricately intertwined. How she nurtured both her daughter and her writing during those early years of Mamahood, how she crossed important threshold with both, and how Dr. Seuss can foster a need for rogue knights in medieval England!
Please help us welcome Catherine Kean.
The first time my daughter proudly spoke those words—in third grade, close to five years ago—I felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment. I’d recently signed my first contract with independent publisher Medallion Press. My debut medieval romance, Dance of Desire, chosen to launch the company’s Sapphire Jewel Imprint, was being sped through production with two different, gorgeous cover designs and would reach bookstore shelves in March 2005.
Finally, after many years of writing and submitting manuscripts, I’d realized the goal I set for myself: to become a published author.
My daughter was, and still is, an integral part of this journey that continues to challenge and amaze me.
Before my daughter was born, I decided to give up my full-time job to be a stay-at-home mom; my husband supported this decision, and to this day I don’t regret it.
Along with motherhood came a craving for a creative outlet. Since I loved reading historical romances, I began writing a medieval, called A Knight’s Vengeance, a few pages at a time during her afternoon naps. After mornings making up pretend stories with stuffed animals, building houses out of blocks, and reading Dr. Seuss to her, I needed a few moments just for me—and throwing myself into my imaginary world of roguish knights and stubborn heroines was much more exciting than scrubbing floors or tidying the toys strewn across the carpet.
Day by day, I nurtured my bright-eyed baby into toddlerhood. Likewise, I honed my writing skills by joining chapters of Romance Writers of America, signing up for email loops, sharing my writing with critique partners, and entering my manuscripts—my “literary babies”—into contests. Not all of my feedback from contest judges was complimentary (this taught me how incredibly tough this business can be), but I took the criticisms I believed were valid and made my manuscripts stronger.
My first contest win was as thrilling as the moment my beaming daughter, at sixteen months old, took her first steps. I cried when I sent her off to Pre-K, then Kindergarten, and then elementary school. She kept learning, and so did I. And then, Medallion Press bought Dance of Desire.
My writing journey didn’t stop there; it jumped to a new track, just as an elementary school student moves up to middle school. Soon after my first sale, Medallion Press purchased A Knight’s Vengeance, which I’d rewritten about seven times since its original draft; with each version the story improved, as I enriched the characters of my hero and heroine and tightened pacing.
A Knight’s Vengeance became the first novel of my Knight’s Series, set in the fictional county of Moydenshire, England, in the late 12th century; the cover features well-known model C.J. Hollenbach.
A Knight’s Reward, the second book, was released in April 2008 and finaled in the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Awards.
My current release, A Knight’s Temptation, is the third novel in this adventurous and sexy series. A few weeks ago, I signed my seventh contract with Medallion Press—and I still haven’t lost the thrill of holding one of my books in my hands.
My daughter’s now in eighth grade. Long gone are the frilly pink dresses, dainty shoes, and stuffed toys. Taller than I am, she heads off to the school bus in skinny jeans, gray t-shirt, and slouchy jacket, wearing a little too much black eyeliner. But, at heart, she’s still the little girl who sat on my lap and pointed to pictures in her books while I read to her. Gifted with an incredible intellect and imagination, she sometimes reads the beginning chapters of my manuscripts and gives me her opinions. One day, we want to try writing a book together. She also helped me set up my Facebook page (“Gosh, Mom, it’s soooo easy!”) and danced in the kitchen with me when copies of the German translations of Dance of Desire and A Knight’s Vengeance arrived.
Last spring, I had the honor of being invited to her English class to talk about my writing career. Standing in front of the group of about 30 students listening with genuine fascination as I spoke about my creative process, my books, and the awards I’d won, I felt again that incredible sense of accomplishment. At one point, I looked over at my daughter.
She smiled at me, and I knew exactly what she was thinking: “My mom’s a romance writer.”
Catherine Kean’s Bio:
Catherine’s website: http://www.catherinekean.com
Blurb For A Knight’s Temptation (Knight’s Series Book 3)
Aldwin Treynarde is ordered by his lord Geoffrey de Lanceau to retrieve a stolen ruby pendant before it falls into enemy hands. If Aldwin excels in his duty, he might be awarded knighthood and even be welcomed back into the family he disgraced years ago.
Lady Leona Ransley wants only to trade the pendant for the reward and vanish. When she arranges a meeting in a seedy tavern, she never expected to face Aldwin, a childhood playmate who almost caused her death. Not recognizing Leona, and believing her to be a courtesan with information on his lord’s enemies, Aldwin takes Leona hostage and spirits her away, meaning to deliver her and the pendant to de Lanceau.
She, however, fights him at every chance. Aldwin desires his warrior captive more than any noble lady he’s ever met; when he discovers who she really is, he knows he has one last chance to protect her life. Only by resolving the past and fighting side by side can Aldwin and Leona defeat the conspirators and surrender to their greatest temptation: love.