Friday, May 13, 2011

Today's Special -- An Interview with Kate Noble

I am thrilled to host historical romance author Kate Noble today! I fell in love with Kate's writing when I read (and reviewed) The Summer of You last year. I was blown away by her talent, so it was no surprise that The Summer of You was one of my Top Picks for 2010. Her newest, Follow My Lead, will surely make my Top Picks list for 2011 as I loved it, too. (Read Andrea's review here.) Kate says she started seriously writing romances when she found herself in a job that did not fulfill her ambitions creatively or sustain her financially. So, to keep herself amused, and out of debt (because writing is free), she started working on what became Compromised (which released in March of 2008). Her next book, Revealed, was a 2010 RITA nominee. Kate was gracious enough to answer my many questions, so please help me welcome her to The Romance Dish!


Andrea: Hi, Kate! We are so excited that you are visiting with us at The Romance Dish today! :) Thanks so much for being here.

Kate: Thank you so much for having me!

Andrea: So, you have a new book out—Follow My Lead—which I absolutely adore as you can tell by my review. Can you tell us a little about this story?

Kate: I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. I loved getting the chance to tell Jason’s (Jane’s brother from The Summer of You) story. He’s matured a bit since that book, and finally gained admission to the Historical Society. Meanwhile, someone else is seeking admission to the all-male society –Winnifred Crane, who wants recognition for the anonymous academic papers she’s authored. To get into the society, she offers an unusual bargain – if she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she’s in. But the proof is all the way across Europe.

Jason is tasked by the Society president with taking her to Dover. But when he sees her getting on the wrong ship, he finds himself trapped and stuck on this journey with Winn on her mad quest.

Andrea: And oh, what a mad quest it is! In The Summer of You, Jason was a bit wild and irresponsible and far from being a hero (though, I definitely saw the potential). Did you always plan to write his story?

Kate: About halfway through writing The Summer of You I realized Jason’s hero potential. But in that book, he’s still a little immature, fitting into his role as annoying brother with aplomb. So I knew for his story I would have to give him a little more gravitas. Therefore, the book is set 5 years after the events of The Summer of You, and Jason has come into his title of Duke. But since he’s been forced into (grudgingly) accepting all of the responsibilities inherent therein, he really misses having the occasional adventure.

Andrea: This book has so many great scenes—when Jason and Winn first meet, when they make a significant discovery, and of course, the ending. *sigh* Which one scene would you NEVER cut?

Kate: Oh golly, that’s difficult. Every scene serves a purpose, so plot-wise, I can’t think of one I’d let go of. But I think the scene that’s at the heart and soul of the book is the bonfire scene. This is where Winn and Jason reveal to each other the most about themselves, about who they are, and who they wish to be.

Andrea: I love that scene, too! And you're so right--they learn so much about the other. There is a lot of art history and historical facts in this book. How much research did you do?

Kate: I did more research on this book than on any previous story. Not just the life and times of Albrecht Durer, but the German Renaissance in general, the topography of the Germanic provinces, travel in the Regency Era, etc. I even ordered some lovely books about Bavarian villages, but was more than a little surprised when it turned out they were in German! Research was vital to this story, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Andrea: I'm happy with how it turned out, too. *g* Jason and Winn do a great deal of traveling through Germany and Austria. Have you ever been to either place?

Kate: I have actually. I visited Austria when I was 17, on tour with my high school choir (not kidding). I remember practicing my languages while ordering at a McDonald’s in Stephansplatz, and getting seasick on a boat tour of the Danube.

Later, my sister was stationed for three years on an Army base in rural Bavaria. I visited her often, and based the village Winn and Jason spend a night in on the village she lived in. In fact, I arrived from a transatlantic flight once during a village festival and parade. I had no idea what was going on, what with the jetlag and all. Later, I put that scene in to the book (minus the jetlag, of course).

Andrea: Oh, wow! How neat that you went with your choir group. I bet that was an unforgettable trip. Well, you know I love the book, but I also have to say that I love the trailer for Follow My Lead. How creative! Who did the illustrations?

Kate: I love my trailer. I came up with the idea because I adore the illustrations of Edwardian artist Charles Brock. He illustrated numerous classic works for reprints as pocket novels (Pride and Prejudice is one of his best known). And I convinced a friend of mine who is a fantastic artist (and a damn good writer to boot), Kari Drake, to draw the pictures while I filmed her. They were, obviously sped up in editing.

Andrea: Which comes first for you—the characters or the story?

Kate: The characters, absolutely. But they never come fully formed. The story, the plot is what forces them to become fully realized, whole individuals.

Andrea: Speaking of characters, which of your heroines is most like you and why?

Kate: Oh wow. Well, they say writers really put themselves into their first work, and for me, at least, its very true. I am probably most like Gail from Compromised. Or at least, at one point in my life I was.

Andrea: I have Compromised in my TBR pile and need to read it asap! “Friends to lovers” and “enemies to lovers” are two of my favorite themes in romance. What are your favorites?

Kate: I adore the “friends to lovers” trope, because it’s the most fun to watch. I also love the “long lost loves” theme. When the characters have the overcome their mutual pasts to find happiness together. (To whit, Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel.)

And of course, I adore the Road Trip Romance (*cough* Follow My Lead *cough*)

Andrea: LOL! Hey, I would say the Road Trip Romance is one of my favorites now, too. *wink* What is your very favorite part about being a writer?

Kate: The freedom to create. The ability you have to pull ideas out of your brain put them down on paper and see if they work. It’s disheartening when they don’t but you just keep trying and trying until they do...and that is thrilling.

Andrea: I bet it is. :) It says on your newly designed (and gorgeous) website that you were led to romance novels at an early age. What was the first romance that you remember reading?

Kate: I remember all the details of the first romance novel I ever read, except, unfortunately, for the title or author. My cousin was visiting for a week one summer and she left behind this book. It was a kisses-only (hey, I was like 11 or 12), category-length historical romance, where the girl next door – who was impoverished but made ends meet by giving piano lessons – had, as a child, adored the boy next door. He, of course, was the heir to a great estate. But he “died” early, except he was really kidnapped by his Spanish maternal grandfather, and raised by him, his mind being poisoned against his English family. He comes back, not telling anyone who he is, and accidentally sprains the ankle of (I think he falls out of a tree on her) the girl next door. She is naturally taken by him – and the only person she’s ever been taken by before was the boy who died. Eventually, she figures out who he is, makes him come out to his father, and everything is patched up nicely.

I must have read that book ten times that summer. I can picture the cover too – she has dark hair, is wearing a light blue dress and is sitting down looking up at this guy. (If anyone has any idea what the title of this book is, let me know!)

Andrea: Ooooh, it sounds like a good book! Surely someone out there knows what it is. Kate, what is one piece of advice that you were given that you would give to aspiring authors?

Kate: Do NOT give up. Perseverance is the greatest gift any writer can have, because there are people who are going to like your work, and they are going to tell you. Critique groups, agent rejections... You just have to keep your head down and keep writing.

Andrea: That is wonderful advice. So, what hobbies/activities do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Kate: Is sleeping a hobby? In all seriousness, writing keeps me pretty busy, but when I’m not writing, I like a good movie night, and riding my bike on the beach. (It’s pink. The bike, not the beach.)

Andrea: LOL! What’s up next for you? (I’d like to see a story for a certain miss who had her heart broken, but maybe that’s just me *g*)

Kate: Well, you just may get your wish! I’m currently working hard on the next novel due out Spring 2012, which may or may not be about a certain heart-broken miss, who turns into quite the heart-breaker.

Andrea: Squeeeee! *keeping fingers crossed* Okay, it's Quick Six time!

Coffee or tea? Tea
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Heels or flats? Flats
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Comedy or drama? Drama
And the most important: milk chocolate or dark? WHY MUST I CHOOSE????

Andrea: Okay, you don't have to choose. Personally, when it comes to chocolate, I'm not picky. *g* Thanks so much for answering my questions, Kate. Now it’s your turn—is there a question you’d like to ask our readers?

Well, since we were discussing romance tropes – Follow My Lead is very obviously a road trip romance. What are your favorite romance themes? The friends-to-lovers? The Florence Nightingale? The Secret Baby? (This is pure market research – I want to know what I should write next!)

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Follow My Lead! (U.S. and Canadian residents only)

Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of critically acclaimed, deeply romantic historicals. Visit for info about Kate, her books, excerpts, contests, and more!


  1. Sorry today's post is late, everyone! Blogger has had issues and they seem to be cleared up now. Thanks for your patience!! :)

  2. Hi Kate!

    I'm breezing through on my lunch hour. So very sorry about the issues with Blogger this morning!

    Congratulations on the release of Follow My Lead! It's on my tbr and I can't wait to read it.

    I'll be back later!

  3. Kate, then you SO much for answering my many questions! You know how much I love FOLLOW MY LEAD and can't wait for your next amazing release! :)

  4. Congrats on your new release sounds really good. I love all types of romance, like to mix it up. So I am game for about anything. I know blogger has be screwed up in several places so I am glad it seems to be working now. Thanks for sharing your books with us.

  5. At last! I've been suffering from Blogger withdrawal. LOL

    Persuasion is my favorite Austen too, Kate. I even lobbied my committee to allow me to replace Emma with it on the 19th-century English fiction reading list for my comps.

    Reunion/second chance at love is my favorite romance trope, but even those I say I don't like, such as the secret baby and the love triangle, can captivate me when they are used by the right writer. This seems to be the season for great road trip romances. I've read some marvelous ones in several subgenres in the past several months. I look forward to reading Follow My Lead. I've loved your other books, especially The Summer of You.

  6. Congrats on the new release, Kate. I love revenge and amnesia stories. I also enjoy mistaken identity plots.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for another great and aawesome interview. I adore Historical Romance and,love the fact that "Follow My Lead" takes us all on a journey instead of keeping us all in London.

    By the way Kate, a question that I didn't get a chance to ask you the other night was " I've read that an Author or two are now illustrating their books with a few pics. Do you think that you would ever consider doing this with your books"? I must admit, that it would be lovely to not only read an exciting book but, to also get to enjoy some lovely eye candy at the same time.

    The type of book that I like is the kind when friends turn into lovers.

    Hope to be in with a chance to win.

  9. Congratulations Kate! Follow my Lead sounds like a great ride (no pun intended).

    In answer to your question, I like mistaken identities and love triangles the best.

    Much continued success. Can't wait to read all your books.

  10. Congrats on the new releases. Books sound great and covers are beautiful.

  11. Thanks for checking back with us, Virginia! If you pick up a copy of FOLLOW MY LEAD (and you should), enjoy it!!

  12. Hi Kate and Andrea

    Great interview Ladies
    Your books sound fantastic I do have them on my must have list and look forward to reading them.

    I do love a friends to lovers story and a Cinderella story as well although for me I love them all LOL as long as I have a HEA I am wrapped.

    Have Fun

  13. Janga, you are absolutely right--even the most unlikable romance themes can become likable if they're well-written. Thanks for checking back with us!

  14. Jane, I haven't read a good amnesia story in awhile. It might be time!

  15. Hi Kate! I am looking forward to reading Follow My Lead this summer! :)

    I would have to say that my favorite themes are friends to lovers and when the hero and heroine love each other but "duty and responsibility stand in the way". Those are always great stories. :)

  16. What an interesting question, Diane! Do you mean hand-drawn pictures (like in the trailer for FML) or actual photographs?

  17. LOL @ Anne! It is a fun ride!

  18. I hope you get the chance to read them, June. You won't be sorry!

  19. Helen, aren't Cinderella stories wonderful?! Thanks for checking back!

  20. Great choices, Trisha! I hope you enjoy FOLLOW MY LEAD!

  21. Hi Kate, can't wait to read Jason's story, and I like the different setting. Great vidio, amusing and different.

    I do like road romances, you tend to get more focus on the H/h relationship building as they have more opportunity to really get to know one another. Another favorite is marriage of convenience, and beauty/beast. Still doesn't really matter if we get into the characters and their romance.

  22. I love marriage of convenience stories. The couple may be indifferent to each other or they might dislike each other. They tension and bickering between them leads to explosive situations. I like to see how their feelings develop for one another.

    I also like second chance stories. I like to see how a couple has had to mature in order for them to be successful romantically the second time around.

    Congratulations on the new release! It looks like a lovely story.

  23. Great interview! Kate, I "discovered" you last year and am looking forward to FML. I enjoyed THE SUMMER OF YOU. It touched my heart, not only for the romance of the hero and heroine, but mainly for what the heroine's father was going through. My dad is in the beginning stages of dementia and it just touched me.

    I love the-girl-next-door type stories. You know, the hero realizes that the pesky little kid next door has grown up and is a pretty young woman. BAM! He loses his heart to her. :)

    Congrats on your new release!

  24. Pam, I love the "beauty and the beast" theme, too! Great choice!

  25. Stacie, I loooooove me some tension. I can't say enough how much I love it!

  26. Oh, another great choice, Deb! I love that theme, too, especiqlly if they're good friends. :)

  27. Hey Kate! Andrea has raved about your writing since last year. And since our tastes are so similiar, I just know I will love your stuff too. I have them in my ever growing, always leaning TBR. LOL!

    I have to say I really do love the ugly duckling story. Something about a hero seeing past the exterior of a woman and recognizing a heart full of love and loyalty.

  28. Friends-to-lovers is among my favorite themes. Secret baby is my least favorite. But if you write it, Kate, I will read it! Love your books and can't wait to read Follow My Lead.

  29. I've always enjoyed the road trip trope. One of my favorites is Jo Beverley's A Lady's Secret.
    I have to say, the covers for your books are beautiful, they convey a sense of fun to me.

  30. Hi Andrea,

    Just following up to a question you asked me in regard to my earlier question.

    No, I actually mean proper photos and not hand drawn pics. Maybe with Paul Marron or another hunk to gaze at.

    Warm wishes to you.


  31. Kate -
    I love your books and the only problem I have is waiting between releases! It seems like I've waited forever for Follow My Lead!

    My favoirte theme is rake to reformed family man! It worked for me and I just celebrated my
    41st anniversary! I love stories with a happy ending!

  32. Kate is a new author for me so would love to win. the interview was great. thanks for the giveaway. congrats on the new release and keep on writing the great books.

  33. Congratulations on your new release I can't wait to read it. I love all romance stories but especially when there is a hero and a damsel (spelling) in distress. Sorry had a brain fart there. Anyway congrats again on your newest and good luck in the future.

  34. Hard to choose just one favorite. The Beauty and The Beast is my first favorite followed by the Cinderella story line and the road trip.
    Cute idea for the trailer. I wish I could draw that well.
    I like both the cover and the story line for for FOLLOW MY LEAD. I look forward to reading it.

  35. Hi Everyone! Sorry I'm so late, I had a full day -- but thank goodness its the weekend. Andrea thank you so much for having me here.

    You all chose some wonderful tropes, that I can't believe I forgot -- cinderella, amnesia, etc. You're giving me ideas for the next couple books *grin*

  36. I do enjoy road romances. It's fun to see the hero and heroine coping with things out of their comfort zones. I think my favorite stories are the marriage of convenience romances. I like the idea of two people having no expectation of happiness and love and then finding it.

  37. Buffie--you would LOVE Kate's books. *g*

    Thanks, LSUReader! Another vote for friends to lovers!

    I agree Barbara--Kate has some of the best covers out there!

  38. Diane said: No, I actually mean proper photos and not hand drawn pics. Maybe with Paul Marron or another hunk to gaze at.

    Ooooh! Sounds good, Diane!!

  39. LOL @ Jeanne M! Yes, the wait is long, but so worth it!

    Chrisbails, I hope you'll give Kate's books a try!

    Jerriann, damels in distress make for a very heroic hero! Great choice!

  40. Enjoy it, libarypat!

    Exactly, Maureen!

    Thanks to you both for stopping by! :)

  41. Thanks again, Kate! Have a great weekend!

  42. Great interview. I like the friends to lover trope; the revenge scenario; and second chance at love theme.

  43. I do lots of reading, so there are many tropes that I like. Marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, amnesia, hate at first sight, beauty and the beast, Cinderella, damsel in distress, rescues, etc., etc.!

  44. i would love to win this book. i have not had a chance to read anything by this author yet. The interview was great and congrats on the new release.

  45. I'm reading "Compromised" right now and loving it! This is the first of Kate Noble's books that I have read and I am ashamed to admit it. I have been missing out on a fabulous author. The humor in this novel is terrific and reminiscent of Julia Quinn. Suffice to say, I am a Kate Noble fan now and will read ALL of her books. Love them!
    Connie Fischer