Catherine Kean is one of those authors you immediately like. A writer who persevered until she saw her dreams fulfilled, Catherine is also one of the most grateful and sweetest women I’ve met.

Join me in welcoming Catherine to the blog!

Tell us how you got started as a writer. Did you always want to be an author?

Being a published author was one of my lifelong dreams. I’ve been writing since I was a child. My parents have illustrated stories of mine, tucked away in their home, that I penned when I was four or five years old. I believe one of my first “literary masterpieces” involved a family of ducks.
I have a very vivid imagination (I can’t watch horror movies for this reason) and have always loved to create my own story worlds. Tucked at the back of my filing cabinet I still have the novella I wrote when I was twelve years old, and the full length young adult time-travel novel I penned at 16. Some day, I hope to revisit these projects, because I think there are some neat elements in them, but right now, I have plenty of other story ideas to explore.

How long did it take for you to get published once you had the first book done?

Many years and lots and lots of rejection letters!

Some authors are extremely lucky and sell quickly. It took me about ten years of concentrated writing and submitting before I got “The Call” (actually, an email with a formal contract offer) from Medallion Press in the fall of 2004.

I became serious about pursuing a romance writing career after the birth of my daughter, when I gave up my day job to become a stay-at-home mom. I loved to read historical romances and decided to try writing one, since I craved a creative outlet. I wrote during my daughter’s afternoon naps.

I also joined local chapters of Romance Writers of America, signed up for email loops, shared my writing with critique partners (my critique group is going strong to this day), attended conferences, and entered my manuscripts into contests. All of these helped me hone my craft.

It was an incredibly thrilling day when I received the offer from Medallion Press for my fifth completed manuscript, my contest-winning medieval Dance of Desire. Soon after, Medallion bought a second medieval from me, A Knight’s Vengeance, which became the first book in my Knight’s Series. To date, I have sold seven books to Medallion.

Can you tell us about “the call,” when you found out you’d sold your first book?

I wasn’t entirely shocked. To be honest, I got a wonderful, squishy feeling in the pit of my stomach when the Acquiring Editor at Medallion Press requested the full manuscript. The moment felt right for a sale. I sent the full out right away, and received an offer less than a week later. I was soooo thrilled. I don’t think I can put into words that incredible sense of joy and fulfillment.

I didn’t realize it at the time of the offer, but Medallion Press chose Dance of Desire to be the launch title of the company’s Sapphire Jewel Imprint. My book was sped through production and hit bookstore shelves in March 2005, and in its first print run was published with two different, gorgeous cover designs. Medallion has since sold the foreign rights to this book to Germany and Thailand.

What’s your writing schedule like?

I try to write 750-1,000 words every day. I often write on weekends, especially if my week has been crazy and I haven’t managed to keep up with my daily word count. My husband recently bought me a Netbook and that’s been a great help since I can escape the distractions of my home office and head out to the bookstore or local coffee shop for a writing session.

I usually write in the afternoon, a couple of hours before I pick my daughter up from the bus stop. I’m not a fast writer so each novel takes me about 9 months to write, in part because I want to perfect what I’ve written before I move on to the next scene. I’m trying to break this habit and keep that rewriting/fine-tuning until the second run-through of the manuscript. Usually, I revise the whole manuscript from start to finish three times before I feel it’s solid enough to turn in to my editor.

What advice can you give aspiring writers?

The most important advice, I think, is to persevere, especially if you are an author whose manuscripts are finaling in and winning prestigious writing contests; this shows the quality of your work is “there” and it’s just a matter of your manuscript getting in the hands of the right editor.

Before I sold Dance of Desire, I came very close to giving up on my goal to become a published author. I got so discouraged by all the rejection letters. However, my family, friends, and critique partners all encouraged me to keep sending out material, and at last, I found an editor who loved my books.

What are you working on now? Can you give us a favorite line or blurb from your current work in progress?

I am about to begin writing the fifth and final book in my Knight’s Series, entitled A Knight’s Seduction. I’m looking forward to diving into this project that wraps up the plot points I’ve incorporated through the first four novels. Writing a five-book series has been a challenge at times, but I really love my cast of characters: bold, arrogant alpha male knights; willful ladies; and a truly nasty villainess.

In my spare time I’m also working on a paranormal romance set in the Middle Ages that I hope might turn into a new series.

Where can we find you on the web? (facebook, blog, website)

Excerpts from my novels can be found on my website.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any Hobbies?

I love to bake and cook. My husband is from England (he has a charming British accent!) and I really enjoy making him a traditional English roast beef dinner with Yorkshire puddings now and again. I also bake pretty decent cookies and cakes. Speaking of baking, I owe my daughter another batch of soft, chewy white chocolate chip cookies . . .

A special thanks to Catherine for stopping by!

Make sure to leave a comment and email addy. One lucky person will win a copy of A KNIGHT’S REWARD, a 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards finalist.

Winner will be announced next week.