Cate Lord also writes as Catherine Kean and is a multi-award-winning author of historical romance. Her novels have garnered numerous accolades, including two Reviewer’s Choice Awards and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her books also finaled in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards. Lucky Girl is her first contemporary romance writing as Cate Lord.
Q: Cate, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Cate: Absolutely! I live in Central Florida and have been married 19 years to a smart, witty, lovable Brit who looks like a cross between Dr. Who actor David Tennant and Mr. Bean. And yes, my husband drives a Mini (although he’s over six feet tall!). We have a teenage daughter in High School. We also have a three-year-old male rescue kitty who believes I am his personal slave (and he’s so cute I can never say ‘no.’).
As you mentioned, Cate Lord is my contemporary pen name, and Lucky Girl is the first Chick Lit romantic comedy I’ve written using this pseudonym. I decided to use different pen names for my contemporary and historical books because they’re very different in style and tone. Readers buying a Cate Lord novel are going to get a funny, sexy, quirky romance, whereas a Catherine Kean book is dramatic, emotional, and enriched with historical detail.
Q: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Cate: I usually write in the afternoon and will work for several hours. Sometimes I write at my dining room table, with my kitty curled up snoozing in his bed beside me. Other days, I head out to a local coffee shop or Barnes & Noble and work there. I like to produce a minimum of two or three solid pages per day. I’m not a fast writer. I wish my muse wasn’t so picky about her word choices and sentencing, but she has to get them right.
I wish, too, that I could be a pantster. Some of my author friends craft excellent books without doing an outline/synopsis or character sketches ahead of time, but my creative muse doesn’t like to work that way. She’s definitely a planner. We/I usually start my books by penning a few scenes, to get an idea of who my hero and heroine are and their story goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then I work on a detailed synopsis/outline. I like to get the synopsis reasonably solid before I continue on with the novel; it helps to know where I’m headed with the story and I’ve sold books before on the partial (first three chapters and synopsis).
Q: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Cate: In my opinion, a reader is someone who picks up a book when she has free time, but that may not be every day, or it may be just for a short time before another commitment intrudes and she has to put the book aside.
A real book lover is someone who “lives” books. By that, I mean she reads voraciously, every day, and usually gets through three or more books per week. She’s likely reading more than one book at a time. Without books, her poor soul would shrivel into nothingness.
Q: What can we expect of Lucky Girl?
Cate: The book is a fast-paced, light-hearted, fun romantic comedy that’s guaranteed to make readers giggle! It’s the story of American beauty editor Jessica Devlin, recently dumped by her fiancé, who flies to England to be maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding, and the gorgeous British marketing exec she’s intensely attracted to, but believes is completely wrong for her. However, fate keeps throwing her and hottie Nick Mondinello together. She refuses to believe he could possibly be her Mr. Right. How could Sex God Nick be attracted to Plain Jane her? He wouldn’t be . . . unless she was one very lucky girl!
Q: You wrote Lucky Girl in the first person from Jessica’s POV so readers are given up close and personal insight into her life. Jessica is good fun and even though she has had a rough time in her personal life recently and has put on a few pounds she keeps her spirits up by giving herself sort of metaphorical pep talks. Can you tell us about “Chickey Dee”? lol
Cate: Oh, yes! Chicky Dee! I loved creating her. She’s the sassy female sidekick of a James-Bondish spy extraordinaire named Plucky Penguin. She and Plucky Penguin are products of my wild imagination, as is the cancelled British TV show called The Adventures of Plucky Penguin that’s mentioned in the book. Jess constantly imagines Nick as Plucky Penguin, and herself as his Chicky Dee. This adds extra humor to the story and is one of the elements that highlights their romance.
Q: Jessica made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions Cate. I found her almost a little neurotic. lolol As an example, she stays in the home of a family friend for her two week vacation. Part of the deal is that she will look after the friend’s enormous very personable cat Casanova who is only fed home cooked food. Jessica can’t cook worth a damn, here is a little snippet when she is brooding about cooking for Cass:
My shoes thudded on the carpeted steps. Cooking for a cat. Sheesh. Did Laura know I was the worst cook in the whole world? I could blend eye shadow shades like a pro, but give me a recipe, the ingredients, and ask me to end up with something edible? Forget it.
What if I couldn’t make the food the way Casanova liked? What if he lost weight and ended up at the vet? Laura might come home to find a little cat tomb in her own backyard.
Oh, God, no.
Lucky Girl ©Cate Lord
Cate: LOL Lucky Girl is full of scenes like this where Jessica envisions that the absolute worst possible scenario is going to unfold, when in fact it doesn’t but her introspective thoughts are just hilarious! The thing is, she doesn’t let her worries consume her does she?
Jess is definitely neurotic, but I intended her to be that way. I think if we can laugh at a character, sometimes that humor encourages us to take a closer look at ourselves and own reactions to situations.
Every woman has insecurities, about her weight, appearance, finances, dating, workplace politics, fashion disasters, family conflicts, and more. While Jess deals with a lot of these issues in the story, you’re absolutely right; she doesn’t let her worries consume her. I think that’s an admirable quality in her.
From the perspective of story craft, the issues Jess confronts are part of her character journey from being worry-wart with very low self-esteem (thanks to her nasty breakup with her fiancé) to a woman who’s finally happy with who she is and her place in the world. She’s “whole” again at the book’s end. And she’s finally found Mr. Right.
Q: Jessica has recently split with her fiancée Stan and through her account of their relationship the guy sounded like a narcissistic ‘fiend’ as her Aunt rightly called him. Even though readers never meet Stan we learn of him through Jessica introspection. I really felt for Jessica because Stan’s cruelty when they broke up took its toll on her confidence. Did you intend to place Stan in an antagonistic role in the story?
Cate: This is a great question! I did intend Stan to have an antagonistic role in the story. It was the only believable role for him, really, since the book is told entirely from Jess’s point of view. He hurt her pretty badly by being unfaithful to her when they were engaged and in the midst of wedding plans. I don’t think she’d think of him with fondness.
Q: Jessica is an American but the novel is mainly set in Britain where she travels to attend a family wedding and for a vacation. She meets the drop dead gorgeous hero of the story Nick Mondinello who she knows from a previous um encounter years earlier. This guy is a real head turner and Jessica sees him as a “Sex God. Playboy. Heartbreaker.” However hero Nick isn’t shallow at all is he? In fact he completely surprises Jessica. Can you talk a little about Nick’s background, he and Jessica have a lot in common don’t they?
Cate: Nick was born and raised in England and works as a marketing exec in a prestigious London firm. He’s smart, sexy, and every woman lusts after him, but he’s far more noble a character than Jess ever imagined. His dad died suddenly when he was young, a shock to him and his mom. Nick’s mother started drinking to help her through her grief, and she became an alcoholic. Nick was responsible for helping her overcome this problem.
Two years ago, when Nick saw Jess drunk at the English pub, he recognized a soul overwhelmed by grief and loss, and understood she was enduring pain similar to what he’d experienced when his dad died. That’s how he knew what to say to comfort her, and how he made such a strong impression upon her. That powerful emotional bond is still “live” between them when they meet again at Jess’s cousin’s wedding, and ultimately it’s what brings them together romantically.
Another thing they have in common: collections of limited-edition Plucky Penguin figurines. Yep, Jess and Nick were meant to be together.
Q: I couldn’t help but see Jessica as an American Bridget Jones while reading Lucky Girl and read a few comments after finishing the book and noticed the book elicited the same thoughts. Did you think Jessica’s voice and your story would elicit the Bridget Jones comparison?
Cate: No, but I’m very flattered that that Jess is compared to such a well-known fictional character.
Q: I have to ask is “The Adventures of Plucky Penguin” an actual old television show? I looked it up but couldn’t find it anywhere! lol
Cate: It’s completely fictional. You’re not the first person to think it was a real show. I take that as a compliment that I did my job as an author in developing my story world.
Q: What can readers expect next from the desk of Cate Lord?
Cate: I have a lot of projects percolating right now. Among them, the glimmer of an idea for a follow-on book from Lucky Girl. After all, Jess has three beautiful English cousins who deserve stories and happily-ever-afters of their own.
Q: Can you summarize Lucky Girl for us twitterstyle (in 140 characters or less)?
Cate: When American beauty editor Jess Devlin goes to England for a wedding, she meets again sexy marketing exec Nick Mondinello. Her single gal mission: not to fall in love.
Q: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
1. Lucky Girl will make you laugh (Don’t we all need a good laugh now and again?)
2. Nick has a delicious British accent (Don’t all of us gals melt inside like a warm chocolate truffle when we hear handsome British men talk?)
3. By reading the book, readers will learn a lot about snogging (Don’t we all like to read about kissing? Who doesn’t like a good kiss?)
Where to find Cate: