Saturday, 29 March 2014

Author Interview - Paul Kater

Hello Danielle,
Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about my work and my new book on your blog, I appreciate that very much.
The beginning

The first 'writing' that I did was when I was about 14. I read a book my mother owned and asked if I could have it. She said no (not surprising) but my Dad gave me a typewriter and a stack of paper so I could copy the book. Which I did. That was not writing of course; that happened when I decided I didn't like one chapter and replaced that with something I liked better.

Since then I haven't stopped writing. First I did little bits, and 7 years ago I became more serious after joining an amateur writers' mailing list. This was the step that made me a real writer. A lot happened since then. 23 books happened, in fact and today there's a new one out called "A Girl Named Sandy".

The latest

The story behind "A Girl Named Sandy" is odd. 3 years ago I visited friends in Bristol (UK) and one night I had a dream about this story. It was very odd so I tried to brush it off, but the next night it came back. For that reason the working title of it has been "Bristol Dream" for over 2.5 years. After dreaming that same dream 2 nights in a row I knew I had to do something about it and then I started writing. It was a lot of work but now, after 3 years, it's completely done.

The story is a science fiction that involves astrophysics, a young girl named Sandy who meets an astrophysics doctor from Bristol, aliens and space ships. I've tried to make it something different, as per the dream I had. 


People often ask what's so great about writing. First it's the act of getting all these ideas and feelings and people out of my head and inside a story, a book. That's wonderful. A release, a relief, and the best way to enter new worlds and explore other lives.

Then there are the reactions of people who read my stories and tell me how they love them. My most popular series, Hilda the Wicked Witch, has been amazing for that. Even terminally ill people sent me notes that Hilda's antics lifted their spirits, helped them to overcome despairing moments. No matter how many sales any book gathers, messages like that are the highest thing I can receive. It's humbling and uplifting at the same time. There is no feeling on earth that beats that, for me.

I'm working on the 13th book in the Hilda the Wicked Witch series (for the people who love and need her), there's an urban fantasy in the works called "Clara's Eyes", and I'm finalising a science fiction story that I wrote in Dutch and English simultaneously. That was a very interesting experience. (Despite being Dutch I've always written in English until now because that mailing list I mentioned was international, I was the only Dutchman there.) 

The first proper story I wrote was on that mailing list. It's about a Druid called Rhys whose village is raided by invading Romans; the story plays around 50BCE. Something odd (=magical) happens to him and he's sent on a very bizarre journey. A few months ago I looked that story up and was actually shocked (in a positive way) by the writing style. 7 years of writing have done a lot to my style, so I decided to rewrite that story. I'm taking the basic concept and creating a new story from that. The difference is very clear and I'm proud of that. 

Hero authors

I have several heroes in that realm. Valerie Douglas, who writes brilliant fantasy. Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series whom I adore for his wordplay. Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy in 5 parts. Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov for their Science Fiction, and Ursula leGuin for her fantasy. The list goes on, but would become a little boring I'm afraid. :-)

The non-writing life

There's always a lot to do. I have 2 cats, a job, a house to take care of, and a job that pays the actual bills. I like riding my bicycle and fitness to keep myself in shape. Contrary to popular belief, round is not a good shape for people. At least that is my opinion. 


For my book covers I have a simple approach. It's a wonderful lady in the USA who makes them for me. She's called Renée Barratt who owns "The Cover Counts". I tell her what I have written, what the main places and characters are, and leave the images to her. She's not failed me yet.

I do the covers for the Hilda series myself, just because it's fun!


I read what I write: steampunk, scifi, fantasy, but also books like the Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates. I'm a Pagan and always interested in ancient philosophies and religions. I  always find ways to add bits and pieces of those to my stories.

Style. Pantsing versus plotting

Usually I just start writing about something that's knocking at the backdoor of my mind. After a while I see the pattern and direction of the story, and if not I write down some notes on where I think the whole affair should go. Sometimes the story actually complies with that.

The one time I completely plotted and planned a story, the main character walked off in chapter 2 and refused to come back, so I gave up on that.


Research is very important. That's something I discovered since starting to doodle with words on the mailing list.  Because of the way I write I do my research while writing as I never know what will come up. There is a danger in research too, because looking at one thing will make me look at another and give me ideas for another subplot in the story - or even a completely new story. 

Favourite scenes

In the new book there are many scenes that I find endearing, but that is because I've been emotionally involved with it for 3 years (and will be for a while to come). I think one of the best parts is this:

Paul and Sandy, the main characters, are in a laboratory of the Arecibo Telescope Centre (Paul is an astrophysicist and Sandy is there because she studies astrophysics and she speaks Spanish). Sandy sees how Paul deals with everything that's coming at him regarding the work and then she has this sudden pang of being inadequate, even as if she's in his way, hindering him to go as fast as he wants, and she runs out. Paul goes after her and talks with her, convincing that she's doing a wonderful job and that he doesn't want her away from his side.

This may not sound like something impressive, but for me it shows the growing connection between Paul and Sandy, how there is still misunderstanding. Despite being so busy he notices her 'despair' and leaves his work to go after her and talk with her. That is a part of the dedication, communication and understanding that's very meaningful to me. Something that we need a lot more of in our present world.

Comments. The good, the bad and the ugly

As I already mentioned, I receive mails from ill people who tell me how my stories help them. The most amazing one was from a lady who's in hospital with cancer since far too long. She's a painter and hadn't had the desire nor the energy to paint anything. After reading a few Hilda stories she wrote to me about how the wicked witch made her laugh, and asked if I allowed her to paint a few scenes from a book if ever she had enough energy to paint again. That is something that touches me so deeply, I can't describe that.

The weirdest comment was from someone who claimed I should give away the print versions of the first 7 Hilda stories because the first 7 e-books are free as well. I'm still shaking my head over that. Ink, paper, printing and postage (or shipping as Americans prefer) don't come for free for me. If someone has a good option for that, don't hesitate to get in touch with me though!!  ;-)

Maybe some readers of this blog have become interested in "A Girl Named Sandy". For them I've posted the first chapter of the book on my website / blog, anyone can hop over to and have a look.

Thank you to Paul for being a guest on my blog. I wish him great success with his new book. :)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Phoenix Rising Out Now!

I am so happy to announce that Phoenix Rising is finally available from today as a Kindle and Print Edition through Amazon. I have loved creating this book. It has been my favourite so far. Here is the book Synopsis and a small excerpt just to whet your appetite.

Book Synopsis

How can Fairy Godmothers help their charges find love in the modern world when nobody believes in magic anymore? Simple, they run a dating agency!
Rhys Spencer is determined to prevent his rich father from shutting down the charity he set up for kids in gangs, but he needs the money from a trust fund to do it. However, his grandmother has withheld the funds until he proves himself to be a mature, responsible person. To her mind, that means Rhys being in a serious relationship. Rhys turns to the Fairy Tale Match to find a woman he can use as a fake girlfriend. He will do all it takes to claim the money that will thwart his father’s selfish plans. The feisty woman the agency sets him up with, will not stand in his way.
Taylor Shore has more complications in her life than anyone should have to deal with. Guardian to her two half-siblings since their parents’ deaths, she has her hands full with their constant troublemaking. The last thing she needs is to win the prize in a dating agency competition she never entered. Furious to find her friend entered for her, Taylor is determined to send her prize packing. The guy that turns up to stay with her for three weeks, however, has other plans in mind. Refusing to be ordered from her house, the arrogant man offers her a deal she’d be a fool to refuse.
As Rhys inserts himself into Taylor’s problems, he begins to turn her life around. The angry fireworks between them gives way to a passionate love. Just as they find happiness, a vicious lie told by Taylor’s sister breaks them apart. Flo and Lotta have their work cut out for them to bring Rhys and Taylor back together. Time is against them and tragedy lurks on the horizon. Can Flo and Lotta save the day, or will Rhys and Taylor lose the precious love they have found forever….
Although the third book in the series, this can be read as a stand alone novel.


Her jaw dropped open and she stared at him disbelievingly. “You can’t be serious. You want me to be a fake girlfriend and lie to your grandmother? Why?”
He folded his arms over his chest. “You didn’t want to tell me why you were hanging from a window earlier, and I don’t want to tell you why I need you to do this.” He gazed at her with one eyebrow cocked. “I’ll stay out of your business if you stay out of mine.”
“It’s hardly the same thing!” she protested. “You expect me to lie for you. I should at least know why. It’s a despicable thing to pull the wool over your own grandmother’s eyes. I knew there had to be some reason why you’d joined a dating agency! It’s because of this, whatever this is, isn’t it?” She didn’t even wait for a reply. “Why am I not surprised?”
Her tone told him she expected nothing less from him. Rhys contemplated her reaction. She was unlikely to help him just because he’d saved her from that fall. He needed to sweeten the deal.
“I tell you what, you do this for me and I’ll not only call us even on the favour front, but I’ll pay you five grand if you pull it off. What do you say?”
She gaped at him and shook her head. “I have to have heard you wrong. Did you say you’d pay me five grand to be your fake girlfriend?”
“I did,” he confirmed, “but only if you are convincing enough that my grandmother believes it.”
Taylor stared into space. He could almost see the wheels whirling round in her head. “I’m not sure how comfortable I am with this. Do you guarantee me that this is nothing untoward? I don’t want to find out that I’ve helped you do something illegal or immoral.”
“You wound me with your lack of trust.” He clasped a hand to his chest.
She snorted. “Like I care. Well?”
“I can guarantee you that nobody will be hurt by this, nor are my reasons immoral or illegal.” He held out a hand. “Do we have an agreement?”
“How do I know that you’ll pay me? I could do everything you ask and then you could simply renege on the deal.” She ignored his hand and cast him a challenging glare.
Taylor obviously had severe trust issues. Rhys could relate. “I will pay you half in good faith, now. You will receive the other half when the task is complete. Sound fair?”
Taylor gazed at him for several moments. Her lips twisted to one side and she chewed on the corner of her mouth. Finally, she held out her hand. “Okay, you have a deal. God knows what I’m getting myself into, but I’ll do it.”
You can buy this book at:
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Phoenix Rising Book Tralier and Release Date

The official release date for Phoenix Rising is Friday 28th March 2014. Here is the book trailer just to whet your appetite. I am so looking forward to publishing this novel. It is my favourite book to date. I hope you enjoy the trailer.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Cover Reveal - Phoenix Rising

The time has finally come to reveal the cover for Phoenix Rising. I am so thrilled with this book. The editing is going like a dream and is almost done. I may be looking at an end of March release date. This book has a very special place in my heart. I can't wait to share it with my readers. The characters will live with me forever and I hope they will for you too. I am sad to leave them.
I hope you love this cover as much as I do. Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Phoenix Rising Update

Well, it would seem Phoenix Rising has won the race between the two books I am writing. It will be the first one published, hopefully at the end of this month, but definitely in early April! I will keep you posted about the release date. 
I didn't think it would be that soon, but I caught a cold from my husband and couldn't sleep one night as I was feeling so ill. Suddenly, the whole rest of the book formed in my mind. The pages just flowed out and now it's in the editing stages!
This book has been one of the hardest and easiest books I have written to date. I know, what a contradiction, but it's true. I would like to share it's journey with you. Phoenix Rising has gone through the biggest changes since I first had the concept about ten months ago, while I was writing the first in the Fairy Tale Match series, Wild Fire. Rhys felt like such a great character and something rather special. I knew his tale would be the third book in the series. I could hardly wait to write it, but I had other books to write first.
I changed a few things from my original idea in the months between being ready to work on this book and started to write it before my last book, Shadow of Suspicion. I wrote 45 pages and I wasn't happy with any of it. Nothing felt right. Rhys suddenly wasn't showing himself to me, Taylor was all wrong, and none of the story flowed. It was torture every time I sat at the computer and tried to write it. I gave up and decided to leave it alone for a while. I turned my attention to Shadow of Suspicion instead. I went back to Phoenix Rising after Shadow of Suspicion was completed and reread what I had written. I binned the lot! Some character names have survived, but that's all.
After a bit of thinking and reworking the plot, I suddenly found Rhys. His character shone out so clearly that I nearly cried with relief. Taylor also sprang forward and their relationship and trials unravelled before my eyes. There were a lot of things I changed from the 45 pages. As I said, some characters stayed, but their roles changed dramatically and it all started to fit. Once I found the motivations and reworked plot, everything flowed like a dream and became the easiest book I have written to date, after giving me the hardest time!
I love this story. Rhys and Taylor have been a joy to write about and this book has a special place in my heart. I can't wait to share their tale with you. I will be revealing the cover for this book soon. I have had it as my personal picture on my computer to inspire me every day while writing the book and because it is so beautiful to look at!
Keep your eyes on the blog or my Facebook page for the cover reveal soon.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Shadow of Suspicion - Free on Amazon Kindle This Weekend!

Although it's still a little cold out there, spring is definitely in the air! The nights are starting to draw back out, but reading is always a favourite pastime whatever the weather or time of year.
I have been absorbed in some great mysteries of late, on TV rather than in book form, as I've had no time to read of late. I have been a busy little beaver, working on my writing but also on my house! Some evenings I have been so tired, all I've been able to do is slump in my seat and download an atmospheric mystery to watch. 
I think there is nothing quite like a mystery with a little romance thrown in. So, this weekend only, I am offering Shadow of Suspicion free on Amazon Kindle for all you romance and mystery fans. From Fri 7th March to Sun 9th March, you can download this book absolutely free.
I hope those that take advantage of this offer, enjoy the mystery and romance of the story. I loved writing it, so I hope you enjoy reading it. Although it is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. Happy Reading!