Beneath the Covers Past

Kate Douglas Interview
Review: On Wings of Love

Writing Outside the Box
An Interview with Kate Douglas
By Suzie Housley
April 2001

Kate Douglas graduated from college in 1972 with a BA in 18th Century Literature and Anthropology.    Recently she was awarded two EPPIE’s in the 2001 EPPIE Awards for her books ON WINGS OF LOVE and HONEYSUCKLE ROSE.  She come's from a family of "diary keepers," going all the way back to the early 1800s. Her first job out of college consisted of writing advertising copy for a radio station. She has been writing professionally, in one form or another, ever since she can remember-everything from newspaper reporter to freelance.

She decided to become an ebook author when all attempts to sell a manuscript to the traditional publishing houses failed.  She feels epublishing allows her to express her own stories in her own writing style. Her characters are known to be strong and sassy, neurotic and occasionally out of this world. 

Suzie Housley:  Describe what a normal writing day consists for you?

Kate Douglas:   I sit down at my computer around seven, or earlier. I write until nine or so, then head to the post office and errands. Of course, since I live ten miles from town I have that time in the car to work out plots, characters, etc. Thank goodness there's not a lot of traffic here! Then I write all afternoon.

Suzie Housley:  What event inspired you to become a writer?

Kate Douglas:  I think I've always been a writer actually, there was a pivotal event that made me want to write romances. I'd never read one before, until a friend loaned me a Harlequin Romance called Leopard in the Snow back in the mid 1970's. I don't remember the author, but I recall thinking I would love to write books like that.

Suzie Housley:   Your cover art is beautiful, could you tell how you come to select the scenes for each of your books?

Kate Douglas:   Thank you! My husband and I are both semi-professional photographers. We have a tremendous file of photos to work from. I've also got an art background. I spent 17 years working as a cartoonist for an international health agency. So, with that in mind, you'll understand why, when I write a book, I have a definite idea in mind for a cover. The cover for Honeysuckle Rose originated with a photo of the honeysuckle vine that used to cover one side of our house until the wood rats got into it! On Wings of Love began with a beautiful sunset photo Doug, my husband, took. I added the cliff and peregrine falcons. Cowboy in my Pocket is my favorite. We convinced our son's girlfriend to pose, knowing she'd talk our rather reticent son into the job. After pouring Melanie into a pair of my old jeans and Jon into his dad's Wranglers and cowboy hat, we went to work. I laughed through the entire photo shoot, convinced Jon was having WAY too much fun with Melanie's back pocket, but we got exactly the shot we needed. Doug took the picture, our daughter Sarah was the "prop girl" and I added encouragement , along with special effects using my photo program on my computer.

Suzie Housley:  Of all of your books you have published which one is your favorite? Why?

Kate Douglas:   I'd have to say "the next one." As a writer, I think I improve my skills with every story. I look back at Honeysuckle Rose and want to rewrite the entire thing. On Wings of Love still makes me break out in goosebumps, but that's because I think almost every daughter has conflicted feelings about her father. I could still find things to change though it will always have a special place in my heart. Cowboy is a lot of fun, but I don't even want to reread it, now that the final edits are done! I just finished a romantic suspense, Last of the O'Rourkes, and I'm already revising. For now, though, it's my favorite. I'm starting a new book. I'm sure, until it's complete, that will be my "most favorite book ever."

Suzie Housley:   What future works in progress can we look forward to seeing? Will they also be romances?

Kate Douglas:  I love romances. I absolutely NEED the happy endings. There is so much misery in the world, and romances, whether they're romantic suspense, historical, paranormal…whatever, by virtue of being part of the genre, will have happy endings. I can't foresee writing something else, other than paranormal or sci fi romances…but they'll still be romances!

Suzie Housley:   How long does it usually take you to create a book and get it to the publication stage?

Kate Douglas:  That's hard to say. I get an idea and immediately write it down. It goes into my "WIP" file, and may sit there for a year. That doesn't mean I've forgotten about it. When I finally start writing, I take a number of steps. I "interview" my characters, so that I've got a back story on them. Where did he go to school? What subjects did he like? What sports, if any, did he play? How many brothers and sisters, how did he relate to his parents, what kind of car did he drive, could he fix it himself or have to take it to the shop? All of those things tell me a lot about my character. I want to KNOW these people before I start writing about them. There's a lot of work that goes into a book before the first word is ever typed.

Suzie Housley:  Is there any book in particular based on facts, which actually happened based on instances in your own life?

Kate Douglas:  There's no entire book, but lots of "instances" in my books are true to life. I "mine" my husband for comments all the time. He can be absolutely hysterical.  He's quick witted and always has an answer for any situation. I use him a lot.  Of course I don’t tell him that! Tag Martin, my hero in the romantic comedy, Cowboy in my Pocket, uses a lot of my husband's words. I'm hoping Doug doesn't decide to read that book!

Suzie Housley:    Are there any favorite authors who have inspired your writing? If so who? 

Kate Douglas:  I love Jayne Anne Krentz in all her forms.  Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle. Her heroines are tough and humorous. Anne Stuart, especially her earlier books. Some of those I have reread a dozen times. LaVyrle Spencer for the emotional stories, Susan Elizabeth Philips for her dialogue, Patricia Lucas White for her characterization, Pauline Baird Jones for her humor. I enjoy authors who write stories filled with strong characters, lots of humor and plots that make sense.

Suzie Housley:  How would you classify what type of writer you are? Examples:  Contemporary Romance, Romance Suspense, etc.

Kate Douglas:  Oh Boy…you realize, the reason I'm with an epublisher and not a paper publisher is that it's hard to categorize the stories I write.  How about " Suspenseful Contemporary Romantic Comedies." Does that work? ;-)

Suzie Housley:  Do you consider ebooks to be the books of the future?

Kate Douglas:  I find it hard to believe that paper will ever disappear, though with the destruction of forests it could. But ebooks offer such a wonderful alternative, especially for people constantly on the go, carrying their PDA's and little else. For instance, our son, a mechanical engineer, is currently working in Morocco.  He's got his PDA with him, but I bet he didn’t haul a stack of books. He can carry that same "stack" in digital form without increasing his load, though I doubt he's reading my romances!

Suzie Housley:   Since winning two EPPIE's are you considering expanding your reading audience and submitting your work to such publishers as Harlequin?

Kate Douglas:  I don’t know that I'll ever submit to Harlequin again. I'm hoping to find an agent willing to represent me, and if that happens, they might. I have a lot of bad memories with Harlequin, though, and way too many wasted years. I'm very grateful to have found epublishing, or my books might never have seen the light of day. I blame Harlequin's marketing practices for that. 

Suzie Housley:  For any unpublished author what advice would you give to guide them in the direction of becoming an ebook author? 

Kate Douglas:   Write. You have got to keep writing. In order to publish anywhere you need to find a good critique partner or group. If I didn’t have wonderful critique partners in Kathryn North (author of Proud Mari) and B.J. McCall, who has published with Red Sage, I probably wouldn't have done as well as I have. As writers, we all think our words are perfect.  It takes another eye, accompanied by a STRONG voice, to remind us we really need to revise that stuff!

You know if you're a writer. You're the one who takes notes, who watches people in the lines at the supermarket and weaves them into a story line, who sees every action as a possible scene in a book. If you've got those symptoms, write. Selling is the frosting on the cake, but writing is the cake. And no, I didn't make that up, but I sure believe it.


You can visit Kate’s web site at


ON WINGS OF LOVE by Kate Douglas 
Hard Shell  - November 2000 
ISBN: 1582005907 - eBook 
3 1/2 Diskette, HTML - US Price - $5.50

Reviewed by Barbara Buhrer,

Nate Murdock, professor of ornithology at US Berkley, has a grant to find out what or who was violating the falcons'  nesting site in the Trinity Alps. His photographer was out of service with a broken leg and he has hired Andrew Petersen, a famous photojournalist to work with him. From a picture in an old National Geographic magazine Murdock surmises him to be close to 60. He doesn't realize that he has hired Petersen's daughter, Andy. 

Andy, the illegitimate daughter of Petersen and a young Yucatan girl, is in competition with her father, but is superior to him. Andy was selected because her photograph of a falcon is Murdoch's favorite. He doesn't know Andy's father claimed the photograph as his. Andy pictures Murdock to be old and bald. The meeting of Murdock and Andy is a shock to both since they had preconceived ideas of each other. Desperately needing a photographer Nate agrees to give Andy a trial.  They discover poachers stealing falcon eggs and are trapped in an abandoned mine. They must find a way out and prevent the eggs from being shipped overseas. 

The author maintains a fine balance between romance and adventure. There is the growing passionate attraction between Andy and Nate, fought against by both. There is their attempt to apprehend the poachers. Their struggle to escape from the mine is torturous and graphic. Descriptions of the scenery and the flights of the falcons are excellent. The characters are realistic and well drawn. Andy's feelings toward her father and her ambivalent feelings toward Nate are handled with sensitivity.  This is a fast moving and enjoyable story. 

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