Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I knew immediately I was going to like Kate McMurray when she suggested meeting in Brooklyn (where we both live) at The Cocoa Bar. Romance and chocolate--you cannot go wrong with the two! Kate says that she cannot imagine that she writes erotica and when you look at her, she is lovely and the epitome of everything pure and innocent in a lovely sundress sitting across from me. Whatever she is, none of it was an accident. A NaNoWriMo veteran and winner, she is smart as a whip and very dedicated to her craft. Writing is a serious business with her, and there is no wonder that IN HOT PURSUIT, which started as an e-book and which will be in print starting this week. You can think that I say this about all of my subjects for Bits and Pieces, and you might be right, but it is the truth--I have never been disappointed with an interview. Kate is a dynamo. Seriously, I do not know how she manages between the writing and playing the violin, but she does. Finding even scarce time to bake and most importantly, being a Yankees fan—she keeps track of all of the stats. She amazed and inspired me, and I think that she will do the same for you as you read below. I am positive too, that she is ready for another round of NaNo! Follow her at her website to see for sure and what she is in pursuit of next! I've participated in NaNo 8 times and won 6 of those times. There's definitely a learning curve. You try it enough times, you figure out what works for you. This published novel is not a NaNo novel, but I've got three manuscripts from NaNo that I think have redeeming qualities. I'm really proud of the novel I wrote last November and hope to polish it up to send around soon. I think I really started reading romance novels when I did a brief stint at a law firm and was reading contracts and newsletters all day--the romance novels were escapist. I am a violinist. I played for ten years, and then stopped. I started taking lessons again two and half years ago. I've done a few recitals now, so next step is orchestra auditions. I had always wanted to start a writers group. The one I'm in now has been really successful. I get a lot out of it. Not only when I am being “workshopped”, but just talking about writing, you learn what works in other people's writing and what you like as a writer. My group has a really strong core of people who participate at every meeting. I write a lot. I made a New Year's resolution a few years ago to write a little every day, even if it is only a few words in the hour before I go to bed. I've stuck to it pretty well. I've had to make some sacrifices to make time for it, but it's worth it. It is such a weird experience to have a book published. I've worked in the publishing industry for almost a decade, so I know what the process is like from the inside, but I do not think I ever appreciated what it takes to send something out. It's really hard work. I have an all new perspective for those writers who did the work to put their novels out there. I have a hard time writing at home, there are many distractions. I like to write in cafes. My favorite is a few blocks from my apartment; they turn off their Wi-Fi on the weekends, so I can't goof around too much. Writing is fun. A lot of my good friends in the area are writers and we get together and write, so we accomplish both writing and social interaction. My cat Molly is hyperactive. I've had her since she was a very tiny kitten and now she is 6. She's kind of a runt, and visitors are always surprised by how small she is. I think this is because everyone has these huge cats now. She makes up for her small size with personality. I threw myself a book party in April. Everyone who attended was someone I knew for the most part. I had never read fiction in front of an audience before. I think it was good to read in front of people I knew, it's like a dress rehearsal for if/when my writing career takes off and have to read in front of strangers. And there was food at the party, mostly brought by party guests. A friend of mine who works in publishing said it was one of the greatest spreads she'd ever seen at a book party. I like baking. I don't have a lot of time for it. I am capable of baking but I do not do it very often. I discovered gay romance a couple of years ago. I like the genre because it doesn't have the same gender essentialism you find in some romance novels. The dynamics are different between two men than they are between a man and a woman. The idea for IN HOT PURSUIT started with a guy I worked with once who was not “out” at work. I was thinking about what would make someone stay in the closet. The thought process started with thinking about careers that would pressure someone to stay in the closet, and I arrived at "cop." The novel is really the cop’s, Noah's, story more than it is a romance, from my perspective. It's about a man used to hiding, being thrust into a situation where he doesn't have to hide anymore. Romantic suspense is my favorite subgenre. I am a real wuss about horror movies. I find marketing a book to be really hard. I have been social networking a little. My book has gotten a lot of positive feedback, which is great. You never know how something is going to be received but the first review I got was glowing. When I was 12, I went to my first Yankees game. They were not doing so well in those days. They lost that game to the Orioles. I love all the facts and statistics and history of the sport. The town I grew up in in New Jersey is very densely populated. We lived near freight train tracks, but after a while I couldn't hear them at all. People would come to stay at our house and ask how we slept with the train noise, but I honestly stopped hearing it. Now I have been living in New York long enough that I need the noise. I go to stay in more rural areas and can't sleep because it's too quiet. I read a lot of romance novels when I was a teenager. When I was in middle school, I talked my mom out of making me go to the after school program by going to local public library instead with a friend of mine. There was a wall of Harlequin novels and we used to read the scandalous passages to each other. I studied English lit in college and decided I was too good for romance novels for a while. Then a few years ago, there was a “This American Life” episode in which a reporter went to the RWA conference, and it piqued my interest. I got this idea for a parody novel involving a heroine who writes terrible romance novels and a hero who writes hard-boiled crime fiction. I started reading other romance novels as "research" and got hooked. The amount of quality writing and good storytelling in the genre still amazes me. And I think I was always writing romance, even when I called it "mainstream fiction." I've always liked watching and learning about relationships, and I like writing about them. When I first started becoming curious about the genre again, a friend loaned me a Nora Roberts novel and everything spiraled out of control from there I think. I read a lot and learned what I like. I like happy endings. The Big Misunderstanding is my least favorite complication and "conflict." Often, these kinds of complications are the sort that would be resolved with a simple conversation. I have read plenty of things that are not romances. I can be satisfied with a "we are together for right now" ending, but as in life there is no guarantee that everything will be hearts and flowers. I am surprised at myself because this book has a lot of sex in it. I never thought I'd be an erotica writer. I have a straight male friend who read and really liked IN HOT PURSUIT. He told me he'd never really thought about the mechanics of gay sex before. He asked me if I was excited by it, because he just assumed all women were put off by men having sex with each other. I had to assure him that this was not the case. I am a crazy book buyer. Now that I have a Kindle, it means I have a place to put them that is not my laptop. But I am a book hoarder. I purge every now and then, though, and get rid of books to make space for more books. It is so hard to have a day job and write, but I'm still trying to write every day. The goal now is to get other books published.♥


  1. Write everyday - good advice. Jeanine

  2. Kate - I think its cool that you go to a cafe because it does NOT have wifi. Seems like the opposite of the way the rest of th world works, but perfect for a writer!

    Great interview!