Today I’m excited to welcome contemporary romance author Kathryn Biel to Living Life With Joy!
Kathryn’s new novel, Jump, Jive and Wail [published just a few days ago on January 31, 2015] which has already received rave reviews, is sure to be a big hit with chick lit lovers everywhere. I was given the opportunity to interview her and found out about what inspired her to write her latest novel.
Keep reading to find out more about Kathryn, like a few of her favorite things, a bit about her writing process and her hilarious [if unusual] pet peeve! ❤
Interview with Kathryn Biel
Thank you so much for participating in this interview! Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
I’m a full time wife and mother, a full time school-based physical therapist, and I write in my “spare” time. Before you can ask, I gave up watching TV at night and I don’t clean my house. That’s how I have the time.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Jump, Jive and Wail and the inspiration behind it?
Jump, Jive, and Wail is the story of a former ski jumper who is still trying to come to terms with a life that doesn’t involve jumping. She meets a male figure skater, just back from the Olympics and he helps put her life in perspective. I was inspired by watching the ski jumpers last year during the Sochi Olympics. They are so cool. During that time, I went to the grocery store (because my family insists on eating) and saw a woman in a wheelchair. As a physical therapist, the two ideas jelled together—what does an athlete do when they can no longer compete due to injury? My main character is not in a wheelchair, but she is still dealing with the fall out of her injury.
How did you go about doing the relevant research for Jump, Jive and Wail?
I’ve always been lazy about doing research in the past, so this book took a lot of work. I did a lot of Googling but knew that wasn’t going to be enough. I took a shot in the dark and emailed the Women’s Ski Jump USA organization. Much to my surprise and delight, they responded! Kathryn Zwack, the PR person helped me out tremendously and also put me in contact with Sarah Hendrickson. Sarah is the US three-time National champion in Women’s Ski Jumping, so her input was invaluable. I was also in contact with a high level volunteer at the US Figure Skating Association.
The main character, Kaitlin, wears a brace on her leg as a result of her injury. Over the summer, while getting a pedicure, a woman came in wearing a very similar brace to what I had envisioned. I approached her and she was also very open with what day to day life is like when you wear a brace on one leg.
What’s your favorite thing about writing romance novels?
This is actually my first romance novel. In my other novels, I tried to write romance but they turned out to be more about the woman’s journey (with a little romance thrown in). This, I tried to write about Kaitlin’s journey, and it turned out to be about her romance. I love the anticipation of it all. Sigh.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I submitted my first book, Good Intentions, to over 100 agents over two years with no bites. Finally, I looked into independent publishing and ran with it. When I finished my second novel, I started submitting it to agents, but then stopped. I like the freedom and control I have as an independent author. I’m indie and proud of it, and will stay that way (unless an offer with lots of zeros comes along, of course)!
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
Trying to stay sane? Other than that, I’m working (or should be working) on the novel I started for National Novel Writing Month. I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, but it’s a good kernel from which I can move forward. It’s about a woman with some clairvoyance ability who thinks she is responsible for killing the people in her premonitions.
Part of that novel is actually featured as a short story called Fly Robin Fly, which will be included in a Valentine’s Chick Lit Anthology, Cupid on the Loose!
Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?
I wish I had written Slammed by Colleen Hoover. So undeniably envious of her writing talent and her success.
Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks or hardcovers?
For reading, e-books. I have both a Nook and a Kindle (well, that was my husband’s but I took it over). As an author, I love, love, LOVE seeing my books in paperback. It makes it all real!
What kind of environment do you write in? When coming up with new ideas, are you a pen and paper gal or do you go straight to the computer?
I sit on my bed with my laptop on my lap. I really need to get an office and desk (Which will happen as soon as the basement gets re-done. In order to do that, I need to sell millions of books. Vicious circle really). Many of my book ideas get their start from dreams I have. I do keep notebooks to jot down ideas but in terms of writing I head straight for the laptop.
Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?
Purely coincidentally, I ended up naming my first two books in alphabetical order. They are also song titles. So, I feel the need (compulsion, really) to keep with that trend. Plus, I like that I can line my books up in alphabetical order, in order of release.
If you could marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be?
Would it be wrong (icky) to say the Taylor Lautner version of Jacob? Or Henry Cavill’s Superman. That’s a little more age appropriate.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Upstate NY, outside of Albany. I still live in the area (about 10 minutes from where I grew up). After going to school in Boston, I swore I was never coming back here. I ended up in Virginia and then Ohio, and now here I am. My kids go to the same elementary school my dad went to.
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?
Everything is much more difficult if you don’t have a sense of humor.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I haven’t done too much traveling but my favorite spot is Cape May, New Jersey. I do love Disney World too. It really is the happiest place on Earth.
What’s your favorite song?
That’s easy! Good Intentions by Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Quitter socks (the kind with the elastic all stretched out so they fall down) and socks that don’t match. That’s the tip of the iceberg. I’m sort of OCD, so a lot of things bother me.
Which do you prefer…
Sleep in or get up early? I prefer to sleep in but my body is hard wired to wake up early now, it seems.
Summer or winter? Winter for the month of December and then summer.
White wine or red? I used to be red all the way but now it gives me a tremendous headache, so white all the way. As long as it’s dry. Can’t stand sweet wine.
Liquor or beer? Beer. Dark beer. Stouts and porters. Mmmmmm … beer.
Coffee or tea? Coffee in the AM and then green tea in the afternoon and evening.
Apple or PC? PC. Unequivocally.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. I eat chocolate 325 days a year (everyday except for the 40 of Lent).
Thank you so much for participating in this interview, I’m delighted to have you on my blog and truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!
Click the links below to purchase Jump, Jive and Wail
Kaitlin Reynolds is used to fearlessly flying off mountains. But nearly two years after a devastating injury has ended her ski jumping career, Kaitlin is still struggling to put one foot in front of the other and find her new life. A chance meeting with a handsome stranger begins to put life into perspective. Dashing figure skater, Declan McLoughlin has just returned from the Olympics amid a swirl of publicity and fan fare. Just as Kaitlin begins to have hope again, her charming savior turns out to represent everything she has lost. If Kaitlin can just let go of the past and take a leap of faith, will she find herself soaring into Declan’s arms?