Interview with RITA finalist Kat Latham (me!) – & giveaway!

Okay, I hope this isn’t too narcissistic, but since I asked all the other RITA® nominees in my category to submit themselves to an interview, I figured I should do it too.

So today we welcome…me!

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands, where they are surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.

With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the humor and emotion of real life. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Mine Under the Mistletoe – Romance Novella

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Ashley’s a San Diegan who has always dreamed of spending Christmas in London, so she arranges a house-swap through a website…she’ll stay in a stranger’s house while he goes to San Diego and spends the holidays in hers.

Except that a snowstorm shuts Heathrow down before Ollie’s flight to San Diego can take off, so he goes back to his own house and crawls into his bed exhausted, completely forgetting that Ashley is there. Oh yeah, and he’s naked. So she reacts the way you’d probably expect her to.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from their meeting.

Oh, crud. He was polite even when she’d nearly smashed his family jewels. Maybe that was a British way of coping with agony. Would he kick her out of his house? Surely he would understand that she’d thought he was an attacker. She’d saved for this trip for five years and she was finally here, ready to live her childhood fantasies of snow, figgy pudding and men who called each other guv’nor, but she’d just gouged the man’s testicles for heaven’s sake. Hospitality only went so far.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Ashley is very optimistic and sunny, but she can come across as a bit naive. She’s not naive; she’s suffered a lot of hardship in her life. But she’s determined to triumph over it and not to let life’s challenges overwhelm her.

Ollie can be grumpy, but he has shouldered an incredible amount of responsibility and would do absolutely anything for the people he loves. He has made huge sacrifices for his family, but that also makes the holidays difficult for him.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
It’s set in East London, which is one of my favorite places – especially at Christmas. But in the last several years, London has experienced more snowy and icy winters, and it’s not set up to cope with weather like that. Every few years, loads of flights are canceled and pretty much the whole city shuts down.

But there are worse things than being stranded in London at Christmas. 🙂

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
It is, and it’s the first year I was eligible! I’m so incredibly excited.

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I’ve read all but one, and I’ll be reading that one before the ceremony. I’m amazed and honored to have been nominated alongside such amazing authors.

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I was out having lunch with a friend and found out as I was leaving the restaurant, so I called my editor, Angela James, and then my agent, Laura Bradford. Then I called my husband.

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I only write contemporary romance, but I wish I could write historicals, too. I tried once, and it took me weeks to write five pages because I kept looking up historical facts – what clothes would they be wearing? what room would visitors be taken to? what parts of London would’ve been built-up in 18th century London, and what would still have been fields and farmland?

I totally admire historical romance authors!

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
My husband for his incredible patience. And my mom, who has been SO supportive – though she swears that she skips the sexy parts of my books.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
A town called Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia, Czech Republic. If you ever get the chance, go there!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
Laura Kinsale’s Seize the Fire because it has the sexiest desert-island sex scene EVER.

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Spencer Bailey from Knowing the Score (though Matt Ogden from my upcoming book Tempting the Player also tempts me).

Which of your characters is most similar to you?
Caitlyn Sweeney from Knowing the Score…which is funny because I’ve read a few reviews that say she’s really annoying.

Maybe funny isn’t the word I’m looking for. Painful? Yeah, that.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
My other career is pretty awesome. I’m a writer and editor for charities working in the development and humanitarian sectors. It’s incredibly inspiring.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
I’ll be happy with anything, since I’ve been trying to limit my sugar intake to lose some weight and get healthier. Basically, anyone sitting at my table better watch out because I’ll eat their arms if they get too close to my dessert.

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“Your book made me laugh out loud.”

How would you describe your books?
They reflect all the love, humor and poignancy of real life.

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Good luck, everyone, and make sure you come back on Monday when I’ll be revealing my cover for Tempting the Player (London Legends #3)!

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Win RITA® Award-nominated romance novellas!

Hey, friends! I hope those of you in the U.S. had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Since my husband’s British, it’s the one day of the year I can brag about beating him at something. 😉

This is a HUGELY exciting month for me – and I hope for you, too! On July 21 I’m revealing the cover of Tempting the Player, then later this month I’m going to the Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio, where I’ll be taking part in my first book signing event. I hope I meet lots of you there!

But before all that happens, I’m featuring some of my favorite authors on this site – and they’re giving you a chance to win their RITA-nominated novellas. Whoop whoop!

RITA romance novella giveaway

If you visited my blog in March, you might remember me screaming for joy when I found out I’m a finalist for a Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. My Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe, is a finalist in the Romance Novella category. For the next two weeks, my fellow finalists will be stopping by to answer my nosy questions and giving you a chance to win their novellas.

The giveaway starts today. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below. But first, a quick intro to the novellas you could win!

The Bridesmaid by Julia London
Defending Truth by Shannon McNear (win the anthology A Pioneer Christmas)
How to Marry a Highlander by Katharine Ashe
How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
Imagine Me and You by Maisey Yates
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham (win the anthology All I’m Asking For)
Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter
Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey
Too Fast to Fall by Victoria Dahl in Be Mine

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I’m a RITA finalist!

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat LathamI got amazing news today! My Christmas novella, Mine Under The Mistletoe, is a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA award for best romance novella!

I’m beside myself with giddiness, and I’d like to sincerely thank all of the people who helped me with this story before it made it to the digital shelves. I’m even more excited because it’s apparently Angela James’s first nomination as an editor.

Here’s the list of nominees.

The Bridesmaid
by Julia London
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

Defending Truth
by Shannon McNear
in A Pioneer Christmas
Barbour Publishing
Becky Germany, editor

How to Marry a Highlander
by Katharine Ashe
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Lucia Macro, editor

How to Misbehave
by Ruthie Knox
Random House Group, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Imagine Me and You
by Maisey Yates
in Animal Attraction
Harlequin, HQN
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Mine Under the Mistletoe
by Kat Latham
Carina Press
Angela James, editor

Take Me, Cowboy
by Jane Porter
Tule Publishing, Montana Born Books
Tessa Shapcott, editor

Take What You Want
by Jeanette Grey
Samhain Publishing
Jennifer Miller, editor

Too Fast to Fall
by Victoria Dahl
in Be Mine
Harlequin, HQN
Tara Parsons, editor

The other nominees are AMAZING authors. I’ve read some of the novellas and I’m going to read the rest before the big awards ceremony in July.

Have you read any of these novellas? What did you think?

Thank you to all of the wonderful, thoughtful people who have sent me tweets, emails and Facebook messages congratulating me. You’ve made this day so special, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every single message. You guys rock!

Nominate my books for DABWAHA!

Knowing the Score coverEvery March, the awesome Jane and Sarah from Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books put together a tournament unlike any tournament EVER in the history of humankind. It’s the Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hella Authors – or DABWAHA for short.

They break the romance genre down into eight categories and they start off with eight books in each category. The only thing is, this year they have announced seven finalists per category, and they’re leaving the eighth up to readers to nominate.

The books have to have been published in 2013, so although I’ve gotten involved in DABWAHA as a reader before, this is the first time I’m eligible as an author. Friends, I would LOVE it if you nominated one of my books for DABWAHA.

If you enjoyed either of the books I had published last year, here’s what you do:

1. Go to the DABWAHA nomination form.

2. Under “Contemporary Romance Nomination” write the title Knowing The Score, my name (Latham, Kat) and this ISBN: 9781426895920

3. Under “Novella-Length Romance” write the title Mine Under The Mistletoe, my name (Latham, Kat) and this ISBN: 9781426897603

4. Submit the form and go tweet about it with the hashtag #DABWAHA!

Nominations close on the 15th, so make sure you get your nominations in by this Saturday!

Thank you so much for your help! I’ll be back tomorrow to announce the winners of my Contemporaries to Covet giveaway and the winners of my Playing It Close giveaway. (Yes, that means those giveaways are still open until the end of the day, so go enter if you haven’t already!)

An American’s Christmas in England

My first Christmas away from home, I got lucky.

I’d moved from Los Angeles to Prague in the Czech Republic and couldn’t afford to fly back for the holidays. I was expecting a lonely few weeks as all of my new friends scattered to be with their families.

But then I met the most incredible guy—a Brit with a luscious accent and a sense of humor as dry as the desert I grew up in.

We got serious very quickly. We’d only been going out for a week when he invited me back to his parents’ house in England for Christmas. Yep—from “Let’s be more than friends” to “Come meet my family and spend the holidays with us” in one week.

By the time Christmas came around, we’d been together a whopping ten weeks. We spent the next two weeks with his family—and holy cow, did I ever get to know them, and their British Christmas traditions, quickly.

His parents picked us up from the airport. Our flight had been severely delayed, so I fell asleep in the car on the way to their house in Norfolk. It was late when we arrived, and my first view of their house included one of my boyfriend’s brothers standing in the living room wearing nothing but his underwear.

Continue reading “An American’s Christmas in England”