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

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham

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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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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By Kat

Kat Latham writes sexy contemporary romance, including the London Legends rugby series. With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the depth, humor and emotion of real life. She's a California girl living in the Netherlands with her baby girl and British husband.


  1. I’m so glad you included yours! And thank you again for hosting all of us. It was so nice to “meet” everyone!

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