Posted on 09/23/2015 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Author Kathryn Le Veque is used to shaking off the haters.
The English medieval romance writer’s style includes multiple — and male — points of view, plus brutality and realism, in a genre whose readers often expect the opposite.
Her 50-plus published novels, many of which exceed 100,000 words, prompt so many skeptics to question their quality that she quotes and answers them in her author bio. (“‘She writes so many novels! Are they any good?’ The answer is ... YES!”)
And after 25 years of rejection slips from traditional publishers, she’s thrilled to say that indie publishing has paid off: She is the No. 1-ranked author of English medieval romance in the U.S. and a USA TODAY best-selling author — plus she has held the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s historical romance list, outranking even Diana Gabaldon of “Outlander” fame.
Somehow, Le Veque found the time to tell us more about her writing journey recently.
SADYE: As a teenager, you wrote a “space epic with hot-blooded teenagers.” How did you switch from space romance to historical?
KATHRYN: I wrote the teen space epic back when I first saw “Star Wars” (I was about 12 at the time), and the whole formula of creating such a thrilling story just struck me. I wanted to write something great and exciting, too, hence the teens from space thing.
After that, I wrote several contemporary novels based on a female Navy SEAL (because I’d seen some kind of Navy movie I thought was really cool), and I actually wrote several books, long-hand, during my teenage and early adult years but, again, they were all contemporary.
The pivotal point for me in my historical romance career was when I read a book called “The Falcon and the Flower” by Virginia Henley. After that, I couldn’t get enough historical romance, but specifically, English medieval romance. I read all of Ms. Henley’s books and something about them just hit a chord in me. I could relate to them, I could visualize them, and the culture of that time period fascinated me. And the rest, as they say, is history.
SADYE: Did you set out to write romance novels that would appeal to men and women, or is that just a byproduct of your writing style?
KATHRYN: For some reason, I always related much more to the male point of view than the female, so that’s why I write from the male POV and always have. There isn’t one medieval book I’ve written that is female-dominant.
I figure women already know what other women think and I, personally, am more interested in what men think, so that’s why I write the way I do. That being said, that POV attracts the male readers because they can relate to it.
I really don’t see more authors writing the way I write — male POV — because romance, by nature, is all very heavily female dominated and female POV.
SADYE: You were in The New York Times discussing how Kindle Unlimited has affected you as an author back in January. Then it was a “double-edged sword”; how do you feel about it now?
KATHRYN: The new KU payout has made me love the program all the more. It’s my feeling that they should have been paying out by the page read, and not by the entire book read, since the beginning.
Here’s why — I write very big books, well over 100,000 words. That’s roughly 400 pages. Before the current KU payout system, someone who wrote a 15-page book would get paid the same amount as I would with my 400-page book. Is that fair? I never thought it was. ...
Hey, I can’t get upset with the 15-page-book authors for capitalizing on a good opportunity to make quick money, but it just didn’t seem fair to me that we all made the same amount. Now, with the new payout, the 15-page-book authors get paid per page — so they only get paid for 15 pages read. I get paid for 400 pages read. To me, it’s much more equitable, and I’m thrilled with it.
The only thing that is still a double-edged sword to me is the exclusivity with Amazon. You must be exclusive to be in KU. That means no exposure on other platforms, so many of us have to choose between extended exposure or good money in KU. Personally, I am taking the money. All but three of my books are in KU, and I have 67 novels. For me, KU makes financial sense at this time.
SADYE: How long did you spend trying for traditional publishing before you gave self-publishing a shot? And what prompted you to take the plunge?
KATHRYN: Twenty-five years of rejections. Yes, you read that right. Twenty-five. I do not write traditionally and I don’t write in a box, which is what many trad publishers look for. ...
(In May 2012), I decided to look into self-publishing as a last resort — literally — because I was going to give up. I figured I had nothing to lose by uploading my novels to Amazon, just to see if anyone would like them, so you can imagine my surprise that within three months, I was a No. 1 bestseller. I’m still in shock over that.
Had I listened to the trad pubs, I would have simply given up, but I didn’t. I kept at it. So self-publishing is the best thing I’ve ever done. It quite literally changed my life.
SADYE: You’re a self-described master of useless knowledge. Share one of your favorite random facts with us.
KATHRYN: I am a Trivial Pursuit master! You want me on your team, trust me.
A favorite random fact? The bottoms of bell peppers have either three or four points. The three point is male, and the four point is female. Yes, bell peppers are male or female.
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Categories: Author Interview