From the Spanish site
Rincón de la Novela Romántica,
Kathleen, first of all, we want to thank
you for this interview. We would like
Spanish readers know your work. We have
visited your website and we think it is
How is your Daily Writing Schedule?
Thank to you Nieves, and thank to the Rincon
de la Novela Romantica for welcoming me in
their wonderful and so well-informed
website, and for gifting me with this
opportunity to meet Spanish readers.
I will just start saying I am not a very
disciplined writer, quite the contrary in
fact. I am an artist at soul, I am
unpredictable both in mood and concentration,
my mind never stops elaborating and it doesn't
always focus on what I am writing at that
moment. That is why I can't say I have a
Daily Writing Schedule.
Some days I sit writing at my computer since
when I get up till when I go to bed at
night, sometimes I don't even stop to eat (apart
from junk food and the many sweets scattered
all over my desk!), whereas some other days
I must take very frequent breaks... and the
unbelievable thing is that the first ones
are not always the most productive at all.
What can you tell us about your
beginnings as a writer?
I have been writing since I was very young,
but I only understood I wanted to be a
writer much later in my life. Firstly for
me, so as to make sense of all that bunch of
creativity and passion for adventure that
had always characterized my nature, later
for the others too, because sharing is for
me the true essence of happiness. I live my
writing as an emotional experience, and
there's nothing better for me than sharing
what I feel when I write.
"Corinna" was my first work as an adult, and
it was a true challenge, because of both its
complex plot and the many characters to
manage, as well as the huge historical
research it required.
Once finished, it made a rounds of many
publishing houses before landing at my
publisher, a long wandering full of
illusions and disappointments, as it is for
any beginners, but always heartened by the
appraisals of people who read it, and just
this was a remarkable thing considering it
was a tome of more than 700 pages.
One thing I have learnt in my career as a
writer, even if short, is that you must
never give up trying and believing in
yourself, because one day, when you are not
expecting it at all, your dreams could come
true. It is what happened to me, when
"Corinna" was published and got an
unexpected success among readers.
I have seen that you have lot of novels
with much adventure. A series of pirates
which started with Corinne’s story and which
has four parts. Spanish readers love these
kinds of stories. ¿Why did you decide to
write about pirates?
I grew up cultivating a passion for
adventure, and the world of piracy have
always been a great part of it, so that,
when I had the idea for "Corinna", it was
natural for me to make my hero a corsair.
Besides, I always found romance novels about
pirates too fictionalized, too far from
reality for me to really like them.
The Buccaneers world is unquestionably
fascinating, but it was very different from
how it is usually portrayed in romance
novels, it was violent and cruel, the men
who joined it were former slaves, criminals,
mercenaries, thieves, assassins and at the
best of circumstances they dedicated
themselves to robberies and raids along the
coasts. Pirates and Corsairs are figures
that stir fantasy, but if fictional heroes
as a general rule must be positive
characters conveying certain kinds of values,
in reality this happened quite rarely.
Managing to create a believable love story
set in such a background, making it as much
realistic as possible, it is very difficult,
so I decided I would have tried to do it
The Brotherhood of the Coast, to which the
characters of my books belong, was purely
male with very few exceptions, and it was
not rare that its members established some
kind of balance among themselves, or
developed friendships and comradeship.
Unlike what happened in the Military Navy,
where the commander of the ship was
empowered by the military authorities and
every member of the crew must obey his
orders, on a pirate ship things were
different. The captain was chosen by the
crew but even if he had the power of life or
death on them, in order to maintain it he
had to continuously prove to merit it.
A friendship like the one Dorian, Walter and
John share seemed to me something that could
really happen in this kind of background. I
didn't foresee that each of them would have
had his own book, but when I finished
"Corinna" I did love these characters so
much that I couldn't stand the idea of
leaving them, besides, I left some secondary
stories pending and I thought it was right
to take them to an end. This is how the Saga
Corsari was born.
Is it easy or difficult to research for
Collecting information about the Brotherhood
of the Coast and Buccaneers society, about
17th century ships and sailing, about the
feats of the most famous corsairs, like
Henry Morgan who plays an important role in
"Corinna", was itself a sort of wonderful
adventure, and I can't count the hours and
the days I spent in researching. The most
difficult part was to find the sources I
needed, especially in order to learn how the
ships were built, what were the differences
between galleons, frigates and corsair ships.
The most important and useful sources were
books and any kind of historical
publications, like for example the "History
of the Buccaneers of America" by Alexander
Oexmelin, first published in 1678.
Furthermore, the Internet is a very helpful
tool, especially to writers like me who love
exotic settings, because it allows you to
enter worlds that otherwise would be
The work of researching for me is as
important as the plotting of the story and
the study of the characters, and it is
fundamental in order to succeed in
re-creating a whole world and making it as
more realistic as possible, because a solid
historical background gives to the novel an
equally solid truthfulness, even when the
story is a fictional one.
Tell us something about your male
characters. ¿What kind of man will we find
in your novels?
Every character is a man of his time, and if
that time consists in a reality like that
one of Buccaneers, one of violence and
cruelty, we must have the courage to give
the readers at least a semblance of how it
was, in order to make that character a
believable one from the historical point of
Obviously, such an environment could not
help but affect my characters' temperament,
for this reason it was a matter of finding a
balance between violence and code of honor.
Pirates and Corsairs, during the golden age
of filibusters and buccaneers, but also in
the following centuries, were driven by the
desire to plunder and raise money from
anything they could put their hands on. The
difference between them is that the last
ones put their ships and their great
experience and knowledge of the colonies at
Governments' service and plundered with
their authorization, through the well known
letters of marque.
As I said before, corsairs in the collective
imagination rarely correspond to the real
ones, but this is inevitable.
At that time, a lot of men, mostly slaves,
indentured servants to plantations, outlaws,
ran away to find in the buccaneers ranks a
life they could live as free men and that
could give them the chance to reach success
as individuals, since what really counted
there was the man and not his title, or his
birthright, as in the normal society.
The concept of romantic hero in piracy
novels, at least as regards my idea of
romantic hero, is connected precisely with
the one representing the quest for freedom.
He's a man who proves to be able to survive
a reality of this kind, to stand out, to
make a name for himself, to totally control
his life, but at the same time he keeps
alive certain values at a personal level, a
sense of honor that makes him to distinguish
himself from the mob.
These are the men you will find in my novels.
I've always thought that the best heroes are
those who have a dark side, as in the best
paintings, where the darkest shadow brings
out the lightest glimmer, even in these
characters it is their dark side that
enhance their positive side.
Obviously in a novel telling a love story
too, love becomes crucially important in the
hero's psychological evolution, it
represents his salvation, the reason for
which to fight his battles, and also at
times the reason to give them up.
All your heroines are as brave as Corinne
McPherson? How would you describe your
My heroines are all very different from one
another, but yes, I believe it's indeed
their courage they have in common, although
each one of them lives it and proves it in a
Corinna, Glen, Alma... As for real people,
what they are at the moment in which my
novels portray them, is the result of their
lives, of the way they were raised, of the
values they have been taught, of the
experiences they made, and every action or
word of theirs are expressions of what they
Corinna was raised as a boy and was taught
how to fight and use weapons, Glen grew up
in a very protective environment, Alma had a
very lonely childhood poor of affection...
these are very different circumstances that
can model, repress or emphasize the nature
of a person, just as happens to each of them.
Is it difficult for you to write sex
Sex scenes are always very difficult,
because they involve the most intimate
spheres of my characters, not just as
physical intercourse, but also and
especially as emotions, thoughts, feelings.
And come into play also the whole series of
factors I mentioned earlier, namely their
nature and their life background, which make
the sexual experience inevitably different
for each one of them. In my opinion, having
the ability to represent the sensuality, the
rapture, the passion both physical and
emotional, succeeding in involving the
readers is a great merit for an author, and
I hope I did a good job of it :)
Why do you think Spanish readers would
like your novels? What do you offer in them?
I've always thought of Spanish people as a
passionate one, and I've always felt very
close to them and fascinated by Spain, by
its history and culture, I love flamenco and
the beautiful horses of Andalusia, and I
like the sound of your language, maybe
because my grandmother was of Spanish
origins, and I believe I inherited a drop or
two of Spanish blood myself.
My novels are set in a time when Spain and
England were disputing control of the
Caribbean sea, many of my characters are
Spanish and the plot move between the New
World’s colonies, England and Spain. Two of
my beloved heroines are Spanish, Alma, the
main character of "L'Irlandese", and Soledad,
the heroine of the novel I'm writing at the
In my books you can find history, adventure,
action, passion, danger, but although they
all share the same setting and are strictly
connected, they are also different from one
In the first one, "Corinna", the plot is
strongly adventurous and entirely settled in
the filibusters and buccaneers world, the
second one, "Cuore Pirata", is characterized
by a hectic pace, a treasure hunt that
involves a multitude of characters, the
third one, "L'Irlandese", is the final novel
of redemption and the story of an unlikely
love that can overcome any adversity.
Have you ever thought about basing one of
your novels on the Italian History?
Actually I've been thinking about it for
sometimes. I had an idea for a novel set
somewhere in Italy in medieval era, at the
times of crusades, but I haven't yet it
fixed. Sooner or later I suppose I will work
on it, when I have finished my current
What do you think about the covers of
romantic novels that have, in most of the
cases, a couple… almost naked? Do you think
this kind of erotism makes people want to
buy them? Would they have to be less
I said I am an artist and it's true, before
starting to write I loved to paint, and from
an artistic point of view, I truly
appreciate the quality of the paintings and
pictures that are used as romance covers. I
can't help to admire the skill of the
artists that in most cases succeed in
conveying the intensity of a particular
As a writer, however, I find that this kind
of cover is actually very restrictive for
the genre, it tends to level very different
novels, both in contents and writing, and
not always is a good thing.
Can they make people want to buy? In the
past probably yes, and probably it continues
to do it in some extent, but tastes are
changing and the publishers, at least some
of them, are starting to adjust offering
Unfortunately this type of cover has become
a sort of brand for this genre, with all its
good and bad implications, and most of the
publishers, including Italian publishers of
romance novels, are reluctant to change
As regards me, I would gladly purchase from
an artist like Jon Paul or Lynn Sanders for
example, a painting representing the main
characters of my stories, because their
works are really able to make people
daydream, but on my books I would like
covers that were more representative of
their contents and did not emphasize only
the romantic side, which is actually only
one of the elements.
Does your publishing house let you choose
the covers of your books or do they give you
them already made?
My novels' covers, even if don't satisfy me,
altogether don't even upset me, actually
they could be a lot worse, considering the
current trend in Italy.
The covers of "Corinna" and "Cuore Pirata"
were chosen by the publisher. When "Corinna"
was released I remember I was so worried
about finding on the cover an almost naked
woman throwing herself at the man's feet...
a picture totally in contrast to my
character, but I must say that the publisher
heard my prayers giving me a beautiful
strong-willed male-dressed heroine.
For the cover of "L'Irlandese" the publisher
kept the picture that I found in the
Internet and that I enclosed in the
manuscript. It was a work by Judy York and
it was very representative, it seemed made
just for my story. Apart from the costume
that was not historically correct, it very
accurately portrayed Alma and Juan, showing
also at the far ends a glimpse of Ireland
and a ship on the sea, symbols of Juan's two
For the future I hope to be involved in the
choice of my novels' covers, it's always
unpleasant for an author to see on her work
a picture that doesn't represent it the way
How do you see the world of romantic
novels at an international level? Do you
think it is a despised sort or that it is
consider a second class sort?
The market attests that the romance genre,
in its many variety, is the genre that sells
more, but generally this success is not
reflected in its qualitative assessment. It
is essentially regarded as a commercial
genre, but from the literary point of view
continues to be discriminated.
As well as any other genres, romance has its
own literary dignity, and it should be
recognized without reservations. The public,
and especially the publishers, should start
to honestly appreciate it, judging the works
according to their intrinsic quality and not
just as romance novels. Unfortunately in
Italy this is still very hard. Only now the
publishers are starting to show a slight
interest in the genre, especially after the
discovery of paranormal and urban fantasy,
thanks to the worldwide success of Twilight.
For an author of historical romance, in
Italy is still very difficult to succeed in
being not only published but represented by
literary agents too.
Apart from the Pirate books, what else
are you working in?
The novel I am writing right now will be the
last one in the Saga Corsari, at least for a
long period of time. Since I love exploring
new ways and face new challenges, I decided
to devote myself to a completely different
project, a trilogy of novels with a
contemporary and futuristic setting and
strong elements of paranormal and urban
fantasy. The first novel, titled “Phoenix”,
is already finished, it is set mostly in
Alaska, a land that conquered me literally.
I spent six months in collecting information
and doing historical researches, because
even if the setting is contemporary, the
story is deep-rooted in ancient times and it
involves religions, myths and legends.
The following novels are already outlined,
they are just waiting for me to write them.
Unlike many colleagues in fact, I can't work
at such different projects at the same time,
the care I take in every details, the need
to feel totally immersed in the world I am
creating, don't allow me to divide my
attention on other projects.
That is also why for many years I had an
unfinished project that I started but then
had to postpone because of other priorities.
It is a novel set in ancient Britain in
which I truly believe, despite having
abandoned it over and over again. Certainly
it is one of my future projects.
We hope we soon have your novels in Spain.
Adventures and battles are a mixture we
really love. We wish you – and ourselves
too- luck, in order to enjoy them as soon as
possible, and we want to thank you, Kathleen
for sharing your time with us.
It has been a pleasure to talk with you
and we really hope the next time we
interview you, it will be because we have
one of your novels in our country.
Thank to you for having me as a guest and
for giving me the chance to meet your
readers. I hope that in a not too far
future, Spanish readers will get the chance
to know me through my books too.
It was a pleasure and a honor to be
interviewed by Nieves Hidalgo, and I would
like to take the opportunity to wish to the
Rincon Romantico happy anniversary.
Maybe romance literature is still not fairly
valued, but certainly it has the affection
and devotion of its readers, who are so many,
and this is the most important thing.