29 Nov 2015

Author Interview with Kathleen Duhamel

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I wrote and illustrated my first short story at age eight. It took me until this year (2015) to get published. I am fortunate to have found a publisher (Imajin Books) for the first novel I wrote.

What is it about 'chick lit' / 'romance' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I enjoy books that display a writer’s sense of humor, regardless of genre. I read thrillers, some mysteries and I dabble in science fiction. But what I really love are contemporary women’s stories, those that feature older characters who bring a lot of life experience to the story. Many of these stories have a feminist element, which I personally appreciate. Usually, the characters have been married, divorced, widowed, have children or even grandchildren. They may have been through career setbacks and suffered losses, yet remain positive about life and relationships. These are the women I like to read about.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release? 

Deep Blue tells the story of 58-year-old Claire Martin, a self-proclaimed “barely-not-starving” Colorado artist and cancer survivor who has all but given up on finding an older man with a youthful attitude. By chance, she meets legendary singer Robert Silver, 62, of the band Deep Blue.
Robert is a charming man with a troubling past that includes panic attacks, drug addition, a well-publicized stint in rehab and the tragic death of his screenwriter wife. When his personal demons resurface on tour, threatening both his voice and the band’s future, Claire must decide how much of a risk she’s willing to take to be with the man she loves.
Add it to Goodreads.

What inspired you to write it?
An extremely popular erotic trilogy of a few years ago (recently made into a movie) inspired me to write the book. I talked to several woman friends who’d read these books and didn’t think they told a plausible love story. I decided to write a book that my friends and I would want to read, and because I’m a life-long devotee of rock, soul and blues music, I knew my alpha male had to be a musician.

If it was made into a film, who would you cast as the main characters?
I had to laugh at this question, because of the unlikelihood that Deep Blue would ever be made into a movie. The film industry is notoriously youth-obsessed, and there’s a great deal of ageism when it comes to creating roles for older women. We’re usually not viewed as either sexy or desirable.
That being said, I’d cast Meg Ryan in the role of Claire, and either Julianne Moore or Susan Sarandon as Denise, her best friend. The character of Robert Silver would be difficult, since I don’t know of many older, tall, bald, Jewish actors with a black man’s voice. Maybe if Howard Stern shaved his head and took vocal lessons?

What is your favourite book that made it to the big screen?
I would have to say the film adaptations of the Hunger Games series.

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The last book I read was Touching Ed by Allyson R. Abbot, a short novel about an older couple trying to deal with his erectile dysfunction. Allyson handed the topic of ED with both humor and sensitivity. I would recommend it to romance readers.

Where do you currently write? And where would be your dream writing location?
I write in my office, an upstairs room in a 100-year-old house in Winchester, Virginia. My dream location (other than my office, which is very nice and cozy) is anywhere I could go and others would bring me food, wine and an occasional massage while doing all my promotional work so I would concentrate on writing my next book.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I am a two-time cancer survivor who shares my character Claire’s mantra: Nothing is worth more than this day.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
George Washington’s Civil War office, now a museum, is only a few blocks from my house.

What inspires you as an author? 
Daily life, interactions of the people around me and their casual dialog. My best friend, Diane Baird, who is as creative and energetic in her professional life as she was 30 years ago.

Do you have a muse?
My husband, Tom Duhamel, who is my biggest fan.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I have no idea.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
Deeper, the second book of the Deep Blue trilogy, is scheduled for publication next spring, to be followed by the third installment, Deep End. I’d also like to write a couple of novellas featuring other characters from Deep Blue. I have long-range plans to write a novel about a group of American baby boomers who are financially and emotionally wiped out by the Great Recession and find themselves starting over at a time when they expected to retire. I’m not sure if this is a romance novel, although it will have a strong romantic element.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Move back to Colorado and never, ever leave.

What do you listen to whilst writing?

Although I love music and listen to classic soul almost every day, I don’t normally play music while writing. I find it too distracting.

Name one of your all time favourite songs.
What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye.

Kathleen Duhamel wrote and illustrated her first short story at the age of eight, and has never stopped writing. Her love of the written word continued throughout her varied career as a newspaper journalist and editor, public relations executive, freelance travel writer and owner/operator of two small businesses. A native of Texas, she spent most of her adult life in Colorado before relocating to Virginia last year, where she lives with her husband, step-daughter and a house full of animals. She is a lifelong devotee of rock and soul music, contemporary art and pop culture. You can find Kathleen on her blog.

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