Today we have the pleasure and honour to welcome lovely Katie Oliver to This Chick Reads. We fell in love with Katie from the first tweet, and we’re super excited to have her as a guest today. Katie is the author of Dating Mr. Darcy series, which includes ‘Prada and Prejudice’, ‘Love and Liability’, and the latest ‘Mansfield Lark’ released on 3rd this month. Once you read her fantastic post, make sure you enter the fantastic INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY! Katie is giving an e-copy of ‘Mansfield Lark’ as well as Keep Calm and Carry on” weekly organizer, magnetic page clips, a notepad, Izak notecards and envelopes, and a United Kingdom Dolls of the World Barbie. Awesome right? Ok, Katie the stage is all yours now:)
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?
Every writer has a few secrets.
Who did we REALLY base that lying, cheating skunk-hunk of a boyfriend on? Who did we secretly want our heroine to fall in love with by the end of the book? (Surprise, surprise – it’s not always the hero!) Where do we get our (sometimes crazy) story ideas?
I got the idea for my first book, Prada and Prejudice, while watching an episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” with Gordon Ramsay. In this particular episode, he travelled to Boca Raton, Florida, to help a troubled Italian restaurant. And when Ramsay met the obnoxious Italian princess who ran the place, major blow-ups followed.
Not only is Miss Italian Princess managing the restaurant – badly – she’s also the owner’s (very pampered) daughter. She’s opinionated. She’s stubborn. She refuses to listen to reason. And she absolutely HATES Gordon Ramsay.
And the feeling is mutual.
The conflict that ensued, of course, was phenomenal. It was riveting, funny, and entertaining as hell to watch. And so it was that one of a writer’s favorite phrases… what if? – sprang into mind.
What if, I mused, I create a spoiled heroine, one who’s English instead of Italian, and throw her against a street-smart, no-nonsense Scotsman – a man who not only refuses to put up with her crap, but who throws it right back at her? And what if I set the action in a long-standing British department store that’s fallen on hard times? And what if she has to work with this vile man every day…?
Well, you get the general idea. What I ended up with was Prada and Prejudice.
When I began writing Love and Liability, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hadn’t yet come out at theatres. I made a valiant attempt to read the book by Stieg Larsson beforehand, but I just couldn’t get past the first few chapters. The plot was too convoluted and I was too impatient. So I decided I’d wait to see the film.
I was paging through Vogue magazine a day or two later when I came across a feature on Rooney Mara, the actress cast to portray Liz Salander in the movie. Vogue readers were treated to a first look at her inky-black Mohawked hair and her radical tattoos and piercings. She looked NOTHING like Rooney Mara, and everything like Liz Salander. It was an amazing transformation.
And so the idea for the character of Zoe came to mind. What if, I decided, there was a girl whose parents are divorced, and her mother is dating someone undesirable – even dangerous? And what if the girl runs away to get away from this man, and circumstances force her to alter her appearance completely?
Once I had that subplot in place, the rest of Holly James’s story of love found, lost, and found again clicked into place, and I finished Love and Liability.
As for Mansfield Lark – well, I wanted to write Dominic Heath’s story before I’d even finished Prada. I loved the tantrum-throwing rock star’s character (here’s another secret – he was ‘Jarvis Gallagher’ throughout the first couple of drafts) and I KNEW that I had to write a book devoted exclusively to him. My friends and beta readers wanted more Dominic, too. I also felt that the best place to start his story would be with the estrangement from his father.
What had happened eleven years before, I wondered, to cause Dominic to cut all ties with his father, the Earl of Locksley? The answer to that question, along with the unexpected reappearance of Gemma’s own father, provided the plot for my third book, Mansfield Lark.
In the next book, Natalie and Rhys return when Natalie’s good friend Tarquin Campbell invites them to spend the Christmas holidays at his castle in the Scottish highlands. And while the pair are there, something happens that will shake the very foundation of their brand-new marriage.
Will they find a way to overcome the issue that divides them? Or is their marriage over before it’s even begun?
I’d love to tell you how it all ends, honestly I would…
…but a girl’s got to have at least a few secrets.
About Katie Oliver
I love romantic comedies, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order).
I reside just outside Washington, DC with my husband and four parakeets, in a rambling old house with uneven floors and a dining room that leaks when it rains.