Welcome to Fabulous Fiction, which celebrates books so good, you want to hug them when you’re done reading.
I am so pleased to welcome Kat Chant to the blog. Kat is a long-term member of Romance Writers Australia, a winner of the Valerie Parv Award, and she has been a volunteer co-ordinator of the VPA award. She is an Aussie who followed her heart abroad and now makes her home in Ireland with her family. Kat briefly mentions in her bio that besides being a writer she is also fond of baking and as Kat and I are social media mates, I can confirm this is an understatement. I have witnessed the photographic evidence of her glorious baking adventures with my own (greedy) eyes.
God of Summer is Kat’s debut book, and it will be published by The Wild Rose Press in 2022. Kat’s website promises “spellbinding stories you’ll always remember” which sounds utterly thrilling. Let’s find out some more …
STELLA: Tell us a little about your book, Kat
Angus McCraggan sacrificed his life to break the Celtic curse laid upon his people in the Bronze Age. He failed. A millennia later, he returns to modern Ireland to find his people have become feral, vengeful shadows. With his hollow hill now a tourist attraction, he uses his power to keep his past hidden.
Until an American calls him out…
Since a banshee attacked her as a teen, Erin De Santos has been tormented by dreams of a boy she’s never met. Armed with a new identity, she returns to the Emerald Isle determined to face her nightmare. But her discovery turns fatal.
When the banshee strikes again, Angus surrenders his heart—and his hope of freeing his people—to save her. With his life now hers and his curse descending, Erin must make a terrible choice: kill her saviour or share his doom.
STELLA: Did you research or fact check anything interesting while you were writing it?
KAT: This is one of those stories that took years in the making. Celtic mythology has been a passion of mine since childhood, but the link to a particular place in Ireland is entirely due to my husband. When we first started dating, he worked as a tour guide at Newgrange—Ireland’s answer to Stonehenge. (Only it’s older, more ornate, and you can go inside.) It’s a passage tomb; or what people used to call a fairy hill. The entrance is aligned to the sunrise on the midwinter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The sunlight shines into the interior a couple of days before and after, and one of these days is allocated to the tour guides. I knew it was true love when my man gave his place to me. I’ll never forget the magic of witnessing an event that people had prepared that building for over five thousand years before.
STELLA: How much say did you have in the cover? The title?
Kat: The title is entirely on me, and it’s always been God of Summer. Technically, my hero is a God of Youth and Love, but he’s no Cupid. He is, however, at his peak over the summer months, which is when the story takes place. I had a lot of say on the key elements of the cover, if not the model chosen. One element I fought hard for was the tri-spiral. It couldn’t be just any old Celtic symbol. It had to be the triskelion used within and without Newgrange. I’m thrilled with how the cover artist made it appear embedded in my hero’s chest. To me, the cover conveys that this is a sexy, gritty tale, with a ray of hope shining through.
STELLA: Did the writing of this story come easily or was every word chipped from your breastbone (as the author of Tarka the Otter is reported to have said)?
KAT: Sob. So many drafts. I had the basic story ten years ago, but it took the best part of a decade to tell it properly.
STELLA: Why will readers find this a HUGWORTHY book? In my book club, we call these books “bosomclutchers” – we coined the phrase because we noticed when a person was talking about a book they loved, they clasped it to their chest as they spoke
KAT: I hope readers will feel whisked away to Ireland where they fall for my broken yet noble hero as much as I did.
STELLA: What’s the best thing a reader could do for you to help your book reach new readers?
KAT: Read and recommend on social media.
STELLA: Here on the RWA blog, there are a lot of writers lurking, and we love reading other writer’s “bios”. Can we have a sneak peak at yours?
Kat Chant is an award-winning writer. A bookworm who grew into a history buff, she exchanged beaches for castles to move from Australia to the UK and study medieval history. There, she fell in love with a lad from Ireland…and fell in love with his country, too.
She and her family live in the heart of Ireland, surrounded by fields in forty shades of green.
Kat is a keen cook and often experiments with traditional farmhouse foods such as making bread, cheese, jam and liqueurs. She also decorates the occasional cake.
STELLA: Do you have a favourite genre to read? To write?
KAT: I write contemporary and paranormal romance. Of course, I also read those, but I’m a particular sucker for historical romance, YA, and pure fantasy.
STELLA: Do you have “must haves” in a book for you to love it? And do you have “dealbreakers”, things that make you throw a book across the room?
KAT: I’m a super fan of forced proximity setups, but give me a plot twist that I didn’t see coming and I will love that book forever.
STELLA: Okay, now for the nitty-gritty, Kat:
Favourite Australian holiday destination?
Pemberton in WA, hands down. Jarrah and karri trees create the most awe-inspiring forests. I adore them.
What’s your preferred drop?
French wine. Not because I’m snobby (ok, a little bit), but because my favourite West Aussie drops are hard to come by when living in Europe. I’m also a huge fan of Irish whiskey.
Afternoon tea with all the trimmings, especially tiny sandwiches and petit fours. During lockdown, I finally tracked down a caterer who’d deliver to where I live. (Which is really, really rural.) And, oh, did I savour every last bite!
Tiktok … a fun and useful program, or just another darned thing to master?
It’s on the list to learn!
Best thing about being a writer?
I am never bored. There is always something in my head to get down on paper.
Worst thing about being a writer?
There is always something in my head to get down on paper, so I’m never completely “off.”
I have an unholy appreciation of Live. Die. Repeat. Partly this is due to adoring Emily Blunt’s kick-arse and care-not heroine, but mostly because the multiple ways Tom Cruise dies is endlessly enjoyable. (I know this is so, so wrong, but he does it so well.)
The silliest thing you ever won was…
Fluffy Bunnies. This was a marshmallow-mouth-stuffing competition. The person who stuffed the most marshmallows into their mouth, without swallowing, won. That was me, but I paid a heavy price. I haven’t been able to eat plain, old marshmallows ever since. (I can only bear them toasted over a fire or melted in hot chocolate.)
Pineapple on pizza, yes or no?
I am all in for weird stuff on pizza. Pear and rocket; pumpkin and camembert; pesto and potato. I do, however, draw the line at peas. Those are not right on pizza.
Chocolate should be kept in the fridge, yes or no?
In Ireland, chocolate and butter both stay out.
Holiday: beach or bush?
I’d go for trees every time, as long as it isn’t camping. The best holidays involve a chalet on a lake, wineries, fishing, and fine food that I don’t have to cook. (Otherwise it isn’t a holiday, it’s a “character building experience.”)
Three fun facts about you:
- This year, I’m going for my second black belt in karate. (I earned the first decades ago.)
- My pen name is an homage to a character by my favourite author.
- My husband and I got married in an Irish Kung-Fu temple because I refused to have a church wedding.
Keep in touch with Kat:
About your blogger, Stella Quinn:
When Stella Quinn isn’t sitting in the sun scribbling in a notebook, she can be found walking her dog, roaming her neighbourhood in search of the perfect latte, or thrashing her children at scrabble. She grew up in England, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Australia, and spent five (long!) years at boarding school in country Queensland.
Stella writes contemporary romance novels that are warm-hearted and filled with characters you want to be best friends with. She loves rural small-town settings, island settings, and everyday heroes. Imagine if Sea Change and Virgin River had a series of fictitious bookbabies … they’re the books Stella writes.
She’s currently (in 2022) trying to build a shed for her orchids, but keeps getting distracted by things like nutgrass infestations and how adorable her dog looks when he’s begging her to chuck a ball for him to fetch.
The Vet from Snowy River came out in June 2021 and is available here: https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781867254102/the-vet-from-snowy-river/
A Town Like Clarence is coming out in July 2022 and can be preordered here: https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781867225614/a-town-like-clarence/
The Vet sequel (unnamed as yet, but it will be Hannah’s story) comes out in May 2023 and there’ll be a fourth, which (currently) is just a twinkle in Stella’s eye, coming out in 2024.
Stella Quinn’s awards in the fabulous world of romance include winning the Valerie Parv Award in 2018, winning the Sapphire Award in 2019 and 2020, winning the Emerald Award in 2017 and coming second in the Sapphire in 2018. Stella was shortlisted in the Australian Society of Authors/HQ Fiction Commercial Fiction Award in 2020, and in the 2020 Ruby Award for best contemporary romance for Stowaway. With her writing group (who published a Christmas anthology of novellas) she was shortlisted by ARRA for best small-town contemporary romance in 2019. The Vet is a finalist in five categories in the ARRA 2021.
Follow Stella Quinn:
Newsletter www.stellaquinnauthor.com/subscribe – (there’s a free novella waiting)