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MEET MY GUEST AUTHOR:
Katherine Eddinger Smits grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Although not from a Greek background, she fell in love with the Greek culture of the town and its close-knit families. She moved away years ago, but she still visits Tarpon Springs frequently to see old friends and classmates, walk the beaches or shop and eat at the Sponge Docks.
Katherine started writing stories in grade school and always intended to write novels someday. However, she put off writing fiction while she raised her family and worked as a clinical social worker at four different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers around the country. She was devastated to learn that her first career choice—mermaid, was not realistic. However, she found helping veterans and their families fulfilling, and managed to squeeze writing into her life. Whether it was recording clinical assessments, producing brochures for social programs, or putting together newsletters for clubs and organizations, she always had some kind of creative project in the works.
Katherine lives with her husband in Homosassa, Florida and Falling Waters, West Virginia. They have a daughter who resides in Alexandria, Virginia and a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Water Dreams, Katherine’s debut novel, is a paranormal romance set in Tarpon Springs, Florida and is the first book in the Love’s Siren Song series.
Good morning, everyone! I’m so happy to have debut romance author Katherine Eddinger Smits here with me today. Water Dreams, her first book in the Love’s Siren Song Series, is a contemporary fantasy set in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Kathy is giving away two $5.00 Amazon Gift Cards-sweet! If you leave a comment, you’re in the running. Welcome, Kathy!
Kathy: Thank you, Jennifer. I’m so happy to be here.
Nik is a young woman with an ordinary life. Then one day she meets the hero, Bas, and she embarks upon a journey of self-discovery. One of the things she discovers is how strong she is. Here’s the blurb and the (yummy!) cover:
Nik—an outwardly normal young woman terrified by water, living in the Greek-American town of Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Bas—a shapeshifter merman tasked with obtaining Nik’s help to gain what his species most desires.
The Nerei—a race of beings who want humans to continue to believe they are mythological.
What happens when Nik refuses to help Bas and the Nerei?
How will Nik and Bas save each other when they fall in love, against his species laws?
Kathy, you have a very unique hero. Tell us about him.
Kathy: Bas is a shapeshifter merman. In water, he has a tail and other merman attributes. On land, he changes. He has legs and looks completely human, a totally hunky human. However, Bas has a problem. He and his people, who call themselves Nerei, have to return to the water frequently. They have to spend at least as much time in the water as they do on land and bathtubs and swimming pools won’t work. They need the water of the seas to restore them. This creates problems for them, not least of which is preventing humans from figuring out what they are. The Nerei have assigned Bas the job of convincing Nik, the heroine, to help them become independent of the water. Bas doesn’t like humans, but he’s attracted to Nik, who Bas knows is descended from both humans and Nerei. Unfortunately, Nik thinks he’s crazy, refuses to help him, and doesn’t want anything to do with him.
Thanks for giving us that background. Now we’re going to play a game I call the Moment When:
Where were you the moment when you became fascinated with mermen?
Kathy: Wow, that’s a tough one. I became fascinated with mermaids when I was a child. I learned to swim at Weeki Wachee Springs, a theme park in Florida where women wear mermaid tails and perform an underwater show using only an air hose to breathe. I desperately wanted to be one of them when I grew up, but for a number of reasons, it wasn’t realistic as a career choice. I moved on (more or less, LOL), but never lost my fascination with mermaids. I decided to set my book in Tarpon Springs, the town where I grew up. It had to be a paranormal romance (my favorite genre), but I wanted something different from werewolves and vampires. The idea of shapeshifting mermaids and of course, mermen, seemed like a perfect fit.
Bas has an air of mystery about him that I really like. I have a feeling we’ll learn more about him as the series unfolds. You’ve created such a vivid fictional world. Where were you the moment when you decided you would write this book?
Kathy: I was living in West Virginia. I had worked for twenty years as a clinical social worker with the Department of Veterans Affairs and retired. My children were on their own and my husband was commuting to Washington D.C. every day for work. I finally had time to myself and I decided to pursue writing as a second career. I started writing stories in grade school, like many writers. I always wanted to write novels but couldn’t find the time while I was working full time and raising children.
What were you feeling the moment when your book released?
Kathy: That’s easy, elation! Getting the email with the contract offer, seeing the gorgeous cover, reading the digital book on Amazon and then holding the print and hard cover copies in my hand were dreams come true.
I love the cover—very hot, and a perfect fit for your story. You and I both belong to Sunshine State Romance Authors, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Kathy: If you are serious about writing and want to publish, either indie or traditionally, my best advice is to join a writer’s group. I give Sunshine State Romance Authors all the credit for my publishing dream coming true. Yes, I had to write the book and submit the query letters and synopses to publishers, but I had no idea how to write the query letter or synopsis, which publishers to approach, how to polish my manuscript into a salable product, and much more. I learned so much from the group that I can’t even mention it all. More important is the support I received and still receive from my friends in SSRA. They are a fantastic group of people and I can’t thank them enough for all they do for me.
I also highly recommend Romance Writers of America, the umbrella organization of SSRA. It has so many educational programs, communities, and networking opportunities and sets the standard for professionalism in the industry.
I totally agree with you, Kathy. Onto food (I’ll be honest. Food is never far from my mind): You grew up in Tarpon Springs, my favorite place to go for amazing Greek food. What is your favorite meal to have down by the docks?
Kathy: I love Greek food and had to include some in the book. I hope it makes people hungry (evil villain chuckle). Moussaka, Pastitsio, Greek salad, Greek bread, Baklava, I love them all. My favorite is probably the bread. I could live on bread.
It did make me hungry! I’ve been craving it ever since. Kathy, what’s on the horizon for you?
I’m currently editing my second book. The working title is Witch Trial Legacy. It’s a stand-alone, set in Cassadaga, Florida. It’s completely different from Water Dreams, but is also a contemporary paranormal romance. Instead of mermen, it has mediums, clairvoyance, fires, rip currents, healing touch, past life regression, and a handsome, tortured Iraq veteran who doesn’t believe in anything supernatural.
I’m also working on Book Two in the Love’s Siren Song series. It starts out in Greece and I’m excited about how it’s going. I plan to send the first chapter to anyone who signs up for my newsletter. It should go out in a couple of weeks. So, if you’re interested, head over to my website and fill out a contact form to be included in my mailing list. http://www.katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com
Your stories sound amazing. I really look forward to reading them. Thanks very much for spending time with me today. Is there anything else you’d like to add, Kathy?
Kathy: Thank you, Jennifer! It was my pleasure. Water Dreams is available from Amazon or my publisher www.foundationsbooks.com
I hope everyone who reads the book will let me know what they think. Of course, I would greatly appreciate reviews, because they are vital to book sales. Thank you again.
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Congratulations on your release of Water Dreams, Kathy!