Saturday, November 23, 2013

Liza O'Connor interviews Katheryn Lane

Today I have Katheryn Lane stopping by. She got my attention when all four of her books resided on the top ten bestsellers at the same time.

Liza: Katheryn, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. I am in awe of what you have achieved.  How did you get four books on the bestsellers at once?  

Katheryn: First, I must say that the bestseller list they’re on isn’t the highly competitive Contemporary Romance Bestseller list (that would be amazing if it happened and I would be lying on the deck of a cruise ship drinking champagne now!) 

Liza: So what list was it?

Katheryn: Most of my books are sheikh romances, so they’re listed under Eastern Drama, along with some other sheikh stories, and that’s where I’ve had the great good fortune to have all four of my sheikh books in the Top Ten. Even though it’s not the Contemporary Romance list, I am extremely grateful to my wonderful readers for buying my books and getting them to where they are on the Amazon rankings!

Liza: Do you find success breeds success?

Katheryn: I think so, in the sense that the higher your book’s ranking, the more ‘visible’ it becomes on Amazon as Amazon will then start to feature it elsewhere, such as on their recommended lists. Therefore, it’s easier for readers to discover your book and hopefully buy it. Then, if they like it, they will read more of your books, which then sell more, which as a result, climb higher in the rankings.

Liza: Let’s talk about the book that started this amazing feat. Which showed up first in the bestsellers?

The Desert Sheikh (Books 1, 2 and 3)
Sheikh Akbar needs a hostage.
Sarah Greenwich needs to escape.
But sometimes what you need is not what you want.

When a powerful sheikh kidnaps Dr. Sarah Greenwich, she leads him to believe that she is the wife of the British ambassador, but how long will she be able to keep up the deception and what will happen to her when the sheikh finds out that she has been lying to him?
Sarah is about to discover that the desert is an exotic wilderness, where anything can happen…

Liza: That sounds most interesting. Which showed up next?

A Bride For A Sheikh
When Sheikh Rashid is told by his father, the sultan, that he must marry the scheming daughter of his financial adviser, Chrystal Longhorn, the sheikh refuses. The sultan finally agrees to let his son choose his own bride, but on two conditions: she must be a foreigner, to prevent intermarriage with a local family, and she must be presented to the sultan as the sheikh’s bride in just two weeks’ time. That evening Sheikh Rashid meets Angelina Smith, a beautiful young woman from England. The sheikh is immediately besotted with her. The attraction is mutual, but Angelina has just accepted a place at an exclusive law school in London. Will she throw away her hard-earned career dreams to become a Middle Eastern wife?

Being the royal wife of a billionaire sheikh is exactly what Chrystal Longhorn wants. What lengths will she go to in order to keep Sheikh Rashid and make sure he marries her and not Angelina? 

Sheikh Rashid has only two weeks to persuade Angelina to marry him, or face a loveless marriage with Chrystal.

The clock is ticking...

Liza: That sounds intriguing as well. Which was next?



The Sheikh’s Beloved (Books 1 and 2)
Two people.
Two cultures.
Two completely different sets of expectations.

A volcanic ash storm forces Tassie Fielding to prolong a scheduled stopover on her flight home from Australia and it’s not long before she’s being offered some local hospitality by a fabulously rich, handsome sheikh. However, what will Sheikh Najid expect from her in return for his lavish generosity?

Liza: And last but not least?

The Royal Sheikh
Clare McKay is a dedicated architect with no time for womanising men. That is, until she accidentally meets Sheikh Rafiq Al Kahil, an Arabian prince, known in the international press as the Playboy Prince. Clare is intent on not falling for his seductive charm, but when he asks her to design a mansion, he presents her with an offer that she can’t refuse. Once she finds herself alone with him in the Arabian desert, how long will she be able to hold out against his advances? And will he be able to cast aside his womanising past for her, as well as a secret engagement to an Arabian princess?



Liza: I understand The Desert Sheikh trilogy was the #1 bestseller for 3 months. Without question, you know how to write a fabulous book. But lots of authors write fabulous books that never leave the crowded ocean of unknown authors. How did you break out?

Katheryn: I agree. There are lots of fantastic books out there and, like you say, they get often lost in an ocean of book titles. With me, a lot of it was luck. I’d written several books before, but I’d never tried to publish them. Then my husband accepted a contract in the Middle East. After we’d been living here for a while, I wrote my first sheikh romance, The Royal Sheikh - it’s hard not to feel inspired when you’re surrounded by desert, camels, and wealthy sheikhs! After I published it on Amazon, I was amazed at how well it did. However, it was my third romance, The Desert Sheikh, which reached number 1 and stayed there for three months, which was amazing!


Liza: It is, and it's turning me green with envy.
Katheryn: You do look a bit green--maybe you should lie down.

Liza: *curls on couch beside Katheryn* Give me more advice. I really want to leap out of the ocean.

Katheryn: I love writing and I think it helps if you keep on publishing, as each new book introduces your work to a new set of potential readers. After I published The Desert Sheikh, I wrote two more sheikh romances, The Sheikh’s Beloved and A Bride For The Sheikh. I’m currently working on a cowboy romance, The Texas Cowboy, which was inspired by several trips I’ve made to Dallas.

Liza: That's a switch up, but I have to admit, cowboys are sexy. But right now, let's get me out of the ocean. Beyond writing, what else do you do?

Katheryn: I do a lot of promoting, such as interviews - thank you for letting me do this one! I must say, I've never had anyone interview me from the fetal position before. 

Liza: Don't worry, envy isn't contagious. How do you juggle a job, kids, husband and publishing? I just publish and hike with my dog, and I'm exhausted...and green.

Katheryn: It’s hard to manage the writing and promoting, while at the same time working (I’m a high school teacher) and raising a family. Luckily I have a very supportive husband who can cook, otherwise we might have all starved by now.

Liza: Are you by chance cloned a hundred times? One of my author friends is actually an alien, and she has several clones, I'm sure of it. But she won't share the technology...something about the world wouldn't survive with two of me. 

Katheryn: I haven't known you for long, but I can see her point. It's probably best if you remain truly unique.

Liza: You're nice. What else are you?

Katheryn: First and foremost, I’m a mum, which I think most mothers would agree with. While I’m at work, I’m a teacher, but when the kids are out or in bed, I’m an author. I’m also a wife to my long suffering husband. I think a lot of working women have to deal with this: juggling work, family and social commitments. It’s one of the great challenges that many women have to face.

Liza: Not me. I'm too exhausted now. I can't take on a husband and kids. Well actually, I did take on a husband once, but I had to let him go after he tried to kill me three times. I have a firm 3-strike rule on attempted murders.

Katheryn: You might want to change your rule to zero tolerance.

Liza: Good point. So what social mediums do you mainly use?

Katheryn: I use a variety, but at the moment I’m mainly using Twitter and Facebook to interact with people, both authors and readers.

Liza: Me too. I found you by a post you made on Facebook. What else do you use?

Katheryn: I also use Goodreads and Pinterest on a regular basis and I love to blog, though I only manage to post about once a week.

Liza: I post every three days on two different blogs. I originally intended to establish a third blog for historical stuff, but honestly, I won't survive another blog.

Katheryn: Three does seem a lot.

Liza: Where else do you wander about in cyberland?

Katheryn: I used to use forums and chat rooms to talk to other writers, and I gained a lot of wonderful support and advice in them, but sadly I had to cut back on it as it was taking up too much time.

Liza: I'm not giving up my fellow author friends, ever. Without them I'd be clueless, miserable, and alone. But then I've no clue where my readers hang out. *eyes Katheryn* Clearly you’ve tapped into your readers. How did you find the elusive creatures?

Katheryn: I’m not sure. I guess in some ways they find me. I think it’s all about making your book as visible as possible to potential readers, for example, by doing features on romance websites, such as The Romance Reviews (one of my favorites).

Liza: Do you think they'd accept me?

Katheryn: I’m sure they would. What genre do you write?

Liza: Mostly humorous, dysfunctional romance stories.

Katheryn: I'm not sure I’ve ever heard of that genre…

Liza: Nope, it's just me. Do you think I should find better keywords to describe my books?

Katheryn: It would be an excellent place to start. However, I think certain books just appeal more than others. For example, my second book, Her Latin Lover, had good reviews, but it hasn’t had the same success as my sheikh romances. I guess romances set in South America just aren’t as popular as romances set in the desert.

Liza: I once took a marketing seminar and the instructor constantly pushed me to break out of the author safety zone to locate my readers? But that's harder done than said.

Katheryn: It is. I know some authors do a lot of very inventive marketing, such promoting their books on airplanes, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them as I can’t promote my books where I live, since much of the Middle East is very conservative. Therefore, I just use the internet.

Liza: Good idea. What’s your opinion of reviews?

Katheryn: I love reviews! There’s nothing like switching on your computer and seeing a new review in which a reader says how much they enjoyed your book.

Liza: I'm the same. A positive review can make me sparkle for days. I'm so pleased when readers get my sense of humor.

Katheryn: I write stories because I like to give readers an exciting bit of romantic escapism from everyday life, so when I’ve heard that I’ve succeeded, it makes me really happy. However, a lot of romance lovers are voracious readers and get through dozens of books every month, so they just don’t have time to write reviews for everything they read.

Liza: That's a great point. What is your fav marketing tool?

Katheryn: I don’t really have one. I think marketing can be a combination of different things as different approaches reach different readers.  I’ve done a bit of advertising at The Romance Reviews and I spend a lot of time (probably too much!) on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also tried free books, but I prefer giving out books as prizes, e.g. on blog giveaways, which I think is more fun for readers.

Liza: I think so too. Do you ever go to conventions?

Katheryn: I’d love to, but since I live in the Middle East, it isn’t possible. Last summer I was lucky enough to be a judge for the RONE Awards which were announced at the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, and I would love to have attended that, but it was too far away. I think it would be amazing to meet so many romance lovers all gathered together in one place.

Liza: Have you considered writing a book on how to become a bestseller?

Katheryn: *laughs* Funny you should ask that. After the success of my first book, The Royal Sheikh, a couple of years ago, I was so pleased with its success that I wrote a book about self-publishing to help other authors.

Liza: Aha! I'm psychic!

Katheryn: However, by the time I’d written it, it was out of date! I later updated it, only to find that it had gone out of date again. Publishing is changing so fast that it’s almost impossible to update quickly enough, so I don’t think I’ll ever publish it now. Sorry!

Liza: How has your life changed since you’ve become a bestseller? Do you date movie stars now?

Katheryn: No, I'm keeping my husband, thank you.
Mainly, it’s given me the encouragement to continue publishing. I think I’ll always write, but publishing is a different matter. Personally, I find publishing incredibly nerve-wracking; it’s a bit like your child’s first day at school, as putting a book out into the big, bad world, opens it up to all sorts of criticism.

Liza: I know exactly what you mean!

Katheryn: After my second book, Her Latin Lover, didn’t take off, I seriously wondered whether or not I should publish The Desert Sheikh. However, I did and it reached a number 1 slot on Amazon, which was fantastic and encouraged me to publish The Sheikh’s Beloved and then A Bride For The Sheikh. I hope to publish my next romance, The Texas Cowboy, very soon.

Liza: Okay, time now for regrets: If you could rerun your last 2 years, what would you do differently?

Katheryn: I wouldn’t have waited so long to publish my first book, The Royal Sheikh. I originally posted the manuscript to Harlequin and they wrote back several months later saying they really liked it. They said the hero, the sheikh ‘was wonderfully glamorous’ and there was a ‘spark’ to my writing, but they wanted the heroine to meet the hero sooner. Thrilled with their initial feedback, I rewrote the opening chapter and sent it back a month later, but it took them ages to reply (we’re talking over a year) and in the meantime someone sent me an article about self-publishing. I therefore decided to cut out the middleman and publish directly onto Amazon.

Liza: What are the main advantages to self publishing?

Katheryn: I like the control I currently have over my work, plus the faster speed at which I can publish my books. However, I think it’s essential to get help from other people as publishing, even self-publishing, is a group effort. Very few people, and no one I’ve met yet, can do everything. Although I don’t have an assistant or a marketing team, I do hire professional book designers and editors.

Liza: Your book covers are fabulous. Some of the best I've ever seen.

Katheryn: Thank you! I’m currently working with a wonderful designer, Jane Dixon, at J. D. Smith Designs and a fantastic editor, Faith Williams, at The Atwater Group. In addition, I have a group of people who read my books before I publish them and give me advice about what I should add, omit and change. Although self-publishing means I can get my books out more quickly, it still takes months to put a book on Amazon after I’ve finished writing it, due to editing, rewrites and cover design, which are all key parts of the process.

Liza: I nearly killed myself getting a book out in two months. I've decided I need four months for everything, but I am going to try and overlap two books so one will come out every two months. If it kills me, I won't try that anymore.

Katheryn: Two months sounds like a punishing schedule! Liza, thank you very much for giving me the chance to talk to you and share my story on your wonderful website. I’ve had a great time doing this interview!

Liza: Really?

Katheryn: Truly.

Liza: Readers to find out more about Katheryn Lane:

See her inspiration on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/KatherynLane
Visit her Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/KatherynLane

Her romance novels are available from all Amazon sites, including:

And speaking for myself I look forward to the release The Texas Cowboy soon!

And Leave a Comment, or I'll get cranky and redfaced.



18 comments:

  1. I loved the interview. I think I'm green now too! Wow... one trick is to get your books into unique categories. Coming of Age is the hot one right now. I know a friend who was #1 on that category for a short time. I am stuck in the ocean of contemporary romances.

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    1. Me too. And I was thinking the same thing. Get into hot niches. Shall I write Amazon and suggest they create a Disaster Romance genre?

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    2. Contemporary Romance is a huge ocean . . . What are you books called Melissa?
      Liza, I like your idea of a Disaster Romance genre. You can actually suggest genres to Amazon. I haven't tried it, but I know other authors who have. I think there's a post about it on Indies Unlimited.

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  2. Fabulous interview. I'm putting the sheik ones on my TBR list. Tweeted.

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  3. Thanks for a great interview, I love Katheryn Lane!

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  4. Quite an interview Katheryn! Well done as is all that you do---I'm honored to know you and wish you much continued success with your great books!

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    1. Thank you Paul. It's wonderful knowing you too!

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  5. Awesome interview, you two! Katheryn, congratulations on the successes for your books. Contemporary romance is one of the most competitive, if not the most competitive, genres. I wish you continued success. :-)

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  6. Thanks for stopping by CR. I agree with you. I need to convince Amazon that Abnormal Contemporary Romance is a genre they need to have.

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