Kicking It with Katie Reus
I first became friends with Katie Reus on the ride up to Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference in 2010. I had just sold to St. Martin’s and Katie confided to me on that trip that she was hopeful about interest a publisher had shown in her wolf-shifter paranormal series.
Now, it’s three years later: we’re both published, and she’s burning up the charts not only with her traditionally published paranormal romances (which she sold to that interested publisher), but her self-pubbed romantic suspense has landed her on the bestseller lists. And in a little over a month, her first traditionally published romantic suspense novel will come out. As you may have guessed by now, this is one hard-working lady!
And now, without further ado, let me welcome my friend, Katie Reus!
Thanks so much for having me here today, Manda!
Thanks so much for being here! I’m so excited to celebrate your new releases with you! So, let’s begin at the beginning. Why romantic suspense? What drew you to it?
I discovered romantic suspense in college, years before I realized that writing was for me. The genre is such a fun escape with an HEA. Doesn’t get better than that.
No, it doesn’t. Is there any one romantic suspense book in particular that made you think, “I want to write like this”? What was it about that book, do you think?
All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard, hands down. It was the book that introduced me to romantic suspense so even though I didn’t have a clue I wanted to be a writer when I read it the first time, that book stuck with me over the years because of the main couple. The heroine is strong and capable and the hero is so alpha delicious and his one weakness is the heroine. The characterization of their relationship is hot and complicated because in the first scene she’s with the hero listening to him order her husband to ‘finish the job’ which will entail him blowing himself up. (They’re on a mission working for the CIA at the time). Of course the h/h don’t meet up again until 5 years later and then the fun really begins. The depth of the characters is amazing.
OMG! I love me some Linda Howard. Definitely a great place to get inspired! Who are some of your other favorites?
[Aside from] Linda Howard (her older RS titles), Kaylea Cross, and Cynthia Eden.
So, let’s get into your own writing, now. Your self-published Red Stone Security series has been wickedly successful. What is it about these books that keeps readers coming back for more?
This has been such a fun series to write and you’re right, the reception by readers has blown me away. While these books are romantic suspense, they’re really character driven. The suspense is definitely second to the romance. The heroes are alpha, dominating, super sexy, and put their females first above everything else, which is incredibly hot. And all my heroines are really strong characters with no TSTL moments. I tend not to read reviews too much, but the ones I’ve seen and the ones my readers email me about all say similar things about loving my strong female leads paired with my alpha heroes so I know that’s a big part of the appeal.
My Deadly Ops series is really high-octane suspense. While it’s character driven to an extent, there’s a balance between the suspense and romance in each book. One could not exist without the other in this series. These books are also a lot more complicated plot-wise. Headline acquired the UK/AUS rights and my editor there made a comment how filmic the first book is and I realized that she was right. It’s like a big action move but with lots of romance and of course an HEA 😉
Do you see the Deadly Ops moving beyond a trilogy at this point, or is that something you’ll decide later?
I would love to continue the series, but at this point that’s something I will decide much later.
Let’s get serious now. *Manda lowers her glasses and gives Katie the eye-brow lift that inspires fear in all interview subjects.* I heard a rumor that your husband shares some background traits with Jack, the hero of Targeted, your first Deadly Ops book.
Katie, are you just transcribing your life onto the page?
Lol, those pesky rumors! In this case, it’s partially true. My husband was a sniper in the Marine Corps years ago (longer than I’ll admit) so when developing Jack’s character I got to grill him with a billion little questions for realism that I’m pretty sure drove him crazy. But when he read the prologue of the ARC he was like, ‘hey! I told you this’ over and over at different sections. It was pretty cool to see his reaction.
Moving on! You also write paranormal romance for NAL. Do you have any difficulty switching gears between your RS-writer-self and your Paranormal-writer-self?
Not really. Switching between the genres is something I look forward to. I love mixing it up. However, switching between my different paranormal worlds (I have a few novellas with Nocturne) is more difficult because there are different rules and I have to stay true to them in each ‘world’.
That makes sense. So, keeping with your paranormals for a moment, you write wolf-shifters. Are wolves your favorite shifters, or are there more that you’d like to write? Badger-shifters perhaps? (Sorry, that’s my college mascot. I had to ask!)
Snort, sorry, no badger shifters in the future! I absolutely love wolf shifters (or lupine shifters as they’re called in my Moon Shifter series) and I’ve also penned some stories that include jaguar shifters. I also have an idea for another type of shifter that in 2014 I’ll hopefully get a chance to write. And no, I’m not telling what 😉
You are a cruel woman, Katie Reus. Cruel, indeed. I guess I’ll just move to the next question, then.
You were already traditionally published when you decided to embark upon your self-publishing journey. What was it about self-publishing that drew you in? Are you planning to continue self-publishing?
There were so many factors, but control and reaching readers faster were two huge deciding factors. I’m a fast writer and there’s no way NY could keep up with my output so the explosion of self-publishing came along at the right time for me. About two and a half years ago I dipped my toes in the water with a novella that was supposed to be an experiment (Killer Secrets) in self-publishing. At the time I was too busy with contractual stuff to even think about doing more than that, but it was a good experience and got me semi-prepared for when I would jump into the deep end of self-publishing a year later.
A few months after that I pitched a proposal to my agent meant for a certain Harlequin line and while she liked it she said (in so many words) that the heroine was too ‘alpha’ for the line. And she was right. I was weeks away from having my first baby and had other contractual obligations that were pressing on me so I shelved it even though I was almost completely done with the story and totally in love with the characters. Normally I’m pretty amenable to suggested changes but there was no way I was changing my heroine’s personality. So almost exactly a year later I decided to take the plunge full on into self-publishing with that story (No One to Trust, book 1 in my Red Stone series) and by the end of 2012 I had self-published four stories in the series and my readers were clamoring for more. Then in April of 2013 I hit the USA Today bestsellers list for the first time with the 6th story in the series. For me, self-publishing has been the best move for my career because it’s let me reach more readers and now I have a better understanding of exactly what my fan base wants. Seriously, I can’t write fast enough for my readers!
That is so freaking cool! I love hearing about authors (like our own Rachel Grant) jumping into the deep end and having it pay off!
So, By my count (and I’m no math major) you’ve got two traditionally published series’ going and you’re continuing to put out a ton of self-published stories. What is the secret to your incredible output? And will you give me some of whatever you’re taking?
I’m just a total maniac. I have a bit of a type A personality and once my readers started wanting more-more-more, it only pushed my internal drive even harder. I’ve got a two year old and a husband with a crazy work shift so I have to carve out time to write but when I do, I go completely offline and just focus. This might sound crazy, but I’ve got a ‘to do’ list from now until December and I know exactly what I’ll be working on every week and what word count I need to hit every day to make my goals. I’m just very goal oriented. And post-it notes really help my focus, lol.
That said, I also have a lot of help. I’ve got a really supportive family who helps out with my son when I’m on deadlines. Without them I would be lost. Not to mention I’ve got an amazing critique partner, great beta readers, editors and proof readers. All of that helps in turning out books fast because I need multiple sets of eyes before I’m comfortable putting anything out there.
Thanks so much for having me here today!
I’d love to give away a copy of Wicked Firsts, the anthology that I just co-published with five other amazing authors! Just tell me; what’s your favorite thing about romance books and be entered.
Hear that, folks? What is your favorite thing about romance books? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Wicked Firsts!
A little about Katie: USA Today bestselling author Katie has been reading romance since a young age—ever since she discovered her mom’s hidden stash. Luckily the addiction stayed with her into adulthood. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. To learn more about her please visit her website, blog, facebook or find her on twitter @katiereus.