Katy James is a romance author, archivist and rare book librarian, and single mom to an excellent teenager. In her free time she enjoys wrangling an ever-fluctuating number of pets, fixing up her old house, reading, playing the banjo, knitting, cooking, gardening, and generally making all kinds of stuff. She writes contemporary romance books that get to the heart of falling in love while finding one’s place in today’s world.
[Photo: Katy and her dog, Jack]
Your first book, Too Much Man (Firebirds Book 1), came out in December. What was the inspiration for the story?
I’d written another book (and a sequel) and queried it for a while, but it was going nowhere. I felt a little down about my publishing journey and writing generally, so I decided to write a book that was full of things I loved: my cute town, friendships like the ones I’d had at the women’s college I attended, hockey, coffee shops, etc. I also wanted to write about two subjects that interest me: bisexuality and feeling comfortable in one’s sexuality when others may perceive you differently from what you are inside, and what happens to professional athletes when they can no longer play their sport. I thought no one would ever want to publish my weird little mish-mash book, but I’m so glad I was wrong!
What is the one thing you must know about a story before you start writing?
Honestly? Not much! I am a pantser by nature, meaning that I just start my story and go along writing it without any outline or planned plot—although I’m trying to do a little more plotting with my current books, because writing without a “net” can be stressful for me. I need to know who my main characters are, what they want, and what their relationship will be like. I also usually have a general “vibe” of a book, sort of like the feeling evoked by a song. I try to carry that feeling throughout, and it keeps me grounded in what makes that story unique. Otherwise… I just go for it and figure it out as I go along.
Which author would you most like to meet?
So many! I’ve been lucky to meet a number of romance authors I admire. But of the ones I haven’t, I’d love to meet Kresley Cole, Lisa Kleypas, Cat Sebastian, and Talia Hibbert. And of course, obviously, I’d love to meet Beverly Jenkins. Who wouldn’t? I’ve also always wanted to meet the nature writer Robert Finch, whose work definitely influenced me even though he writes in such a different genre.
What is your ideal writing environment and how has the pandemic changed that?
Sometimes I dream about turning the attic of my old house into the perfect writing space: Light, bright, quiet, and away from everything. I’d put a desk by one window where I could spread out my notes and references, and a big comfy chair by another window. I’d also have built-in bookshelves for my romance collection. Unfortunately, creating that space would cost money.
So, my usual writing environment is either on my living room couch or on the twin-sized bed out on our enclosed porch. Basically, I like to be comfy while I write. The pandemic hasn’t changed either of those spaces, except for when my son was at home doing virtual school and he was in them constantly interrupting me. And since I work my day job from home more often now, those spots are also often doubling as archivist/librarian workspaces, which sometimes confuses my poor brain.
What’s up next for you?
The follow up to Too Much Man, Book #2 in the Firebirds series, comes out in July. It’s titled Too Hot to Touch (Firebirds Book 2), and tells the story of Tyler Valentine and Murray Silva, both of whom readers met in Too Much Man. I’m also noodling around with what I’d like to do for the rest of the series—so let’s hope I get the chance to write those books!
Piper Welborn has created a warm, welcoming space for all in her queer-inclusive coffee shop, even if the long hours came at the cost of her love life. But she’s not ready to welcome one man in particular—a grumpy, muscular former hockey player. His smoldering presence is a temptation and a challenge to her long-standing vow not to date cis men.
Gavin Williams has no business starting a relationship, least of all with a woman he’s not sure even likes him. He can’t resist the Friendly Bean’s hot, pink-haired owner, but a casual fling is all he can commit to. He’s hoping to leave town for the next stage in his career…if he ever gets the call with the job offer.
A friends-with-benefits arrangement is perfect for them both—but neither is ready for the feelings that hit. When the post-hockey life Gavin always dreamed of is suddenly within his grasp, they’ll both have to make a choice: hold tight to what they thought life should look like, or work together to build something new.