Author Interview With Kate Bridges


Lizzie Poteet: What can fans expect from your most recent work Alaska Bride On The Run?
 
Kate Bridges: Suspense, a beautiful setting, and unusual love story! It’s about a woman who’s seeking safety and obscurity as a bartender in a dazzling coastal town. Like many women in the late 1800s who traveled alone, Willa Somerset is the target of unwanted affections — unfortunately by the villain of the story. He’s a businessman and butcher shop owner who’s struck it rich during the gold rush by selling food supplies to the miners. Willa gets the safety she desires, but not so much the obscurity. She’s caught the eye of the tavern owner, Harrison Rowlan, and doesn’t blend in like she hopes to. Much to Harrison’s frustration.

LP: Alaska Bride On The Run features a runaway bride. This is not the first time you’ve written about fleeing brides, what attracts you to this storyline?
 
KB: Arranged marriages, mail-order brides, and shotgun weddings are inherently full of conflict — and extremely fun to write about! But my attraction is also to the time period and the way women were treated. Women were allowed to own property and in some places, vote. But unfortunately many men still held the view that women belonged to their husbands and didn’t have a voice. I love writing about that struggle between the sexes, how some of these strong and independent women overcome society’s views and how they ultimately match up with their strong alpha hero.
 
LP: Your last three books are set in the wilds of Alaska during the turn of the century. What about this time period and setting inspired you?
 
KB: The Yukon Gold Rush and all that went with it was considered the last frontier of the 19th century, and there’s something romantic about that. I fell in love with the area when I went on a research trip to write this series. What an incredible journey these people took, over the mountains by foot, then sawing down trees to build rafts to navigate the rivers. Not only were they fiercely independent and physically fit, but many of them were eccentric. And did I mention the mountains, wildlife, and incredibly clear waters?
 
LP: On your website, you have pictures of the research trips that you have taken to the Northwest. Can you tell us about your experiences and how they influenced your writing?
 
KB: The landscape influenced me the most in my writing. The air, pollution-free, is incredibly rich with the scent of wildflowers, fir trees, and glacial rivers. I think there must be more oxygen in that air, because it knocks you out at night! Combine that with breathtaking mountains, valleys barely touched by man, and a summer sun that never seems to set. My family and I visited several museums and I was surprised by the details I learned. For instance, how the Europeans who arrived during the gold rush influenced the dog breeding by mixing the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky with their European breeds — the Saint Bernard, Irish setters, hounds, and many other hardy dogs they brought.

LP: Do you plan to keep setting stories in Alaska or do you have a new destination in mind? 

 
KB: I’ve written four stories set in the Yukon, and four set in Alaska. They’re all stand-alone books, although some of the characters pop up when you least expect them. Alaska Bride On The Run is the last book set there. I’m currently scouting for a new destination.

 

 LP: According to your bio, you’ve studied medicine, architecture and design. How do you use your own unique experiences and background to enhance your stories?
 
KB: I try to develop interesting and unusual characters. People’s jobs have always fascinated me. In real life, I’m always trying to put myself in another person’s shoes as I watch them. Working in a hospital setting has given me lots of ideas for diseases, unusual family interactions, and even the terror a new intern might be trying to hide when talking to a seasoned nurse who’s seen it all.

LP: Your heroines typically buck tradition with professions such as doctor, nurse and bartender. How do you keep your heroines strong but still realistic for the historical settings?
 
KB: Readers often mention that my heroines seem very strong, but I don’t intentionally set out to do this. What I intentionally do is make them smart. They might be school-smart in that they have a higher education, or they might be street-smart and able to think on their feet. So any situation they come up against, I think how would an intelligent woman go about solving this problem? (Keeping in mind the time period.) So I arm my heroines with brains, but not necessarily anything else.
 
 

LP: RT has spotlighted several of your heroes in the magazine including Mitchell Reid in The Bachelor, Travis Reid in The Proposition and Zack Bullock in The Engagement. Why do you think you heroes are so irresistible to readers?
 
KB: Thank you. My heroes are all alpha men — they want control of every situation, immediately leap into danger to save someone else, they’re powerful, intelligent, charming, sometimes funny, and most of all, see the heroine as their equal. Showing equality was less acceptable during that time period because it went against the grain of society. I think making the hero notice the heroine in the light of all her attributes — not just the physical — is what makes them irresistible to me.

LP: You have recently finished your postgraduate studies in comedy script writing. Are there any movies in your future?
 
KB: Crossing my fingers! What I’m learning is that it’s a very long journey from writing a screenplay to getting it made. If you write a novel, you get a fairly quick yes or no from a publisher if they want to buy it. If you write a screenplay, you go through a ‘maybe’ period — the option period — that often takes one to five years to see if anyone else, such as actors, directors and financial backers, might be interested in making the film. I do have something on the go that’s caught the eye of a couple of producers and we’re in talks. But I do love writing novels and I’m continuing to do that.

LP: Do you have any stories in the works right now? Will you share a detail that fans can look for in your next project?
 
KB: For novels, I’ve just finished the Alaska series and I’m having fun brainstorming for new storylines and possibilities. With screenwriting, I’m writing a contemporary romantic comedy. Two guys meet up with two sisters and trouble ensues. I’m not sure on any release dates yet, otherwise I’d share that, but I’ll keep you posted. Readers can always sign up for my newsletter to get the most up-to-date news on www.katebridges.com.
 
Thank you for asking me to be here today! I enjoyed your questions and always enjoy interacting with RT readers.