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Nothing But Velvet
After years of stubborn California sunlight, Kat and Larry Martin decided to settle in a tiny, mountain-ringed valley outside of Missoula, Montana, in the same year the Treasure State reported a record seasonal snowfall of 142 inches (just shy of 12 feet). "The first week we moved here, Larry got stuck in the snow two times," Kat grumbled. "My Mercedes Benz, which I have always kept meticulously clean, is at this moment covered in snow."
Put away those sympathy cards. Kat said they will spend about three months each year at their California condo. Guess in which season those three months will fall?
"There is only one other neighbor in the valley we live," Kat says. "We own 25 acres, which is about half the valley." The Martins truly are starting from scratch. The four months they lived in Montana last year were consumed with installing a road and a septic system to their corner of paradise. The three-car garage, the only toehold they've made on what will eventually be their dream house, doubles as a cozy cabin for Larry and Kat as they build the rest of the house.
Kat, who loves to absorb the atmosphere of her book's locale, took a break from the piddling details of septic tanks to linger in England last year. Both her last book, Innocence Undone, and her latest, Nothing But Velvet, fit snugly into British history. Nothing... uses Newgate Prison's harshness and the clamor of the 1760 crowds for public blood spilling on Tyburn Hill as backdrops for the daring games of bluff and double bluff her passionate characters carry out.
"I just couldn't see my hero riding around in 1800," Kat said about her unorthodox historical setting. Most British set romances take place in the Medieval and Tudor eras or in the 1800s. "I needed a time when public hangings were still held on Tyburn Hill. Nothing But Velvet could not have occurred at any other time if I were to keep my characters the same."
Not surprisingly, Kat is currently working on a book which will be set in Montana, a place she can easily access for inspiration. Plus, the American West is no stranger to this author. Her early writing focused on American-set historicals. Then she wrote Gypsy Lord, her first book set in England, and her career was never the same again. "I felt so drawn to England," Kat reveals. "Maybe I lived there in a previous lifetime."
Reincarnation could explain the remarkable 180x turn in her books. Since Gypsy Lord, only three of nine Kat Martin books have been set on U.S. soil, and two of those three completed a series started before Gypsy Lord.
But Kat now lives in some of the most beautiful country this side of the Atlantic. That as yet-untitled Montana novel may usher in a generation of leathered, squinty-eyed men who wouldn't hesitate to challenge her British lords for dominance. Ought to be a pretty interesting stand off.
Write to Kat c/o St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010; or visit her website at http://www.katbooks.com
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