Author Spotlight: An Interview With Kater Cheek

Hey there! I’m thrilled to have Kater Cheek, author of the fabulous Kit Melbourne series on my blog today. I recently read the first three books in the series and look forward to the fourth book, Faerie’s Killer, which comes out July 1, 2020!


Getting to Know Kater Cheek:

Q: Which authors do you like to read, and/or what books have most influenced your writing?

Kater Cheek: Right now my go-to authors when I just want something I know I’ll love are Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes. I know those are considered romance, but both of them are masters at plotting and characters.


Q: What led you to write in the urban fantasy genre?

KC: The book that most inspired me to start writing was The Wood Wife by Terry Windling. I loved the way she wove magic and realism together seamlessly in such a way that it felt plausible. I wanted to write something that made me feel that way again.

Q: Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.

KC: Kind of a trick question, because the perfect hero or heroine is imperfect. I want to admire someone for being amazing, but I also want them to have human flaws to make them feel like people we know.


Author Bio:

Kater Cheek is the author of the urban fantasy Kit Melbourne series, the Alternate Susan series, and the chicken comic Coop de Grace. Her short work has appeared in The Steampunk User’s Manual, The Living Dead anthology, Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, and other forums including some foreign textbooks. Kater Cheek is a graduate of 2007 Clarion San Diego.  To follow her email newsletter, sign up at www.catherinecheek.com.


Q: Which of your characters (from any of your stories) do you most relate to?

KC: Silvara is the person who has the life I would most like to have. She’s tall and beautiful and well-dressed and is literally touched by the divine. She lives in my favorite kind of house with two darling girls and a loving husband and has her own business working with flowers all day. Plus, everyone loves and admires her—she’s basically a celebrity. She’s a bit too perfect to be a major character, but her friendship is one of Kit’s greatest assets, especially in the early books.


About the Series:

Q: Can you give readers a general overview of the Kit Melbourne series?

KC: Kit is a young woman trying to make ends meet when she inherits an enchanted jewel that lets her see the supernatural. As in real life, this one seemingly minor advantage snowballs and ends up changing Kit’s life dramatically. Kit has ambition and a determination to make the most of what life has given her. She gains power by learning magic from anyone who will teach her and through her alliances.

The series gets darker and more complex as it goes along. In book one, she’s inexperienced and out of her depth. By the fourth book—which is coming out July 1—she’s been through enough danger that she’s become a steely-nerved force to be reckoned with. And yet, she’s also a woman who wants love and a family. As the series goes on, you’ll see Kit balance the violent supernatural world of her day job with her home and family life and the sometimes-disastrous ways they interact.  


Q: What kind of research did you have to do for the series? 

KC: I did a lot of research into Wicca and neo-Paganism because I thought it would be easier to use a magic system that already existed than to create my own from scratch. I also wanted my witches to feel like witches you might meet in real life. Pagans in the book tend to skew liberal, educated, and not the kind of people who think “weird” is an insult.

I sometimes do research for specific scenes, such as how bump keys work, how to embezzle money, or what time the sun sets on a specific date, but I resist investing too much time in research once a story is going because it takes time away from writing. I’m more likely to be inspired by things I learn and fit a story around them than to research for an existing story. For example, I saw a museum display on Chinese immigrants in San Diego in the late 19th century, and it inspired scenes in Faerie’s Killer where Siang is telling the story of how and why she became a vampire.


Q: One line that I love is in Vampire’s Dayrunner: “King Arthur got Excalibur, Luke Skywalker got a light-saber, Bilbo Baggins got Sting.  Me, I got a utility knife.”  Kit’s humor and sarcasm helps her deal with stressful paranormal situations and brings a bit of levity to the story.  Do you have a favorite line or scene from the series?

KC: I have a very dark sense of humor. There’s a line in one of the later books where someone uses a shotgun on a bad guy and another person replies, “Remember my house rule about not shooting guns indoors? I just bought this place!” It’s funny to me because I can picture the person saying it, angry like a dad whose kids have made a huge mess. I love inserting these mundane details and concerns to make the characters more relatable.


Q: I also love the strong messages throughout your series, especially in relation to self-sacrifice and perseverance.  What other messages do you hope readers will take away from your stories?

KC: Without hard work, talent is meaningless. Kit learns to make herself invisible because she practices and practices and practices. She gets a familiar because she feeds him and talks to him and respects his fear of humans. Kit’s humility and gratitude is part of her resilience. She doesn’t complain about the strange things that happen to her; on the contrary, she’s grateful for the skills and maturity she’s gained as a result of surviving her challenges.


Wrap-Up:

Q: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming books?

KC: Witch’s Jewel is part of a series relaunch, and the first seven books will all be out this year, with the seventh, Sorrow’s Apprentice, coming out October 1. If readers devour them all and want more, they can read my Alternate Susan series while waiting for me to finish book eight.


Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your writings (i.e. website, Twitter, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?

KC: The best place to learn about what’s going on is to sign up for my email newsletter on my website at www.katercheek.com You can find my other books there or on my Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/Kater-Cheek/e/B0056VZR7O I have a Twitter handle @Seabingen and a Facebook page Kater Cheek Fiction, but I just use those to cross-post the reviews I write on Goodreads. (I have written a lot of book reviews!)


What a great interview! It’s always so interesting to see where writers get their inspiration. Thanks again, Kater! 🙂

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