It has been said "two heads are better than one....."
About the Author:
Kathryn Lynn Kramer is from the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. A native of Colorado she was born in Boulder, a city that has a rich history that began with a gold strike in 1859. Kathryn's ancestors were from the Highlands of Scotland (MacQuarrie), Devonshire, England (Vickery) and Germany (Kramer). She also has ancestors who were Native American on both her father's (Seminole) and mother's (Cherokee) side of the family. The family members in her "family tree" were the inspiration for many of her stories.
Kathy has always been an avid reader and says that even as a child her mother had to "practically shove me out the door" to go outside and play because she preferred books to playing games. When she was in elementary school she wrote a book of fairy tales and illustrated them with her drawings. History was her favorite subject in high school and she often called upon days past for assignments in English class. She was also involved in Thespians and played the part of Estella in Dicken's GREAT EXPECTATIONS as well as various parts in other plays. At the Nomad Theater in Boulder she played Maria in WEST SIDE STORY. Music was also important to Kathy and inspired her to go to the University of Colorado where she majored in Music Education, played piano and sang with the CU Jazz band and later with a jazz quartet. It is no coincidence that several of her characters are either singers or play instruments.
The writing "bug" bit her while she was working at an aerospace company. In addition to her daytime job she spent evenings and weekends working on her first manuscript--a story set during the American Civil War. Despite rejection slips she kept working and revising, also writing two other stories. After two years of taping rejection slips to her wall, she was rewarded when her story concerning a Roman soldier and a lovely young Celtic woman (LOVE'S BLAZING ECSTASY) was bought by NAL for a new line of historical romance novels they were starting. Next she sold her first Viking story -- FLAME FROM THE SEA. Both were nominated for ROMANTIC TIMES "Reviewer's Choice" awards. Her third book FLAME OF DESIRE (written as Katherine Vickery) won the "Reviewer's Choice" award and gave her inspiration to continue writing.
Kathy's mother, Marcia Vickery Hockett, aided her in writing by helping with historical research, editing and by giving her ideas. Three years later they formed a partnership in writing books written under the pseudonym Kathryn Hockett. It was a labor of love that they continued for many years. Many of the stories began after a "brainstorming" session. What if......? What if a shy schoolteacher was kidnapped by a bandido so that he could learn to read? Also, many plots were taken from historical events. SWEET SAVAGE SURRENDER was sparked by an article in the local newspaper concerning controversy about the name of a University of Colorado residence hall named for a man who took part in the "Sand Creek Massacre." SIREN SONG was drawn from the story of how Marcia's mother (from the East) met and married her father (a gold miner from the rugged West).
Together Kathryn and Marcia wrote a total of 20 books with the pseudonym Kathryn Hockett. Four books were written under the name Katherine Vickery. Kathryn wrote 16 books using her real name. Vikings, pirates, gunfighters, knights, bounty hunters, dime novel writers, Roman soldiers, ships' captains, gypsies, bandits, highwaymen and English lords and ladies soon moved from ideas to written pages. The hero and heroine of each historical romance novel was added to Kathy's doll collection, the costumes of which were created during the research phase of the books to make certain the garments were accurately depicted. Writing had become one of the most important events of their lives.
Even when Kathryn was diagnosed with cancer she and her mother continued writing. "It was great therapy," Kathy insists. Writing was a way to escape her fears for the future and her pain. Happily Kathy is a cancer survivor who looks back at her struggle with the deadly disease as a time of courage and hope. It seemed that the future was to be a happy one. Unfortunately, however, Marcia suffered a stroke while speaking at her own mother's funeral. It was a shock to Kathy and as she says, "an icepick to my heart. My mother was also my best friend. Her death was devastating, so much so that for ten long years I didn't have the heart to write--anything." The last published work was EXPLORER, part of the Viking Series.
Kathryn put her writing on hold for ten years. During that time there were many changes that occurred in the publishing world--including the birth of ebooks. It was while attending a local writers' conference--the subject of which was about how to hire the speaker's company to format books for Amazon--that Kathy realized how much she missed writing. She was inspired to format and redo the previously published historical novels written by her mother and herself for a new generation and a new market. Forty books! Half of the books had not been written on a computer but on the typewriter and so had to be totally re-typed. A labor of love and patience. Now all Kramer, Hockett, and Vickery books are available on Amazon.com as ebooks. In addition Kathryn has written HIGHLAND GHOST and a new Viking book--Ragnar--which is a prequel to the saga of a brave Viking family begun in OUTCAST. Kathy is currently writing a story set in Elizabethan times concerning the death of Christopher Marlowe. A novel about the "Trail of Tears" is next on the list. In 2019 the saga begun in DESTINY AND DESIRE will continue (ASHES AND AWAKENINGS) and a story about the Orphan Train - THE RAINBOW RIDERS- will follow.
Paperback Titles (Amazon)
I must admit that there was a time when I was more than a bit envious of those lovely young women who model for the covers of romance novels, posing with such good-looking men. The world’s most perfect job, or so I imagined. Was it any wonder then that when I was given a chance to fulfill my greatest fantasy, by going beyond merely writing about the heroine to actually becoming that character (if only for a few hours), I immediately agreed? With suitcase and airline ticket in hand I traveled to New York to pose for the cover art of LADY ROGUE. It was a unique experience that I will not soon forget. One I would like to share.
How did it come about you ask? All those people who know me will tell you that I'm a very down-to-earth person, not taken to frequent flights of fantasy (except when I am writing). What then would spur me on? I really can't say. It was a spur-of- the-moment decision enacted while my editor and I were discussing the cover art for LADY ROGUE. I was thrilled to learn that Sharon Spiak was going to be the artist because I greatly admire her work. I saw first-hand the magic she created for my gypsy romance, UNDER GYPSY SKIES. Suddenly I found myself asking if I could come to New York to see how the artwork was done. The process of developing a book cover has always been of interest to me. Volunteering to pose as the heroine just sort of popped out. The ultimate fantasy. Was it a wild idea? Perhaps. But it was an idea I don't regret for a moment. It allowed me to experience another facet of romance writing and broadened my understanding of just what all goes into the making of a novel.
For several months I had lived with Dawn Leighton, had tried to "get inside her head and heart" so that I could think and feel as she did. Now I was going to get a chance to actually be her, if only for a few hours. I was going to be given a chance to dress up in costume and step back in history, to actually became the character I had created, a woman whose determination and grit I had come to admire so much that I nearly forgot by the end of the story that I had created her. She had become nearly real to me! Now she will always be even more so.
Dawn Leighton proves herself in the story to be adventurous, bold and determined. Now that I had set the wheels in motion to portray her on the book cover I had to prove to be just as daring. The butterflies that were forming in my stomach at the thought of going through with my fantasy had to be swept away. I could do! I would do it! It was the chance of a lifetime! I was goaded on by another reason as well. At the back of my mind was the thought of standing up for all those women who like me are over forty. Believe me, that age is not fatal as some (those in the advertising world who talk about being over thirty as if it were a death sentence) would have you believe. I started writing at the ripe old age of 39. Now I could prove that life truly does begin at forty and gets better and better with each year that passes. Thus, I flew more than half-way across the country to do just that.
To make a long story short the shoot was a success, although it was not without it's harrowing moment. It was decided that the gown chosen for the shoot was not suitable (wrong color and wrong style). Sharon had to hustle through the busy New York streets to find something more appropriate. The dress was a perfect fit except that I am only 5' 2" and the dress was too long. Meanwhile the photographer, faced with a tight schedule, was becoming a bit impatient. For a moment I imagined my trip had been all in vain, but with a pin here and there a miracle was soon created.
Readers have written to ask me about the artwork. Do the authors have anything to say about what appears on the cover? How is it done? Are the lovers on the covers strictly from the artist's imagination? Are they real-life models? If so wasn't it a painstaking process for the models to stand before the artist for hour upon hour as they painted them in a pose? What about the background, how was it merged into the final scene? Until I started writing I had several misconceptions about how the covers were done. Now I've seen the process firsthand and I am even more impressed. From first sketch to finished cover proof it is a skillful blending of art and design that reminded me of a meticulously worked out science!
I had a lot of fun at the shoot but I found out that cover modeling isn't the easy job I once thought it to be. Not at all! It's hard, strenuous work posing under those brilliantly hot lights. It's a bit like isometric exercises - holding one position for a long, long time. As a matter of fact when at last the photographic session was over I had been kneeling for so long that my legs just wouldn't work. I couldn't stand up! I was certain that I was going to remain permanently in that position (and I had to hurry to catch a plane back to Colorado). At that moment my full appreciation for the ladies and gentlemen who pose for the covers came to full flower as well my appreciation for all the other skilled professionals who bring a writer's work to life. My heartfelt gratitude to all of them!
Books by Kathryn Kramer
Love's Blazing Ecstasy
Flame from the Sea
Under Gypsy Skies
Destiny and Desire
Midsummer Night's Desire
The Lace House - Black Hawk, Colorado
The Lace House was built in 1890 when Central City and Black Hawk mining towns were at the height of their glory. It is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. It is known for the very artistic bargeboards along the roof line, above the windows, and along the porch roofline. When I was a child my parents often visited the mountain town and I was fascinated by this lovely house. It appears in SIREN SONG and VELVET VAGABOND.
The Tower of London
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, this castle was built by William the Conqueror. Although it was once a grand palace and royal residence, it was also a place of horror where prisoners were jailed and enemies beheaded. The day I took the picture it was a foggy day in London and the mist that covered the Tower emphasized the myth and mystery. Several of the heroes in my stories--MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DESIRE, FLAME OF DESIRE, SEA OF DESIRE, DESIRE'S DECEPTION-- find themselves housed in the Tower.
Tortola Island in the British Virgin Islands
During the "Golden Age of Piracy" the British Virgin Islands was the haunt of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. It was rumored that he often marooned those who displeased him on the island known as "Deadchest". It was also whispered that the caves around the islands housed treasure from the captain's ships. This area appears in PIRATE BRIDE.
Perched atop Castle Hill, this historic fortress dominates the skyline of Edinburgh. It is the site for the GAME OF QUEENS series - DESIRE'S DECEPTION and HIGHLAND BRIDE which centers on the feud between Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I. Whoa be to anyone who found themselves involved in the tragic duel of wits between the cousins.
I had never believed in ghosts until I visited Holyrood to get information for DESIRE'S DECEPTION and HIGHLAND BRIDE. Upon entering the room where Queen Mary's personal secretary, David Rizzio was murdered while she was in the room, I seemed to feel his presence.
Seeing this old Viking ship at the museum gave me all sorts of ideas for a story or two about the sea raiders who terrorized Europe: FLAME FROM THE SEA, GENTLE WARRIOR (Hockett) and the PENDANTS of RAGNAR series (Hockett).
In The Beginning
Chasing a dream............
I have always loved books! Reading takes a person into another dimension, a different country, or another time period. Historical stories were always my favorite. Authors like Frank Yerby, Anya Seton, Daphne du Maurier, and Charles Dickens kept me entertained for hours. Even so, I never envisioned being an author as part of my future. That is until I was challenged by a co-worker after I admitted that I did not like the book they had recommended. "Do you think you could do better?" they asked snidely. With just one word "yes" I picked up the gauntlet.
Thus began two years of laboring to write my first book--a Civil War story-- and then suffering the agonizing reality of rejections from editors. Being stubborn, I struggled on putting aside my first book and writing another story about a Roman soldier and the daughter of a powerful Celtic Druid. Much to my surprise, I received a letter from the publisher that they wanted the book for a new line of historical romance novels. If I loathed the title they had given it, it didn't matter. My story about Wynne and Valerian was going to be shared with readers. Best of all the cover artist was going to be Pino, one of the greatest artists of his time.
And so my adventures begin........
The next story I wrote--Flame from the Sea-- centered on Vikings. A young Irish girl helps a handsome Viking prisoner escape. Little do they know that they will be reunited several years later during a Viking raid.
In Desire's Masquerade a ward of Richard III must escape England by cutting off her hair, disguising herself as a minstrel and traveling to Venice. Under Gypsy Skies is the love story between a gypsy and a Spanish nobleman during the time of the Spanish Inquisition.
Several books set during the reign of the Tudors followed: Desire's Deception, Highland Bride, Midsummer Night's Desire (as well as Sea of Desire and Flame of Desire written under Katherine Vickery).
Beautiful women on the "other side of the law" soon proved to be of interest: Blackbeard's daughter who is captain of her own pirate ship, The Notorious Lady and other highwaymen, Lady Rogue - a picketpocket who learns to be a lady and finds love, and even an outlaw or two.
In Destiny and Desire I came full circle and after hard work on revisions sold that first book that had started it all.......
In The Misty Highlands of Scotland
Perhaps because of my Scottish ancestry, I have been drawn to myths, legends, and stories of the Scottish clans. In Flame Across the Highlands (Katherine Vickery) I delved into family history to write the love story of Ian of Clan Campbell and Brianna of Clan MacQuarie, willing to fight for their love despite a twisted plan for
vengeance enacted by their chieftains.
In Highland Destiny (Kathryn Hockett) Niall of Clan MacDonald romances Caitln of Clan Macleod so that he can steal the MacLeod's "fairie flag" which legend has proclaimed makes them invincible in battle.
A lovely young albino named Bánflùr saves the life of Colm Cameron in HIGHLAND GHOST. Colm is betrothed to Shona of Clan MacKinnon but is also drawn to the young woman who has saved his life. As I wrote this story I, too, was torn as I realized I had to make a decision as to which woman he would chose and what fate had in story for the beauty that didn't win his heart.