WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WRITING COURTING CATE?
My initial goal was to retell The Taming of the Shrew using Amish characters and settings, but my deeper goal was to show how a person can truly be changed. In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio tames Katherina through abuse (although by the end of the play it’s unclear whether she’s truly tamed or just acts that way). I wanted to present an entirely different method of changing Kate.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
When I came up with the idea of retelling Shakespeare stories, I knew I had to start with “Shrew.” I first saw the play in elementary school and was wowed by Kate. I knew the theme of this story was perfect for the first novel in my series.
Soon the title Courting Cate popped into my head and so did the character, nearly fully formed. She was spunky, prickly, and wounded. I had to know her story—and the only way to do that was to write it.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE STORY WHERE YOU DREW ELEMENTS FROM REAL LIFE?
Cate, who is a big reader, is fond of saying, “I read somewhere…” That’s something I tend to say, a lot, to my husband and kids and friends too, I’m afraid. I’m sure I come across as an annoying know-it-all, but none of them complain about it.
I also definitely drew on my relationship with my husband, Peter, as I wrote the story. It was a little odd to name the hero Pete, but no other name worked as well to represent Petruchio—so Pete it was.
Our story is very different than Cate and Pete’s, although I do admit to being prickly at times, but I nevertheless I poured my love for my husband into the story. The entire time I was writing it he was in Afghanistan commanding a field hospital. After he read the first draft, he kept asking me via Skype if I couldn’t make Pete “a little nicer.”
I thought Pete was nice—it was Cate I was worried about, but hubby thought Cate was fine. My, how differently we can see the same story!
IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
Esther, Cate’s mother-in-law. She turned out to be a much more complex character than I first anticipated. Because I didn’t want Pete to be abusive, I made his mother play a “mirror” role in the story and do the dirty work. But she had a few surprises in store for me along the way.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I just finished up the edits for Adoring Addie, the second in the Courtships of Lancaster series (inspired by Romeo and Juliet, with a twist), and I’m currently writing the third in the series. More details on that in the months to come!