Thursday, July 12, 2012

Interview with Wild Point Island Author Kate Lutter

Wild Point Island  
By Kate Lutter

Banished from Wild Point Island as a child, Ella Pattenson, a half human-half revenant, has managed to hide her true identity as a descendent of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  Thought to have perished, the settlers survived but were transformed into revenants--immortal beings who live forever as long as they remain on the island.

Now, Ella must return to the place of her birth to rescue her father from imprisonment and a soon to be unspeakable death.  Her only hope is to trust a seductive revenant who seems to have ties to the corrupt High Council.  Simon Viccars is sexy and like no man she’s ever met. But he’s been trapped on the island for 400 years and is willing to do almost anything for his freedom.

With the forces of the island conspiring against her, Ella  must risk her father, her heart, and her life on love.  

Now It's Time to Get to Know Ms. Lutter on a More Personal Level :-D

What inspired you to write your first book?  

Wild Point Island was inspired by, believe it or not, True Blood, that hot HBO drama.  I got hooked the second season and immediately became fascinated with the relationship between Sookie (the small town human/fairy waitress) and Bill (the vampire) because theirs is an impossible relationship.  I wanted to write a love story like that—where the two people who fall in love really want to be together but just can’t because of factors beyond their control.  In Wild Point Island, my hero Simon is a revenant and must remain on the island to survive.  Ella, the heroine, would have to give up her freedom and a lot more to be with him.

How did you come up with the title? 

I was at my sister’s shore house—down at the New Jersey shore—staying in a turn of the century house on a small island off the coast called West Point Island.  So I took that island name and twisted it around, figuring Wild Point Island sounded a bit more romantic and provocative. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Although Wild Point Island is meant to be a fun read, the story itself does revolve around characters who are struggling to fit into the world and find acceptance.  Ella, my heroine, is half revenant and half human.  She’s called a half and half and has spent her entire life hiding her true identity, pretending to be fully human.  My hero is a revenant who used to be human but he was changed over 400 years ago.  If he can find a way to survive off the island, will he be accepted by the humans because he is different?  It’s a universal theme that I believe all readers can identify with.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I would have to say no, not directly, but indirectly, yes.  I was a high school teacher for several years.  You live with kids who are always struggling to fit in.  And the literature you teach, the history it’s based on—so many times the stories revolve around prejudice, so I think it’s an important theme. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I belong to several writing groups and definitely buy into the idea that there is a community of writers and that we’re better writers if we work together.  I plot out my stories with our writers and I work in critique groups.  I also attend conferences and listen to published writers teach what they’ve learned about writing.  I owe a bit debt of gratitude to Virginia Kantra who is an excellent writer and teacher. 

What book are you reading now?

Right now—finishing up the Hunger Games. 

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the sequel to Wild Point Island.  Ella has a sister, Lily, who causes a great deal of conflict in the novel.  She knows things that Ella doesn’t so I thought it was only fair to tell her story. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

That’s a great question.  Truthfully, Wild Point Island only just come out—a month ago—and I’m just now beginning to get reader feedback.  One thing I’m noticing is that people love to talk to me about Wild Point Island.  They find the story very provocative and when they see me, like to mention a scene and they talk about a similar situation in their life and how it rings true.  So that’s very gratifying.  I’m also hoping to sit in on some book club discussions and hear what people have to say. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Well, you probably can read the blurb and get the gist of the story.  I can add that my friends who are reading my novel tell me it’s a page turner, which I’m happy to hear.  They also like the science stuff I’ve thrown in—how the magic elixir works—because my heroine is a chemist.  And for the history buffs, the backstory hooks into the Lost Colony of Roanoke mystery.  So something cool I did was to use names from the original manifest of the boat that sailed from England to North Carolina in the 1590’s.  So, hopefully, there’s something in it for everyone. 

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I am a world traveler to begin with.  I just love to travel.  So what’s interesting is that as I move around and visit different cultures, I can’t help but be inspired and translate that information into my books.  For example, when my husband and I were on safari in Kenya, we learned that the black rhinoceros survives by eating a poisonous plant that it’s developed an immunity to over the years.  The rhino needs the plant as a water supply because the Kenyan climate is very arid.  I was fascinated by this—that something which is poisonous can also be life-saving.  So I used that concept in Wild Point Island as a part of the backstory to explain how my characters survived near starvation and drought and yet were changed into another life form. 

Who designed the covers?

I absolutely adore the cover of Wild Point Island.  The artist was Jeannie Reusch.  She captured the mood of the story exactly, and If you read the book and then refer back to the cover, everything that you see is reflected in the story. The beautiful Victorian style house is the Blue Dolphin Restaurant.  The bridge with the stars twinkling around it is the bridge in the story that leads to the mainland and the stars indicate that only the revenants can see the bridge.  There is even an antique decanter filled with the magic elixir in the forefront of the cover that Ella will use to bargain for her father’s freedom from prison.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The challenge for me was creating the world of Wild Point Island.  It literally took me six months to put all the pieces in place.  I had to develop a plausible backstory for the revenants to explain how they got on the island. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Well, I tell a funny story, which actually isn’t so funny—that I broke the rules when I attended a big league conference and pitched Wild Point Island to a major editor before I had finished writing it.  This is a big no no, for obvious reasons.  When she requested the full manuscript, I was in trouble.  So I went home and finished writing 200 pages in 20 days.  That was the fastest writing I had ever done.  I took 10 more days to edit.  In answer to your question, I learned that I can write incredibly fast when I want to.  But I also learned never to do something like that again. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Okay, not advice but the summation of what I learned after having written 4 novels I didn’t sell before I sold this one—DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.  When I sold Wild Point Island, I sold it finally at a conference I’d never gone to before and I sold it to a publisher that I hadn’t considered pitching to before.  The novel itself was also more paranormal than I’d ever written and it was in first person, which I’d never written before.  So I took some risks, changed my game plan, and am happy I did.  

A Snippet About the Spotlighted Author

Kate Lutter believes she was born to write. She wrote her first novel when she was in eighth grade, but then almost burned her house down when she tried to incinerate her story in the garbage can because she couldn’t get the plot to turn out right. Now, many years later, she lives in NJ with her husband and five cats (no matches in sight) and spends her days writing contemporary paranormal romances, traveling the world, and hanging out with her four wild sisters. She is happy to report that her debut novel, Wild Point Island, the first in a series, has just been published by Crescent Moon Press. She is busy writing the sequel and her weekly travel blog entitled Hot Blogging with Chuckwhich features her very snarky and rascally almost famous cat.


Kate Lutter said...

Thanks, KaSonndra, for hosting me on your website. I really enjoyed your interview. You made me think about Wild Point Island and what inspired me to write it. I hope readers will take a chance on my work and enjoy my crazy tale of this wonderful island. Take care.

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