New and Debut: Kate Clayborn

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I'm so happy to welcome as my guest in New and Debut author spotlight the lovely Kate Clayborn. Her debut Beginner's Luck, mf contemporary romance, was just released on Oct 31. I've already reviewed it and can't praise it high enough. It's such a delightful story, complex and fun and realistic and in short, contemporary romance at its finest. Read on to learn more about the author and her book and don't miss the excerpt from Beginner's Luck at the end of this post.


Meet Kate 

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?
Probably like a lot of romance authors, I started writing because I really, really loved reading romance. I’ve always loved to write, and do some writing as part of my day job, but I don’t think I had a strong vision of myself as being a writer of novels. But when I started reading romance, I felt like I had found my “thing,” my people, if that makes sense? What I really loved most about romance was that much of it had a very strong sense of community - not just a partnership between the central couple, but friendships, family relationships, work relationships. In my own life, community is really important - it’s what gives my life a lot of its meaning. I’m from a close family and have many lovely, dear friends as well as a husband who is fun and funny and supportive. So as a writer, I wanted to write books that pay tribute to community like that. I love building those communities around a central romance pairing in a way that feels natural and realistic. 

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?
How much time do you have? I have so many favorites, and I’m such a compulsive re-reader when I find books/authors I love. Some of my favorite contemporary authors are Sarah Mayberry, Ainslie Paton, Ruby Lang, and Alisha Rai (especially her new series, which I love so far). My favorite contemporary of the last year or so was probably Sally Thorne’s terrific The Hating Game. I love historicals, too, especially Courtney Milan and the new Alyssa Cole Loyal League series, as well as Tessa Dare and Sherry Thomas. 

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?
The first romance I ever read was Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, and her heroines—who are smart and fierce and imperfect and complicated—were certainly an influence in how I went on to read romance. I look for heroines like that as a reader, and I gravitate toward writing heroines like that. But I also try to take inspiration from unexpected places—a beautifully written piece of journalism that makes me think differently about something I already knew, or that teaches me something entirely unexpected, a great movie or a TV show, even a passing interaction with a stranger. I’m inspired by character, always—so learning something interesting about someone’s job or hobby or history or habits will often inspire me to think of stories that supplement those characteristics. 

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?
I write contemporaries with a lot of a humor and heart, featuring strong, independent heroines who have to work hard to find a place for love in their complicated lives. I like to match these heroines with heroes who are complicated, too—competent at what they do, and emotionally mature and invested in friendships and family relationships.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.
BEGINNER’S LUCK is the first book in the Chance of a Lifetime series, which features three best friends who win the lottery. For each of them, the lottery is a chance to go after a long-desired goal, and for the heroine of BEGINNER’S LUCK, Kit, that’s to buy a house in the city she’s come to think of as home. As a trusted research scientist at the local university, Kit’s feeling pretty stable for the first time in her life, but the arrival of a handsome corporate recruiter named Ben—who’s offering her a new job and some extra help on her newly-purchased home—threatens to upend her carefully constructed plans. But since Ben is as charming and kind as he is handsome, Kit starts to wonder whether it’s possible to have both stability and the man of her dreams.


Title: Beginner's Luck (Chance of a Lifetime #1)
Author: Kate Clayborn
Date of publication: 31 Oct 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Purchase links: AmazonB&N • iTunesBooks-A-MillionGoogle PlayKobo

My rating: 5 stars

Blurb

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all. 

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart . . .

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it. 

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless . . .

Author Bio and Links

KATE started writing stories on the extra wide-ruled notebook paper her first grade teacher passed out for handwriting practice, dreaming up everything from fairy princesses to secret agents, to fairy princesses who were also secret agents. She got gold stars for her handwriting, and side-eyes for the secret agent stuff.
Those stories were packed away in a memory box while Kate grew up and did lots of things—a master’s degree, a PhD, work, travel, home renovation, life in general—always with a book at her side.
A jolt in the form of a great romance novel reminded her to start writing stories again, but this time on a laptop (though she still has excellent handwriting).
These days Kate’s favorite stories to write are the ones that make people snort-laugh and happy-sigh—stories about smart, strong heroines who face the world alongside true friends, complicated families, and good men who recognize exactly how amazing the women they love are.
Kate is lucky enough to spend her days reading and talking about all kinds of great books. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing them, thinking about writing them, or remembering edits she needs to make in them. There’s also the thing where she takes long walks around her neighborhood and makes her handsome husband and sweet-faced dog listen to her talk about books and writing. They’re never bored and she’s not single-minded at all.



EXCERPT 

Here’s an excerpt from Kit and Ben’s very first meeting, when he comes to her research lab to make his first attempt at recruiting her: 

“Excuse me,” comes a deep voice from behind me, and it’s so unexpected that I jump a little, hitting my elbow on the creep frame I’ve just finished cleaning. 

“Ow,” I mutter, turning to meet—oh, only the most attractive person I have ever actually seen in real life, unless something is happening to my vision. I raise a hand immediately to my face, noting the lab goggles I am wearing—right, this is ideal—over my actual glasses. I pull them off, the rubbery strap getting a little stuck in my hair, and wince when a few strands come out. Once I’ve got my glasses straightened, I have another look. 

And, yeah. Still the most attractive person I’ve ever seen, tall and broad-shouldered with sandy-blond hair and a square, set jaw, eyes so blue I can see them even from several feet away, where he’s standing in the doorway. I don’t usually go for guys in suits, probably because most of the men in my line of work are more the rumpled-khakis or jeans type, but damn. This guy wears a suit like it’s his job. Which, it probably is his job, since it’s noon on a Friday. 

“I’m looking for E.R. Averin.” Excellent voice too—deep and smooth, and I had not really realized until this moment that I am so hard up if I am noticing this man’s voice so forcefully. Maybe there was something to Zoe’s constant haranguing about my nonexistent dating life. 

“Well, you found her,” I say, glad to hear that my own voice, at least, sounds normal. 

“I—” He paused, looked back over his shoulder. “I have?” 

“You have.” He blinks, unbuttons and then rebuttons his jacket. It is awkward to a high degree, and let me tell you what, you don’t spend your life around a bunch of experimental scientists without getting a real skewed sense of what’s awkward. This guy seems completely thrown. 

“You’re E.R. Averin?” he says, a little edge of doubt in his voice, and it’s at this point that I get almost relieved to know what I’m dealing with. Not for nothing am I the only female—not to mention the youngest—lab technician to ever work in this department, and in fact the only woman working in a lab tech role in the College of Engineering. I’ve dealt with a lot of dudes who have doubted me. 

“I think I’ve made that clear, Mr....?” 

He has the decency to look genuinely chastened. “My apologies, Professor Averin. I’m Ben Tucker.” 

He steps forward, holding out his—well, very nice, very large—hand, but I hold up the bottle of ethanol and my rag, shrugging in half-hearted apology. “Hello, Mr. Tucker. I’m not a professor.” 

“Right, yes. I apologize.” 

“That’s okay,” I say, and I almost feel sorry for him. There’s something about him, some weary feature behind his handsomeness, that gives me the sense I’m getting him on a bad day.

“Please, call me Ben.”

“Okay, Ben. Call me Ms. Averin.”

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