Book review of “Royal Secrets”
“Royal Secrets” by Kathleen Irene Paterka
ROYAL SECRETS is the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.
I have been a huge fan of Kathleen ever since I read “Fatty Patty” (such a great book), so I was eager to start “Royal Secrets”. Being a huge fan of the Royal Family, I really enjoyed this book, and even the references to Kate. There were a lot of twists and turns, which made for a page-turner. While the beginning seemed a little slow and there were parts that seemed to drag on a bit, it definitely picked up in the middle. I was constantly wondering what would happen next.
I thought the characters were written really well, but my favorite was Tori. She was mature and smart, and I liked how she challenged her mother. My main issue with this book was Lilly’s character. From the beginning, she seemed really upset with her mother for having a stroke. It like she was put out for having to take care of her. I also thought Lilly needed to step in take over for Tori, who seemed to take better care of Mimi.
Kathleen’s writing was witty and fun! Like I mentioned above, this wasn’t my first book by her, and I know it won’t be my last!
I give “Royal Secrets” 4 stars!
Describe yourself in five sentences: I’m a published author, with five women’s fiction novels and one non-fiction work available both digitally and in print. I’m wife to Steve (33 years and counting), a mother to our daughter Abby (31 yrs.), and grandmother of 3 yr. old twin boys. I have a day job I love as resident staff writer at a fairy tale castle in Northern Michigan. I’m in love with my husband, devoted to my family, loyal to my friends, and happy in what I do. Most of all, I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
When did you begin writing? I started scribbling stories down as soon as I could hold a pencil and string words together. Growing up, I thought everyone was like me ~ living with a stream of stories and ideas, and people chattering away in their heads. Little did I know that ‘normal people’ weren’t necessarily like that. But I’ve always loved making up things. Nowadays, I get paid to put that imagination to good use.
How do you come up with the titles of your books? My first novel, FATTY PATTY, is about an elementary school teacher named Patty who’s struggling to lose weight. I was a fat teenager (I weighed 300 lbs. when I graduated from high school) and they called me ‘Baby Huey’ on the playground. That got me thinking, “What would Patty’s nickname be?” Thus, the name (and title) FATTY PATTY was born. My latest novel, ROYAL SECRETS, is about a Las Vegas wedding chapel (the Royal Wedding Chapel) owned by a family of women who are distantly related to the British royal family. The novel contains plenty of intrigue and drama, plus plenty of secrets! Seemed like a no-brainer. Royalty + Secrets = ROYAL SECRETS.
Walk us through your writing/editing/publishing process: I love writing the rough draft. It’s my favorite part of the entire process. By the time I begin, I’ve been dreaming about the characters for a good six months. I know where the story begins and where it will end. For me, the fun part is discovering the story magic in the middle. I’m a very slow writer. My current work in progress is due to my editor next March. By the time it arrives in her In-Box, I’ll already have a cover design back from my graphic artist, plus a formatting time-slot booked. From start to finish, the entire process takes about eighteen months.
Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’ve never had writer’s block, and it’s something I prefer not to think about, thank you very much! Perhaps I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself? However, I did quit writing once, for several years. My younger sister (my only sibling ~ a 37 yr. old single mom with five young children) had just been diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. I was four chapters into a new novel, but I just couldn’t concentrate. After a few weeks, I made the decision to quit writing and concentrate solely on my family. My sister died nine months after being diagnosed. Looking back, I’m so glad I made the decision to put my writing aside for that time in my life. I have no regrets. I believe that being there for her when she needed me, helping out with my nieces and nephews, making memories that will last forever, strengthened me as a person, as a woman, and as a writer. It took a good three years following her death before I finally picked my writing up again. But when I did, it was with a renewed determination, and I vowed to never quit again. Life is too short not to follow your dreams.
Are any of your characters based on someone you know? Each of my heroes contains certain core elements of my husband Steve’s personality. He’s such a wonderful man and the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. How could I not help being influenced by him when it comes to creating the perfect guy? The only male character Steve complained about (and disliked) was Sam Curtis, the overweight hero in FATTY PATTY. At the time I wrote the novel, Steve had been struggling to lose a few pounds. He didn’t like being compared to Sam. (Interesting side note: women readers adored Sam! But I say, “Too bad, ladies… he’s taken!”)
Where is your favorite writing location? I have a home office. The walls are red, my desk is a beautiful antique rubbed walnut, and my computer monitor is the largest I could find that would fit on my desk. My eyes aren’t the greatest and I need that visibility on the screen!
If you’re not working, then you’re probably…Watching episodes of HBO’s THE NEWSROOM (with Jeff Daniels). It’s my favorite show on television ~ the new season begins this month! I’m psyched! I also love going to the movies with Steve, or losing myself in a good book. TV, movies, books… can you tell I love escaping reality?
What is your favorite word? Perseverance.
What would you be if you weren’t a writer? A talk show hostess! (not that I believe for one minute that any network would hire me- LOL). But I love interviewing people, finding out about their lives and discovering why they do the things they do. People are so interesting. The situations some of them find themselves in make for wonderful stories!
What is the best advice you’ve been given? Never give up. That applies to everything in life, whether it’s writing, marriage, children, or anything. Work at it long enough and you will succeed (or, at least, things will improve). A person cannot survive without hope. Hope is the thing that keeps us going. I try every day to fill my life with hope.
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I’m three chapters into a new work of women’s fiction. The story evolved from a horrible event I experienced in my life a few years ago. My husband had been hospitalized for a heart condition. Early one morning I was sitting by his bed and woke with a start to the oddest noise. Little did I know that it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. My Steve had just taken his last breath. Thank God he was in the cardiac unit. A skilled team of doctors and nurses rushed to his side with a crash cart and zapped him back to life. But that experience got me to thinking. What if Steve hadn’t been in the hospital? What if we’d been home and asleep in bed? He would have died. One thought led to another, resulting in my current work in progress, a women’s fiction story I callELEANOR (for want of a better title). It’s the story of a woman who wakes from a sound sleep by a curious sound coming from her husband of 38 years next to her in bed. Then she goes back to sleep… only to waken the next morning to find him dead beside her. A shocking secret he’s been keeping is exposed upon his death, destroying the idyllic life they’d built together, leaving a stunned Eleanor alone to figure out how in the world to begin putting her life back together.
My novel ROYAL SECRETS was released on July 1, 2013. It’s the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.
**About author, Kathleen Irene Paterka: Kathleen Irene Paterka fell in love with writing (and food) at a very young age. By the time she graduated high school, she’d completed her first manuscript and she weighed 300 lbs. Though the extra pounds have long since disappeared, Kathleen still carries the emotional scars of being a former fatty. FATTY PATTY was born from the cruel teasing she endured on the school playground. Kathleen is the author of numerous novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including the Women’s Fiction series, “The James Bay Novels”. Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Kathleen loves hearing from readers. You can contact her via her website at http://www.kathleenirenepaterka.com or follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka.
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