I’ve longed to have a conversation with Katie Mettner because I’ve followed her career on Social Media and I love how she’s brought diversity into the romance genre by featuring disabled heroes and heroines. We need more representation of diversity in romance because let’s face it everyone is looking for their own happily ever after. Elizabeth Marx
Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, ‘the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest — now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.
- What is your favorite quote? Why does it speak to you?
“Where we break when our hearts are strong enough.” Call it Dreaming, Iron & Wine
I have this tattooed on my arm above my tattoo of Sugar, who was my first book character. The character of Sugar exemplifies that quote because she was broken, but when her heart was finally strong enough to live again, everything good came back to her. It speaks to me in much the same way. I’ve broken so many different ways over the years, but something good has always come from those broken moments.
For years I walked around on a leg that was broken and damaged. When they amputated it, I expected to wake up, go home, and continue on with my life. Instead, I woke up, went home, and wrote my first book. I met so many wonderful writers who encouraged me to keep writing. I found a new passion for something I’d always loved, but never had the confidence to share. Now, here I am ten years and fifty books later still writing about the moments we break because our hearts are strong enough.
That’s why the first time I heard that line, I missed the entire rest of the song. My mind was just dancing backward through all those moments that made my heart strong enough. So, while the words might sound convoluted, nothing has sounded truer to me.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
The nature of my books makes them both original, because I write about characters with disabilities, and still delivers the readers what they want. Whether the plot is contemporary romance, romantic suspense, or paranormal, if the reader is looking for a book about characters with disabilities then I’ll deliver. If they are looking for a specific plot, I’ll deliver that in an original way, too. I strive to keep my books real but also fresh and different from your typical romance tropes.
- What comes first, the plot or the characters?
For me, the characters come first every single time. The plot comes with them in respect to their job, disability, family, or state of residence, but it is always the character who whispers in my ear what their story is and how they want it told. If I deviate from that, I will struggle to put words down on the page. If I listen, and follow their guidance, the story will be told quickly. It has been this way since I started writing and I’ve learned to follow that inner voice rather than fight against it, even when the book goes to a place I never expect.
For example, my book Magnificent Love. The heroine’s brother is murdered one tragic winter night. The hero is a funeral director and comes to the hospital to help her take care of his final wishes. In the book, the heroine insists on being there for her brother’s cremation (This is actually allowed from a viewing room, something few people know) and the hero sits with her. It was one of the most powerful scenes of love, loss, and grief that I’ve ever written or read, but I will say that it was a defining moment for that couple. It was against my better judgment that I wrote it, but if I hadn’t, the book wouldn’t hold the emotions of every person who has ever suffered a loss of that magnitude. Sometimes, the beauty is in listening to the characters.
- What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters? What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The real people I base my characters after deserve honesty, respect, integrity and their stories told in an uplifting, true, and real-life way. The only way I can do that is to spend hours of time researching the disability I’m writing about in any way I can. It is usually a combination of personal experience, talking to a person with that disability, and falling back on my training as a medical transcriptionist. I’m also lucky to know a lot of people in the disabled community who are always willing to answer my questions, and I’m blessed with healthcare providers around me who are used to that one weird question I ask at the end of an appointment. I also have limitless resources from nonprofit organizations that offer me the information I’m looking for at the push of a button. I assure you, I am researching throughout the entire book, often stopping just to double-check a fact or send an email, before I take that storyline where I think it should go.
I don’t always get it right. I know that. I’m human, and there are going to be times I get something wrong, but it is never intentional and I always strive to make as few mistakes as possible. My books are about removing the veil Hollywood and the big book publishers have put on characters with disabilities in books. My career is about writing a story between two people whose love story may not look like the ones portrayed on the big screen but are no less important to tell. You cannot tell a love story that doesn’t address the issues of intimacy, love, loss, and pain that people with disabilities face, but you can do it in a positive, informative, loving way that respects both people with disabilities and the reader.
I actually have a disability resource guide on my website for anyone who wants more information. You can find it here.
There is also an article in the Feb/March edition of InD’Tale Magazine about how to change the narrative around writing characters with disabilities. You can find that here.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
You’ll laugh, but I often just open Facebook and grab a name off my friend list! I usually do this for secondary characters who won’t carry over to another book. I’m also known to look at my husband and say, ‘Hey, give me the name of a boy/girl in your class who is like X, Y, Z.” As a teacher, he always has a plethora of names! When it comes to naming my main characters, if their names don’t automatically pop into my head, then I usually use a baby names book. I like to look up what I want the name to mean, and then find recommendations based on that.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I love doing this! All my books have something that the right person will read and smile because they are the only ones who understand it. It might be a character’s name, a story the character tells about their childhood, or a specific place, but every book has something written in specifically for that person. Whether they ever read it or not is beside the point. It’s a little homage to the person I’m thinking about at the time.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I sit down and write uninterrupted, which hasn’t happened since Covid hit because two of my three kids are doing school from home, I can write a book in a week to ten days. Right now, it’s taking me about three weeks, but I have a lot going on with other WIPs that are in the process of edits for publication with my new publisher, Breaking Night Press!
- Can you share a snippet from your new release that isn’t the blurb?
A man sat behind an executive’s desk that was covered in papers, folders, and computers. He wore a button-down plaid shirt covered by a sweater sporting—what were those? Bees? Beetles? Dragonflies?
The man glanced down at his sweater and back to my face. “Grasshoppers.”
First impression of Gulliver Winsome? He was all about his business. If the sweater wasn’t enough to tell me that, the collections of bugs, butterflies, and moths in display boxes scattered around the room were. The man himself? Gulliver Winsome was more than a little easy on the eyes. My gaze traveled across his broad chest and shoulders. Both made the sweater of grasshoppers stretch prominently with the strength and power of his physique. When his arm shot forward to shake my hand, his bicep flexed and I begged myself not to whimper. He might wear weird sweaters, but this man was built.
“You must be Charity.” The awkward smile on his face was something I was used to. I was never what people expected when they pictured a white hat hacker.
I dropped Mojo’s leash to the ground, and he lowered his butt to the floor as I shook the man’s hand. “I am, and you must be Gulliver Winsome.”
He released my hand and motioned at himself dramatically. “Indeed I am. The lucky guy who was saddled with the worst name in the history of the world.”
I laughed, his relaxed manner putting me at ease immediately. “Well, you know what they say. You win some. You lose some.”
Gulliver’s eyes smiled when he laughed. “Never was that joke delivered more perfectly. Have a seat,” he said, indicating the chair in front of his desk. The chair was an awkward height for my short frame, and I had to half jump and half wiggle onto it. Gulliver pointed at my companion. “What’s the dog’s name?”
“Mojo,” I answered immediately.
His eyebrow tugged up toward his hairline, and his delectable hazel eyes hit me like a shot to the solar plexus. I’d never seen eyes that color before, but they were a pair I could get lost in for hours. The color swirled from brown to gold and then settled on green for a hairbreadth before swirling into a green flecked with sparkles of gold. I’d traveled all fifty states and met people of all nationalities and never had a pair of eyes held me captive for so long. They were smoky while he assessed me assessing him. Oh, I could get lost in that pair of eyes for the rest of my life if I wasn’t careful.
“You named a dog Mojo,” Gulliver said, more a statement than a question.
“I did. I’ve always wanted to say to someone, ‘I’ve lost my Mojo. Will you help me find him?’”
“I’m picturing it.” He shook with laughter. “That would be epic.”
I held out my hand as if to say, I know, right? “The problem is, he’s never run away in the six years I’ve owned him, so he’s kind of a disappointment.”
- What is the tagline for your newest release?
The tagline for Butterflies & Hazel Eyes, releasing April 22, 2021 with Breaking Night Press is, “When the Lady of the Lake speaks, she expects you to listen.”
Let me explain. The book is set on the shores of Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The locals here believe the lake is a siren and once you pass her shores, she will always draw you back. The other local belief is that the Lady of the Lake never gives up her dead and they reside in her cold-water castle forever.
This all comes into play in the book as the main characters, Charity and Gulliver, try to stay alive long enough to finish an eco-friendly pesticide formula to save the pollinators. There is intrigue, romance, and suspense all in a beautiful locale in this duet series. I love writing about Lake Superior and the people who live on her shores. So many people never get to witness the power and beauty of a Great Lake, and I enjoy sharing something I’m blessed to see on a regular basis with those who never will. The Lady of the Lake truly is a siren and if ever you can’t find me, head to Wisconsin Point and I’ll be sitting on a piece of driftwood staring out over her vastness. More than likely, I’m plotting my next book.
- What does the title of your current WIP mean?
My current WIP is called The Secrets of Duck Pond Road. The book is set in a small town in North Dakota and it’s about two kids who lived on that road during their childhood. The surface of the duck pond may be smooth, but the secrets hiding below it are unexpected and heartbreaking.
- Describe yourself in three words.
- Name three of your favorite things.
- Name three of your least favorite things.
- Americana decor
FIND MORE ABOUT KATIE HERE:
- WEBSITE http://katiemettner.com/
- AMAZON https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Mettner/e/B006Z7STX2
- FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Mettner-Author
- TWITTER https://twitter.com/KatieMettner
- INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/sugarlipswi/
Thanks again to Katie Mettner for stopping by and visiting make sure you follow her on BookBub too! https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-mettner