Name Kat Mizera
Where are you from Born and raised in South Florida, currently live in the suburbs of Atlanta.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was born and raised in South Florida but I’ve moved around a bit—CA, NY, MA, NH and now GA. I love to travel and do it as often as I can. My two favorite vacation spots are Las Vegas (in case you weren’t aware, a good portion of my stories take place there) and Greece. My mother is Greek, so I do spend more time there than I might otherwise, but I feel like it’s my second home.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Communications with a minor in business writing, and worked as a legal assistant and freelance journalist for most of my career. Early in my career I worked in the music business and also covered sports (almost entirely hockey) starting around 1995.
I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, Kevin, for 19 years and we have two boys; Nick is 17 and Max is almost 12. We’re all big Marvel fans so we’re into everything Avengers these days. It’s fun because with such a big age difference between the boys, this is something we can all agree on.
I’m a big fan of scrapbooking and though I do less of it now that I’m writing full-time, I still enjoy preserving memories.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My next book comes out on April 20th. It’s my first M/M (male/male) and it’s the second book in my Inferno series, which is a little darker, hotter and less conventional than my Las Vegas Sidewinders, which is strictly a contemporary sports romance. But the new book, Temptation’s Inferno, is very special to me. It was originally supposed to be a menage/triad book, but once the guys got together, I couldn’t stop the direction they went. It turned out to be a very emotional story, filled with the angst of a “straight” man who discovers he’s in love with a man, and a bisexual man who always assumed he’d settle down with a woman. There are some heavy themes in the book, including hate crime and vigilante justice, but it’s also one of the most romantic.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I have boxes and boxes of hand-written stories from before computers. I just never really considered my fiction could be a career. I was so focused on my life as a journalist, it wasn’t until 2015, after I had some post-surgery down time, that I decided to go for it. I wrote the first four books in my Sidewinders series in 2015, and published six in 2016. I’m so glad I finally bit the bullet—it’s been the most exciting thing I’ve ever done.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I sold my first magazine article for $10 in 1985, when I was 18, and I thought I’d hit the big time. Little did I know…
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I really can’t remember. I know the first romance I wrote from start to finish was inspired by the cover of Bon Jovi’s first album, which I think came out in 1984. It was a rock star story, and the hero was Jonas, the heroine was Bianca. It was all angsty and heartbreaking, where he thinks she dies in an accident and she has to get a new face because of her injuries. Then she starts sleeping with his drummer… I don’t know where it is—it’s buried in a box somewhere—but I’d like to dig it out and see how bad it is!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure I have a specific style, though I do write in third person. Both in my high school gifted and AP classes and my college courses, you only write in third (at least when I went to school) so writing in first person is kind of foreign to me. I guess I’m classically trained, but I admire those who can do it!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My first series is my fictional NHL team and I knew I wanted them to be a Las Vegas team. My husband and I sat around thinking of “mascots” and at one point he said, “Sidewinders are a desert snake.” And I said, “That’s it!” The second series, Inferno, came from the main character in the first book, Dante. A play on “Dante’s Inferno,” since he was in his own personal hell. But I didn’t want to use that title, so I used Inferno in each title—Salvation, Temptation and Redemption. Right now that’s all I have for this series, but we’ll see.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Each book is a little different, but while the hockey series is mostly about romance and the deep bonds of friendship, the Inferno series is a little darker and less conventional. The underlying meaning is acceptance, plain and simple. Whether it’s a BDSM lifestyle or being part of the LGBTQ community, or something else, we should just accept people for who they are without so much hate and judgement. Love is love—no matter who you fall in love with. As long as everyone is willing and old enough (and healthy enough) to consent, there shouldn’t be so many labels.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My hockey series is complete fiction, but as a sports journalist for a long time, I took things I saw and talked about with the players I met and gave then fantasy/romantic scenarios. Some of the general themes—broken hearts, cheating boyfriends, things like that—are definitely based in reality because most of us have experienced that type of thing. But everything has a fictional twist that has nothing to do with real life—that would be too depressing for me!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve had two mentors with my writing. My high school English teacher, Mary Bevilacqua, whom I’m still close to, and my friend Joanna Campbell Slan, who writes cozy mysteries. I’m positive that I wouldn’t be where I am now without the two of them. Mrs. Bev helped mold me as a writer, and instilled my love of the written word, and Joanna gave me the confidence, and the push, I needed to publish my fiction.
I don’t know what books influenced me the most, but there are several that always stick in my mind: Wifey by Judy Blume—It was my first true experience with erotic romance and I was mesmerized. I was probably 14 or 15 when I read it and it’s still my first sexy book. The Promise by Danielle Steel, one of those books that rips your guts out as you watch the characters suffer. Deceptions by Judith Michael. I just love that book. The idea of twins changing places in life and then being forced into the role of the other due to circumstances—I read it once a year, I love it that much. And finally, the whole Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gillman. It’s mystery but so much more. She takes you on a journey, throws in recurring characters, a touch of romance and good friends. It’s a lot more than mystery/spy series. I was so heartbroken when she stopped writing them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are a few newer authors that I love, but the term “new” is relative. I’m 49, so I’ve been reading romance for about 35 years, going way back to Judy Blume and Danielle Steel. A few authors that I’ve recently discovered (in the last five years or so) would be Danielle Bourdon—her Latvala Royals series is a favorite of mine; Roxie Rivera—I love her Russian Protectors series and some of the spin-offs; Kathleen Brooks, Jana DeLeon and Cherise Sinclair are a few more of my favorites.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are many people in the indie author community that have supported me, so it’s impossible to pick just one. I’ve made so many real-life friends through networking that many days it doesn’t even feel like work. I’m very lucky.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I work 12-16 hour days, at least five days a week. Between writing, editing, marketing, doing research, paperwork, creating swag/ads/promo material, networking, interacting with my readers, keeping up with social media—this is the hardest I’ve ever worked, but it’s also the most fulfilling.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In my latest book, no. In my first few, a couple of little things, but nothing major. Those are the stories I wanted to tell. I’m sure I could go back and make changes to improve them, but that’s who I was when I wrote them. I believe that if you’re truly dedicated to your trade, you never stop learning and improving, so it would take all my time to go back and re-do everything I’ve done up to now. You know what they say about hindsight, but I don’t have anything I’m ashamed of.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was little, maybe five or six, so I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. There was never a time when it was a conscious decision. Writing is literally part of me—I’ve always done it, even when I didn’t even consider publishing my fiction. I can’t imagine not writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current work is part of a new series called the “Romancing Greece” series. Each book will take place in a different city in Greece (with ties back to Las Vegas, because all my books have a Vegas element). The first one is Romancing Athens and I’m about halfway done with it. This is a passage from Apollo and Paige’s story:
“It just seems to me, if those three days made such an impact on us that we we’re still feeling the same…attraction…three years later, maybe we should explore why. Maybe this is the adventure of a lifetime—for both of us.”
She turned to stare at him in shock, her eyes open so wide she was sure she looked ridiculous. Had he just suggested this was an adventure? How could he have known? How could he have said the exact word she’d been begging Tom to understand for over a year, after spending just three days with her more than three years ago?
“Do you like adventures?” she whispered when she finally found her voice.
“Of course—doesn’t everyone?” He glanced at her curiously.
“Not everyone,” she said softly. “Definitely not everyone.”
“But you? You’re interested in adventures?”
Suddenly it didn’t matter that she was certain to have her heart broken. It didn’t matter that in four days she would fly out of his life forever. It didn’t even matter if he ever signed those stupid papers—the only thing that mattered was the fact that he knew. Somehow, some way, he knew her like no one else, and he understood. She didn’t know why or how, but she didn’t have to. For four days, she was going to have an adventure. With her husband. And for four days, she was going to let herself love him.
“Yes,” she said, out of the blue.
“Yes, you like adventures?”
“Yes, I like adventures. Yes, I want to make more memories. Yes, I’d like to spend my vacation with you.”
His smile made her heart feel a little funny, but happy and excited too. “Definitely yes.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes the sex scenes are hard. You can only use so many words, so many times, to describe the sex organs, the movements, the adjectives and so on. And so many readers have words they hate, so you have to be careful not to over-use them, which limits you even further. I have three different sex-word dictionaries that I go to and whenever I see or hear something sexually inspiring, I keep a file for notes that I can refer to when I’m writing the sex.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have to, but it helps get my name out there and I love to travel anyway. I’m also pretty social, so any excuse to get into a group of people with similar interests is always a bonus. I’m doing a few more signings this year (I’ve already done three) so if you’re interested in coming to see me, here’s where I’ll be:
May 2-7: RT Book Lovers Convention, Atlanta, GA
August 12: Dirty n Sexy Book Signing, Atlanta, GA
September 23: Passion in Portland, Portland, OR (tentative)
September 29-30: Penned Con, St. Louis, MO
November 11: Authors Invade Columbia, Columbia, SC
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cover artist is Dar Albert from Wicked Good Designs and she’s amazing! So patient with me and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure I’m satisfied!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
In my new book, I really struggled writing the hate crime. I’m not a violent or hateful person, and what these villains did was so ugly, so over-the-top, it hurt me to write it. I needed to bring up the hate and fear that so much of the LGBTQ community lives with, but it was difficult to articulate it. I hope my readers understand that it was about sending a message, and not done just for shock value.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something from each book I write, whether it’s about the craft of writing, a new way of marketing, or maybe even about myself (like how hard it was to write about the struggles of the LGBTQ community since I myself am not part of it). However, I strongly believe that we should never stop learning and growing, so I look at each book as a new course of study.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
One of my favorites is the second book in my Sidewinders series, Drake. He’s a big, athletic defenseman and he falls for a U.S. Marine who came home from Afghanistan with burns over 40% of her body. I think this is such a compelling story, combining both mystery and romance, that it would do well on the big screen.
Drake could be played by Chris Pratt (he’d need longer hair) and Erin might be played by Jennifer Garner, back in her Alias days, since Erin is 29 in the book.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Professional editing, professionally created covers and lots of proofreading. None of us is perfect, but for indie authors, you need to make sure your work is as professional as possible. If you take the cheap way out, readers will know. Eventually, it catches up to you. It can be expensive and time-consuming, but it’s totally worth it. Not everyone is going to love your stories—even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have people give then terrible reviews—but you don’t want them to be unable to finish because there are so many typos and/or grammatical errors. And covers are the first point of contact—a boring/ugly/uninteresting cover will get passed over, especially if you’re new.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
We really appreciate when you review! It helps us so much and you really only have to say a few words—it doesn’t have to be a summary or recap. Just what you liked (or didn’t like) and a star rating.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Nothing! I’m so busy writing I haven’t had time. I have a bunch of stuff in my TBR, though, and I’m hoping to do a lot of reading this summer when we go to Europe. I’ll have 18 hours on planes (round trip) so I hope to catch up a little. First up on my list is the latest in the Danielle Bourdon Royals series, A King’s Crusade.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I really don’t. I’ve always been a reader, and my mother said I was reading at three, so I’ve always read.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lots of things! Jeff Dunham is one of my favorite comedians, so he definitely makes me laugh. We have a baby bird, a blue-headed pionus, and she has so much personality, she definitely makes me laugh every day. I never thought a bird could be so much fun.
I shy away from things that make me cry. I don’t like to cry and I’m not a fan of books that make you “ugly cry,” as the expression is used. It’s just not my thing. I’d much rather laugh. Life presents enough obstacles; I don’t need fiction to give me non-reality reasons to cry too.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to meet John F. Kennedy. He was so forward-thinking, and he had such a deep love for our country, I’d love to talk with him about how and why he became the man he was. And not in a political way either, but more about his visions, dreams for the future, etc. I’d love to know what he would have thought of cell phones and the internet and such.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
No idea… I really don’t like to think about being dead! LOL I hope my legacy lives on in my books and my children.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love scrapbooking. For me, it’s another type of storytelling. I do it with pictures instead of words, and it’s all real instead of fiction, but it’s equally creative and fun for me. I love getting together with girlfriends and settling in for an evening of “cropping.” It’s relaxing and creative at the same time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love NCIS—all three versions! Probably one of my all-time favorites!
I’m also a big fan of Hawaii Five-0, Law & Order: SVU and Major Crimes.
My newest favorite from this past season is Lethal Weapon. We binge watched and couldn’t get enough. Really, really fun new show. And no, I don’t do zombies or vampires or any of that. Not my thing.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love pasta and Mexican food.
My favorite colors are teal/turquoise
I’m a hardcore rock n roll metal head—Motley Crue, Metallica, Nickelback, Rise Against. But I listen to lots of music, everything from Bruno Mars to Waylon Jennings to Etta James. Depends on my mood.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Movie star! Not sure I’m pretty enough or talented enough, but I’ve always loved acting and took classes here and there over the years. I was so busy being a journalist when I was in L.A. I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities, so it kind of fell by the wayside.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My web site is www.katmizera.com
www.katmizera.com (newsletter sign-up is at the bottom)
My first series is about a fictional NHL team, the Las Vegas Sidewinders.
Amazon – http://mybook.to/KatMizeraDominic
The Inferno series will have an underlying theme of love and acceptance—of everyone, no matter what they believe in. This was really important to me as the stories came together, to leave readers with a message that goes a little beyond romance, hot sexy times and happy endings. It starts out with Dante—we met him in Karl and Kate’s story. He’s a bad-boy baseball player who can’t stay out of trouble. And in the first “Inferno” book he has more than his fair share!
Readers can follow me on social media and join my VIP mailing list—my subscribers see everything first: covers, excerpts, teasers and more! Plus, every month in 2017, I’ll send out FREE bonus content—short stories that supplement my series!