Mary & Bright by Katharine E. Hamilton Genre: Sweet and Clean Holiday Romance
Mary Rutherford dreads Christmas time. Having grown up in one of the most influential families in town, her Christmas holidays are spent attending her father’s company Christmas party and silently blending into the background. This year, however, her parents insist she plan the party, and with little help from her mother, Mary reaches out to an old friend for help: Brighten Smith.
Brighten Smith recently moved back to his hometown to escape California and the disappointment of a failed relationship. Helping his grandmother at her local bakery provides him the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances and friends. When he finds Mary Rutherford needs a caterer for her family’s grand Christmas party, he volunteers for the job, though he has zero experience. As he learns more about Mary, he finds he wants to do more than cater her party; he wants to give her the best Christmas ever.
Can he and Mary pull off a successful Christmas partnership?
And can Brighten give Mary an unforgettable Christmas?
Katharine E. Hamilton graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and uses her knack for research in all her stories. She is a Southern Belle with a pinch of sass, and when she is not writing she can be found chasing around her toddler son, driving around the ranch, or baking delicacies for local parties and events. Katharine currently resides on a ranch in South Texas where the skies and rivers, in all their beauty, rejuvenate the soul.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Sure! My name is Katharine E. Hamilton. I’ve been an indie author for 11 years now… I think. Ha! I have dappled in various genres, but you can find me mostly in the Sweet Contemporary Romance/Clean and Wholesome Genres on Amazon. I’m a born and raised Texan and currently live along the Texas coast with my husband and two boys. I have a 4-year-old and a 5 month old. They keep me pretty busy these days. I started writing in 2009 and published children’s books (3). In 2015 I branched out and wrote an epic fantasy series called The Unfading Lands Series. In writing that series, I found myself loving the process of writing some of the side romances that take place throughout and decided in 2017 to write clean romances. I’ve been camped out in Sweet Romance ever since and I love it. Though I am working on a historical fiction novel right now that might pop up in the next year or so, I will mainly plant myself in Sweet Romance. I love it.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m an avid reader and crocheter. Yes, I said crochet. Haha. I am in the middle of an intense blanket project that keeps me busy in the evenings. I can’t sit and relax without keeping my hands busy, so it’s a nice hobby. I also tell my husband it helps keep me sane. Much like Rumpelstiltskin spins gold to stay sane, I crochet. It relaxes me. I’m able to think through some book ideas, go over my mental to-do list, or enjoy a show on television while being productive.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I am an early bird. I rather work in the mornings and go to bed at a decent hour. I just can’t hang passed 10 PM… if I do, I’m a zombie the next day. So lately my routine has been waking up about 4 AM to give the baby his first morning bottle and I just stay up and work while the house is quiet, which is usually until about 6-7 AM. I’m able to knock out a lot of work in the mornings. And if I’m feeling inspired or trying to hit a deadline, I’ll incorporate some naptime work as well. It’s definitely a juggling act some days, but I also love being an independent author for the flexibility. I can always pause and step away without stressing too much about keeping a schedule.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve wanted to write a Christmas story for a while… a couple of years at least. And this year, well, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the easiest year for anyone, and I just wanted to make the holiday season a little more exciting and special. So I went for it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got lots of projects going on right now. For 2020, I have Mary & Bright (11/1/2020), and my Lighthearted Collection will receive a new release on 11/30/2020 called McCarthy Road. And then I’m currently writing a cowboy romance series called The Brothers of Hastings Ranch. Book Four, Lawrence, is scheduled for release on December 30th. And then January and February have a couple of books and audiobooks lined up as well. It’s a busy time for me right now.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I love the name Mary. And I have yet to use that name in any of my other books because I KNEW I wanted to use it for a Christmas story and play off of that name for the title. And I wanted her to be the opposite of merry. Haha. So that sort of brought her to life for me, and I wanted the man in the story to be named Brighten, aka Bright, and be that little ray of sunshine that she isn’t expecting or wanting at times.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I wrote this book in September and it has had me ready for Christmas from the beginning. It’s just made me hopeful for the holidays and excited about ending 2020 on a positive note. I love the characters. I especially love Brighten. He’s a joy and he was a joy to write.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Oh man… this is a hard one.
In no particular order…
What book do you think everyone should read?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers or Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since 2007, but have been published since 2009.
Do you see writing as a career?
I became a full-time writer in 2015, so yes, I do. I love what I do, and am thankful I can say it is my career.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
There is no better time to publish. Traditional publishing has hit a few snags lately, but the indie market is thriving. Whichever direction you choose, now is the time. Reading never goes out of style.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love to read. I’m a big historical fiction fan. I also love epic love stories. Strong female characters. Witty and creative mysteries… I read a variety of different genres.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I have a rowdy 4-year-old and a 5 month old. Oh, and a chihuahua. I’m not sure there is such a thing as quiet in my house. Haha. But I have learned to write with noise and without. I like the quiet when I can get some, but usually I have noise going on all around me.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I am constantly working on multiple projects at once. If I run into a block or snag on one manuscript, I let it rest and move onto another one. Usually by the time I wrap up a few scenes in another one, I have fresh eyes to go back to the previous one and work out what I need to. Right now I have about 5 open manuscripts that I hop between.
Advice they would give new authors?
Finish the manuscript. You can’t do anything else until you FINISH what you’re working on. Don’t worry about making it perfect. You can’t and it won’t be. Editing and beta readers come later. Finish the story.
Describe your writing style.
I love dialogue in my stories. I use a BUNCH of dialogue. I feel like it propels the story forward while also helping define the characters’ personalities.
What are they currently reading?
I just received a box full of books today actually! I’m so excited! Though right now I’m in the middle of What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris. BUT I will tell you what I just snatched from the UPS man. Haha.
Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas (This series is A-Mazing)
The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber, and Christine Trent
The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
I’m going to be busy for a while, but I have a couple of road trips coming up, and if I’m not crocheting, I’ll be reading these glorious finds!
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