Meet Debut Author Jerrica Knight-Catania

Jerrica Knight-Catania writes Regency Romance with awesome set-ups rife with conflict. Her short story, The Perfect Kiss, was published in a Second Wind Publishing Valentine’s anthology, Love is on the Wind, in February of this year. And her debut novel, A Gentleman Never Tells, was contracted by Second Wind Publishing LLC just this month.

Talent may well be Jerrica’s middle name. Before becoming a writer, she earned a degree in vocal performance from The Manhattan School of Music and pursued a career in musical theater. Among her roles were Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, one of the daughters in Fiddler on the Roof and Cathy in The Last 5 Years. In addition, she got as far as a National Tour of My Fair Lady before she realized the business of music wasn’t for her.

Jerrica lives outside New York City in Jersey City, NJ with her romantic hubby, Eric, with whom she performed numerous times, and their Russian Blue kitty, Dr. Snuggle. Her passions, aside from the obvious reading and writing, include movies/TV, board games, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Christmas music.

Join me as we learn more about Jerrica and her journey.

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Jerrica

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The Journey Begins

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•When was it that you bid musical theater farewell and embraced writing as your new career? What led you to make such a big change?

First, I just want to say thank you so much for having me here! I’m so excited!

Three years ago, almost to the day, I decided to take a break from performing. I had been performing since I was about two-years-old, so I figured after 25 years, I had put my time in! That led me to a lot of hobbies I’d never considered, one of which was romance novels.

I picked up a Julia Quinn novel on a whim and began an obsession. She wrote about a time and a place that I connected to like I never could have imagined – a time and place I’d never even known existed until I started reading her books. And by the time I finished the entire Bridgerton series a few weeks later, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. That was August of 2006, and I’ve never looked back. 🙂

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•You’ve completed four Regency romances. I read the blurbs on your Web site and was impressed by your intriguing story lines. Where did you come up with them? Dreams? Pouring through history books? Reading others’ Regency romances?

Thank you! I’m so glad you’re intrigued 🙂 As for inspiration: all of the above! And more…songs, movies, tv shows…I take my inspiration wherever I can get it! Though movies and books are probably my main sources.

I’ve seen almost every Hollywood period drama there is (Emma and Mansfield Park being my favorites), and my bookshelves are lined with my favorite authors (Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Sabrina Jeffries, Lauren Willig, Colleen Gleason, Stephanie Laurens…just to name a few 🙂 ) However, I’m not much of a plotter, so a lot of times it’s just getting my butt in the chair and letting my muse take over that breeds the best material.

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Your Process

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•You have the luxury of writing pretty much full time. What does a typical writing day look like? Do you stick to a strict schedule, or do you write in frenzied bursts when the creative spirit takes hold?

I kind of do both, if that makes any sense. I can spend anywhere from 3-9 months working on something on a regular schedule (avg. 1000 words/day) only to realize I hate where I’ve gone with it and nothing can be done short of tossing the whole thing and starting over. It’s that starting over that is quite crazy, and on two occasions, I’ve done full rewrites in 3-4 weeks.

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Peaks

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•You sold your short story, The Perfect Kiss, to Second Wind Publishing and saw your work in print in the Valentine’s anthology, Love is in the Wind. How did this come about? And how long after receiving the news did you finally stop floating?

heart_kiss-174x254Actually, my publication in the anthology came about because of a contest. My great friend and critique partner, Amy De Trempe, was already signed with Second Wind and told me they were holding a contest and the three winners would get their stories in the anthology. I procrastinated until the last minute, wrote the story in about 4 hours from work one night, and turned it in without another thought.

The winners were announced on New Years Day, but I was so tired that when Amy emailed to say I was one of the winners, I think I gave an unenthusiastic “Yay” and rolled back over to go to sleep. Of course, once it really hit me and I was awake, I was thrilled. The best and most surprising moment was actually seeing the book go on sale and then having it in my hands. There’s nothing like seeing yourself in print!

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•On your blog you shared that at one point in the rewriting of your first story, A Gentleman Never Tells, 55K words gushed forth in one of your three-week spurts. What was life like in the midst of that outpouring? Did you wake drained, or energized and ready to go? Was that deluge some of your best writing yet, or did you concentrate merely on getting the first draft on the page?

Whew! This one is hard to answer because, in all honesty, I have very little recollection of those 3 weeks. LOL! And by the end of the 4th week, I had another 10,000 words. This all happened because I had been toiling over this story since the very beginning. It was originally called A Scandalous Overture (I still love that title, it just doesn’t make sense anymore 😦 ) and it was my very first manuscript. It had seen 2.5 years of rejections and contest failures, and countless revisions.

But when Second Wind Publishing asked me to submit a full-length Regency, I knew these were the characters that I wanted to see the light of day before any others. Having spent so much time with them, I knew them well at this point, so everything just flowed. And yes, it was some of my best writing ever, in my opinion 🙂

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•That request from Second Wind led to The Call. My blog readers know I love call stories, so please share yours in all its emotion-packed detail.

Well, “The Call” was actually an email, which was a wise choice on my editor’s part, otherwise he might be deaf by now. A lot of squealing and screaming ensued. And then I jumped right into reading all the materials he’d sent me, after which I called everyone in my family to let them know the good news. It was definitely a great day!

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Potholes and Pitfalls

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•One of your blog posts mentioned with that pesky and sometimes uncooperative muse. How do you deal with yours when she goes AWOL? Who or what do you turn to for inspiration at times like that?

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I try to practice what I preach, which is to just write…anything is better than nothing and if it’s crap, well, I can always go back and fix it. It is frustrating when the muse is not on my side, but if I waited for her to be, I’m not sure I’d ever see her again. So, I just try to muscle through and hope for the best : )

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Partners on the Journey

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•One of your biggest supporters is your personal hero, Eric. You shared on your blog that he attends romance readings with you. (Wow! What a guy!) In what ways does he help with your writing? Does he read your work and give great feedback? Help with malespeak? Or is he a plotting pro, sharing great ideas with you?

Eric is definitely my own personal hero, and I count my blessings every day for the fact that I get to be his wife. He’s read every word I’ve ever written, and he has always been my biggest fan – even when what I’d written was complete poo. 🙂 Mostly, though, he’s my inspiration, and there’s a little bit of Eric in every one of my heroes! (Although, he tends to change the descriptions from “tall with a thick head of hair and muscles like a god” to “he was on the shorter side with slightly thinning hair and muscles that weren’t too pronounced.)

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The Journey Continues

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•You’ve sold your first book. What’s next?

I was at a bit of a roadblock when Second Wind asked for a submission. And as soon as I finished the rewrite of A Gentleman Never Tells, I started on rewrites for book 2, which I will submit to Second Wind as well. When I finally finish book 4, which is my wip, I have a great idea that’s been percolating for a very long time. It’s another Regency, but that’s all I’ll say since ideas can’t be copyrighted. 🙂

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•My research revealed a fun fact that isn’t directly writing related, but will no doubt affect the time your have available. I saw you and your hubby listed on a baby registry, so I gather there’s a little Catania due soon. Congrats! How do you plan to balance motherhood and writing?

Well, I totally don’t remember registering for that crib and am shocked that it’s the number three entry on Google when I put my name in! But, oddly enough, we are awaiting the arrival of a new Catania to our family. She (or he, but really hoping for a she!) is due in early January and we’re very excited.

I actually have no idea how I will balance motherhood with my writing…I’m having trouble balancing now due to morning sickness, so I anticipate a definite challenge. We are fortunate enough to be in a position to hire at least a part time nanny though, and I imagine she’ll be my saving grace when it comes to my career.

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Your “Firstborn” – Publishing Variety 🙂

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Please tell us about your exciting debut novel, A Gentleman Never Tells.

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Benjamin Wetherby, Earl of Glastonbury and heir to the Marquisate of Eastleigh, has just received an urgent letter from home. His father is dying and he must return to England at once. Benjamin is a man bound by honor and duty, to both his country and his family. So, despite his reservations, he leaves his life in New York City behind so he may find a wife and assume his role as the Marquess of Eastleigh.

Miss Phoebe Blake is finally out of mourning for her father, and just in time. She and her mother could be days away from being carted off to debtors prison, so Phoebe returns to society with the intent and determination to secure a rich husband.

Sparks fly when Benjamin and Phoebe meet, and it appears they have both found just what they are looking for. But will a dark secret keep them from finding their happily ever after?

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Five Fun Facts

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1) What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

My husband, Jane Austen films and books!

2) What’s your favorite snack food?

Well, that depends what minute of what day you ask me. Cravings have been hitting me hard and turning me rather hostile, to be honest. Thankfully, in addition to craving pizza and bagels, I’m also craving fruit – my strongest craving to date was for watermelon, which Eric ran right out to find. I devoured an entire quarter of it in about 5 minutes. I haven’t been able to look at watermelon since 🙂

3) Which season is your favorite, and why?

In the winter, I say it’s spring, and in the summer, I say it’s fall. Both are so beautiful in their own right. And I especially enjoy fall festivities: Halloween, pumpkin/apple picking, bon fires, etc…

4) Have you always been a cat person?

I used to cry every time we went to the mall because my parents wouldn’t buy me a puppy from the pet store. But as soon as I had my own place, I went right to the shelter and picked out a kitten. It turned out to be a really mean, evil cat that put me in the hospital, but that didn’t deter me. Dr. Snuggle joined the family a few months after that mean cat was taken to the Great Big Farm in the Sky, and he’s been with us for 10 years now. I’m definitely a cat person now. 🙂

5) If you were offered the role of your dreams for a brief reprise of your musical theater career, which would it be, and why?

I would play Aldonza in Man of La Mancha again in a heartbeat. I loved that role and could have done it for years without getting bored!

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Jerrica’s Question for You!

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Jerrica. And now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors. What would you like to know?

I would love to know how women balance motherhood with writing.

Any tips and tricks for the new mommy would be greatly appreciated!

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Learn More About Jerrica

Visit her Web site: http://www.jerricasplace.com

Visit her group blog:  Romancing the Book

Friend her on Facebook: Jerrica Knight-Catania

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Leave a Comment for Your Chance to Win

My next drawing will take place June 10th. The winner will receive a 5 x 7 inch black leather Writer’s Journal, just the right size for purse or tote, in which to jot those sudden inspirations, plot a new story, etc.

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Writer's Journal

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by June 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On June 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook!

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and June 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On July 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of several covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your “firstborn” in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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36 Responses to Meet Debut Author Jerrica Knight-Catania

  1. Jerrica! What a wonderful interview! Creativity and motherhood don’t always mix. I have three sons, ages 16, 12 and 19 months old, so my time is quite limited. But its true, you forego sleep and make due with what you have in order to juggle both. I know I’ve done the right thing, because my 16 year old son told me how proud he was of me for reaching for my dreams, despite the fact that’s its taken 15 years lol. That was the pay off for me. When your little one is old enough to understand what you did and sacrificed and says he/ she is proud of you. It makes all the sleepless nights worth it.
    Congrats again!

  2. Gail says:

    Great interview, Jerrica! Congratulations on your first book!

  3. Jerrica says:

    Melissa, that is wonderful that your son tells you how proud he is of you! I’m sure that definitely makes it all worth it in the end. I’m carrying that thought with me as the morning (who ever thought of that, anyway???) sickness descends this evening!!

    Gail, thanks for stopping by and for your continued support and encouragement! 🙂

  4. Sherrinda says:

    Wow, Jerrica! Published in 3 years! That is fast…very impressive. I can’t imagine writing with little ones in the house. I have 4 and they are all 13 and older now that I’ve started writing, so I don’t know how to juggle writing with little ones under foot. 🙂 You will manage just fine, I would imagine. Congratulations! Great interview Keli!!!

  5. princessjewel78 says:

    Sherrinda, thanks for stopping by and for your vote of confidence 🙂

  6. Lisbeth Eng says:

    Jerrica,
    What wonderful events you have coming up in your life — a debut novel and motherhood! A Gentleman Never Tells sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it. Best of luck with both of these blessings.
    Congratulations!
    Lis Eng

  7. Thanks Keli for sharing Jerrica’s story.

    Your journey is sure an inspiring one, and I hope the newest member of your family provides lots of fodder for your books. You just never know what thoughts they’ll spur on.

    Congratulations on your sale and all the best with your rewrites and newest idea.

  8. Lise Horton says:

    The creative spirit will shine through, Jerrica – and I can see that yours is right at home, certainly having made the transition from stage to page beautifully. Best of luck with your first novel release, and, of course, with your latest “WIP” (!).

  9. princessjewel78 says:

    Lis and Lise, thank you so much for stopping by and for your wonderful words of encouragement! I feel so fortunate to be part of such a supportive local chapter! 🙂

    Eileen, that’s a wonderful point – I’m sure our little prince or princess will provide all kinds of fodder for my books. 🙂

  10. Edna Tollison says:

    I read your blog and would love to win this book, I love to read and love good Christian books.

    May God bless

    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

  11. princessjewel78 says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the interview and for all the wonderful well wishes and great advice! I had such a great time, and I of course want to give a huge THANK YOU to Keli for having me here!

Comments are closed.