Monday, May 8, 2023

Katie Shepard Interview - Bear With Me Now

Photo Content from Katie Shepard

Katie Shepard is, in no particular order, a fangirl, a gamer, a bankruptcy lawyer, and a romance author. Born and raised in Texas, she frequently escapes to Montana to commune with the trees and woodland creatures, resembling a Disney princess in all ways except age, appearance, and musical ability. When not writing or making white-collar criminals cry at their depositions, she enjoys playing video games in her soft pants and watching sci-fi shows with her husband, two children, and very devoted cat.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
I loved studying languages in school: I studied Spanish, Italian, Russian, Tajik, and proto-Indo-European before my mother put her foot down and told me that I didn’t need a course on Ancient Greek, I needed to graduate on time. I’m still salty about not learning any Ancient Greek.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?

My all-time favorite book is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. It’s hard to categorize! It’s a little bit of an urban fantasy, a little bit of a romance, and it always leaves me wishing it was three times as long as it is, which is my favorite kind of book. I only let myself read it now when I’m sick in bed. I still feel like the author knows what happened to the protagonist’s mysterious magician father and hasn’t told us.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I went out to the Taylor Swift concert in Las Vegas with a group of other romance authors, and the morning afterwards we brought a hundred dollars’ worth of specialty donuts to an indie bookstore, the Writer’s Block, and did a panel where we talked about which Taylor Swift songs our books would be. It was the most fun I’ve had in my life.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
My son got a new kitten, and the kitten really wanted to sleep curled in my arms all day long…which is understandable, as I would ALSO like to nap curled on someone’s chest for several hours a day, but I needed two hands to type. My kids think I should dedicate the next book to the cats, but the cats did not help at all!

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Chapter 3- the bear attack! There are not a ton of action scenes in contemporary romance, so I had to go back to several excellent historical romances featuring bandit ambushes and runaway carriages to get an idea of how to pace and describe terrifying events in a romance novel.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Darcy is dyslexic and she prefers to read audiobooks and listen to podcasts, so I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of media she’d consume. I realized the experience of reading a memoir on audiobook when it’s narrated by the author is probably much more personal than reading it in print.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from BEAR WITH ME NOW
I loved my bar fight. I knew I wanted to write a bar fight as soon as I’d solidified my idea of the characters. It brought together so many of my themes: the idea that the world can be unexpectedly dangerous if you’re not prepared, the influence of alcohol, the humor inherent in Teagan—this very well-behaved WASP-y golden boy—brawling in a sports bar in Livingston, Montana, which is basically just casinos and strip malls, and of course the very fun, romantic image of Teagan picking Darcy up and carrying her out of this scene. Originally, I was going to have them both throwing some punches, but I realized that Teagan’s entire MO is avoiding conflict, and after all, he’s a lover, not a fighter, so I had him just grab Darcy and haul her out as soon as she picks up the pitcher of beer to clock the jerk who stole her car.

  • Animals you will meet in Bear With Me Now, in order of appearance:
  • Grizzly bear (unexpected)
  • Beavers (rumored)
  • Elk (sleeping)
  • Grey wolves (reintroduced)
  • Elk (deceased)
  • Ravens (ensuing)
  • Red-tailed hawks (on the news)
  • Horse (painted)
  • Small-clawed otters (stolen)
  • Domestic cats (invasive)
  • Golden retriever-mix puppies (promised)
What is the first job you have had?
I worked at a coffeeshop that also sold cowboy novels. I was terrible at it. I couldn’t make skim milk foam (if my life was a novel this would be a patent metaphor for sexual inadequacy but no, I’m just bad at milk), so anyone who came in wanting a latte, I tried to convince them they wanted tea instead.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Coffee. Coffee is the reason I get out of bed in the morning.

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?
Eleanor of Aquitaine had a good run! It seems like every man she ever met fell passionately and terribly in love with her, she bagged at least two kings, horrified the clergy, led rebellions, introduced admiralty law to France, and set up the “court of love” at Poitiers with her daughter.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
All of them.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
When I was a kid I was terrified of big cats. Like pumas, tigers, lions. I think it was a combination of Little House on the Prairie chapters where people are imperiled by panthers and a lot of nature shows. But I definitely felt like there was a significant risk of being ambushed by a large feline predator in the course of my suburban childhood.

Best date you've ever had?
My husband doesn’t really listen to music, but on one of our first dates I dragged him to this very avant-garde lo-fi rock show at a hole in the wall concert venue. There was a puppet show in the middle of the setlist. Then the bassist got drunk at the bar after the set and started hitting on me (he was wearing a lovely goat-fur coat and wanted me to try it on even though it was May in Houston and we were all very sweaty). It was very much not his thing. But he was a trooper! And then I knew I could take him with me on any adventure.

Two people are ready for their lives to get a little wilder in this romantic comedy by debut author Katie Shepard.

After being hospitalized for panic attacks two years after his mother’s death, charitable foundation executive Teagan van Zijl is dragged by his sister to a wilderness therapy retreat in Montana. Lost in the woods, Teagan nearly gets eaten by a bear but is saved by an angel in muddy hiking boots—the program’s handywoman, Darcy Albano, that is. After spending the summer with Darcy, Teagan realizes he doesn’t want to return to New York without her. He hires Darcy as his sober companion—a position he doesn’t actually need filled and for which Darcy is completely unqualified—hoping she can help him figure out how to move forward. But once they get to the city, all Teagan can think of is how to confess the truth while keeping her in his life.

Darcy Albano thought she was going to work as a wilderness guide when she was hired on the camp staff, but ended up a handywoman instead—only the latest screwing-over she’s endured since her ex stole her car and her parents ruined her credit score. But Teagan van Zijl is the silver lining she didn’t expect to appear—clearly going through something but willing to commit to Darcy’s unique brand of wilderness education as the cure for what ails him. They form an unlikely bond based on the unexpected support they provide each other. Darcy never imagined staying in the city, but with Teagan’s unshakeable belief in her abilities, anything seems possible.

You can purchase Bear With Me Now at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATIE SHEPARD for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Bear With Me Now by Katie Shepard.