Today we are so pleased to be able to bring you an interview with Caroline Stevermer, one of the authors of the fabulous Cecy and Kate series. OBS was proud to be part of the recent Enchanted Chocolate Pot Blog Fest to celebrate the release of this series in eBook form.
How did you guys meet?
Patricia and her friends had organized a monthly tea group. I was a guest at a tea, then invited to join. The membership of the group has changed somewhat, but even after all these years, the group is still meeting every other month.
And what made you guys first decide to put pen to paper for the first letters as Kate and Cecelia?
I was explaining about the Letter Game, which I’d learned from Ellen Kushner in college. It’s a game in which friends exchange letters written in character. Patricia was intrigued and asked to play the game. I agreed, on the condition she write the first letter. SORCERY AND CECELIA began as a game; we didn’t realize we’d written an actual book until later.
What was the easiest and for that matter, the hardest thing about writing as Kate and Cecelia and their alternating points-of-view?
The easiest thing was handing off the story to Patricia when I was stuck or didn’t know what was going to happen next. The hardest thing was that Patricia and I have completely different working styles. I write all the way through and polish once I’m done and know what the story is really about. Patricia has a clear idea of the story before she begins and polishes as she goes along. Patricia was great about dealing with it, but I know it made the second and third books a lot harder for her.
Love of the books we’d read by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and the desire to explore that world.
The first book was written in 1988, but 15 years later it was
still popular and you both completed the trilogy of the series in 2006 – why do you think that Kate and Cecilia’s story still resonates with readers?
I don’t know why, but I’m delighted it still does. Perhaps the joy of that first letter game comes through? During the course of the first book, we took to meeting for lunch once a week so we could watch each other read the letters. We had a rule that we couldn’t discuss the plot, but we could gossip about the characters. And oh, did we gossip about the characters.
Can you describe Kate and Cecelia’s growth through the series?
I’ll let Patricia describe Cecy’s growth. Kate grows from a clumsy, self conscious girl into a more confident and accomplished woman, largely because her family of choice values her as she is. By the time the third book ends, Kate has become a force to be reckoned with, particularly when it comes to protecting her children.
Can you tell us a little about your interaction with fans of the series/your writing in general?
I’ve had wonderful conversations at conventions and received letters I cherish from readers of my books in general and the Kate and Cecy books in particular. I have actually memorized one of those letters. Perhaps that gives you some idea of how deeply I value this kind of feedback. In a few instances, readers have become good friends of mine. I hope I can encourage other writers and pass on some of the kindness that has been shown me over the years.
Thank you Caroline for that wonderful insight into the writing process for this series!