Kate will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Bleeding Heart (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/06/virtual-book-tour-platonic-by-kate.html
by Kate Paddington
Mark Savoy and Daniel O’Shea were high school sweethearts who had planned their forevers together. But when Mark goes to college in California rather than following Daniel to New York, he embarks on a decade-long search for independence, sexual confidence and love.
When Mark lands a job in New York and crosses Daniel’s path, they slowly rebuild their fractured friendship through texts and emails. If they finally agree to see each other, will they be able to keep it platonic? Or will the spark of a long-lost love reignite just as Daniel accepts a job overseas?
Platonic is a story of trials, growth, and knowing how to learn lessons from the past to build a future.
"Why did you ask me?” Daniel asks, genuinely curious.
“That’s unfair. I’ve been asking you all night why you came.”
Daniel holds his gaze. “You know that night in the bar, when I ran into you?” Mark tilts his head—he remembers. “You asked me to email you and your eyes were wide and pleading and there was no way I was going to be able to say no to you. I remember wondering if you used the same face on juries, to get your way in court. I guess what I’m saying is that I still don’t know how to say no to you. I still don’t know how anyone does.”
Time stops around them, stutters and then kicks back in when their eyes slip away from each other. Neither one of them knows what this is or what to do with it. Neither of them walked into this dinner tonight thinking “seduction” or “relationship” or “date” or anything like that. They were far too busy not thinking it.
“Did you want to say no?” Mark asks.
“Of course not. I wanted to come. Of course I did, Mark.” And then somehow they’re touching. Without giving it any conscious thought, Daniel has reached across the space between them and caught one of Mark’s hands in his.
The realization that they are touching comes slowly to Mark; his nerves feel sluggish, his brain has trouble processing the simplicity of the touch, just skin on skin, not intimate or unwelcome or leading to anything. But Daniel is touching him—and not briefly, not fleetingly, he’s holding on—and suddenly it all rushes back through Mark and he never, ever wants to let go.
Not ever. This is it. Daniel is it. He always was.
“You broke my heart.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kate Paddington wrote her first work of fan fiction at age 12. Today, at age 26, she has degrees in philosophy and chemistry, and is currently completing a PhD in biophysics. A native of Australia, she has published numerous academic papers as part of her research. Platonic is her first novel.
Now, for the interview!
What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Not to choose science over my creativity and writing. That advice has kind of shaped my life for the last ten years. It came from my high school English teacher just before I graduated. She wrote me a note in the yearbook telling me that I didn’t have to choose science over the humanities, that I could pursue both. This was quite the counterpoint to what everyone else had been telling me which was to just keep doing science. Because of her I chose to study Philosophy and English as well as Chemistry during my undergraduate. All of which led me to writing fiction as well as making me a much better thinker and communicator. That lesson—that you don’t have to just be one thing, that you should do as much as you can, explore all the different things that make you happy—that was really important thing for me to learn.
Do you plan your stories and, if so, to what extent?
I think I do. I don’t like to start writing until I know exactly what I’m doing and I’m very resistive to officially beginning a big project until it’s all there in my head. Which isn’t to say that the characters don’t take over as soon as I get them where they’re supposed to be on the page. They change the story to suit themselves sometimes. But in general, yes, the plot and the big moments get planned out and then I just hit the keyboard and write until my fingers are numb!
Do you listen to music when you're writing?
Absolutely! I do most of my writing in my office or a lab at the university I work at or in my home and both are busy, loud places so I need something to block it all out with. I tend to listen to a lot of instrumental stuff so the lyrics don’t confuse me. I can go for anything ranging from Vivaldi and Mozart to more modern classical like The Piano Guys and Vitamin String Quartet. Movie soundtracks are also fantastic: anything by Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer. For Platonic, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata holds a special place and was actually mentioned in a book at one stage of drafting. The build of it and the repetition ring very true to the themes of the story.
If we could see your writing space, what would we see?
I have so many! Platonic actually got written while I was on a fortnight escape driving around Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. I stayed in a lot of little hotels with wonderful views of snow and trees and the sun. I’d just sit in my hotel bed or at the desk and type away. My usual writing areas are either my bed at home or my desks at university. Of course I’m meant to be writing science there but sometimes fiction distracts me. I have a desk in a fairly boring office but then I also have one in a blackout lab, which is where we run a bunch of high power lasers into microscopes and take pictures of the insides of cells. That can be a very cool place to write and pitch-black darkness is actually pretty conducive to focussing. So really, if you could see my writing space, you’d see variety, mess, weird science stuff… I make do.
Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
Who are your favorite authors (in your same genre or not) and some of the best books you’ve ever read? What is your favorite book that you remember from childhood?
Neil Gaiman is definitely my favorite author at the moment. Obviously he’s not in the business of romantic erotica but his novels always feel fresh and new, they contain original ideas that I’ve never read or thought about, and that’s key for me picking up a book. Jane Austen is a close second. The first time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I rather hated the whole thing but I studied it in High School and completely changed me mind. As a kid, I had a huge soft spot for Roald Dahl and I still do. I’ll never tire of reading ‘Matilda’ because I always felt like that was how a story was meant to end.
Are you a romantic?
What’s a romantic? I always say no to this because I don’t believe in soul mates (even if both the protagonists in Platonic do!) and I am exceptionally pragmatic and logical. I mean, I’m doing a PhD in biophysics and I’ve got an undergraduate degree in philosophy, the two combine to make me think long and hard about these things. It all becomes math in my head which leaves no room for my being a romantic… That said, then I write the things I write and people tell me I am a romantic because I do believe love, romance and good sex are some of the very best experiences people can have, that these things can feel magical and wonderful and make a life worth living. So perhaps I’m a pragmatic romantic? Something like that? The book is certainly romantic!
Have you ever doubted yourself as a writer and if so, how did you overcome it?
Oh sure! Constantly! Let me take this question broadly and not just be specific to fiction writing though. I kind of got through high school and undergraduate without ever being heavily criticised in my writing. I wrote a lot of short stories and fanfiction during that time and that helped me improve. I read a lot and that also must have helped. When I started writing scientific articles, though, my co-authors (who were really just editors) crucified me. They highlighted massive slabs of text that they didn’t like. I was devastated the first time that happened because I thought I was a good writer—a good communicator—and I was being told my writing was bad. I got over that by realizing they were usually just making trouble and often by the time text had circled through three or four co-authors they’d collectively rewritten it back to what I wrote it as originally. Writing romance and sex is a weird thing to turn to having been doing that ‘professionally’ for four or five years but that whole time I was writing fanfiction and getting criticism on my writing. It makes me doubt myself but I usually just shrug my shoulders and get on with it. I write for me, I want to get better and will take on board anything constructive, but if people don’t like where I’m at they can go and write for themselves.
How do you come up with a title?
Platonic is the first novel I’ve had to title and I came up with it after I wrote the whole story, when I was very eager to share it with the world. I desperately searched my mind for a title and eventually ended up on Wikipedia looking at the entry on ‘soul mates’. This is how I approach difficulties: Wikipedia. Soul mates led me to Plato who was the man who kind of made the soul mates idea popular and I instantly remembered a bunch of Greek Philosophy I had studied. So, long story short, Plato wrote a symposium on love back in 380 B.C. and in it a bunch of old dudes argue about different sorts of love and it contains one of my favourite pieces of writing in Aristophane’s speech which was a bit ridiculous but also stupidly romantic because it was all about soul mates. So Plato and the use of the word ‘platonic’ to mean ‘of plato’ worked there. And of course my protagonists do plan to keep their relationship platonic in the contemporary sense. So… just layers and layers of nerdy, philosophical weirdness to name this novel.
If your “Muse” were an actual flesh and blood person, what would he/she look like?
I hate to admit to this but I suspect he’d look a lot like Patrick. In the book, Patrick is the catalyst for a lot of Mark’s growth and a good friend (and also a good lay). He’s very smart, very sharp, arrogant, selfish, obsessive, demanding—not all the things you’d want in a muse. But physically, he’s achingly attractive, Mark considers Patrick’s physique god-like and he’s not really overselling it. Patrick’s tall and broad in the shoulders, dark skin pulled tight over lean muscles everywhere. He has thick cupid’s bow lips and eyes that shine because he’s mischievous as well. Black short hair, sometimes facial hair, usually not, wonderful hands and well-groomed everything. Just stunning, really. He’d be a good muse to have around, actually, so long as he didn’t talk too much.
Which character caused you the most difficulty to write?
Daniel was the most difficult to write because the first person I let read the book actually sat me down and calmly told me that I shouldn’t write Daniel. What she meant was that the story was Mark’s and that all the writing I had done from Daniel’s point of view wasn’t really as good as it could be… from Mark’s point of view. She was right and while I was dismayed that I had to delete about a third of my words, it didn’t click immediately that not writing Daniel’s point of view would make it very difficult to write Daniel as a character that an audience would love and would want with Mark. Everything the audience sees of Daniel is through Mark’s eyes with the small exception of some email correspondence. So getting across his character, how he has changed in the decade after high school, why he deserves and is deserved by Mark, was very tricky. Luckily Mark does love Daniel and kind of always has and always will so there’s a lot to be learned about Daniel through him.
Where can your readers find you on the web?
You can find me at katepaddington.com, plus all the usual social outlets: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and tumblr. And of course, you can find out more about Platonic (and purchase it) at interludepress.com.
Thank you so much for the chance to chat to you guys today! This was really fun and I am super-excited to see what everyone thinks of my debut novel!