Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Yes, we met in person – at that Anthology Workshop I mentioned the other day! And she’s in Nightly Bites Volume 2! And in Celebrating Male Lovers with her pen names! And let’s not forget she curated Love Magik Glow, another great bundle that includes yours truly… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Pavelle!

I met Barb G. Tarn at a writing workshop in Oregon. Aside from sharing a car to get from the airport in Portland to the coastal and scenic Lincoln City, we also share a European heritage, a love of adventure, and a passion for storytelling.

She was kind enough to invite me onto her blog today, so I’m here to answer a few questions about my recent spy thriller release, Unsavory Company.

Is the book a stand-alone, or are there books I’m missing?

Aha! A good question. Many years ago I had decided to write a book. I was moving along quite nicely, but some “helpful” article in the Writer’s Digest said that new writers often start out strong and finish strong, but the middle tends to sag. And to keep the middle from sagging, it’s necessary to invent all these secondary plot threads, which will reinforce it.

So I threw in about ten totally unnecessary plot threads, which more or less obscured the main plotline. It was a lesson learned, and I chalked up the 250,000 words to experience. However, since I still loved the characters, I invented Gina, who meets my bad boys from my first effort at a thriller.

But will there be more?

Yes, I plan to write more in Peter Christoff’s world. I have another Gina Francesca Migliore book in the works right now.

Why the Balkan War?

My family defected from Czechoslovakia when I was a teen, so I had a first-hand experience at what it’s like to be a refugee, not speak a language, and not have money. I have also experienced fear, because we had been pursued by the Czechoslovak equivalent of the KGB back then. You can read about all this in my Cancelled Czech Files series book On the Run. In Unsavory Company, I wanted to draw on some of those old memories and feelings, but empower Gina to take action.

Second reason has to do with art smuggling. After the Eastern Bloc regimes fell apart, the power vacuum in the Warsaw Pact gave rise to a ruthless form of capitalist pursuit, where roving gangs of “entrepreneurs” were stealing art from churches, castles, and even cemeteries, and were selling historical artifacts to wealthy buyers in the West. When I had returned to Czech Republic in 1990, I was stunned by the damage. The Balkan War had occurred near this period, was influenced by similar forces, and the Balkans were always a crossroads of cultures and commerce. The culturally rich and historically intricate environment drew me in both as a setting, and as a subject for further research.

You mention a CIA source in your acknowledgments. Who was he?

Um… the lady in question had been quite gracious with her input. She had me run the plot by her, and when I had a question, she suggested ways in which the system would, or would not have, worked. In many cases, she had said, “I cannot answer that question – but tell me what you are trying to achieve. There might be another way.” She does not wish to be named, but she took great glee in making suggestions and laughing at the potential situations. In her experience, this plot was feasible, especially in a pre-digital era.

I had decided, from the outset, not to make my CIA field operatives a part of some bizarre “black works” action. These actions are outside the law and unconstitutional, and the blasè portrayal of intelligence work as “off the books” discredits the real, and necessary, work of men and women in the intelligence community in the eyes of the reading and movie-watching public.

So… is it true you got your start writing gay romance?

Absolutely! Even though my first seven novels were gay romance and were published by Dreamspinner Press under Kate Pavelle, now I write all kinds of contemporary and paranormal romance, both LGBT and “straight,” under the Olivette Devaux pen name. Kate Pavelle is now reserved for humor, thriller and suspense, weird fiction, and so on. The genre and general feel of my books is always apparent from the book descriptions.

Thank you for having me over, Barb! For those of you who’d like to pick up a copy of Unsavory Company, it’s available on Amazon in both mobi and print, and at many other online stores in the ePub format.

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