Interview with Katy Regnery, author of At First Sight
02 Jun 2020
By Katy Regnery
I have loved writing contemporary romances based on beloved fairytales ever since I wrote my first in 2014: THE VIXEN AND THE VET, which was inspired by Beauty and the Beast. Since then, I’ve published six more: NEVER LET YOU GO (Hansel & Gretel), GINGER’S HEART (Little Red Riding Hood), DARK SEXY KNIGHT (Camelot), DON’T SPEAK (The Little Mermaid) and SHEAR HEAVEN (Rapunzel), which was originally marketed as one of two novellas, twinned with AT FIRST SIGHT (Aladdin).
Except…after I wrote and published SHEAR HEAVEN in 2017, I immediately experienced “series fatigue.” Uh-oh. What is “series fatigue”? Well, it’s when an author who’s written a number of books in a particular series runs out of energy to write more. (And if you were supposed to write a duo if novellas, the timing really sucks.) The reality is that as much as novel writing is a job for writers, it’s also a creative process, and forcing creativity often produces a sub-par result. So, with much regret, I packed up the series for a while, and told my fairytale fans I’d return to AT FIRST SIGHT when I was ready.
Last summer, in July 2019, I was asked to participate in an anthology, and remembered my promise to finish AT FIRST SIGHT someday. I opened up the outline I’d started in 2017, made some changes to update the characters, and started writing. It was going pretty well, too, until I lost 10,000 words. (Insert sound of needle scratching vinyl record.)
Umm…say what? Yeah. I lost it. All of it.
Apparently, when you open a document directly from an email attachment, you’re supposed to save it to your local drive before editing it. I didn’t. I opened it and started working on it…and continued working on it for three straight days. When I closed the file to e-mail it back to myself? I lost it. All 10,000 words. (The horror.) My heart was broken. Heck, novellas are only 30,000 words anyway! I’d lost over 30% of the story, and all of my will to write it. I withdrew from the anthology and told myself that my Aladdin retelling wasn’t destined for publication.
And then, in March 2020, Covid-19 arrived, turning all of our lives upside down.
For me, this meant six weeks of writer’s block such that I’ve never experienced. I couldn’t bring myself to start the project I had previously slated (Kodiak Lumberjack) and every new project I considered felt too big, too insurmountable, too much.
If only, I thought to myself, I could just write a novella. Short and sweet, it wouldn’t feel like too much. Maybe it would jumpstart my mojo again.
And that’s about when I remembered AT FIRST SIGHT.
When I opened up the document in late-April, I found an old outline from 2017, an updated concept from the summer of 2019 and not much in the way of writing.
Deciding to start fresh, I went back to the first novella, SHEAR HEAVEN, and re-read all the parts that included AT FIRST SIGHT’s heroine, HSH Valentina Yasmina De’Medici. And then I watched the 1992 cartoon version of Disney’s Aladdin. And somewhere along the way, a new concept for AT FIRST SIGHT emerged, ready and willing to be written.
It only took me three weeks to write AT FIRST SIGHT, and I love it. I love the familiar structure. I love the updates to settings and characters. I love the way you can read SHEAR HEAVEN and AT FIRST SIGHT together, or enjoy each as a standalone novella. I have hidden “Easter eggs” throughout the story…anagrams of names from the fairytale (my Aladdin, for instance, is called Ian Ladd), references to characters we know and love, and subtle nods to the movie we all love. I hope my readers will be enchanted and delighted with the updates.
Bet best of all, three years later, my readers will have Valentina’s in their hands. It’s good to keep promises, even if you’re a little late fulfilling them.
Thank you so much for inviting me here to talk about AT FIRST SIGHT today. For all of you fairytale lovers out there, I hope you’ll give it a try!
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