Interview with Kate Clayborn, author of Beginner’s Luck

We’re delighted to be talking to Kate Clayborn about her debut contempory romance, Beginner’s Luck.

Please describe what your book is about.

Beginner’s Luck is the first in a new series about three best friends who win the lottery. The heroine of this book, Kit, is a research scientist with a stable job whose nomadic upbringing has made her crave stability, and so she uses her winnings to invest in a fixer-upper that she’ll turn into her first real home. But when a handsome, charming corporate recruiter named Ben Tucker comes to town offering Kit a new job—and eventually, a new romance—she’s challenged to solidify her own notions of what home truly means to her.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Here’s a little snippet from Ben’s point of view—he’s a big part of this book, too, so it seems right to show you a bit of him, since I’ve already said a few things about Kit:

“There it is again, that feeling: I want to kiss her so bad that I can feel it in the palms of my hands, at the backs of my knees.”

What do you want people to know about your book? 

I think readers who love smart, funny contemporary romance—and who love their heroines to be focused and driven—will find a lot to love in Beginner’s Luck. And I also want people to know that this book isn’t so much about the lottery itself or about money—it’s about how a sudden, unexpected change in our lives can clarify our goals, challenge our expectations, and develop our relationships.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned what habits worked best for me in terms of drafting: I learned that I write best first thing in the morning, that I need to be able to toggle freely between scenes, that thirty minute blocks work for me, that I should absolutely not have too much caffeine. Also that I’m probably going to cry at least three to six times over the course of the drafting process.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

Not to stay too on the nose with my brand, but I feel like I got very lucky with this series in terms of timing. I drafted the first book in about five months (unusually fast for me), and started querying pretty much right away. I signed with my agent not long after, and then sold the series about three months after we sent it out, setting a publication date that was about a year later.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

Developing characters, absolutely. For me, there’s a lot of magic in that part of the process—thinking through what your characters love, what they fear, what habits and quirks they have, where they like to go, what they like to do. And I think there’s something intimate and special about it for the author, because not everything you develop will necessarily make it into your book—so you have these secrets you share with your characters, in the hidden spaces of your text. I love that.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

In my family, we’ve always had funny discussions about what we’d do if we won a lottery jackpot (once my dad said he’d give away his house to the person who told him the best story), and I think those conversations are always revealing, right? Sure, we’re talking about what want that we can buy, but I also think we’re talking about what we want that we can’t ever really buy. That’s what I wanted to explore in this series.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

The shower. Or in the middle of the middle of the night. Or when I’m driving. To sum up: at the most inconvenient times.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

Maybe that my real face is not a cartoon? Right now I’m not able to have a photograph out there, but the sketch I use for my social media profiles is special to me, because my husband drew it from a picture he took of me.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

I’ve read or heard lots of great writing advice over the years, and I think different advice works at different times—depending on where you are with your writing and how you long you’ve been doing it. But I suppose the most universally helpful advice is that great writers read a lot, and read very, very widely. I read every single day, no matter where I am in the drafting process or what else is going on in my life, and this keeps me connected to the world of words.

What’s next? 

The second book in the Chance of a Lifetime series, Luck of the Draw, releases in April 2018, and the third and final book, Best of Luck, releases in October 2018. After that, I hope, comes a standalone that’s a very early work in progress right now.


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“Luck has a way of being unpredictable—a lot like love…

BEGINNER’S LUCK is the first in a funny, sexy new series about three friends who impulsively buy a lottery ticket, never suspecting the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of them all.”