Wednesday, January 15, 2014

[Blog Tour]: Interview with Kat Simons + Giveaway!


Kat Simons earned her Ph.D in animal behavior, working with animals as diverse as dolphins and deer. She brought her experience and knowledge of biology to her paranormal romance fiction, where she delights in taking nature and turning it on its ear. After traveling the world, she now lives in New York City with her family. Kat is a stay-at-home mom and a full time writer.

Where to Find Kat:

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The_Book_Queen: Hi Kat! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kat: I grew up in Las Vegas, went to Hawaii for college to get away from the desert, ended up back in the desert after college where I took care of sharks and snakes at the natural history museum. And then through weird luck I ended up traveling in Europe in my early twenties. I moved to Ireland to get my Ph.D. after about a year and a half in Europe. I studied animal behavior, working with dolphins (Hawaii) and deer (Ireland). After I finished my Ph.D., I stayed in Ireland for a few years—I married an Irishman *g*--and worked on my writing. Then my husband and I moved to New York. We live here now with our two sons and funny dog. I’m a stay-at-home mom and a full time writer, a lousy housekeeper, Sudoku addict, book collector and avid traveler. Oh and I’m completely disorganized. Fortunately, I am just organized enough to keep up with my writing. Not so much to keep up with housework, though. 

TBQ:  Daaaamn, you've been very lucky! I'd kill to live in Ireland! And don't worry about the housework. *looks around, shoves things under the couch* I'm not too much better, I'm afraid!

Your debut release, Once Upon a Tiger, came out last month (congrats!). Can you tell us a little bit about this book, and why readers are going to love it?

K: Thanks! Once Upon a Tiger is basically about two characters who’ve been secretly in love with each other for years but are forbidden by the laws of their people from ever pursuing a relationship. Alexis is a Tracker. The Trackers are the police of the tigers, though there are differences in the job descriptions. Because females are so rare and precious to the tigers, Alexis had to get special permission to pursue such a dangerous job, and she’s the only female Tracker. Victor is a security technician for the tiger leaders (he’s a real gadget genius, though that fact doesn’t come up much in the book itself), and he’s mute thanks to an attack when he was four years old. The mutism—which is physical not elective—gets him a label of defective among the tigers where any supposed weakness can be used against them. He’s far from defective, as you’ll see if you read the book, but the label does have an impact on what he can and can’t do under tiger law. To be together, Alexis and Victor will have to break laws that Alexis has spent her whole life upholding. And they’ll have to survive the aggression of a group of males who want Alexis.

I hope readers will enjoy the strength and determination of both characters, as well as what they’re willing to do to be together. I adore these two so I hope readers will too. Oh, and in the course of the series, while each book will be about a different couple, Alexis and Victor do continue to show up. *g*

TBQ: I love when previous couples continue to show up in later books; it helps to really connect a series. 

Why do Victor and Alexis belong together? 

K: They’re really perfect for each other in their temperaments. He’s patient and actually quite the optimist despite what he’s been through in his past. She’s stubborn and needs a patient partner, and because of her job, she’s a bit cynical, so having a man who’s let go of his own resentments helps keep her grounded. She’s a really strong woman too and Victor loves that about her. He wants her to be exactly who she is and wouldn’t want her any other way. Unlike a lot of the tigers, she doesn’t consider Victor’s mutism a weakness. In fact, she sees the strong, honorable man he is and also accepts him exactly as he is.

TBQ: You are right -- they do sound perfect for each other! In fact, can I steal Victor away from her?Please? :) 

In 5 words or less, describe Alexis for us. And let's not forget Victor—what's he like? 

K: Alexis is strong, stubborn, brave, passionate and loyal.
Victor is super smart, technology-minded, stoic and strong..

(I think I might have cheated on the 5 words or less part *g*)

TBQ: ;) Not at all! 

Do you have a favorite part from Once Upon a Tiger? (If spoilers are involved, you can be vague.)

K: I love the scene where Alexis and Victor are in her cabin talking over what’s just happened and what’s going to happen going forward—in Chapter 2. I don’t want to say much more to avoid spoilers, but I love the sexual tension and the emotion in that scene. It’s fun. J

TBQ: Great sexual tension and emotion? I'm in! 

When writing, do you listen to certain songs, like a playlist for the story? If so, what was the playlist for OUaT?

K: I don’t actually listen to music when I write. I tend to have a muted TV on in the background or no sound at all. Way back in the day I used to listen to music, but my writing has become very flexible in the last few years and my process has to be flexible too. This means the simpler the better.

TBQ: Are there other genres you would like to write about? Or, if you prefer shifters (and who doesn't?), are there other kinds of shifters and paranormal beings that you want to explore?

K: I adore shifters and could just keep writing about different shifter species for years to be honest. *G* I love big cat shifters so would happily write about other big cats. And dragon shifters really appeal to me. One day I will write about dragons. I love elves, witches, even the occasional vampire. If it’s paranormal, I will consider it. But for this series, at least for now, the books are very very focused on the tigers. As far as other genres go, I love science fiction and fantasy. One day, I will attempt a science fiction story that doesn’t have a major romance in it—just to see if I can write something that isn’t all about the Romance. J

TBQ: As a huge shifter fan, I see no problem with simply writing various shifter species! :) Ooh, dragons! 

I know we all hate this question, author and reader alike. :) But I have to ask: What are a few of your favorite books and/or authors?

K: LOL! It’s so hard to answer!!! I’ll list a few favorite authors but this is not by any means a complete list. I adore Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, Ann Aguirre, Linnea Sinclair, Leanna Renee Hieber, Stacey Kade, Hope Tarr, Lisa Sheraton, JD Robb, John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, Lois McMasters Bujold, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean…. Oh I could just keep going. I’d better stop here or the list will take up pages.

TBQ: *nods* Don't worry, you're not alone; I can only imagine how long my list would be . . .

We've all fallen for a hero (or two, or three, or....ahem).  Tell us one hero that you've fallen for—who is he and what drew you to him?

K: Okay, I have a number of crushes on fictional heroes not of my own making (I have crushes on all the heroes I write of course *G*). But probably the longest running crush is Roarke from the JD Robb In Death books because…well, he’s Roarke. Also the fact that he’s Irish and I married and Irishman might have something to do with it.

TBQ: Confession -- I'm a huge Nora Roberts fan, but I have yet to pick up her JD Robb series . .. It's on my list, though, I swear, especially since Roark is and Irishman (yum!) Also, I'm very jealous; you married one as well? *sigh* Some ladies have all the luck . . . LOL

What's next-- Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases or WIP?

K: Next is the second Tiger book, due out end of March//beginning of April. This one takes place a few years after Once Upon a Tiger. The hero is a Tracker, the heroine is a scientist whose best friend has been killed by a human serial killer. And the story is the hero trying to keep the heroine from killing the murderer because she’ll be locked up by her own people for the rest of her life if she does. There’s more to it than that, obviously, but you’ll just have to read the book. *g* After that I want to re-release the short story that started me writing about the tigers—Mate Run. And then in the autumn of 2014, I’ll be releasing the first full-length novel in the Tiger series where I introduce a human heroine into the mix. 

TBQ: You've got a lot of shifter-goodness coming out this year! No complaints here, mind you.


A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
In my twenties, the secluded island. Now, I’m all about the spa treatments.

Reading a spicy romance novel OR a sweet “my-heart-skips-a-beat” one?
Definitely spicy romance.

Which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord?
Sexy Highlander (My sexy Irish husband would be extremely displeased with me taking up with an Englishman *g*) [ LOL -- true . . . Though I'm guessing he'd be extremely displeased with this scenario regardless, right? Oh well!]

Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Again, in my twenties it was hot summers but now I’m all about cold winter nights in front of a fire, snuggled up under a blanket with a good book and/or a hot man. [If you're reading the right book, you can get 2 in 1! :) Of course, if I had an Irish hubby to curl up with, I'd forget the book entirely . . . Ahem]

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
In the mountains within quick driving distance of a big city. Best of both worlds for me. *g*

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
Oh future, definitely. I’m too attacked to my modern conveniences like penicillin, toilet paper and tampons to go back in time! Plus, I’d like to see where technology takes us.

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Cover Lover, definitely.

Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel? (aka, Quickie or Slow Build Up?)
Depends entirely on my mood and the time I have available. I enjoy a good quickie as much as a nice slow build. *g* [You dirty girl! *wink*]

Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without?
Pizza, without a doubt (although chocolate chip cookie dough comes in a close second).

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

Hmmm…. Okay, well 
1) would be that I act out the scenes in my book sometimes. Especially dialogue. I actually act out the dialogue so I can (hopefully!) get the rhythm right and figure out physical gestures and expressions. 
2) When I worked with sharks, I was called the “shark lady” affectionately. 
3) I get some of my best ideas in the shower because it’s one of the few places I get peace and quiet to think.

TheBookQueen: Thanks so much for stopping by, Kat, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers—something to spark a good discussion? :)

Kat: Thanks so much for having me! I’ve really enjoyed this interview. Question for readers… Something I’d love to know is what paranormal creature/character is your favorite? Shapeshifters (and what kind?), vampires, witches, psychics, elves, dragons, gods, superheroes? I know that last one probably isn’t considered paranormal, but feel free to pick superheroes if that’s what you like best! *g* Personally, I’m not sure I do have a favorite. I grew up loving everything vampire, but now I’m just mad about shapeshifters of all kinds. And if there’s a dragon, I’m very very likely to read about it. So how about you all? Any favorites?

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Once Upon a Tiger by Kat Simons
Publisher: T+D Publishing (January 4, 2014) 
Series: Tiger Shifters, 1 [novella]
Genre: Paranormal Romance

She’ll never run.

Among the tiger shifters, Alexis Tarasova is regarded as fierce and dangerous, with a reputation that would make even the most daring tiger think twice about challenging her. Female tiger shifters may be rare and the mating run a critical part of their species’s survival, but Alexis is the only female Tracker and will not back down, even at the threat of tiger law. She will not be forced to mate. So when a handful of males band together to force her to participate in the run, Alexis chooses to stand her ground and fight instead.

He's forbidden to run.

Outcast from the tiger shifters after a vicious childhood attack left him mute, Victor Romanov has never taken part in the mate run. He’s never particularly cared, though, since the woman he loves refuses to take a mate. However, when he learns Alexis may be in danger, all bets are off. Nothing will keep him from her side.

Together, they’re unmovable.

The chemistry between them burns wickedly hot and forges them into an unbeatable pair. Alexis knows that being with Victor means she will have to break another one of her people’s laws—a move that might push the tigers too far. But, for Victor, she will risk everything, including her life, and do what she thought she’d never do—run. 

Where to Buy*:
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Once Upon a Tiger by Kat Simons


To Alexis’ surprise, Victor was standing at her door only a few minutes later. She swallowed and tried not to stare. He was magnificent, muscled and lean, with just the right amount of hair covering his human body. The hard cut angles of his face should have made him look harsh but somehow he just looked more compelling. Black eyes, closely cut dark hair, and a sexy half-smile that made her stomach muscles tighten, all combined to send her heartbeat pounding.
She’d never been around Victor when she was in estrous. In fact, since coming to terms with the knowledge that her obsession with him could never lead to a future, she’d made an effort to never spend time alone with him. He was the head security technician at the elders’ compound, so they crossed paths regularly. But she tried making sure there were others around to keep her from doing something stupid.
Unfortunately, she hadn’t always been successful.
She flashed on a recent memory of literally bumping into him in a corridor at the compound when she’d been too deep in thought to notice her surroundings. He’d held her arms while she caught her balance. The contact sent shivers of desire shooting through her body, forcing her to step back as soon as she could, then apologized.
He pulled a notebook from the back pocket of his dark jeans and wrote, You okay?
“Fine. The job I’m heading out on has me…” She shrugged. “It’s a tough one.”
A friend?
“No. Nothing like that.” She made the mistake of looking up to finish and got momentarily caught in the deep darkness of his steady gaze. Her stomach danced in giddy delight even as her heart tightened. Swallowing, she said, “The tiger I’m going after has something wrong with him. He’s started stalking children.”
Human or tiger?
“Exactly.” Dangerous to their people if he were discovered by the humans. Also dangerous for her as her target couldn’t possibly be sane if he was hunting kids.
Has he hurt any yet?
“No. Fortunately. He came close twice, though. I have to find him soon.”
Do you want help?
She straightened. No one offered to help her. Not since she’d taken the Tracker oath. But he looked serious. And beneath the fa├žade he normally wore, she sensed a hard core of intensity only a stupid person would challenge. His silence was intimidating enough, but for the first time, she saw a dangerous edge to him.
And he was offering to help her. The gesture touched her in ways she wouldn’t have expected. Suddenly, she was aware of just how alone they were and just how desperately she wanted him.
“I’ll be fine.” Even as she said this, her heartbeat quickened and she had trouble speaking above a whisper.
I know. But if you need me, I’m here.
Her pulse pounded loud in her ears as she read. Could he hear it? Did he realize just how much she needed him—just not for the hunt? She found herself staring at his mouth. The urge to lean in and taste him overwhelmed her.
Alexis blinked back the memory and realized she was once again staring at Victor’s mouth. This time, there was no one around to interrupt them and keep her from giving in to the years of wanting. During that previous meeting, a member of his security tech team had required his attention and he’d hurried away, leaving her breathless. She’d brought in the rogue tiger with a little more aggression than she might have normally. And then she’d taken herself off to her retreat here in the mountains to wallow in the frustration of having to resist the only man she wanted.
Now Victor was here. No one between them. And her hormones were making things infinitely worse.
His being naked did not help her control either—which was hanging on by a very tiny, thin thread.

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Thanks for stopping by today, Kat! :) I very much look forward to reading this series! Oh, and if you happen to know of any sexy Irishmen (cousins of the hubs, old friends, etc) . . . please send them my way! :D 

Don't forget Kat's question: 

Something I’d love to know is what paranormal creature/character is your favorite?

Well, you know I love shifters, but I also enjoy other PNR creatures, especially if they are done with a unique twist! 


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


LorettaLynn said...

Once Upon a Tiger Sounds really good :) I'm looking forward to reading it and im glad I found a new author...

Kat Simons said...

Thanks for having me here today! I really enjoyed this interview :-)

Thanks, Loretta! I hope you enjoy the book.

The_Book_Queen said...

I'm glad -- please, feel free to come back any time! :)