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Q & A With Author Kate O'Keeffe

Hi, Kate. Let's get started! What is your book NOT about? 

My book is not about zombies taking over the world, aliens making slaves of the entire human race, or hot-shot spies beating the bad guys. Although I’m sure all those things are wonderful in their own right, they are definitely and unequivocally not what One Last First Date is about.

What is your book about? 

Now that’s an easier question to answer. One Last First Date is about Cassie Dunhill, a woman in her late-twenties, who is sick of the whole dating game. She wants to find the right guy, settle down, and never have to go on another first date again. So, she and her friends, after a glass or two too much chardonnay, make a pact: they will marry the next guy they each go out with. That means, they get One Last First Date, which is what the book is called.

Oh, sounds very interesting! What is your favorite line from your book? 

“In all my fantasies of how tonight would go, not a single one involved my future husband gently tweaking my bloodied and painful nose as I leaned against a bar, surrounded by onlookers.”

What celebrities would play your main characters if it were a movie? 

Cassie would be Reese Witherspoon, for certain. Small and peppy but also pretty A-type. Parker, her One Last First Date, would be a young Robert Redford. And Will, the guy who may (or may not) throw a spanner in the dating works, would be the guy who plays Poldark, Aidan Turner.

I am obsessed with Reese Witherspoon! Take me through a day in your life. 

I’m a mother, so mornings are early and involve feeding, watering, endless reminders to get ready for school, and, finally leaving the house, hopefully with everyone where they should be. After caffeinating and school drop off, I usually take my dogs up the beautiful Te Mata Peak, a hill with gorgeous wooded areas and old Redwoods near my house, to breath in the fresh air, look at the beautiful view, and remind myself my problems don’t amount to much more than a molehill in this world of ours (thank you, Casablanca). Then, it’s home and time to write, before the madness begins again later in the day. It’s a pretty good life, and one I’m more than happy I get to live.

Show me a picture of your writing spot.

If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do? 

I would spend it with my dad. He was taken from us far too early, and I miss him every day of my life. I know he’d be proud of me as a fellow author, even if he wasn’t exactly my target audience! I would drink coffee and eat cake with him, take him to see his beloved All Blacks (New Zealand’s amazingly successful rugby team) and watch them annihilate their opposition, and finish the day off with a decent steak and bottle of red.

That sounds like a lovely day. What is the weirdest thing you have had to research for writing purposes? 

I’m not sure how weird it is, but a character in Falling for Grace had breast cancer, so I had to research that. I had a total compliment in a review from someone who knew all about breast cancer and felt I’d described it perfectly.

What was your favorite book as a child and what is your favorite book now? 

Favorite book now is easy: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I could read that story again and again and again. There’s something about Darcy and Elizabeth that resonates—and the BBC version with Colin Firth is my all-time favorite adaptation. When I was a child is harder, because I went from my Dick Bruna Tilly & Tessa phase when I was very little, right through to Judy Blume and Esther Hautzig, and onto the likes of Emily Bronte and Jane Austen. Yes, I was a bookworm and proud to be.

No shame in being a bookworm! What book are you currently reading? 

I’m reading Tracie Bannister’s Mixing It Up, which is so well written and fun, full of mouth-watering dishes and great characters, it puts me in a wonderful mood each night.

What is the strangest fact about you? 

I am lucky enough to have great teeth! No fillings until I was thirty-five, I was born without wisdom teeth, and no need to go through the horror of braces in my teens.  

That is very lucky! What writers inspire you? 

Jane Austen, Marian Keyes, Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, William Makepeace Thackeray, Emily Bronte, and a whole raft of awesome contemporary chick lit authors.

Why do you write? 

Because I ADORE to write! And I do it all the time, whether it’s in my head as I hike up a hill with my dogs, on my phone while I’m waiting for my doctor, or on my laptop. I have so many stories in my head, demanding to get down on paper. And then, when they are on paper, they keep talking to me, telling me what I could have changed, what I could have done better. I think I may need some help.

What are you working on right now? 

I’m working on the second book in my new Cozy Cottage Café series, the sequel to One Last First Date. It’s called Two Last First Dates (do you see what I did there? Do you?) and it’s about Paige, one of Cassie’s friends who agreed to the one last first date pact in the first book. She didn’t get her happily every after in Cassie’s book, but that may change in her story. Two Last First Dates is available for pre-order on right now and is releasing Amazon on August 8.

How can readers learn more about you and your work? 

I love to hear from readers! They can visit my website, sign up for my newsletter, visit my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or Instagram. So many ways! 

Thanks for joining me and best of luck finishing your sequel!

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