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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When I See You by Katherine Owen (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Katherine Owen, author of When I See You!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Katherine!

How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?

I read a lot to keep motivated with writing. Reading other authors’ work keeps me sharp and I’ve developed the skill for reading as a writer, so I get the full benefit from that.

What is the best advice you have ever received as a writer and how do you use it? What would you offer up as advice to aspiring authors?

I’ve had some great writing teachers along the way, especially with The Writers Studio classes I’ve taken. One of the best pieces of advice came from one of my TWS teachers. She encouraged us to approach our writing by asking this simple question: What's in it for me? Answering this question in relation to my writing ensures that I stay true to the writing because the authenticity of the work comes from “that place”. That probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, however, I view it as a permission slip to write the story the way it needs to be written, not the way the world thinks it needs to be told. I view it as consent as the go-ahead signal to explore social mores, find truth, and discover life’s paths through fiction. For me, it’s a process of letting go—suspending judgment, both mine and others—and allowing the writing to take me where it needs to go.

As for those that aspire to write? I’ve read a lot of books on the writing process, but, by far, the best one I’ve read is Stephen King’s book On Writing. He is the master and his book is part autobiographic, part writerly advice. In my view, On Writing is one of the best books out there on the topic of writing.

Describe a typical day in your writing life.

My day starts early. I like to get some writing done before getting the kids off to school. Then, I try to spend the morning hours writing (forward progress) and the afternoon hours editing and then I end up tweaking my website/blogs and tweeting via social media (backward progress) for the rest of the time. If I really can’t get it together and make forward progress on the novel, I’ll spend time on the production side in search of the perfect photograph to convey the latest work-in-progress’s story line. It’s a long, arduous process. Trust me on this point.

Where do you get your writing done?

I have a home office where I can look out on a fantastic view of Lake Washington, which I remind myself to do at least twice a day. I believe I have just about every inspiration a writer could want at my fingertips including: an iPad Mini. My life is complete with this little gem and I actually do venture out more often because I can take the Internet and my virtual bookshelf with me wherever I go because when I’m not writing, I read.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

There’s nothing quite like the writing process itself, especially when everything is going well. If I re-read something I’ve recently written and experience that unexpected, non-judgmental, non-editorial moment and can see how good it is; that’s the part I love about the writing process.

What is the toughest part of being an author?

For every “Great book! I loved it!” review or note, there will be one that tells me everything they hated about it. Hmmm… For me, that whole cycle wreaks havoc on the delicate balance of writing, so I tend to go with the adage never believe your own press because too much ego or too little doesn’t serve me either way.

If you were casting this book as a movie, who do you see as your dream team in the starring roles and why?

For When I See You, here’s the short list:
Henry Cavill as Brock Wainwright (Jordan tells him he looks like the guy from The Tudors early on in the story.)
Cobie Smulders as Jordan Holloway (The actress is willowy and looks like she’s deep in thought much of the time, which is how I envision Jordan Holloway).
Ryan Gosling as Ethan Holloway (The actor has this sexy, engaging personality, especially in Crazy, Stupid Love, which is how I imagine Ethan to be.)
Josh Duhamel as Tate Mathews (The actor is tall and charming which is just how I envision Tate Mathews.) Evan Rachel Wood as Ashleigh Blondell (The actress is versatile and engaging in both looks and personality, which is what I think my character Ashleigh is like).

Finally; is there anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

First of all, thank you for having me here. Thank you to all of your blog readers for considering my work. As a novelist, (a fictionista as one Twitter follower put it) as a writer of contemporary fiction, I tend to write stories that are both edgy and dark about trust, love, and fate and how relationships are often tested by all of these things in one way or another. My stories include: the considerations of moral code or the lack thereof, infidelity, betrayal, best friends, starting over, love, and loss, more often than not, all of these in some form. I would just like to take a moment to say: it is fiction and it isn’t your light, everyday romance and as long as you don’t mind the sprinkling elemental special effects that I personally think the f-word can sometimes provide; we’re bound to be best friends, however virtual.

Thank you Katherine for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

Katherine Owen graduated with a journalism degree and a minor in English from the University of Washington and promptly went into high tech sales because someone told her it was fun and there would be stock options. For years, she damped down the urge to write and spent money like Evian water. But after a successful, storied career in high tech sales and public relations, she finally made what felt like a necessary, soul-calling leap to writing full-time in April of 2009. Owen has written three novels Seeing Julia (debut novel and Zola Award Winner), Not To Us and When I See You. She lives near Seattle in an old house with a fabulous view with her husband and two children. When she isn't writing, she can be found cheering at her son's football games or her daughter's volleyball games or heating up frozen dinners for the "fam-dam-ily" as she fondly refers to them.

When I See You ~ Katherine Owen ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway 

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card 

Contest Dates: Feb 18 - March 11, 2013

Everyone who leaves a comment on Katherine Owen's When I See You Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of When I See You before March 11th and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Book Review

When I See You by Katherine Owen
Publisher: The Writing Works Group
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Format: Paperback - 340 pages / Kindle - 629 KB / Nook - 1013 KB
ISBN: 0983570744
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: When I See You

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

She believes that love can never last, promises are usually broken, and true happiness is extremely elusive in the long run. He believes most risks are worth taking, the promises he makes can be kept, and love doesn't factor in his relationships any longer. They're both wrong.

Jordan Holloway has never fully recovered from the unexpected deaths of her famous Hollywood parents. At 27, she is still slow to trust and remains uncertain about the true duration of love and happiness. Yet, it's been four years since she fell in love with Ethan when he rocked her world even as he marched off to war leaving her alone with their young son Max. Now, Ethan tells her this will be his last tour in Afghanistan and that soon the three of them will be together. Still anxious at his leaving again, Jordan extracts a promise for Ethan's safe return from Brock Wainwright, her husband's sniper partner and best friend. But, can she put all her trust in Brock and can he keep such a promise?

At 29, Brock Wainwright fully embraces the dangerous life of a Navy Seal. He enjoys his freedom and not being committed to anyone; and, there's been a long line of women who can attest to that. Everything changes for Brock after he meets Jordan. When the two men return to Afghanistan, Brock's intent on keeping his promise to Jordan about keeping Ethan safe for a variety of reasons, including the most disturbing one of all, he is more than just attracted to his best friend's wife. This revelation plagues Brock on the battlefield and in a violent moment changes everything.

Book Excerpt:

An hour later, the household has been fed French toast, and all the adults have been replenished with multiple cups of Brock’s strong black coffee. Max is busy showing off his swing set and sandbox to the clearly hung-over Ashleigh and his daddy. I watch my son as he constantly pulls at Ethan’s outstretched hand. His unmet need for Ethan’s attention brings tears to my eyes, but our child’s enthusiasm is contagious. I can’t help but smile, when I hear Max call out, “Look at this, Daddy; look at this, Ashleigh,” in his sweet, elf-like voice. I gaze at the three of them through the open French door that leads to the backyard and feel this surge of love for my little family.

A half hour later, Brock peruses the Los Angeles Times, while I decorate cupcakes for Max. Decorating cupcakes has become my signature specialty within this small community of Malibu. It’s kind of a sideline hobby to my real job as head chef at Le Reve.

I look up. Brock watches me with the rapt interest similar to that of a small child. It reminds me of Max when he’s mesmerized with a television program like Big Bird or Barney. The newspaper is folded up and lies next to his forearm.

I slip up with the icing under his studied scrutiny and attempt to refocus upon the task at hand by breaking eye contact with our unexpected house guest.

“Ethan tells me you studied at CIA,” Brock says. “That you’re a head cook, here in Malibu. At Le Reve, is it?”

I glance up from what I’m doing and nod, but looking at him is worse. The man continues to interfere with my ability to concentrate on the cupcakes for some reason. I glance away from him, intent on getting back to looping blue icing across the little cake’s surface in a circular pattern, making ocean waves. I’m going for a Finding Nemo theme, per my three-year-old’s request. He’s taking the cupcakes to his play date with his friend, Davey. I hold my breath in an attempt to drape the icing in a steady wave pattern.

“Head chef at Le Reve. Before that, head chef at Rivera,” I say. “And before that, I worked at L’Ecole in New York, even a summer in Paris.” I lift my chin in defiance and can feel myself blushing. Why do I feel the need to provide my resume to this guy?

“Chef,” Brock says with a wide smile. “Sorry, you gourmets are so touchy about titles.”

“It’s a big deal in the culinary world to be a head chef. It takes years to get that title and the responsibility that comes with it.” I shrug, trying to give off an air of indifference, but even I can hear the edge in my voice.

“Okay,” Brock says. “Head chef at Le Reve. Tell me what that’s like.”

I put down the pastry knife, somewhat disconcerted to be asked about the restaurant. Ethan sees it as a drain of my time away from Max, away from him when he’s here. Le Reve is a source of tension between us every time he’s home.

“There’s a certain energy and excitement in running a restaurant every night. You spend your whole day preparing and planning, and then, the satisfaction of execution on a nightly basis is exhilarating. Almost spiritual.” I smile over at him. He gets this disconcerted look. “There’s nothing quite like it. Le Reve is small, only eight tables, but people come from all over to eat there. We have a good thing going. My boss, the owner, Louis DuPont, is from Paris. He’s amazing and gives me a lot of flexibility. It’s close by. Ashleigh or Mrs. Richards watch Max in the evening, and I try to be home by midnight or so.” My voice trails off at the thoughtful look on Brock’s face. “What?”

“Isn’t it kind of hard to juggle all of that with Max?”

“It works. I don’t know any other life. Of course, Ethan would prefer me to work part-time and be home with Max more.” I hesitate, before saying, “Running a restaurant, making decisions about food, and preparing it is cathartic for me. I need to do it.” I pause, experiencing misgivings about saying anything more, but somehow, needing to. “Ethan was gone when Max was born. He’s been home three times in the past three years. I have a life. Here. In L.A. It works.”

I sweep the pastry knife across the air in agitation and openly blush, knowing I sound too defensive. I take an unsteady breath. I’ve given too much away. “We make it work,” I say in a low voice.

I look over at him. He’s shaking his head. I’m unable to look away.

“You just don’t know how rare you are. I think it’s great that you have a career and still manage things with Max.” He frowns. “Most women wouldn’t put up with the long tours away from home. It wreaks havoc on a relationship. It takes commitment. Trust. It’s rare.”

“Relationships are hard, no matter what the circumstances,” I say.

“You think so?” Brock asks. There’s discernible disquiet in his tone.

The ground seems to shift beneath me. I reach out for the counter to steady myself. Yet, I’m unable to stop myself from saying more. “We sailed into marriage with all these dreams and made all these promises. We were so naive. Within fifteen minutes of meeting him, I knew how I felt about him and how he felt about me.” I try to smile. “He swept me off my feet and I didn’t hit the ground, until I was standing at the airport and watching his flight to Afghanistan take off.” I smile, but then, it fades.

“At that moment, I’d never felt so alone in my life. And, there have been other times when I have felt pretty much alone.” I stop, take an unsteady breath, and close my eyes, remembering the death of my parents and that exact moment when Ethan left the first time. I open them and he’s staring at me intently.

“Alone. Eight weeks pregnant. Ashleigh and I had been in L.A. for a couple of years already. Then, I’d met Ethan and everything changed,” I say in a low voice. I gaze over at Brock and then shrug my shoulders, attempting to lighten the mood at seeing the disconcerted look on his face. “But nothing really changed. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes.” Brock looks even more troubled.

“What?” I ask with growing trepidation.

“I was engaged once. It didn’t work out.” A shadow crosses his face. “I dropped out of my last semester of law school and signed up for SEAL training, then sniper school. My father wasn’t too happy.” Brock gets this bleak look. “Relationships are hard whether you’re in L.A. or Austin.”

Ethan and Brock both grew up in Austin. I pause in mid-air with my pastry knife, realizing that this is one more thing that Ethan hasn’t really shared with me. I don’t really know much about his life in Austin, before me. We rarely go there because his time is so limited when he’s home.

“I’m sorry. About the fiancĂ©e. About your dad,” I say.

“I got over it. I moved on.” He shrugs and looks indifferent.

“Is that why you go through women like they’re an endless supply of shaving razors? To defy your father? To prove you’re over her?”

I blush at my bluntness.

“I suppose so.” He tries to smile but it doesn’t reach his eyes. I sense this profound sadness in him. “But razors aren’t as sharp. Never disappoint. Never maim. Not intentionally, anyway; and don’t require commitment.”

My Book Review:

How much heartache can a person really endure?

For the past four years, each time that twenty-seven year old Jordan Holloway's Navy SEAL husband Ethan is deployed to Afghanistan, she battles an inner fear of being abandoned. Her fear stems back to when she lost her famous Oscar winning parents to a brutal murder at the age of seventeen. After losing her parents, Jordan swore that she would never allow herself to fall in love, because loving someone and then losing them was too great a price to pay. She no longer believes in fairy tales or the happily-ever-afters, even after getting swept off her feet by the dashing Ethan, having an adorable three year old son named Max, and a successful career as a head chef at an exclusive Malibu restaurant. Each of the three times Ethan has departed for another tour in Afghanistan, she plummets into despair at his leaving her once again, it feels like the loss of her parents all over again, the fear of losing the one you love the most comes back, and this fourth time is no different, even though he promises that this will be his last tour. On the final day before Ethan departs, Jordan seeks out Lt. Brock Wainwright, Ethan's best friend and Navy SEAL/sniper partner. Jordan makes Brock promise that he will keep Ethan safe in Afghanistan and bring him home to her. Brock is conflicted by her request, but is willing to keep his promise. Can such a promise be kept?

When I See You is an emotionally charged and poignant love story that will tug at your heart strings, and make you feel the full gamut of emotions. Author Katherine Owen weaves a gut wrenching tale about two people who have a deep connection between them: both have suffered heartache after heartache, they have overcome traumatic obstacles, and have learned to survive and to love again.

Told in the first person narrative with alternating perspectives by Jordan Holloway and Brock Wainwright, the reader will find themselves caught up in Jordan and Brock's story. This is a riveting story full of raw emotion and endless plot twists, with attention to detail of Jordan and Brock's trials and tribulations, and rich descriptions of the settings (Malibu, Afghanistan, and Austin), it will make the reader feel like they are on the journey alongside Jordan and Brock. You can't help but get lost in this captivating story, the drama and reality of  the intertwining lives of Jordan and Brock takes you on a emotional roller coaster ride that will leave you completely spent.

This is a deeply moving story that delves into the reality of life full of drama, romance, heartaches, ups and downs that anyone can relate to, especially our military families. One word of advice, have a full box of tissues at hand, you're going to need them!

When I See You is a beautifully written tear jerker of a story, it is one that will resonate with you long after the last words have been read.



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! This was an awesome book, another one that pulled at my heart strings. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thanks for hosting me here, Kathleen, and for reading and reviewing "When I See You".

    Katherine Owen

    1. Hi Katherine! I loved your novel, you have a wonderful way of creating a story that makes the reader feel the full range of emotions. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event.