Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Other Wife by Author Kathleen Irene Paterka!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Kathleen Irene!

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been scribbling stories since the day I learned how to hold a pencil and create words using the alphabet.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

My ‘day job’ is as staff writer at a real American castle. A beautiful historic site built in 1918, the castle is open for tours, plus hosts numerous weddings. I write for a living, plus I’m surrounded by royalty and romance. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss is the first book I remember from my childhood. That book, more than anything, inspired me to want to work with words. Though I briefly toyed with the notion of being a librarian or an English teacher, I knew what I really wanted to do was dream my life away by telling the stories inside me.

Please give a brief description/storyline about The Other Wife.

Will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge? Eleanor and Claire, two women from two different generations, share a challenge as their lives are forever altered by a single event — their husband Richard’s death. Eleanor was married to Richard for 38 years, while his ‘marriage’ to Claire was brief (4 years)… yet neither woman know of the other’s existence until Richard’s death, which happens on the first page. How does each of them cope when they learn the truth? And what happens when they eventually come together? How does each woman deal with ‘The Other Wife’?

What was the inspiration for this story?

Several years ago, my husband Steve was in the cardiac unit of our local hospital. It was about 5 am, and I was sitting at the end of his bed in the semi-darkness when suddenly Steve made a strange sound. At the time, I thought it was the oddest snore I’d ever heard. Turns out it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. Steve had just died. Since he was in the hospital, all the monitors tripped. They called a Code Blue and the medical team managed to resuscitate him. Steve has since had a triple by-pass and doing well. But that experience started me thinking: What if he’d been at home, asleep in our bed? Would I have thought that horrible sound was merely a loud snore? I probably would have poked him, rolled over in bed, and gone back to sleep… only to wake up the next morning and find him dead beside me. The memory of Steve’s hospital experience sparked my imagination. What happens in a woman’s life when her husband dies? And what if she discovers he’s been hiding a secret… a horrible secret that will change her life forever?

How did it feel to have your first book published?

The Other Wife is my sixth published novel. I’m just as proud to see it sitting in book stores and on a shelf in our public library as I was to see my first novel, Fatty Patty, published.

Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write women’s fiction, which differs from other ‘women’s genres’ (such as romance, chick lit, etc.) in the respect that it is about the emotional journey of the hero/heroine in dealing with a particular issue in their life. There may / may not be romance contained within the plot. In The Other Wife, the issue is specifically how each woman copes with the death of a man she thought was her husband, and how she handles his betrayal.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I love reading and writing women’s fiction, specifically because it deals with emotions. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, and a brilliant writer. If you haven’t tried her works, her novel Change of Heart is an excellent place to begin. I also love anything written by Jennifer Weiner. She has a smart, sassy style. Her latest novel, All Fall Down, is a fantastic read.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I’m a very structured writer, and tend to work best in my home office. Unlike other authors who can write anywhere (J.K. Rowling wrote reams of Harry Potter materials while riding on the train and sitting in coffee shops), I crave the peace and quiet that surrounds me when I’m at my computer.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

My husband loves to brainstorm with me, and I bounce lots of ideas off him. Together we came up with the idea for a series centered in a small Northern Michigan fictional town named James Bay. Four of my novels are set in James Bay. Royal Secrets and The Other Wife are both stand-alone titles of women’s fiction. My next book is about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular eating establishment in James Bay.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

Like most writers, if inspiration strikes, I immediately scribble things down before the thought or characters’ conversations dissolve in some foggy mist. Normally, however, I write every day. I’m up early, at 5 am, and at my computer by 6:30. I have a little timer which I set for two hours. Then I open up my WIP, and I’m quickly lost in a beautiful daydream that unfolds before me on the computer screen. Thank God for that little timer. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably have been fired from my day job at the castle long ago.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

I love writing about interpersonal relationships and the struggles of everyday people and their lives (ex: Patty and her overweight hero, Sam, in Fatty Patty). In dealing with social media, it can be a challenge to resist the advice coming at me from so many different channels. “Write in 3rd person… don’t write in 3rd person… add lots of details… streamline the story and don’t add too many details… throw in lots of sex scenes (which I’m not comfortable with)…” The list goes on and on. The best thing to do is sit back and allow the characters to be in control of the story.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

Like most authors, I love escaping by reading a good book. I also swim laps on a regular basis, and I really enjoy going to the movies.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

“Don’t give up.” A good friend of mine who is a NYT bestselling author advised years ago: “Work hard, work smart, work tirelessly. Be tough, be brave, and be persistent. All clich├ęs, yes. But when they apply to you and how much you want to realize your dream, they are very apt.” She autographed her email to me, which I have framed and hanging above my computer. I’ve often looked at it throughout the years, and her words have served me well.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

There’s nothing as delicious as the feeling of typing ‘The End’ and knowing 1) I finished writing a book; 2) I’m satisfied with how everything turned out; and 3) I’ve done my job as an author. Bonus? When readers contact me to let me know how much they enjoyed the book, or how something within the pages changed their perspective on life. The feeling is immensely satisfying.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I like the conversations that evolve on Facebook. I also have a newsletter which comes out on a regular basis (usually every three months or so). Bonus for subscribers: I hold a monthly free book contest. Sign up for my newsletter, and you’re automatically entered in a monthly drawing to win a free print copy of any of my books.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

Writing a book is rather like baking a cake. Some of the ingredients (flour and sugar) are necessary items (real life events that spark my imagination, such as my husband Steve and his ‘death rattle’ – see #5 above). Other ingredients (butter, salt, and flavoring) are going to come from the characters themselves. When you stir them all together and bake in a 350° oven for however long it takes, you have a story.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

Author Julie Campbell began the popular Trixie Belden series, which I first started reading when I was 8 yrs. old. I was always excited when a new book came out, and very disappointed when the series ended. I wanted to grow up and continue writing books so fans of Trixie Belden would have another book to read. As an adult, the works of Jodi Picoult, Jane Porter, and Jennifer Weiner have been a huge influence on my writing style.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

If, at the end of the day, you’ve put words on the page that ring true in your heart; if you’ve finished a scene or chapter that has been giving you fits; if you’ve finally completed a book and know the writing is the best you could have done, then you are a success. You’ve done your job as an author. It’s as simple as that.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

As I mentioned in #10 above, I’m currently working on the 5th book in my James Bay series. It’s about Chuck’s Tavern & Grill, a popular restaurant in James Bay. Chuck owns the restaurant and his daughter Katie manages it. The story is told through Katie’s point of view. Chapter One starts out with a simmering stew of a story that quickly escalates into a furious rolling boil when a mysterious young woman shows up at Chuck’s and takes a seat at the bar. Who’s the stranger? What’s she doing in James Bay? And why is she so fascinated with Chuck? Katie’s radar is on high alert. She’s very protective of her dad, and she doesn’t appreciate strangers trying to worm their way into his affections. It should be a delicious read, especially since each chapter will feature a favorite recipe from Chuck’s menu.

Kathleen Irene, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and giving us a glimpse into your life and writing career.

About The Author

Kathleen Irene Paterka is an Amazon Bestselling Author of smart women’s fiction. Her newest novel, The Other Wife, was published in February to critical acclaim. Kathleen’s popular James Bay series, set in Northern Michigan, includes: Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned. Love weddings? Pick up a copy of her novel Royal Secrets for a fascinating glimpse into the world of royalty, romance and brides. Kathleen is the resident staff writer for a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book For the Love of a Castle. Kathleen and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where she is busy working on her next James Bay novel.

Author Website

Book Review

The Other Wife by Kathleen Irene Paterka
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 25, 2015
Format: Paperback - 386 pages
               Kindle - 554 KB
               Nook - 857 KB
ISBN: 978-0989283830
BNID: 2940150127524
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy The Book: 

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:

Till death do us part…

Eleanor Anderson has a beautiful home, a loving husband, a tranquil life. After thirty-eight years of marriage and her children now grown, she finally has time for herself. She’s not expecting any surprises; certainly not to wake up one morning and find her husband dead in bed beside her from a massive heart attack. It’s a devastating discovery… but not as much as the shock awaiting Eleanor when she learns the truth about her husband’s secret life. And then there’s the damaging document he signed before his death, which threatens to destroy her life.

Claire Anderson isn’t your average thirtysomething. A professor of psychology at a prestigious university, Claire has a successful career, a handsome husband, and two young children at home. But nothing in her background, including her academic accomplishments, prepares Claire for the horrendous reality of discovering that the life she’d led was all a lie… fostered by a husband who’d promised to love and cherish her forever.

Two women from two generations, bound together by denial, anger, and grief. How far will their misery and fear push them? Does compassion rule the day, or will a husband’s betrayal lead to a woman’s revenge?

What happens when each of these women comes face-to-face with the other wife?

Book Excerpt:

Eleanor closed her eyes, blocking out the ugly sight of sibling rivalry. She couldn’t believe she was sitting there listening to her children squabble over their father’s money. Their money. Her money.

“He didn’t leave it to any of you,” Jim admitted. “I haven’t contacted the primary beneficiary yet.”

“Wait a minute. Let me get this straight.” Jeffrey tiredly rubbed his forehead. “You’re telling us that Dad left his money to someone else? Not to Mom, not to either of us, but to someone else? And that he has no idea he’s inherited millions?”

She has no idea.”

She? Eleanor shivered, uncertain whether she’d heard Jim correctly. She shook her head as if by doing so she could dislodge the words rattling around in her brain like loose pennies that somehow had ended up in the bottom of her purse. She? She was certain there must be some mistake. Richard never would have left his money to another woman.

Would he?

“Let’s stop the bullshit,” Jeffrey said. “We’re his family, Jim, and we have a right to know. You said you could release the name to Dad’s personal rep? Well, you’re looking at him. And I’m telling you right now, in my legal capacity as his personal representative: I want to know. I demand to know.”

Genevieve’s eyes narrowed. “Me too.”

“Eleanor?” Jim’s voice was a soothing stream of quiet concern. “Are you all right?”

What a stupid question, she thought to herself as she pulled her sweater tighter around herself. Of course she wasn’t all right. She’d had the oddest feeling when she’d woken that morning that today wouldn’t be a good day. Jim’s revelation was all the confirmation she needed to officially pound the last nail in the casket. Richard’s casket, so to speak. And now, if it wasn’t too much to ask, all she wanted was to be allowed to crawl back into bed, burrow down in the blankets, pull the covers over her head, and go to sleep. And maybe, when she woke up, she would discover all this had simply been a horrible nightmare. Richard would come strolling in the door, as he had countless times in the past, returning from yet another extended trip to the Middle East, his rolling suitcase filled with dirty socks and underwear, and a world-weary look about him. And after planting a kiss on her forehead, he would head upstairs where he would collapse in their bed, once sleeping for nearly sixteen hours straight, before he finally woke. Yes, that would be the way of it. She’d go upstairs and sleep off this nightmare. And when she was awake again, this ghastly business would have drifted away, leaving only mists of misery as a remembrance.

“Mom? Are you okay?”

Eleanor couldn’t remember hearing Jeffrey’s voice sound so distraught save for the day he’d returned from Hawaii, the day after Richard’s death. He’d broken down when he saw her, collapsing in her arms and crying unabashedly like he’d done as a little boy. She’d done the comforting when he was small, and she’d been the one to provide the comfort last week too, never questioning whether he’d been grieving over the loss of a father to whom he’d never been close or the lost opportunity to put things right between them. It hadn’t mattered then, and it didn’t matter now. Somehow she managed to summon the willpower to open her eyes and discovered the three of them staring at her.

“I’m fine.” Eleanor pulled in a deep breath. Much as she didn’t want to hear Jim’s news, she knew in her heart that she didn’t have a choice. “Jeffrey’s right. We need to hear the truth.”

Jim’s face was a cacophony of ethical concern versus friendship, and for a moment, she wondered if he would respect Jeffrey’s command and abide by her wishes. But thirty-plus years of friendship with their family finally won out.

“He left the money to a woman named Claire Anderson,” Jim finally admitted.

Claire Anderson? Eleanor frowned. The first name meant nothing to her, but the last name certainly did. It was the same name listed on her own driver’s license. She’d been Eleanor Anderson since she and Richard had exchanged wedding vows at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago thirty-eight years ago last month.

Claire Anderson. She couldn’t recall ever hearing Richard mention that particular name. He’d been an only child, so she couldn’t be a niece. A long-lost relative? A distant cousin? But if that was the case, surely he would have told her. Wouldn’t he? After all, she was his wife.

Correction, Eleanor reminded herself dully. She had been his wife. She was the one he should have turned to. All those years they were married. You’d think he would have told her something as important as this. She hung her head, hugging herself close, trying to remember the last time Richard had held her close.

On second thought, maybe he wouldn’t have told her.

On third thought, obviously he hadn’t told her.

“Claire Anderson?” Jeffrey’s voice cracked through the black void, trapping her like a clap of thunder. “Who the hell is Claire Anderson?”

“Yes. Who is Claire Anderson?” Eleanor echoed to no one in particular. Though, if Richard happened to be listening from beyond the grave, she would appreciate him providing some answers. She rubbed her forehead, sifting through the memories of those who’d crowded the funeral home, who’d followed them to the cemetery, who’d paid their respects at the house afterward. So many people, so many faces. The crush was overwhelming, yet she couldn’t remember seeing anyone she hadn’t known.

No woman she didn’t know.

“I’ve never met her.” Jim shifted in his chair, his face impassive. “I’ll be able to tell you more once I speak with her. She lives in Hyde Park. From what I understand, she’s a professor at the University of Chicago.”

“Why would Daddy leave his money to some dull old professor?” Genevieve’s bottom lip jutted out in a pretty pout, a trick Eleanor recalled her daughter perfecting as a toddler. “Who is she? What’s her connection to Daddy?”

“I don’t know,” Jim admitted.

She rolled her eyes and turned to her mother. “Do you know her?”

Eleanor shook her head. She couldn’t imagine what Richard had been thinking. Why would he change his insurance policy? They were his family. She was his wife. “No.”

“This is ridiculous,” Genevieve fumed. “I can’t believe no one knows her.”

“Obviously, Dad did,” Jeffrey muttered.

Genevieve slumped back in her chair, her arms forming a barricade across her chest. “Someone had better figure out who she is. I have plenty of questions for her.”

Eleanor stared wordlessly at her daughter. For once, the two of them were in complete agreement. Meanwhile, she had a few questions of her own.

Beginning with who exactly was Claire Anderson, and what kind of hold did she have on Richard?

My Book Review:

The Other Wife is a compelling and emotional story that follows two women whose world is turned upside down when they find out that they have been betrayed by the same man, their husband!

Author Kathleen Irene Paterka weaves an intriguing story told in the alternating point of view of Eleanor Anderson and Claire Anderson, as they deal with the loss of their husband Richard, and how they find out about each other and deal with their loss, betrayal, and the difficulties of moving forward with their lives after the trauma caused by the man that they both loved.

I found myself captivated by this story, it took me on a roller coaster ride where I felt the full gamut of emotions. You just can't help but feel compassion and empathy for both women as their worlds are turned upside down by the traumatic betrayal and selfish actions of a man that they had put their love and trust in. This is a beautifully written story that would be any married woman's nightmare, I couldn't even imagine what I would do if I was in Eleanor or Claire's shoes.

The author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story from the beginning, she weaves a thoughtful storyline that easily draws the reader into the womens' lives. It will keep you engaged and turning the pages as both women go through the process of learning about each other, the selfish actions that Richard wrought upon their families, and the internal struggle of picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward.

The Other Wife is a powerful women's fiction story of loss, betrayal, compassion, forgiveness, and growth. It is a thought provoking and emotional tale that will stay with you long after the last word has been read.


Contest Giveaway

Win An eBook Copy Of
Lotto Lucy

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

April 20- Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 21 - TwoChildren and a Migraine – Review
April 22 - Chick LitGoddess – Q&A
April 22 - Sandy/Amazon Reviewer - Review
April 23 - NovelEscapes – Q&A
April 24 - Jess’s Book Blog - Review & Excerpt
April 24 - FictionZeal – Excerpt
April 24 - Authorsand Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
April 27 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
April 27 - Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock – Review


  1. Kathleen, from one Kathleen to another, THANK YOU so much for hosting me on the CLP Blog tour, and your lovely review of my novel THE OTHER WIFE. I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel. Claire and Eleanor thank you as well. Their story deserved to be told, and I'm glad that Richard is ten-feet-underground.

    1. Hi Kathleen! I loved, loved, loved this book! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour. :)