Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with 'Butterfly' Author Kathryn Harvey

I was very fortunate to be able to interview New York Times bestselling Author Kathryn Harvey (author of the book I reviewed below, Butterfly.)  Kathryn Harvey is actually the Pen Name for author Barbara Wood, who has written 27 novels.  Enjoy!

Kathryn Harvey aka Barbara Wood

Q. What inspired you to write Butterfly?

Kathryn Harvey: The idea for my book came from a board game friends and I had invented for our personal amusement. We designed a board with squares, we had little movers, we rolled dice and we drew cards. The game was about women’s sexual fantasies, and we each contributed fantasies on the cards, plus “men.”(mostly in the form of movie stars). Some of the fantasies were basic, but most were elaborate and sounded like romance novels.  One evening in the middle of a game, one of my friends said, “How come men have such easy access to sex? They can buy it whenever they want. But what’s out there for women?” Another player said, “Wow, a really neat bordello for women.” And I added, “I’d be there in a flash.” Mind you, we were all happily married and just speculating. But the idea had been planted. 

Q. Do you have a favorite scene or character in Butterfly?

Kathryn Harvey: I love the scenes set in the bordello. Butterfly is about costumes, characters, storylines – the patrons of the private establishment can request elaborate fantasies, or simple sexual encounters – in other words, Butterfly catered to every taste. For the most part, women aren’t as basic as men when it comes to sex. We tend to like interesting settings and men who are more characters than just men (e.g. a swashbuckling pirate or a dusty cowboy). In other words, exotic sexual encounters that we would never encounter in our daily lives. Something to transport us to another world.

Q. What aspect of the story, Butterfly, did you find most challenging to write?

Kathryn Harvey: The scenes inside the bordello. Having never been to one I had to really use my imagination!

Q. While writing Butterfly, did you take anything from real life?

Kathryn Harvey: My travels in Texas and drawing from the lives and experiences of Texan friends.

Q. Did you always know there would be a sequel, Stars, to Butterfly?  

Kathryn Harvey: The idea for a sequel came after it was published. There already is a third book, Private Entrance, and I have just finished the fourth Kathryn Harvey book, as yet untitled.

Q. How do you conduct research when writing your novels?

Kathryn Harvey: I always travel to the area where the book is taking place (research for twenty-seven novels has taken me all over the world). I interview people. I also do research in books, magazines, newspapers and, these days, on the Internet.

Q. How do you write?  Do you have a set routine each day? A word or page goal?

Kathryn Harvey: I write every day. No goals. I just seem to know when I am done for the day.

Q. Why use a Pen Name after writing under Barbara Wood?  How did you come up with Kathryn Harvey?

Kathryn Harvey: Women cannot write erotica and own up to it. There is a double-standard, even in this day and age. Consider Fifty Shades of Grey.  The author uses her initials. Anne Rice’s very explicit erotic stories were written under a pen name. And I found it was necessary that I, too, use a pen name as my editor was afraid the book would “shock” Barbara Wood readers. The name Kathryn Harvey, by the way comes from two people: my editor, Kathryn, and my agent, Harvey. I figured if the book was too dirty to put my own name on it, then I was putting theirs on it!

Q. I see you have written more than 20 books with more in the works.  Do you have a novel that sticks out as you favorite or that you feel closest to?

Kathryn Harvey: I have written twenty-seven novels and I always consider the one I am working on as my favorite. It certainly is the one that I feel closest to as I am creating the characters and their world, immersed in their stories. The previous books are finished and “out there.” Kind of like sending a kid off to college.

Q. Share something about yourself or your writing that you haven't told fans?

Kathryn Harvey: I don’t think my readers know that I have taken up golf. I used to think golf was as exciting as watching paint dry. Now I’m fanatical about the game.

Q. What types of genres do you like to read?

Kathryn Harvey: I love historical and sci-fi.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Kathryn Harvey: Travel, needlepoint, reading, and of course, playing golf.

Q. If you could invite 3 people, living or dead, to dinner who would they be?

Kathryn Harvey: One would be Queen Nefertiti. I would ask her to tell me the truth about her husband and the real origins of monotheism. I believe Moses and Old Testament stories are rooted in ancient Egypt.  Bring Nefertiti to life and the Bible will be illuminated. The second would be Albert Einstein.  I suppose everyone chooses him. I think he was searching for God in his equations. I want to ask him if this is true.  I wouldn’t invite a third person. These two are all I could handle.

Q. Any advice for inspiring authors?

Kathryn Harvey: Just do it. One page at a time. I always ask, “Can you write a page today? That’s all, just one page?” If they say yes, then I say, Do that every day for a year and at the end of it you will have a novel. I also tell new writers to stop going to creative writing classes, don’t go to workshops or seminars, stop trying to find the rules of writing because there are none. Just sit down and put words to paper. Let your thoughts flow. Set your creativity free and you will be amazed at what happens.

Check out Kathyrn Harvey's Butterfly Trilogy



  1. Great interview with Kathryn Harvey, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks so much! It was great to do!