Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Platonic by Kate Paddington: Author Interview & Review

by Kate Paddington

Mark Savoy and Daniel O’Shea were high school sweethearts who had planned their forevers together. But when Mark goes to college in California rather than following Daniel to New York, he embarks on a decade-long search for independence, sexual confidence and love. 

When Mark lands a job in New York and crosses Daniel’s path, they slowly rebuild their fractured friendship through texts and emails. If they finally agree to see each other, will they be able to keep it platonic? Or will the spark of a long-lost love reignite just as Daniel accepts a job overseas? 

Platonic is a story of trials, growth, and knowing how to learn lessons from the past to build a future.
Author Interview
Carly: Today I'm welcoming Kate Paddington to the blog to talk about Platonic. This is your first published book; so I want to start by telling you congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in writing?

Kate: Thank you so much! I am very excited to have this book out there, it all feels a bit surreal because this was not part of my plan for this year but there you go: published novel! Even though I say actual publishing wasn’t a part of my plan, writing fiction definitely was and has been part of my plan ever since I was about ten. I wrote silly stories about my classmates and then graduated to fanfiction quickly when I realized I could play with the characters from my favorite TV shows and write them into any story I wanted. I was even more excited to see that other people would read them and help me get better at writing! That’s kind of been where I’ve been writing ever since—various fun romance stories for all sorts of TV shows, movies and books, whatever I’m enjoying at the time, as well as short stories and poetry just for me. That’s been my escape for a decade because by day I’ve focused pretty intensely on my studies, on travel, and on paying for those two things. Moreover, most of my study has been science (I’m just finishing up my PhD in biophysics!) so having romantic fiction on the side to level my brain out and to help cope with the craziness of academia has been fantastic. That’s how I got into writing: purely for fun. And then I just kind of stumbled into writing a novel and now here I am, very happy to have the opportunity.

Carly: First off; physics.... NOT my favorite courses in college, so I am in awe. :)  Now, back to the book! It sounds like storytelling is something that runs deep for you, and that's pretty awesome. Since you say you stumbled into writing this novel, where did the inspiration come from for this story?

Kate: Platonic is based on a work of fanfiction I wrote a couple of years ago that kind of spun off from a different fanfiction I wrote about a year before that. The whole story crystallized in my head because the canonical characters in the TV show hadn’t grown up enough and weren't loving each other the way I wanted them to; their relationship on screen eventually devolved into a cheating storyline and a break up. I was frustrated and wanted to write a love story where high school sweethearts broke up, grew up and really figured themselves out. And then came back together to try again, Ultimately I wanted a happy ending love story for two flawed, young individuals and to do that, with the original characters I came up with, I had to have them apart for almost a decade. As I developed it more and more, finally into the novel it is now, it became about looking at human flaws and how they define us, how we redefine them. I wanted a romance that was a long, slow burn for two individuals who were trying to get themselves right followed by the sudden ignition of them realizing they were ready and that being together was right. Wanting to see that happen made me write the story around the characters after I’d written the characters around the flaws. 

Carly: Wow, some of that is really deep. A lot of the scenes get emotionally intense, but you do a great job of interjecting all that with humor and friendship. I could easily talk about what my favorite scene is, and why, but I bet readers are more interested in hearing about yours!

Kate: My favourite scene in Platonic has to be the one that has stayed constant in since I first imagined the whole thing. For a book that spans a decade, the continental US and the Atlantic, there’s a scene in the middle that slows everything down and occurs in Mark’s little Brooklyn apartment. It’s the first time Mark and Daniel have come back together properly since breaking up in high school and there’s talk and food, a lot of decadence and a bit of awkwardness. Then something like fifty pages of sex, because it’s been a decade and they managed to keep it platonic for several whole hours and then they weren't sure what they were doing but by god they'd earned the sex. They stop for cheesecake half way through. It’s one long continuous scene in a book of short little happenings. It’s the guts of the story and their relationship and it’s my favourite. Though a last minute scene I added involving their mutual high school friend finding out they've slept together, her shock, outrage and glee: it makes me grin, so that’s a close second.

Carly: You're right, some of the pages in that scene are pretty darn hot! I want to thank you, Kate for stopping by to share with us a bit about how Mark and Daniel's story came to be! Kate also brought along a little excerpt to share from near the beginning of her favorite scene, so here go...


"Why did you ask me?” Daniel asks, genuinely curious.
“That’s unfair. I’ve been asking you all night why you came.”
Daniel holds his gaze. “You know that night in the bar, when I ran into you?” Mark tilts his head—he remembers. “You asked me to email you and your eyes were wide and pleading and there was no way I was going to be able to say no to you. I remember wondering if you used the same face on juries, to get your way in court. I guess what I’m saying is that I still don’t know how to say no to you. I still don’t know how anyone does.”
Time stops around them, stutters and then kicks back in when their eyes slip away from each other. Neither one of them knows what this is or what to do with it. Neither of them walked into this dinner tonight thinking “seduction” or “relationship” or “date” or anything like that. They were far too busy not thinking it.
“Did you want to say no?” Mark asks.
“Of course not. I wanted to come. Of course I did, Mark.” And then somehow they’re touching. Without giving it any conscious thought, Daniel has reached across the space between them and caught one of Mark’s hands in his.
The realization that they are touching comes slowly to Mark; his nerves feel sluggish, his brain has trouble processing the simplicity of the touch, just skin on skin, not intimate or unwelcome or leading to anything. But Daniel is touching him—and not briefly, not fleetingly, he’s holding on—and suddenly it all rushes back through Mark and he never, ever wants to let go.
Not ever. This is it. Daniel is it. He always was. 
“You broke my heart.”

My Review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mark heads to California after the demise of his highschool relationship with Daniel a young man with a broken heart. He experiences life, makes his share of mistakes, and a few good friends. Through it all, he is never quite able to let go of the love that burned in his heart for Daniel, his first love.

Daniel has spent the last decade in New York, reveling in the lifestyle of fashion and creating a name and business for himself. Though the memory of Mark remains, both the passion of first love, and hurt he suffered over the loss have faded with the passage of time.

When Mark and Daniel meet for the first time in ten years, both have become men who are strong, independent, and successful in their chosen fields. As the close friendship they once shared slowly begins to regrow, the thought of what might have been crosses their minds. Will taking a second chance on each other bring them the happily ever after dreamed of so long ago, or is history destined to repeat itself once again?

A heartwarming tale of youth and love, Platonic is well written and steadily paced, as it slowly unfurls into the full grown maturity of adulthood.  Platonic takes readers a passionate journey of self awareness and discovery. While it didn't blow me away, I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshingly real taste of life and love as we know it. The supporting cast of friends and family is especially entertaining. Platonic is an excellent first effort by Author Kate Paddington,and I hope to read more from her in the future!
View all my reviews
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Author Profile
Kate Paddington wrote her first work of fan fiction at age 12. Today, at age 26, she has degrees in philosophy and chemistry, and is currently completing a PhD in biophysics. A native of Australia, she has published numerous academic papers as part of her research. Platonic is her first novel. 

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  1. Hi Carly & Kate, thank you for an interesting & informative interview and a tempting extract from the book:) It's funny how many authors started writing fanfiction, as its such a good platform to practice & develop your writing skills.

    1. So many people seem to be developing their writing as fanfiction! And it's very lucky I did because I have gotten so, so much better over the years! Glad you liked the interview and excerpt. I hope you get to read the novel one day soon!

    2. I had fun interviewing Kate, so I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for stopping by Sula and good luck in the giveaway.

    3. Hi Carly, thanks for the good wishes, but the Rafflecopter does not seem to like me :( Although I never give up and still join in and maybe one day.... :) LOL

  2. I liked the excerpt best but the interview was good also

    1. The scene that excerpt is from really is one of my favorites in the entire novel! So glad you enjoyed it!

    2. I liked the excerpt best too. ;) Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Thanks so much for having me!

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! Nice excerpt and interview. I thought the cover were mountains until I saw it more closely, lol.