Pleased to meet you! I’m Kate Fellowes


Introduce yourself, please, Kate. Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?

Kate Fellowes is a pen name I’ve adopted fairly recently.  My real name, Jill Giencke, has always been difficult for people to spell or pronounce, for some reason.  Even friends I’ve known for ages and ages forget about that “c”!  One day on a walk, I brainstormed some pen names and came up with about a dozen possibilities.  I typed them all, to see how they’d look in print and kept coming back to the same one, this one.  I showed the list of names to my niece, Pamela, and asked her which one she liked.  (Of course I didn’t tell her which one I was leaning towards!) Wouldn’t you know, she picked the same one and Kate Fellowes was born.

2. Let’s get the details out of the way:  Single, married, divorced, widowed?

Happily married for nearly twenty five years.  We don’t have any children.  Our family has always consisted of companion animals, right now a dog and a couple of cats.

Living where?

We live near Milwaukee, a few blocks from Lake Michigan.

Doing what, other than writing?

I work in a public library.  That’s where I met my husband, in fact.

One—just one—physical characteristic:

I’ve worn glasses since the 2nd grade.

3. What’s your secret passion?

Well, if I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!  I’ll tell you what I love–animals, reading, old movies and all things British.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change.

I’m a sentimental sort and memories–from the past or the ones we are creating now–are really important to me.

5. If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why?

In my dream life, we’d live in a bucolic English village.  In my real life, I think I could be happy anywhere there’s a change of seasons.

6. Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?

I’ve frequently used familiar territory as a setting, but my new book, Thunder in the Night, takes place largely in Belize, somewhere I’ve never been, but would love to visit.

7. What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?

Mom used to say when my siblings and I were little, they’d be sprawled on the living room rug coloring and I’d be on the sofa, writing a story, so I guess I’ve always been at it.  I published my first poem when I was in the seventh grade and became a professional–the local paper paid me $5.00.

8. Why do you write romance novels?

I mix suspense with my romance, combining one mystery with the other–the mystery of love.  Romances push so many buttons–there’s the thrill of attraction, the wonder of discovery and the joy of a happy ending–this writer’s dream!

9. What else do you write?

I write essays and have published them in a half a dozen different places, including Chicken Soup for the Soul : Here Comes the Bride, just released in May, 2012. I also write short stories–both mysteries and romances.  I’ve published those a few places, too.  Most recently in Woman’s World Magazine in April, 2012.  I’ll have a short story in a Sisters in Crime anthology soon, too.

10. What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?

I’ve walked through zoos that were really depressing.  Where the animals had inadequate space and unnatural conditions.  Like Allison, I’ve put my hand on the glass between us and thought how alike we are.  Then, like Edward VIII, I’ve thought, “Something must be done!”  In Thunder in the Night, Mart is a real hero–he’s planning to do it!

11. What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?

I cut out the character of Allison’s ex-husband.  He added a lot in the way of backstory and was an additional complication to Allison’s current situation, too.  But word count requirements meant there was no room for him, so off he went!

12. Do you identify closely with one particular character? How?

I like to think I share Allison’s curiosity and enthusiasm.  And Mart’s sense of purpose, too.

13. The best part about my writing life is:

Creating something from nothing.  Getting an idea, shaping it into a story, creating people as real as me and you.  When I sit down to write, I always have a sense of anticipation and excitement because I know when I’m done for the day my empty page will be filled by people, places and events that didn’t exist a few hours earlier.

14. The worst part about my writing life is:

Having to squeeze it in at the end of the day.

15. Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.

I’m half through with a mystery and hope to have that complete and polished by the end of the year.  Then, I’ll begin a romance based on an idea that popped into my head fully formed not long ago.  Being so different from one another, both projects are exciting to me.  That’s the joy of writing for me—well, one of them, anyway.  The choices, the variety, and the challenge of something new.  Watch this space!



  1. Thanks for a “glimpse” into your life, Kate/Jill. I love animals, too, and I identify with your concerns. My husband and I have furry “kids,” also – the best kind. I look forward to reading THUNDER IN THE NIGHT.

  2. Hi, Kate! Animals and babies…get me every time. 🙂

  3. I agree with you on squeezing writing into each day. If only we didn’t need day jobs (or to eat, or sleep). Oh, and love how you came about your pen name, and it really is an awesome name!

  4. Married for 25 years! That’s happily ever after. No wonder you write romance 🙂

  5. I agree it’s tough having a job which interferes with writing. I own my own business so if it’s slow, I write. It’s a double edged sword. I need to be busy to pay the bills and eat, but I enjoy having the time to write. I think maybe I should go check my lottery ticket. Wish me luck!

  6. I thought I was the only nerdy little second grade girl in glasses! Do you still wear just the glasses? Or have you moved to contacts? I’ve been ‘blind’ all my life and take it for granted now, but my 20/20 hub recently had to get glasses. I’ve had fun watching him freak if they steam up, etc. He is not amused – lol.

    Nice to meet you Kate!

    • I still wear my glasses, but can pop in the contacts for special occasions. The idea of Lasix treatment is intriguing, but I think I’ll just keep the specs!

  7. So nice to learn more about you, Kate! I’m a softie for animals too, and especially want a few of those dogs on the humane society commercial. We have dogs and chickens. Occassionally pigs. The best part is watching my grandkids run wild when they come out. Memories, you bet! The best kind.
    Best wishes!

  8. I love your pen name. Much success with all your books.

  9. I just got glasses because I can’t read the signs on the roads – although I need nothing for close up work.

    Love your pen name. Looking forward to reading your books.

  10. Nice to learn more about you. Love it that you came up with your name while you were walking. I often solve writing problems that way. I think it’s all the blood going to the brain!

  11. Enjoyed your post. I adore mysteries, so your book sounds like one I’d enjoy. Congratulations and best of luck!

  12. To my favorite female writer and good friend.
    Loved the blog Kate.
    Keep the words coming…

  13. Very nice meeting you, Kate. Glasses in 2nd grade? Wished I’d known you then. I started wearing glasses at 3 yrs old. Yuck.

  14. Great to learn more about you, Kate! It is hard to squeeze writing time in, but totally worth it once the finished product is complete. All the best!

  15. Thanks, Tipa! 🙂

  16. Nice to meet you, Kate! I know what you mean about squeezing your writing in. I make mine fit into every spare moment of my day, too. Because of that, when I sit down at my laptop to write, I have to reread the last part to remember where I left off, or to make sure my thoughts are flowing from one section to the next. It can make it feel like I’m spending more time rereading everything than actually writing something new and that can be frustrating. Sort of a two steps forward, three steps back kind of thing.

    I find it interesting that many of the Crimson writers have been married for a number of years. I guess when you have a good relationship, you want to share it with others and this is a way we have found to do just that. Good luck in your future writing endeavors and here’s wishing you a huge slab of uninterrupted writing time in the near future.

  17. Great getting to know more about you. I too, got glasses in second grade. I had measles at the time, so had to stay home, just wanted to read and couldn’t until my glasses arrived!! Bad timing, something I’ve always struggled with, so found your thoughts on making writing time happen good advice. Thanks.

  18. Glad to meet you from another glasses wearing fellow author.

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