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I Got the Call: Meet New Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense Author Kate Angelo

Kate Angelo is an author, minister, and public speaker from Southwest Missouri and when not writing, she works alongside her husband strengthening and encouraging marriages and families. As the mother of five mostly grown children, she is fluent in both sarcasm and eye rolls—subjects she never intentionally taught while homeschooling her kids. She is a tech enthusiast, coffee lover, productivity guru, accomplished knitter, avid boater, prayer warrior, and known klutz. With her chihuahua taking up half of her desk space, she writes suspenseful stories of imperfect people discovering the best and worst of themselves in high stakes situations.

Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!

Kate Angelo: I’m what you’d call an extrovert, which basically means I’ll strike up a conversation complete strangers and fire off questions to help me learn the essence of who I’m meeting. It’s terrific research for novels, and you’ll be surprised what people tell you if you take the time to ask.

I’m originally from South Houston, Texas, but moved to a tiny rural town in Missouri during high school. Due to some book-worthy tragic events, I ended up in foster care. Because of my background I’d convinced myself all the things I could never do, but after becoming a Christian I realized all the things I CAN do, including help others. It’s one of the reasons my husband and I started our nonprofit to help marriage and parenting relationships.

H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?

KA: I wanted to become a romantic suspense author because I love showing how two imperfect people can find hope and healing in the face of difficult obstacles. When two people are under extreme stress, that’s when their true character shows. We can see the best and worst of people who are under pressure and come along as they navigate the internal and external conflict keeping them from their true calling. As it says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (NLT)

H: What were the big steps in your journey to becoming a published author?

KA: My journey to becoming a published author started as a kid who fell in love with reading after stealing my teenage sister’s Stephen King thriller. I discovered a love of high-stakes suspense stories that made me care deeply about fictional characters and whether they’d live or die. I devoured books from thriller writers until my aunt saw what I was reading and gave me her childhood collection of Nancy Drew books. Again, I devoured them, but those mystery stories lacked the deep emotional connection I craved, so I turned to the classics—Jane Eyre being one of my favorites!

Years later when I told my husband I felt God calling me to write, he suggested we co-author a book about our past and how we healed from the traumatic events in our lives. My first published book, Forsaken, is a non-fiction book we wrote as a companion to our speaking events.

Finishing the book didn’t satiate the call to write as I thought it would, it only ignited that desire. Except I wanted to write a clean romantic suspense that not only thrills but connects the reader to the characters. So having read authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and James Patterson, I knew I’d really have to study the craft to even get remotely close to writing a good story. I decided to read and study around 100 books a year, every year for the past five years. THEN and only then, I felt ready to write my own book in 2019.

In 2020 my critique partners encouraged me audition to write a novel set in Lynette Eason’s story world of the Elite Guardians for Sunrise Publishing’s new publishing model designed to launch an author’s career by pairing a new author with an established, best-selling author who would mentor them through the process. In 2020 I was selected as the first author in the new Elite Guardians collection and worked with Lynette Eason, Susan May Warren, and Lindsay Harrel to brainstorm and plot my novel. Lynette reviewed my work as I went and corrected my craft mistakes. After I turned in my full manuscript, Lynette and Susie gave their feedback and from there we went through a traditional editing process. I’ll say that working with Lynette and Susie has been invaluable. Their knowledge and expertise shaped me faster than I could have done on my own. My debut novel, Driving Force, released in March 2022, and I’ve since signed two more contracts with Sunrise Publishing.

While waiting for my revisions to come back, I started another specifically for The Great Love Inspired Author Search and entered! I’m beyond excited to have my book purchased and I pray I can continue to write for the Love Inspired Suspense line!

H: What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

KA: Aspiring writers can find an infinite amount of advice about the craft of writing online, through constant reading, and by speaking to other authors. But my advice to anyone who wants to be an author is to learn the art of self-discipline. If you can’t discipline yourself, all the knowledge and talent in the world won’t help you finish a novel.

H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?

KA: I got the call from Harlequin pretty early in the morning. So, the first thing I did was sprint upstairs and take a flying leap into our bed. My poor husband woke up mid-air to me shouting, “Guess what! Guess what! Guess what!” I explained how thrilled I am to have Emily Rodmell, the same editor as Lynette Eason and Lisa Phillips, two amazing authors who have been wonderful mentors to me! He was quick to congratulate me and say we’d be going mattress shopping later. I danced my way back to my office so he could go back to sleep.

I began sending, “Hey are you awake” gifs to Lisa Phillips, who not only writes for Love Inspired Suspense, but who encouraged me to submit to The Great Love Inspired Author Search. Later, I had a wonderful conversation with Emily and tried to play it cool while she walked me through the process, answered all my questions, and made me feel so welcomed. I’m so blessed to not only write for Love Inspired Suspense, but to have a great editor like Emily.

Now let’s hear from the editor, Emily Rodmell:

When I saw Kate’s submission in The Great Love Inspired Author Search, it really stood out as one of my early favorites. Her story was chock full of hooks that Love Inspired Suspense readers love (witness to murder, amnesia, law enforcement hero, mistaken identity) and started out with exciting danger. It was a bonus to find out that she’s been mentored by some of my current authors as I knew she’d be on the right track with their expert guidance. I’m so happy to have Kate as a part of the Love Inspired family and can’t wait to share her story with you.