LB’s Writer to Watch for Summer 2013 is the hugely talented MK Ducote.
MK is absolutely lovely, a really great author to work with, her enthusiasm and charm are in abundance and she is extremely talented. Before becoming an author MK trained as a lawyer and has worked and travelled the globe. She now works as a full time writer and is wife of racing driver Chapman Ducote.
Being the least competitive and sporty person I know, I was surprised at how hooked I was instantly with Kristin MK Ducote’s debut novel Naked Paddock.
When I first agreed to review Naked Paddock I was a little wary, as I say, being extremely uneducated on sport of any kind and more interested in art and literature, I did wonder if this book could offer me anything, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Like most women, I am an absolute fiend for scandal and Naked Paddock has that by the bucket load. You are instantly thrown into a fast paced, high maintenance, fabulously decadent lifestyle of car racing and it isn’t just on the track that the scandal and drama develops, it is behind the scenes as well – between the racing “WAG’s” – if you liked Footballers Wives, then you’ll love this. It’s a real guilty pleasure!
The novel is well written and has some brilliant plot hooks. Gangsters, bribery, affairs and supermodels! Without giving too much away, the cliff-hanger ending made me scream at the last page – it can’t end here!? And I found myself eagerly anticipating the second instalment.
With another two books in the series scheduled for publication this is going to be a popular trilogy and great holiday reads for bitches who love scandal, juicy gossip and no doubt their boyfriends and husbands who will be drawn to the rarely seen real lives of motorsports.
Find out more about Naked Paddock here www.nakedpaddock.com
Buy your copy below:-
LB Interviews Author MK Ducote
LB: First of all MK, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me today, it’s a pleasure to get to know you. We are here to discuss your first novel, Naked Paddock and what it means to you to be a writer. So how long have you been writing and how did you get started?
MK: For as long as I can remember! Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved escaping into fiction. The first written stories I can find of mine are from when I was about six. They’re all about girls who want a horse but live in the city and find creative ways to make it work, like putting a paddock on the roof of their apartment building! Through my high school years, I compiled an anthology of my poems and was obsessed with Sylvia Plath’s poetry. In college I studied creative writing, and while living in Japan, several of my short stories were translated into Japanese and published in the glossy pages of a magazine.
Although I had written all my life, no single idea was able to captivate my attention for more than a poem or short story. When I began traveling to races with my husband, Chapman Ducote, and saw the unending gossip and glamour of international motorsports that changed. I knew I’d found a concept and a world of characters that would captivate me not only for a novel, but a whole series.
LB: Have you always written fiction? Do you plan to branch out into other areas of writing?
MK: Yes, for me, it has always been and will always be fiction. I love reading it, writing it and it even makes me happy just to look at stacks of it lying around my house.
LB: Same here! Who and what are your greatest inspirations?
MK: My initial inspiration to become an author came from my mom. She’s a great storyteller, and when I was little, we used to make up stories to entertain each other. I think it was that foray into imagination that got me hooked on creating my own adventures and bringing my own quirky characters to life. Every traffic jam, road trip or waiting room in my childhood was an excuse for us to make up a story.
My inspiration to write a racing novel, however, came from my husband. When I first met Chapman, I knew nothing about racing. As I was thrown into the world of motorsports and started traveling to races with him, I was shocked. Fistfights, love affairs, espionage, lawsuits—the drama behind-the-scenes in the racing world is outrageous! That’s when I realized I had an opportunity to open a new world to my readers’ eyes and show them what really goes on behind-the-scenes in the world of car racing.
LB: What is your favourite book? And why?
MK: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! J My top ten are all completely different books: from Ovid’s Metamorphosis to Pride and Predjudice to The Sun Also Rises to Love in the Time of Cholera. My favourite? If pushed, I’d have to say War and Peace. With a broad brushstroke, Tolstoy is as able to convey the rise and fall of civilizations, as he is to slip with easy grace into the minutia of simple, telling conversations. I’m always surprised and entertained by War and Peace, no matter how many times I read it.
LB: What book are you reading right now?
MK: This summer I’ve been on a kick to read (or re-read) books about Paris in the ‘20s, such as Hemingway’s Moveable Feast, Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night and Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, and New York in the ‘50s, such as J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffanys and Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. I’m fascinated by those two decades in those two cities in particular, and it has been an interesting project to gather different viewpoints on those times and places in history all at once.
LB: Fabulous choices, a girl after my own heart! From your biography I can see that you have travelled extensively, what is your favourite place/country/city in the world and why?
MK: That’s another tough one. I’ve learned such different things from different places that it’s hard to choose just one favourite. Getting lost on purpose in the Tokyo subway without knowing a word of Japanese, feeling optimism snap in the air at a justice reform conference in Lima, watching the hammer fall at a Sotheby’s auction in Sydney’s famous harbour, I have lots of favourite travel memories. Of all the places, however, I’d have to say my favourite is Cape Town, South Africa. The weather is great, the people are complicated but friendly and the natural beauty of Cape Town is staggering.
LB: Naked Paddock throws the reader into the crazy world of racing, being married to a racecar driver, are any of the events in the book autobiographical?
MK: Yes. Although Naked Paddock is fiction, it’s quite close to home. I drew many plot lines and character sketches from real life at the track. However, as the book developed, it was interesting to watch the characters in Naked Paddock evolve into their own, unique identities, quite different from their real counterparts. As for the rest of the novel, all of the racing, travel and track details and even restaurant scenes are true to life. Check out the Naked Paddock trailer at www.nakedpaddock.com to see some real-life glimpses of the drivers, racecars and tracks the book is based on.
LB: What were your writing routines and rituals when working on the novel?
MK: When not on the racing circuit and writing in Miami, my creativity seems to come alive between midnight and 4am. I love writing late at night when the world is asleep. My days can get pretty hectic, but at night there are no distractions, and even when I try to sleep, my mind brightens with dialogue and ideas for my characters. I usually think through a scene and visualize it like a movie before I write a word.
LB: Do you have a writing room or “sacred space”?
MK: At our house in Miami Beach, I have a desk with a sliver-view of the water, and that’s where I get the bulk of my writing done. However, it’s often messy with bills and legal contracts that my husband asks me to look over for his business. My sacred space where my true creativity comes alive, where I find the best twists of story and bantering dialogue, is any one of the many trackside hotels on the racing circuit.
I travel to all Chapman’s races, and for each Grand Prix, he has at least two or three days (sometimes a week!) of required practice before the race. Since his attention is completely absorbed with preparation, I get large blocks of free time to write and be a fly on the wall. Usually, trackside hotels are not what you’d call nice, but I love the anonymity of being a girl in the corner with a cup of black coffee and a MacBook Air, typing with fury. No phones ringing. No appointments to keep. And, just outside the hotel walls, racecars roar around the track and rattle my keyboard at each pass. I couldn’t ask for a better place to write!
LB: How has becoming an author affected your life, relationships and other career?
MK: The biggest effect that becoming a full-time author has had on my life is that I don’t have to give writing the bits and pieces of my day anymore—which is an incredible feeling! Writing is my passion, but when I graduated and began practicing law, I only had time to write at the ends of my long days at the office when I was tired or on weekends when I was trying to squeeze in a week’s worth of errands. When I realized writing had become my mistress, and I caught myself sneaking five joyous minutes here or there to work on Naked Paddock between clients, I knew it was time to make a change in my life and give writing the attention it deserved. Pursuing my dream and working on Naked Paddock full-time has improved my life in so many ways.
LB: With Naked Paddock being the first in a series, and being left on a dramatic climax, what can we expect to see next from Coleton, Camilla and the gang, or are all plans top secret?
MK: The second book in the Naked Paddock series picks up right where the first left off, so rest assured you will find out what happens to Coleton and Camilla! Although books two and three follow the same original characters, there will also be a steady stream of new drivers, team owners, trophy wives and baby mommas on the scene to keep things spicy – just like they do in real life!
LB: What can we expect to see next writing wise?
MK: I have outlines in place for a completely different, fantasy YA series that I’d love to write after finishing the Naked Paddock series. But, we’ll see… The motorsports community has been so supportive of Naked Paddock, and I’m having so much fun with the action and drama of car racing that I might stick with motorsports for a follow-up series about Indycar drivers!
LB: And finally, Literature Bitch’s Wild Card Question…
Which character do you identify the most with in Naked Paddock and why?
MK: Definitely not Camilla. As the plot develops, she comes to accept the good and bad in Coleton. She is intrigued by his passion and energy, but as an inveterate playboy he has a lot of “past” that she’s forced to deal with. Can’t imagine what that would feel like!
For more information on MK Ducote visit:- www.mkducote.com or find her on Twitter @MKDucote