PERSONAL: Born in Ontario, Canada; married: children: one.
ADDRESSES: Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harlequin Books, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Toronto M3B 3K9, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Nurse in neonatal intensive care; researcher and writer for a television design program; author.
The Doctor's Homecoming, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Luke's Runaway Bride, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
The Midwife's Secret, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Kate Bridges grew up on a fifty-acre farm in Ontario where she learned to appreciate nature. One of her favorite pastimes during her teenage years was to immerse herself in romantic novels. Her current profession as a fulltime novelist combines those early loves of the outdoors and romance to create historic western romances filled with adventures of the men and women who ventured forth into the wild open frontiers of pre-twentieth-century North America.
Bridges, although praised by a ninth-grade English teacher for her writing, did not always want to be a writer. She first worked for several years as a Toronto hospital nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, where she tended critically ill newborn babies. Later, after going back to college for a second degree in interior design and architecture, she went to work for a local television station where she worked as a researcher and a writer for a home-and-garden program. At the television station she worked with a team of writers and after a while became discontented with the final results of her efforts. In an interview posted on the Harlequin Web site, Bridges stated: "When I worked in television, brainstorming was always done as a group effort and creativity got diluted; no one's voice stood out." It was at this time that she decided to take the plunge: leave her job and try her hand as a freelance writer. In the Harlequin interview, Bridges said: "As a novelist I create the characters and conjure the juicy plots. It's risky for this reason, but that's part of the thrill."
Bridges focuses her stories on people living before the 1900s in frontier settings in North America. She is attracted to the locale because of her own background of living in very rural settings such as in the Rocky Mountains. As for the time period, she reported in her Harlequin interview: "I like this era because of the hardworking pioneer spirit of the men and women who tamed the West....It's fascinating to research because of the handful of people who sparked the changes, and because there was a lot more freedom in the West than in the Eastern cities."
Bridges's early experiences as a nurse provided her with material for her first novel, The Doctor's Homecoming. The story centers on Emma Sinclair, a young woman who falls in love with Wyatt Barlow, but is driven away by the history of feuds between their two respective families. Emma goes away to school after Wyatt lies to her about his feelings for her. She returns home after a sixteen-year absence, planning a short visit before setting up her medical practice somewhere else. Wyatt has, in the meantime, married another woman, believing that Emma would never return. His wife has since died, and now his daughter has fallen in love with Emma's younger brother.
It is through the struggling teenage love of her brother and Wyatt's daughter that Emma and Wyatt renew their relationship. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Bridges's first novel "a delightful read . . . that is likely to satisfy most fans of western romances."
Bridges has also written two romances. Luke's Runaway Bride focuses on two young lovers who run away from high society to a small, rundown town in Wyoming where their romance blossoms. The Midwife's Secret is set in the mountains in Alberta. The protagonist of this 2003 novel moves to a tourist town to start a new life and brings with her a secret past which is soon matched by that of the man she ultimately falls in love with.
Bridges lives in Toronto with her husband—her college sweetheart—their child, and a menagerie of pets.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, review of The Doctor's Homecoming, p. 277.
eharlequin.com,http://www.eharlequin.com/ (July 6, 2002), "An Interview with Kate Bridges."*