MacAlister, Katie (Katie Maxwell)
MacAlister, Katie (Katie Maxwell)
Agent—Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency, P.O. Box 8571, Madison, WI 53708.
Writer. Previously worked as a bird skeleton cleaner, a computer programmer, and a sales assistant for Harrod's.
Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists Inc.
Booksellers Best Award for best short historical, 2002, for Noble Intentions; Bestselling Paranormal Romance, Borders/BGI Group, 2005, for Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel; award for best young adult novel, Romantic Times, 2005, for Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Hotties; award of excellence, Reviewers International Organization, for Sex and the Single Vampire.
Noble Intentions, Dorchester (New York, NY), 2002.
Improper English, Dorchester/Love Spell (New York, NY), 2003.
Noble Destiny, Dorchester/Leisure (New York, NY), 2003.
Men in Kilts, New American Library (New York, NY), 2003.
A Girl's Guide to Vampires, Dorchester/Love Spell (New York, NY), 2003.
Sex and the Single Vampire, Dorchester/Love Spell (New York, NY), 2004.
The Corset Diaries, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.
Noble Pursuits, Dorchester/Leisure (New York, NY), 2004.
The Trouble with Harry, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.
You Slay Me, Onyx Book (New York, NY), 2004.
Sex, Lies, and Vampires, Love Spell (New York, NY), 2005.
Hard Day's Knight, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2005.
Blow Me Down, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2005.
Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2005.
Even Vampires Get the Blues, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Jennifer Ashley and Minda Webber) Just One Sip (anthology), Love Spell (New York, NY), 2006.
Light My Fire: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2006.
Ain't Myth-Behaving, Pocket Star (New York, NY), 2007.
The Last of the Red-hot Vampires, Signet (New York, NY), 2007.
Holy Smokes: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel, Signet Eclipse (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to anthology Heat Wave (includes novella Bird of Paradise), Dorchester/Love Spell (New York, NY), 2003.
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM KATIE MAXWELL
The Year My Life Went down the Loo, Dorchester/Smooch (New York, NY), 2003.
They Wear WHAT under Their Kilts?, Dorchester/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
What's French for "Ew"?, Dorchester/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
The Taming of the Dru, Dorchester/Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
Eyeliner of the Gods, Smooch (New York, NY), 2004.
Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Hotties, Smooch (New York, NY), 2005.
Got Fangs?, Smooch (New York, NY), 2005.
Circus of the Darned, Dorchester (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Katie MacAlister found a niche with her contemporary romance novels featuring quirky heroines who often happen to be Americans abroad. In Improper English Britain-bound American Alix Freemar tries to salvage the ruins of her life by becoming a romance novelist. When her landlady fixes her up with straight-laced Scotland Yard detective Alexander Black, their apples-and-oranges personalities clash with comic results. Interspersed with their story are chunks of Alix's romance novel, Ravishing Raven, passages of which Booklist reviewer John Charles called "comic gems." A writer for Publishers Weekly described Alix as "self-centered" but judged the novel to be "amusing." MacAlister stated in an online interview with Jennifer Hill-Russell for Roundtable Reviews that many of Alix's misadventures are based on her own experiences in England, where she lived and worked for a time when she was young. "I even set my hair on fire on a date…. My life is that of a klutzy romantic comedy heroine's."
In the romantic comedy Men in Kilts, Kathie Wilson is an American mystery writer who sojourns to Scotland for a conference and ends up smitten with Iain MacLaren, a mystery-book-loving sheep farmer. Kathie ditches the conference in favor of three weeks on Iain's farm, and their romance blossoms on the Highlands despite the untimely interventions of Iain's lustful neighbor, Bridget, and Iain's son, Archie, who is disinclined to share his father with a Yankee stranger. A further complication is that under no circumstances does Kathie believe in love at first sight. Charles, writing again for Booklist, praised Men in Kilts for its "wickedly witty writing, wonderfully snappy dialogue, and uniquely amusing characters." Romantic Times Online contributor Susan Mobley complimented the book for its "laugh-out-loud moments" and for a hero who is "all man." The Scottish setting is near and dear to MacAlister's heart. As she told Hill-Russell, the attraction is simple: "Kilts, kilts, and more kilts. And the men in 'em." The novel made the USA Today best seller list, establishing MacAlister as an up-and-coming romance writer to watch.
Putting a twist on the contemporary romance genre, A Girl's Guide to Vampires, the first of MacAlister's vampire novels, combines elements of romance and the paranormal to create a hybrid genre. Heroine Joy Randall falls in love with mysterious Raphael Griffin St. John during a trip to the GothFaire in the Czech Republic. Sex and the Single Vampire is the second in MacAlister's "Dark Ones" series. It features Allie, a new hire at the United Psychical Research Association, who desperately needs to find a ghost to summon if she wants to keep her job. However, when she spots a likely candidate, he turns out not to be a ghost after all. He is Christian Dante, a vampire novelist, who is, incidentally, the sexy man whom she has been dreaming about. Charles dubbed the book "another sinfully sexy, fabulously fun tale of love, vampires, ghosts, and demons."
You Slay Me is a somewhat different type of paranormal novel. Aisling Grey sets out to deliver an ancient gold dragon statue to a client of her uncle's who lives in Paris. When she arrives, she finds the woman has been murdered, and handsome Drake Vireo is loitering in the vicinity. Drake tells Aisling that he works for Interpol, but then he—and the statue—disappear. Aisling needs to find him and recover the statue, while also getting to the bottom of the woman's murder so that she herself is not charged with the crime. But circumstances only get more mysterious when she learns that she is actually a guardian of the gates to hell, and that Drake is actually a dragon. John Charles, again reviewing for Booklist, found the book to be "graced with MacAlister's signature sharp wit and fabulously fun characters."
MacAlister returns to the "Dark Ones" series with Sex, Lies, and Vampires. In Prague to work on a rare, antique piece of armor, "Charper" Nell Harris inadvertently finds herself swept up in the search for a boy who has been taken by a demon. When she meets Adrian Tomas, who has been enslaved in the service of the demon, she knows she must use her abilities to break his bond. Booklist reviewer Charles dubbed this installment in the series to be "another wonderfully original, practically perfect paranormal treat."
Aisling Grey returns in MacAlister's Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel. Off to Budapest for her job as a part-time courier, Aisling is less than pleased to discover that Drake Vireo is there as well. It turns out that not only is Aisling delivering an amulet, she must also attend a conference as part of her new position as a guardian, while Drake is there for a peace summit of the dragons. But there may be more to the situation than what Aisling sees. Charles, reviewing once more for Booklist, declared the book "another wickedly witty, wildly inventive, and fiendishly fun adventure in the paranormal world."
The Last of the Red-hot Vampires finds physicist Portia Harding taking a trip to England with her long-time best friend, Sarah, a writer of romance novels, who is doing research. When Portia meets a spirit named Hope in the middle of a fairy ring, however, her own straight-laced attitude and scientific mindset are thrown off kilter; she finds herself suddenly able to control the weather. On top of this development, she begins to fall for Theo, a handsome man who turns out to be the child of a human and an angel. Booklist contributor Diane Tixier Herald wrote: "MacAlister's fast-paced romp is a delight with all its quirky twists and turns."
MacAlister has also written historical romances. Her first publication, Noble Intentions, features the hero Noble Britton, a moody widower known as the "Black Earl." The once-bitten Noble chooses soft-spoken Gillian Leigh to be his second wife, assuming she will steer clear of the same sort of scandals and allegations that plagued his first marriage, even though she inadvertently set fire to the curtains at the party where they met. But the half-American Gillian proves to be infectiously romantic, even if she is a bit klutzy. Noble's plans backfire, albeit in a positive way. In Noble Destiny, MacAlister's second historical romance, the recently widowed Charlotte Collins finds herself on the outside of English society looking in, having previously shocked polite society by eloping with an Italian count. Her plan to regain her former standing is to find a single, wealthy, and handsome man who also happens to be a member of the nobility. Her chosen target is Alasdair McGregor, but unfortunately he has plans of his own: marrying for love rather than being a pawn in Charlotte's game. Gabrielle Pantera, writing in the Romantic Times, called the book a "wonderful Regency romp."
With the publication of The Year My Life Went down the Loo, published under the pseudonym Katie Maxwell, MacAlister expanded her oeuvre to encompass the young-adult market. The book features sixteen-year-old Seattle native Emily Williams, who is forced to move to England with her family. Here she suffers the slings and arrows of adolescent trauma, British-style. Told entirely through Emily's e-mails to her friend Dru, the book recounts Emily's obsession with handsome British boys, seemingly weird local customs—like a nationwide lack of shopping malls and bizarre rules regarding school uniforms and prohibitions against make-up—in a fish-out-of-water tale designed to appeal to teenagers. The title, the first release of Dorchester's Smooch imprint for young adults, garnered good reviews. Kliatt writer Lynne Remick, for instance, called the novel "a brilliant debut."
The story of Emily's year in England continues with They Wear WHAT under Their Kilts?, in which Emily spends a month on a sheep farm in Scotland. What's French for "Ew"? has Emily plotting a love connection in Paris over spring break, and The Taming of the Dru sees Emily reunite with her best friend, who visits England for a month as she prepares to return to Seattle and leave her boyfriend behind.
Eyeliner of the Gods is a teen offering with a twist: it interlocks with a second teen book, Chloe, Queen of Denial, by Naomi Nash. The stories center on two teenage girls who meet in Egypt while participating in a gifted teens program. Jan James is an aspiring journalist who finds herself separated from her group almost immediately upon arriving in Cairo. Her misadventure leads her to meet a cute boy named Seth, but also finds her in possession of a mysterious bracelet that soon appears to be cursed. By the time Jan finally arrives at the dig, where she meets Chloe, the adventure is well underway. Elaine Baran Black, in a review for School Library Journal, dubbed the book "breezy series fare filled with romance and suspense."
Though MacAlister has no plans to stop writing romance for the adult market, she told Hill-Russell that "once I wrote the first YA book, I knew I was hooked. I had way too much fun writing it to stop at four books, so I wrote the first book in a new paranormal YA series, which hopefully will go on for a while." MacAlister is tight-lipped about her personal life, except for the fact that she is married, enjoys the companionship of several dogs, and is a fan of Nancy Drew and old etiquette books. As she noted on her Web site, her books are informed by her "passion for mystery, a fascination with alpha males, and a deep love of history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2003, John Charles, review of Improper English, p. 1151; June 1, 2003, John Charles, review of Noble Destiny, p. 1753; October 1, 2003, John Charles, review of Men in Kilts, p. 306; February 15, 2004, John Charles, review of Sex and the Single Vampire, p. 1046; September 1, 2004, John Charles, review of You Slay Me, p. 73; February 15, 2005, John Charles, review of Sex, Lies, and Vampires, p. 1068; April 15, 2005, John Charles, review of Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel, p. 1437; March 1, 2007, Diana Tixier Herald, review of The Last of the Red-hot Vampires, p. 70.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Lynne Remick, review of The Year My Life Went down the Loo, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, February 10, 2003, review of Improper English, p. 168.
School Library Journal, September, 2004, Elaine Baran Black, review of Eyeliner of the Gods, p. 212.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (January 16, 2008), review of Holy Smokes: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel.
Katie MacAlister Home Page,http://www.katiemacalister.com (January 16, 2008).
Katie MacAlister MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/katiemacalister (January 16, 2008).
Katie Maxwell Home Page,http://www.katiemaxwell.com (January 16, 2008).
LoveVampires.com,http://www.lovevampires.com/ (January 16, 2008), review of The Last of the Redhot Vampires.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (November 16, 2003), Samantha J. Gust, review of Improper English; Susan Mobley, review of Men in Kilts; Gabrielle Pantera, review of Noble Destiny.
Roundtable Reviews,http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (November 12, 2003), Jennifer Hill-Russell, "An Interview with Katie MacAlister."