Romantic Novelists' Association

Love Is An Art By Kathy Strobos

15 December 2023

Today, we welcome Kathy Strobos to the blog. Kathy, please tell us about your book. My new release is called Love Is an Art. It is a romantic comedy set in New York City and is the second, standalone novel in the New York Spark series. Here’s the blurb:

 He hates lawyers. So I’m a lawyer pretending to be an artist. Forgetting one tiny detail: I can’t paint.

Tessa: There’s something about the way the blond guy laughs and leans in to listen. My gaze keeps returning to him. The only problem is, we’re at an art gallery after work, and I’ve swapped my lawyer suit for a paint-splattered shirt. I’m pretending to be a struggling artist, acting as bait to entice a scammer who conned my friend out of thousands of dollars.

I look pathetic. But still, I approach Hot Guy. Our glances meet, and an awareness shimmers across. He offers to buy me a drink—we’re definitely flirting—and then he asks me what I do.

Just when Scammer Guy is in earshot.

I have no choice but to say I’m an artist. I can tell Hot Guy later that I’m not.

But then he says he hates lawyers.

Now what?

Zeke: She’s the worst artist I’ve ever seen.

And I hate that that makes me suspect that she’s lying to me. After my ex-girlfriend cheated on me, trust is in short supply. Tessa makes me laugh, and it’s one adventure after another with her. Definitely different from my workaholic lawyer ex.

Maybe it’s time to give love a second chance.

All is fair in love and litigation, but when truth and deception clash, can you trust your heart?

What was the inspiration behind your story? I was trying to come up with funny premises that had comedic potential. I am a former lawyer who definitely can’t paint, so there is that, but I also love modern art. I took a John Truby writing class, in which he said that comedy usually has a scam, so I was playing with that. One of my favorite movies is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, so I studied that for inspiration on how to write scenes that make me laugh out loud. That movie premise was maybe easier because they’re both lying to each other, and in my book, she’s the only one lying.

Without giving too much away, what was the hardest part of the book to write? Definitely the last portion.  This will give away some details, but the book can still be enjoyed. I first wrote a screenplay treatment (similar to a three-page outline) of this novel during an online Gotham Screenwriting class over the pandemic. And in that treatment, the “dark moment of the soul” was when she reveals the lie and that causes their break-up. But when I was writing the novel, I couldn’t keep the lie going that long. It was way too stressful for my character and for my readers. And then I took an online conflict class, this time with Sarah MacLean, and she discussed how it is often better to reveal the lie sooner because the fallout gives so much material to work with. And indeed, really, the end needed to force both characters to address their own internal doubts so they could fall in love completely.

What was your journey to publication? I began by taking a lot of writing classes. My first writing course was the Penguin UK Writer’s Academy “Constructing a Novel” course, and my teacher said the exchange between Audrey and Eve (two best friends in Partner Pursuit) was sparky. That made me so happy. I then joined the RNA New Writer’s Scheme. I took more courses, finished Partner Pursuit, and submitted it to the NWS. After the positive feedback, I queried agents with Partner Pursuit and kept revising it based on feedback. I submitted it for a second time to the NWS. At a certain point, I thought it was done and I should submit a different novel to the New Writer’s Scheme. I wrote my second novel while still querying Partner Pursuit. Meanwhile, my critique partner, Giulia Skye, who was also a member of the RNA, had indie-published her first book, so she was encouraging me to indie-publish (even though she warned me that it can be difficult). And once I finished my second novel, I wrote my third novel—again with the New Writer’s Scheme deadline as an incentive. And then I took classes about indie-publishing and decided that was probably a better fit for me (plus, I found my amazing cover designer). I published Partner Pursuit in September 2021, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Join the RNA New Writer’s Scheme. Also, definitely finish that first draft. You can fix a rough draft. I get better ideas when I re-read what I’ve written. My novels come together in the later drafts, but then, I’m a pantser. Find other writers at a similar stage and become friends and maybe even critique partners. It is so helpful to have a community. Take lots of writing classes and read craft books.

Can you tell us what you are working on now? The New York Spark series has at least two more books in the series, but I’m actually having a hard time figuring out which one should come next. Right now, I’m writing My Secret Snowflake because it will be set in New York City during December and I like to write my books during that actual season so I can capture the feel of it all accurately. I am excited to do all the winter holiday activities, too, like ice skating at Rockefeller Center and checking out the holiday window displays. I’ve also never been to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, which is famous for its over-the-top decorations, so I’m planning to do that. And I’m already trying out various cookie recipes to include in the book’s baking party.

About the Author

Author picture of Kathy Strobos, blonde hair, black top, smilingKathy Strobos is a writer living in New York City with her husband and two children, amid a growing collection of books, toys, and dollhouses. She previously worked as a lawyer before switching careers to write romantic comedies full-time and get in shape.

Born and raised in Manhattan, she loves writing about New York City and the accomplished heroines who live and fall in love there, amidst its vibrant energy and the aroma of homemade chocolate chip cookies. She is the author of: A Scavenger Hunt for Hearts, Partner Pursuit, Is This for Real?, Caper Crush, My Book Boyfriend, and Love Is an Art. She is still working on getting in shape.

Book Links

Amazon UK Link for Love Is an Art

All Books (but maybe US sites?)


Author website