Thursday, November 5, 2015

Remembering Kat Attalla...by Jamie Hill

Kat's BWL Page
"Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did." ~ Candle in the Wind, music and lyrics by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Kathryn Butti Attalla died on October 26, 2015. To her friends she was Kathy, to her daughter she was Mom...and to the rest of us, she was Romance Author Kat Attalla.

Born in Englewood, New Jersey on January 15, 1957, Kathy grew up in Cresskill, New Jersey. She attended cosmetology school after graduating high school and worked as a hair stylist. At age twenty she traveled to Greece, going by herself because "it seemed like it would be an adventure". In Greece she made some new friends including an Egyptian man who she called 'her own romantic hero'. Fouad Attalla would later become her husband. They moved to Egypt so she could get to know his family but eventually moved back to the states. Their daughter Jasmin was born in New Jersey. 

When Jasmin was a baby, Fouad was writing articles for newspapers and encouraged Kathy to try her hand at writing. With his encouragement, she would go on to write and publish numerous novels.

Kathy, Fouad and Jasmin did lots of traveling to visit his family in Egypt and hers on the Jersey shore. Once Jasmin graduated from high school they moved back to Egypt, where Fouad passed away in 2008. Kathy and Jasmin eventually returned home to the Jersey shore, finally settling in North Jersey.

http://store.payloadz.com/details/2390158-ebooks-romance-the-prince-and-the-working-woman.htmlJasmin was the creative artist behind several of Kat's most recent book covers, the four 'Prince' themed titles. 

On a personal note: I 'met' Kat online when she signed on with Books We Love to publish her back list and new romance titles. I can honestly say she was a joy to work with, funny, sharp as a tack and extremely talented. I love contemporary romance and romantic suspense and those were the genres she wrote. I enjoyed reading each of her books and truly loved the prince themed books more than I ever thought I would. Kat's characters are endearing. Her heroines are down to earth, spunky women. Whether her hero was a hunky detective or a spoiled prince, they drew me in and I devoured every word she wrote. 

I knew Kat was active in her local New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers of America, but it wasn't until she died that I learned how loved and respected she was among that group. Many, many people wrote on her Facebook wall telling how Kathy had encouraged them, helped them get past writer's blocks, laughed with them, cried with them, whatever it took. It was lovely seeing the outpouring from her friends.

I also enjoyed the photo on the right which I found on her FB page. It seems when Kathy went with friends (or perhaps her beloved sisters?) to a bar she was usually the designated driver, and could often be found sitting with a pen and paper, jotting down what the characters in her head were telling her.

Kat's death has hit many of us at BWL hard. She and I were close in age, and as I messaged back and forth with Jasmin to check details, I discovered how much we had in common. I also attended cosmetology school and worked as a hair stylist for several years. (Yikes, not for me.) I'm an M&M nut, and I asked Jasmin what kind of candy her mother liked. Turns out Kathy was diabetic and not supposed to eat sweets at all. She did have a thing for York Peppermint Patties (yum) and Jasmin has inherited that love. 

http://store.payloadz.com/details/2390160-ebooks-romance-an-inconvenient-marriage.html
Two of Kathy's favorite singers were Elton John and Billy Joel. They are two of my favorites as well. I chose quotes I thought were fitting from their music to accompany this post.

Kat Attalla was diagnosed with Myelodisplastic Syndrome, which is very similar to leukemia. She was being treated by oncologists and went through chemotherapy and radiation. She succumbed to complications from a stem cell transplant which they were hoping would cure her, but Jasmin admits they all knew there were risks.

(Another personal note: I have friends whose children were diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, and I helped organize a Bone Marrow Drive for them a year or so ago. We're still getting reports of matches from that drive. I'm a registered donor and I hope everyone reading this is, too. http://www.deletebloodcancer.org/  )

It's comforting to know that Kat was doing what she loved for as long as she was able, and that she had good friends and a loving family around her. For my part, I have a beautiful little keep box that she sent me after one of her trips to Egypt. I treasured it then and will even more so now, as a reminder of her kindness.

Kat Attalla's books will continue to be available for her fans and new readers to enjoy long into the future. Books We Love hopes to publish her final novel in 2016.

Find her Books We Love titles here: http://bookswelove.net/authors/attalla-kat/  But don't start one of her books unless you have a couple of hours to spare, because I assure you, you won't want to put it down.   

Thanks to Jasmin Attalla for help with the details of this blog post. Any errors are mine alone and all blame can be attributed to the tears on my computer monitor.

R.I.P. Kathy. You will be missed. ~ Jamie




"You've got your passion, you've got your pride, but don't you know that only fools are satisfied? Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true. When will you realize, Vienna waits for you? 

"But you know that when the truth is told, that you can get what you want or you can just get old. You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through. When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?" 
Vienna, music and lyrics by Billy Joel



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