A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kenya. She was a member of my writers group, and hopefully will be again when she returns to Alabama. YAY!
She has this wonderful group on Facebook called The KGB: The Ks Grown & Sexy Book Club.
She sent me the following questions to prepare for the interview. There were some great questions. To make sure my mind wouldn’t go blank, I filled them out and even cheated on the video interview by glancing at them. LOL!
So if you want to join her group and check out the video (plus many other authors), here’s the link. The KGB. Lots of fun!
Who are you and what genre to do you write?
Carla Swafford AND I WRITE ACTION/ADVENTURE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE (lots of car chase scenes and running around – think James Bond); and recently I’ve delved into hockey romance! LOVE Hockey! GO PREDATORS! What romance book popped your cherry?
Oh, my, I was young. Around 12. Roberta Gellis, Bond of Blood. Got it because it had a horse and knight on it. I didn’t understand the sex scene until I reread it years later. Still love the story though it has stretches of history information. One thing about older romances, they go into more details than necessary.
What was the last romance book blew your mind?
The most recent one was Kerrigan Byrne’s The Hunter. I actually listened to the book through Audible. It’s a regency but different. The hero was to kill the heroine (that’s not unusual in the type of books I read). Maybe it was the narration mixed with the writing and hero who wasn’t pushy, but a here-I-am, take-me-as-I-am sort. He didn’t try to change for her or be an ass. It struck the right notes for me that I bought it in paperback so I can read it the old fashioned way. Maybe get a better idea of what was about the book that I loved so much it. I rarely buy paperback anymore.
How did you get started writing romance?
Back in the eighties, my favorite authors took their time in writing books (I understand that), so I got tired of waiting and decided I have a good imagination, and instead of waiting for an author to write the book I really want, I would write it myself. Took me a few years, between kids, a full time job, and life, I finished it, but it was horrible and I knew it. I had no idea how to go about improving it. So I wrote another one. The first was a historical romance, and I thought a contemporary would be easier. LOL! It was a romantic suspense. Horrible again. But it didn’t take as long to write. Not long after that I found out about RWA. I joined in 1993.
Which one of your heroes would you risk it all for?
That’s a good question. For I love all of my guys. I guess I’ll have to go with my favorite, Jack, and sadly, his story got cut short. His is in a novella (Circle of Defiance), but he shows up in all of my Circle books. He’s funny, loves his cat, made sure his brother married the woman his brother had loved for so long. He keeps falling in love with women he can’t have, until Katerina (a mob boss’s daughter), and he loves to recite poetry when he’s in a romantic mood. He shaves
his head and has tats and piercings all over his upper torso.
If there was an apocalyptic disaster what is your weapon and what character in any book would you want by your side?
Olivia St. Vincent from my book Circle of Desire. She can kick butt and is a great shot with a sniper rifle.
What was your best fan moment as a fan girl or as an author?
Oh, how to choose. I’ve been fortunate to meet most if not all of my of my favorite authors. I have to say, Anne Stuart. She’s so much fun. One of the writers in my RWA chapter knew her well enough to ask her to be a speaker at one of our luncheons. I was appointed (like I begged to be appointed) as the contact to pick her up at the airport. Anne Stuart was having a problem with a knee, so she had airport assistance in bringing her in a wheelchair to where I was to meet her. There she sat in her wheelchair coming up a gangway and I stood in a crowd of people waiting. I held a sign that said, “Anne Stuart: I’m your number one fan.” She started laughing when I turned it for it read “I don’t own an ax.” (Referring to Stephen King’s Misery.)
Favorite trope to read and favorite trope to write?
Favorite Trope to READ: marriage of convenience (historical Romance or contemporary). Thus why I wrote JAKE: A Southern Crime Family novel.
Favorite Trope to WRITE: I guess most people who read my books can tell, most of my books have something about protecting family, especially younger siblings.
What do you have on deck next?
Presently writing a second book, Fake Play, in the Atlanta Edge Hockey team’s world. I love it when a heroine goes to Las Vegas to party and turns up married to the hero and doesn’t remember a thing (or close to it) the next morning.
But my latest book for sale is JAKE: A Southern Crime Family novel. It’s that favorite trope of mine. Marriage of convenience.
In your own words tell us about this book?
Jake is the eldest of three sons to the meanest man in Marystown, Alabama. Someone has killed the old man and they have to find the murderer. When he’s shot at during the funeral, he chases down a suspect that turns out to be Angel Tally. Angel is the granddaughter to the patriarch of the Tally family. She proceeds to tell him he has to marry her. He doesn’t believe her. But he can’t help remembering the time in high school when she stole his wallet, and he gave her a spanking. She remembers too, and wants to experience his hand on her ass again. She’s always had a thing for him, but she needs to take care of her teenaged brother. Protect him from the life she lives as a collector for the Tally family and far away from the crazy Whitfields. Jake has a secret to protect and having a wife is not in the cards, especially a dangerous, untrustworthy Tally. Then his father’s will is read. It does appear he and Angel will be marrying. Otherwise, all of his plans to go legit will go to hell with his father.
What prompted this series & these particular characters ?
I had to think about this for a little while. Let’s say when I was growing up, most of the heroes I watched in the movies and TV where anti-heroes. Like Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider, Marlon Brando in The Godfather, and Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. I think that’s why I read and write guys who are not necessarily nice guys. Though in the end, they are often on their knees begging for forgiveness or promising a good time. Anyway, because I love bad boys (and married to one), I decided to write a book about a family of bad men. I set it in the south because those are the type of guys I know.
What was the challenge in writing these characters?
The challenge is showing they can be assholes without making the readers (and their love interest) hate them. I have to show they are the way they are because of their upbringing. They are trying to improve their life. Especially Jake. We are yet to see what Sen and Ethan think about Jake’s plan for their father’s businesses.
What is your writing process like?
I used to write and write and write and then go back and change and correct and get frustrated all the way through. I would hate the book before I got through. It made me a slow writer. But when I was writing for Random House, they wouldn’t let me just provide a paragraph on what I want to write next (Like HarperCollins Avon had) and go with it. They asked for an outline. OUTLINE?! So I took Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat (for screen writers) book and used his beat sheet to make my outline.
I realized two things. It helped to get my ADD brain to concentrate and make the plot work without having to tweak it over and over again. And helped me to write the story faster. Working full time (and during the summer that is usually around 50 hours a week) and doing all the other things a woman has to do, I can write a 60,000 to 80,000 book in 5 months. That’s doesn’t include editing by the outside editor though. I would like to point out I do not necessarily follow the outline all the way through the book, but if I get stuck, I can look at it and I’m off writing again.
Readers often want to know where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
From reading other romance books, movies, news reports, gossip, magazines, etc. I have a vivid imagination. Usually it’s only a scene or character that strikes my fancy and I decide I have a better idea, or different way to present something or someone. (Christy Reece’s Second Chance with the hero being manipulated by the bad guys through a drug lead to me writing Circle Danger and heroine under the influence of bad guys’ drugs.)
Best thing about writing romance and being an author?
Hearing people say they love my books and want to read more. It’s like hearing people say your child has great manners and was brought up right.
Two things people would be surprised to know about you?
I was RWA’s Pro Mentor of The Year in 2015
I was first author to be pulled from the slush pile when HarperCollin’s started Avon Impulse
Where do you write or favorite place to write?
At my desk at home. Working full time, I often write whenever/wherever I have the time.
Your favorite type of heroine to write; your favorite type of heroine one to read?
I like all types, read or write. She can be a bitch if she has a reason (logically) to be one and finds her softer side and wants to improve at some point in the book. She can be a wimp as longs as she develops a backbone when she never thought she could. In other words, they grow as a person. Just as a perfect heroine (goody-two-shoes and all) must show her flaws along the way to being a real person.
Who is your favorite author right now?
Louise Bay. Love her sexy men. Especially the English ones.
What’s on your keepers shelf?
Linda Howard, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lorraine Heath, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Ashley, Julie Garwood, Lisa Kleypas.
Most recent of course is The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne,
Who is your all-time favorite book boyfriend?
John Medina. Linda Howard’s book titled ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN. It put a spark in me to write CIRCLE OF DESIRE. Nothing alike except they’re both Romantic Suspense and dangerous men.
What is your all-time favorite book?
I just don’t have it in me to say one. They are usually the books I read more than once. Linda’s book I mentioned before; because it had all the things I like in a romantic suspense: mystery, danger, action, sexy moments, humor, and a good twist.
Then Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Autistic hero); Anne Stuart’s Fire and Ice (Asian hero); Megan McKinney’s Lions and Lace (Irish hero); Lorraine Heath’s Lord of Wicked Intentions (Hero has issues about being touched); Candace Camp’s (written as Lisa Gregory) The Rainbow Season (Bad boy married good girl in turn of 20th century). I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting.