Interview with Heatherly Bell

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I like to set a scene for where the interview is taking place. It’s been a while since I was in the heart of Silicon Valley, where is a good place to hang out and have a conversation?

Here in my small town of Morgan Hill, we like to meet at Peet’s Coffee.

Can you remember the first romance novel you read?

Shana by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

How long have you been writing?

I will say about 14 years though of course I wrote some in high school but I don’t count that.

What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, or a planner?

I like to call myself a plotser. I used to be a pantser, and that actually worked for me, but my publisher forces me to give them a synopsis. I use it as a road map of where I will go with the story. Mostly I focus on the character’s growth ARC. Other things can change but that shouldn’t.

What currently compels you to write?

Deadlines! But seriously, when I am in the sweet spot of a story, I just want to keep going. It’s like I’m telling myself the story.

Character development is a fascination of mine, where do your characters come from?

My characters usually jump into my mind’s eye, practically fully formed. I don’t really know how that happens. I think I’m like a sponge of everything I’ve ever seen and everyone I’ve ever met. But I don’t often know what their favorite color is or their favorite food. I simply know who they are and what they have to learn. I try my best to keep it simple.

Tell us a little about Country Gold, a Wilder Sisters novel (upcoming release out 9/17)

I’ve wanted to write this book for such a long time but had too many other projects in the way. It’s been germinating in the back of my mind for a while and took a few different forms before it settled down. This is the story of three sisters who were very young when they formed a country western band and eventually became very successful. When it all implodes due to a sex scandal and sagging sales, the sisters are let go by their recording label and each has to re-think the rest of their life. Who are they without fame and music? Without each other? While they figure this out, they hide out in their central coast California town of Whistle Cove. And of course, they each have a love interest to come along and complicate the hell out of their lives. Much fun.

Fame tore them apart…can music bring them back together? 

A sex scandal ended the careers of the Wilder Sisters, the CMA award winning, chart-topping country girl band. But Lexi Wilder is okay with that, thanks for asking. 

She’s been on the road since roughly forever, and even if the scandal has followed her home to Whistle Cove, California, Lexi is going to enjoy the break. After all, there’s quite nothing like the beautiful sandy beaches of Monterey Bay to calm a woman’s soul. 

Luke Wyatt never asked to trade fame and fortune for the only woman he’s ever loved. It happened anyway. 

Now that he’s finished a punishing year-long national tour, all bets are off. He’s coming back to his hometown of Whistle Cove for the quiet, the beaches, the inspiration, and the girl. Not necessarily in that order. 

There’s pressure from Nashville to deliver more country gold like the song he co-wrote with Lexi Wilder. But that little bit of magic is not likely to happen again. 

Because she’s still not speaking to him.

http://www.heatherlybell.com/wilder-sisters

Do you listen to music when you write? What do you like to listen to? Was there a musical influence for Country Gold?

I cannot listen to music while I write. It’s too distracting. I pick up the tune, start singing. Forget about the writing, I’m going to dance! I do like listening to country music and do so often. Sam Hunt was the musical inspiration for my hero, and Miranda Lambert for my heroine.

Are you a TV watcher or a movie goer?

Mostly movies and long running series. I don’t watch much TV other than Dateline.

Which (show or movies) are your current favorites?

The Wonderful Mrs. Maizel

Orange is the new Black

Ozark

Set it Up

Like Father

If you could have one of your stories made into a movie, who would be in your dream cast?

I think Crazy for You, a Christmas book, would make a wonderful Hallmark movie. Except for all the sex. Take that out and it works. I would cast Emma Stone as the heroine and Jessie Metcalf as the hero.

If the NSA were to examine your browser history, what “concerning” topics might they find?

Fortunately, I write lighthearted. Recently I searched for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Wake-boarding lessons (I watched YouTube videos) and also endangered wildflowers in California. Nothing exciting at all!

What are you currently reading?

Lori Wilde’s The First Love Cookie Club.

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

How can I finally finish my book?

Write every day even when you don’t feel like it. It’s a job like any other. It took me 14 months to write my first book. It got faster after that.

What is your secret party trick?

I don’t know if it’s a party trick, but I’m a trained singer so I usually do well on the Karaoke machine!

Pizza or tacos?

Pizza

 

You can follow Heatherly online

Twitter: @heatherlybelle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherlyBell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherlymbell/

Instagram: heatherly.bell

Interview with Pamela Gibson

It’s summer, and summer interviews are hot!
Where are we chilling out during our conversation? Are we under an umbrella poolside enjoying drinks with umbrellas, or are we hiding out inside with lots of air conditioning?

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My absolute favorite place to chill is on the aft deck of our Nordic Tug while anchored out in a beautiful cove or on a quiet river. But today I’m home in Sonoma, California, sitting out by the pool in our shady backyard.

Tell me about your Love in Wine Country novels.

The series has six spicy contemporary novels set in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Five are written, although one of the five is being revised and will be re-released in early August. The last book has been set aside for now. The novels follow three Hispanic sisters and their cousins, three Hispanic brothers, all part of the Reynoso family ruled by a fun-loving, pseudo-psychic grandmother they all call Nana. Most of the family is in the wine business—growing grapes, tending fields, making and selling wine. I loved showcasing the working families in wine country who overcome obstacles, resolve conflicts, and find love. The series will soon be joined by four novellas, former Kindle World books, which are being rewritten with some of my characters from my novels showing up.

If you could sit down and interview any character- yours or anyone’s- who would you want to interview?

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind

What’s the single most burning question you would want to ask them?

What’s wrong with you, girl? A real man wants you and you still moon over that milquetoast Ashley. Do you want to be the dominant one in the relationship, is that it? Or has your spoiled-child upbringing clouded what’s really important. Thank God, you come to your senses at the end.

If you had the opportunity to have your work turned in to a film, which would you prefer Hallmark Channel or HBO miniseries?

I think the St. Helena Kindle World novellas are all suitable for Hallmark films, although readers tell me my other novels are, too. If there were questions at the end of each book—all resolved in the final book—then I might say HBO for the novels. But all of the books in my series are standalones. So Hallmark (with the sex scenes removed).

Of everyone that you have written, who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Marcelina Reynoso, Nana to her grandchildren. She’s tough, independent, flamboyant, and not at all afraid to speak her mind. Plus she loves her Michael Jackson playlist and can moonwalk like a pro in her gold spandex pants with her sequined top and a gazillion bracelets on her arms. She has a smart-mouth, too, and thinks she can predict the future.

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When creating characters, do you get a strong visual/ physical sense of them or are they more personality and emotion?

I start with their personalities, then write their physical descriptions. Paige in A Kiss of Cabernet is a bit of an introvert, but overcomes her shyness by talking to herself to give herself courage. She meets her antagonist (the hero) head-on by using this technique when she tries to talk him out of selling his vineyard which she manages. Her cousin Sam in Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For is a totally macho, controlling, gorgeous guy who’s a damn fine home winemaker. His best friend Sarah is a planner, a total nerd, who keeps him in check and helps him, even though she could kill him sometimes.

What got you into writing?

When I was six years old my little brother died of leukemia. I started making up stories, often with him alive and well in them. By the fourth grade I was writing stories, and by high school, I was working part-time for a newspaper. I gradually left non-fiction and went to fiction, writing stories with happy endings. News doesn’t always have happy endings.

What keeps you writing?

It’s almost a compulsion. Out of the blue, my fit, active, younger husband had a stroke last year. Now I am one hundred percent caregiver. Writing (usually 5 am is when I start) keeps me sane and centered and lets me escape when I need to.

You used to live on a boat, do you have plans on developing some characters who take on a similar adventure?

I have a non-fiction book underway called Confessions of a White-Knuckle Cruising Spouse. Yup, I was terrified most of the time we were on the water. The last trip was over five thousand miles in a 32-foot boat. I saw and did amazing things and tested my courage over and over. But it really should be non-fiction, to give other spouses encouragement to stick it out when their significant other has saltwater in their veins, and they’d rather be at Starbucks drinking lattes.

Who is your current favorite author?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips—she’s an auto-buy, although she hasn’t released anything lately.

Who was your favorite author as a kid?

I discovered old Carolyn Keene books when I was about nine. Camped out at the library whenever a new book came out, even though Nancy Drew was dated. I still thought the books amazing.

What are you reading these days?

My most recent small trad publisher is Soulmate and my editor loves my historicals. So I am reading Regencies and Westerns because she’s contracted for one book in both subgenres and I have two sequels in progress. I will probably keep my contemporaries Indie. I also like to read romantic suspense and small-town contemporary. Do you get the impression I like to read? You’re right.

Does pineapple belong on pizza?

I’ll eat it because I’m hungry or polite, depending on the situation, but I won’t order one like that.

As a self-proclaimed snacker, what is your favorite thing to munch on?

I do love chocolate—cookies with big chocolate chips, chocolate bars with nuts, chocolate ice cream for breakfast. I am a chocoholic. It got me through a rough ride on Delaware Bay and it helped me cope with a stormy Atlantic and a tornado tied to a lock wall on the Erie Canal. Chocolate anything is my go-to food for stress relief, including a bag of chocolate chips if there’s nothing else.

Thanks Lulu. This was so much fun.

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You can find Pamela online at:

http://pamelagibsonwrites.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pamgibsonwrites/

Author Interview Marina Adair

As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.  Her St Helena Vineyard series was the inspiration behind the Hallmark Original movie, Autumn in the Vineyard. (I totally snagged that from her website BTW)

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I like to set a scene for my interviews, gives us a chance to be somewhere, and not just words on a webpage. Are we in a tasting room in wine country? Or on an open patio by the beach somewhere?

We are sitting on a front porch, sipping a glass of Pino Gris and watching the clouds float over Mt Hood in Portland.

You have several small town series, in vastly different areas across the US, did you travel extensively to research the regions?

I love creating new towns for my characters. So even if a series is based on an actual town, I fictionalize it. That said, every series I have written has been based on a place I have lived or visited prior to starting the series. For example, The Eastons series follows five alpha brother is Portland, Oregon who inherit their dad’s brew house. I flew to Portland and explored the city for several days with a friend and fellow author before I started the series.

What drew you to creating these communities of characters and places?

I spent most of my childhood in my head, creating amazing places and stories. It is still something I do to this day. The fact that my job now is to create places I’d wasn’t to live or visit makes it the best job on earth.

Please tell us about the Eastons and your newest release.

The Eastons series follows five brothers who must overcome the loss of their father in order to open themselves up for true love. They don’t mind breaking the rules or testing the limits, but when it comes to matters of the heart … they play for keeps.

My upcoming release in the series, DRIVE ME MAD, which comes out this summer, follows the Assistant District Attorney, Josh Easton, as he finds himself in the run for DA, and going head to head with a sexy, ball-buster of a woman, who teaches him that all is fair in love and war. It is an enemies to lover story, where my hero and heroine can’t stand what the other represents, but can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.

What was your reaction when you found out the Hallmark Channel wanted to make Autumn in the Vineyard story into a movie?

I have an MFA in screenwriting, which was my first love. So when I switched to novels, I thought I had to give up the dream of seeing my work on the screen. So when Hallmark optioned the entire St Helena Series, I was able to fulfill that dream. And it was amazing!

Did you get to visit the set?

I did get to go to the set! It was filming in Canadian Wine Country, so Big Sexy and I took a trip up north. Rachael Leigh Cook was as sweet as she is talented, and the producer heading up the project was an amazing man to meet. The highlight though was Larry the Llama, who was so talented he played Mittens the Alpaca. (edit: don’t you just love how she calls her husband Big Sexy!)

As part of (the now defunct Kindle Worlds) what was it like from your side of the table, having all these authors continue to populate your world, and have new characters, and familiar characters take on new adventures?

I have been so blessed in my career being surrounded by successful and talented authors who helped me get to where I am today. Kindle Worlds was an amazing opportunity for me to help other new authors grow their reader base and write in my world. My readers were able to spend more time with characters they love, and explore new characters as well. It was a win-win for all involved.

ChiChi Ryo is quite the character from the St. Helena Vineyards books. I can almost imagine that this fierce nona came to you and began telling you all about her handsome grandsons, and beautiful granddaughter. I am fascinated with how different authors discover their characters. So, who came first? The DeLuca hotties or ChiChi?

The DeLucas are based on a real-life family from my childhood. My babysitter was the only sister among five older, Italian brothers, who made her dating life hell growing up. But ChiChi is lightly based on my own grandmother and her friends. So, I guess ChiChi would have come first.

If you could rewrite a piece of classic literature (I’ll let you decide what that definition means) which story would you take on? What big changes would you make?

I’m not sure I would re-write, but I would definitely love to play in Jane Austin’s world. In grad school I read, Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a parallel novel of Jane Eyre, and tells the story of Bertha. That book blew my mind and inspired me to read other parallel novels, such as Huck and The Hours. If the opportunity presented itself to write a parallel novel, I’d probably write a book from Mr. Darcy’s or Jane Bennett’s perspective.

Pineapple on pizza, yes or no?

Um YES!

Coke or Pepsi?

Beer

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

“Where can I get your next book?” Lol.

Every Little Kiss comes out July 18, 2018

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Follow Marina, and find out where you can get her next book!

http://www.marinaadair.com/

www.facebook.com/marinaadairaauthor

www.twitter.com/MarinaEAdair

www.instagram.com/marinaadairauthor/

Interview with Reina Torres

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I like to set a scene for where the interview is taking place. I’ve never been to Hawaii so where should we go if we want to sit and chat and take in the scenery?

My favorite place to sit and watch the world go by is the overlook by the Makapu’u lighthouse… but the wind up there is wicked and doesn’t allow for much conversation if you don’t want to shout –

But if it’s quiet and scenery you’re looking for… Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. So many different types of plants and I love to sit on the benches and enjoy the view and the fresh air.

You write a variety of romance from Shifter to Western to Contemporary. Do you have a favorite?

My gateway drug into Romance as a reader was Julie Garwood’s historicals – from there I was hooked 😀 but I like to read all kinds of romance… I chase the rush of a Happy Ever After

Your Westerns are labeled as “sweet,” how hot do your other styles run?

When people ask about the Westerns I tell them the only head in those stories would be the pot-bellied stove in the Mercantile. My other stories though… I leave the door wide open on the more personal scenes. I don’t think I shy away from the more heated moments and I hope the readers won’t either.

T2

You have a new release, please tell us about it, and how it fits in with your previous stories.

The Fighter is my newest release – it’s the Third in my Sylvan City Alphas Series – and there’s at least one more coming up. Maybe two. I was thrilled to write Cage’s book. He appeared in the first two books and a number of readers were asking about him… I knew I had to give him a woman who was strong but soft in all that ways that a hard man like him needed… it was so satisfying to see him a happy man with his family.

THUNDERCLAP

Do you listen to music when you write? What do you like to listen to?

Mostly soundtracks from films in that genre… unless it’s a sex/love scene. I have a specific song playlist for that. Two actually. One for the softer scenes and one for… the other *wink*

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What next do you have in store for your readers?

Always, Ellis” the fifth book in the Three Rivers Express Series, I’m writing the odd numbers. And right after that? “Stealing the Vixen’s Heart.” Which is a book about a female fox shifter – I’m using some of the legends about the Kitsune – Japanese Fox Spirits/shifters.

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What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, or a planner?

Ever developing. I ping pong all over the spectrum… I usually start as a pantser writing a few scenes to get a ‘feel’ for the story. Then I’ll sit down and plot out a few chapters… It starts as an outline and then it devolves or evolves, as the case may be, into more scenes. So I’m not strictly one or the other.

What currently compels you to write?

The voices – I write to quiet down the noise in my head. (This answer got me in trouble with a counselor once. I think she was determined to make a name off of the ‘crazy woman’) Sometimes I hear a snippet of conversation in my head… or a piece of music and that brings up an idea for a scene. I’ve been writing like this for more than twenty years… just getting the stories out of my head and onto paper… now a computer file.

Character development is a fascination of mine, where do your characters come from?

EVERYWHERE – sometimes it starts with a name. sometimes by the situation… Maybe I have the hero already in my head… I try to find the right woman to match him… it can be a bit of a weird science situation.

What is your secret party trick?

My fellow Glee Clubbers called me the Human Jukebox. There’s a song for every situation… Every situation has a sunny side (from 42nd street) see?
That and not so much of a party thing… I distract myself during blood tests or IV insertions by reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order (and yes, I learned it from a song)

You seem to be addicted to Chicago Fire, are there other favorite shows that you binge watch?

Hulu cued up Fire mid-season and the first episode I saw had me hooked 😀
What I watch over and over? Hmmm When I’m editing… I listen to old episodes of Hell’s Kitchen. Something about Gordon Ramsey screaming makes it easier to look at things with a less emotional eye, I guess.
When I’m writing. I usually pick a show that I’ve seen numerous times and let it play like white noise in the background. Xfiles, Roswell, CSI: Miami (I love hearing Calleigh’s voice), West Wing, Project Runway, Top Chef, The British Bake-off… and the Catherine Cookson Mini-Series from BBC and Austen series. My watching habits are just as across the board as my reading…

Whats the one question you always like when people ask authors?

I guess… what their favorite books are… I especially love hearing about childhood books. My favorite, the one that really got me reading and the first one up all night, under the cover, flashlight on, was Little Women.

What’s in your Wallet?

Beyond the couple of $ I keep in there… My tickets from visiting the Winchester House last year, a  Fortune Card from my trip to Sacramento when Marina and I consulted Zoltar and a good luck fortune from New Years. I’m sentimental – or just mental, you can decide

 

YOU CAN FIND REINA ONLINE HERE:

Reina Torres Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/ReinaTorresRomance/

Reina Torres Blog https://www.reinatorres.com

Twitter https://www.twitter.com/rtorresauthor

Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/author/reinatorresromance

Join my all genre newsletter – http://eepurl.com/bZ87Uv

Or if you’re a Sweet Romance only reader… email me and I’ll add you to the specific list reinatorresauthor@gmail.com

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15294691.Reina_Torres

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/reinatorresromance/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/reinatorresauth/

Wine Country Tour with Kate Kisset

1-Kate Kisset-Kate Kisset Books

Hey everyone! Thanks for having me Lulu!

I’m Kate Kisset waving to you from my car. Get ready, we’re going on a road trip today to celebrate the release of my third book AND I LOVE YOU. I’m about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco in California wine country, the setting of my series.

While Lulu’s running back into the house to grab her stuff, allow me to introduce myself.

Readers say my stories aresexy, and refreshing, with complex characters and plots that serve up humor without holding back on heart.”

I took the phrase “write what you know,” to a whole new level :). My books take place right outside my front door. I use “real” wine country locations, actual events and pour genuine wine whenever possible.

Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards, And I Love You

 

Here’s the scoop on my series:

Love in the Vineyards is a small-town romance series centering around six very hot Italian brothers from a Napa Valley wine dynasty and three strong, passionate women who are roommates at nearby villa in Sonoma Valley. The Santino brothers are swoon-worthy, protective, loyal men who’ll do anything for the women they adore…

(FYI: You don’t have to know anything about wine. My characters just drink it.)

I have three books out so far: Love at Last, Love’s Home Run and my latest, And I Love You. All the novels are standalone romances and readers are loving them. Check out the hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon to see what I mean.

Lulu’s getting in the car now, so buckle up. I’m going to take you to some of the scenes in my books and show you around California wine country…

*All the photos are my own, taken with my phone camera.

3-Bella Villa, Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards

 

Let’s park at the villa. In Love in the Vineyards, the heroines of Love at Last, Love’s Home Run and And I love You live in this historic villa.

Lulu Castelli the landlady of what I call “Bella Villa” is more like family to my characters, Sarah, Danica, and Juliet.

In my story, Lulu is the great-granddaughter of a famous winemaker very similar to Agoston Haraszthy.  Mr. Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” created California’s first premium winery in Sonoma Valley in 1857.

The actual building is an exact replica of the family home the “Count” built in the 1800s. The property is now Bartholomew Winery property in Sonoma Valley.

Moving along, we’re approaching the Sonoma Plaza in the center of town.   

4-The Sonoma Plaza, Kate Kisset, Sonoma, Love in the Vineyards

 

The series begins with Love at Last when Sarah Dupont moves to Sonoma after her fiancé cheated on her with a co-worker at their San Francisco bakery.

Sarah opens her own café on the Sonoma Plaza and gets tricked into giving notorious panty-dropper-actor Jamie Santino baking lessons for his upcoming movie role. (*Inside scoop: The “real” Basque Boulangerie Café just a few doors down from theatre was the inspiration behind Sarah’s Vine Café in the story.)

5-The Sebastiani theatre, Kate Kisset, Sonoma Plaza-

Their love affair ends up throwing Sarah for a loop. Her heart’s already been broken once. How can she believe Jamie isn’t acting when everything he says sounds too good to be true?

Let’s pull over for a second. A lot of people think Sonoma looks a lot like Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. Do you notice a similarity?

(*Inside scoop: Jamie Santino shows up at a screening at the “real” Sebastiani theater at the end of Love at Last.)

Did I mention that every woman at Bella Villa and all the Santino brothers are getting happily-ever-afters in this series? Let’s head over to the ballpark, it’s just off the plaza.

6-Love's Home Run Collage, Kate Kisset, Kate Kisset books, Love in the Vineyards, Love's Home Run,

Book two, Love’s Home Run centers around Jamie Santino’s baseball star brother, Luca. Luca and Danica Vargas (Sarah’s roommate) were childhood sweethearts. When Luca ends up back in wine country, Danica doesn’t recognize him.

She didn’t think he’d ever come home or she wouldn’t have “accidentally” kissed his older brother Michael.

(Inside Scoop: The Napa Crushers, Luca’s team in the book was inspired by Sonoma’s “real” indie team, the Sonoma Stompers.)

7-And I Love You-GG Bridge-Kate Kisset, Love in the Vineyards

 

I’m going to head back to the put the car in park now. In book three, my latest release And I Love You, the scenes move back and forth from Sonoma to San Francisco.

Disc jockey Juliet St. John, (the third Bella Villa roommate), has been patiently waiting for her happily-ever-after and she finds one with single dad, Gabe Durand.

Here’s the short blurb:

She’s the overnight DJ desperate for a caffeine infusion.
He’s the late-night bartender who has just what she needs.
If they play their cards right they might both get the refill of a lifetime.

(Inside scoop: I used to be a San Francisco disc jockey and just like Juliet, I was demoted to the graveyard shift! I used to run from my car to the station every night praying I wouldn’t get mugged.)

Kate Kisset, And I Love You, Love in the Vineyards

 

I think this is a good time to wrap up our drive today. Thank you so much for having me Lulu! I hope you and your readers enjoyed the mini-tour of wine country and got to know me a little better.

I’m working on book #4 of the series, Michael Santino’s story now. This one’s a doozy. I’m sticking with the plan to “write what you know” and setting this story in the middle of the wildfires that hit northern California wine county last fall. It’ll be “hot” to say the least!

I’d love it if you followed me and we stayed in touch.

Here’s where you can find me:

Kate Kisset AMAZON PAGE (All Books)

http://www.katekisset.com/

Kate Kisset NEWSLETTER

Kate Kisset FACEBOOK

Kate Kisset PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

Kate Kisset INSTAGRAM

Kate Kisset TWITTER

Kate Kisset BOOKBUB

Play Ball! Interview with author Jen Doyle

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. CALLING IT, the first book in her baseball/contemporary romance/romantic comedy series of the same name, has been winning awards since its inception, the most recent being the 2017 Best Banter Contest. (And it’s on sale through 4/5/18 for 99 cents!) She also writes the acclaimed HANSONS OF ST. HELENA series of novellas in the St. Helena Vineyard Kindle World.

Today is the beginning of baseball for the year and the first day of Jen’s 99 cent sale! The runs until April 5th.
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I love to set a scene for our interview. It helps to give the readers a little more insight into you as a person. I’m not sure if we should be at a ballpark with hotdogs and drinks, or chatting quietly in the big comfy chairs at a library?

LOL! How about sitting on the beautiful porch of a library that’s situated in an old Victorian home and overlooks a baseball field? (I used the house in the picture at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/385620786821588739/ as my inspiration for, well, the Inspiration (IA) Public Library. So that’s the porch I’m thinking of. Which, come to think of it, kind of looks like the porch on the house in Field Of Dreams, which in turn looks over a baseball field. [See how I did that? ]) Oh, and don’t forget the Cracker Jacks!

Your first series centers around baseball and a small town in Iowa. So let’s start with baseball, I take it you are a fan? Who is your favorite team? Did you grow up playing as a kid?

I am! I actually just recorded a podcast with my sister where we talk about that. For me, baseball brings about memories of sitting in the living room and doing homework while my dad watched the game on the TV. He was a huge Yankees fan, so those games were a big part of my growing up. When I met the man who was to become my husband (we met in college), the fact that he was a Red Sox fan was a bit of a concern in my family…with good reason. We moved to Boston in 1996 and living in such a big baseball town it was hard not to begin to side with the hometown team. I officially converted in 2003 and am now raising three fairly rabid Red Sox fans, to (some of) my family’s dismay.

And now for small towns, you also write for St. Helena Vineyards Kindle Worlds, that also takes place in and around a small town. What drew you to these two small-town locations for your writing?

It’s weird, because I’m actually a city girl at heart, but when it comes to my fiction, I love reading and writing about small towns. I think it’s about these communities of people who know everything about each other and are in each other’s business all the time. Sometimes that’s a good thing, with communities coming together in times of hardship, and sometimes, of course, it’s not quite as idyllic, with small-town politics, etc. But being able to explore those themes—and play up those characters—is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

And to add on to that, what I love about writing in the St. Helena Vineyard KW universe, is the ability to play off the amazing characters that Marina Adair created in her original series and then either expand upon or bring brand new characters into the world. Plus, to be part of this community of writers…it’s like all the amazing parts of a small town rolled up into one.

Tell us a little about the Calling It! series. Is there a next book in the works, and what is that one about?

The Calling It series starts off with, unsurprisingly, LOL, Calling It in which a superstar major league baseball player Nate Hawkins returns to his small hometown of Inspiration, IA, in order to escape a scandal that he’s part of through no part of his own. He hasn’t told anyone he’s coming home, so when he arrives in town just before midnight, he decides to crash at his baby sister’s apartment, not knowing that she’s sublet it. When he’s confronted by a woman in her bathrobe—who is very much not his sister—he finds himself being more intrigued than he should be, especially considering she’s clearly ready to clobber him with a baseball bat. The woman, of course, is the local librarian, Dorie Donelli. Things proceed from there.

There are two more books in the series—Called Up, which centers around Nate’s baby sister (Fitz) and one of his best friends from high school (Deke), and Called Out, which centers around Nate’s former teammate and Deke’s sister Lola. All are standalone books, but definitely more enjoyable if read in order because of the way different characters are revisited. There’s also a shorter length book, Holiday House Call, that takes place in the same small town. It, too, is a standalone and more loosely related than the other books, however, it does bring back some of the same characters from the earlier books.

I’m actually working on a proposal for a new series right now, but my next project is to write the first book in a spin-off series that will revolve around Dorie’s brothers back in Boston. And then—I hope!—back to Inspiration again as there are still some characters whose stories I’d like to tell.  

You also have a paranormal romance serial out on Radish. Educate us a bit on what Radish is, and how readers access your work there. 

Radish is an app that you would download—just like any other app—and then begin to explore the different genres. For those not familiar, serial fiction is made up of stories that are told over a period of time. With Radish, each story is broken up into difference ‘episodes’ which are posted throughout the week. So, for example, Butterfly Ops, my story in Radish, is posted three times each week. It’s part of the ‘freemium’ model, which means that the initial few chapters are free, and then readers can either choose to pay coins for succeeding chapters or wait until they become free over time.

You used to be a big mystery fan, do you blend your two favorite genres? Romance with serious who-done-its?

You know, I don’t! That’s so funny. I never thought about that. Butterfly Ops, although primarily a romance, does have an overarching mystery to it, and that was a lot of fun to write. But my contemporary romances don’t have any whodunit elements whatsoever. Hmmmm… I’ll need to think about that.

Do you listen to music when you write? What is the soundtrack to your latest book if you do?

I don’t really listen to music while I’m writing because there are already too many voices in my head, LOL. But I will say that I find music very inspirational and that it helps stir the creative juices when I’m more in the ruminating stage of a book. Or, for that matter, when I’m really stuck. I will say that I had a very difficult time writing Holiday House Call due to some things that were going on in my life, and although I had a contract deadline to meet, I was getting to the point where I was afraid I actually wasn’t going to be able to do it and that bothered me immensely. And then I stumbled upon Walker Hayes (specifically the video to You Broke Up With Me) and that finally got me going again. It wasn’t the song so much as the musician. He had all the characteristics I was looking for in Tuck, my hero for the book—not just the looks, although the whole chiseled jaw, ridiculously gorgeous arms thing didn’t hurt, but he brought to life a character that I was having a hard time visualizing and it made a huge difference. (Incidentally, Walker Hayes is an incredible songwriter and storyteller. I highly recommend boom., the CD he just recently put out.)

Who are your writing heroes, and how did they inspire you to become a writer?

You know how people say they knew from almost as soon as they could talk that they’d be a writer? Yeah. I’m not one of those. I actually didn’t even think of myself as a writer until about five years ago. Up until then, I considered it a hobby as the first thing I put to paper (well, virtually, of course) was a fanfic in the Buffy universe. One of my favorite characters left the show under circumstances that I wasn’t at all happy with, so I decided to write an explanation that I could live with. My writing career kind of spiraled from there.

As part of that experience, however, I ‘met’ someone named Diana, who responded to one of the first stories I ever wrote. (Incidentally, dear reader, she hated it.) But that turned into a ten-year relationship where she helped me make the journey from hobbyist to actual novelist. She’s the person who eventually told me that I had it in me to write a book—that, in fact, given what I’d done in the fan fiction world, I already had nine times over—and that I should think about it seriously. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to dedicate Calling It, my first published novel, to her.

The question I ask everyone is about their characters. How do your characters come to you? Do they show up and say “hi write me” or do they develop as you construct your story?

I’d say it’s a combination of both. Although I have a general sense of where my story is going to go, I find that the characters truly take me there. I’m definitely one of those writers who basically has scenes unfold in my head as I’m writing them (thus the ‘voices in my head’ I referred to earlier), and, as a result, characters basically telling me where they want to go. There are also some characters which take some time to develop—like Tuck, from Holiday House Call, who I didn’t even know was going to have a book of his own until, well, he did—and then some characters who are so vivid and strong that I’ve known from the second they appear in my head exactly how their story is going to play out. For example, Jack, the hero from Called Out (#3), is one of the first characters I ever conceived of even though he didn’t show up in person until the very end of book one. And although some of the background details may have changed a bit, he ended up exactly as I saw him in those very early days.

Which comes first the character or the story?

I guess I’d say the characters, but only by a little bit. I tend to see particular scenes in my head, and those scenes have characters in them—sometimes the romantic leads, sometimes a group of friends—but I have no idea what bigger story the scene is part of. Which, unfortunately, is a huge problem for me, LOL. (I HATE first drafts.)

Which do you prefer rom-coms or action adventure movies? Or are you an Oscars kind of flick person (of course this year a monster movie won, so that’s a bit of a change up, isn’t it?)

I like my movies the way I like my books—with happy endings. So, unfortunately, those big “important” films that tend to win the big awards don’t usually appeal to me no matter how amazing they might be. And although I do enjoy a good action adventure movie for, say, date night with my husband, or a family outing with the kids (have you seen the new Jumanji? It was AWESOME), I will always choose the rom-com if it’s just me. But it definitely has to have a happy ending. None of that Nicholas Sparks stuff for me!

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. No question. (To the point where I went out to lunch last weekend and ordered a Diet Coke, and when the waitress asked if Diet Pepsi was okay, I had to give the big n-o and switch to Iced Tea.)

What’s on your pizza?

Well, I should probably say things like a lot of vegetables and easy on the cheese. But that would be a total lie. Pepperoni and extra cheese, please.

I really want to ask that credit card commercial question: What’s in your wallet?

Ha! My wallet is pretty boring. Credit cards, my driver’s license, and a bunch of old receipts that I stuffed into the inner pocket. My purse on the other hand…I’ve got toy cars (even though my kids stopped playing with them some time ago), cough drops, tissues, a book, my planner, pens, more cough drops… Oh, I could go on.

And with that, it looks like I’ve reached the end! Thank you sooooo much for having me! I’ve enjoyed sitting here on the porch and watching the game with you. Let’s do this again sometime!

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Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less in her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

 

Interview with Anna J. Stewart

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Anna J. Stewart is a USA Today and national bestselling author. Her work ranges from sweet romance, to not so sweet, romantic suspense. Her new release Always the Hero comes out tomorrow (March 1) and will be available as ebook from leading online ebook retailers.(edit: I’ve got links for you at the bottom of the page).

I like to set my interviews in a setting, gives us and the reader a little inside into where you would like to relax. As a self-proclaimed geek girl would we be at Comic Con, or hanging out in the lobby before the next Marvel Cinematic Universe movie?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. With a lot of movies coming out in the next couple of months AND a local Comic Con, it’s an even bet, LOL.

Speaking of MCU movies, what did you think of Black Panther?
I knew it was going to be good. People were raving ahead of time but I didn’t expect to be that blown away. I felt so empowered, so proud of what writers and filmmakers and amazing actors can do when they combine their efforts. And the message of the movie couldn’t be better timed. It wasn’t just a great comic book movie, it was a great movie. One I can’t wait to see again. Which I’m going to have to, because I was late for an appointment and missed the final extra scene. *whaaaaa!*

What were your feelings when watching Wonder Woman last summer?
For a writer, this is going to be a cop out, but indescribable. I’ve been waiting for a feature film of Wonder Woman since I was seven years old. Growing up, there were three shows I never missed: The Hardy Boys, The Bionic Woman, and Wonder Woman. Having read so much about the character, about her history, about the purpose behind her, Patty Jenkins (the director) put it all on the screen and while I wasn’t sold on Gal Gadot when she was first announced, I can’t imagine anyone else playing her now. It was my girl power dreams of childhood made real. Good storytelling, staying true to the character, and those Amazons. Woohoo! I still get chills. I think it was also, aside from the Dark Knight Trilogy, that DC finally got one of their characters right (as opposed to MCU). I’m crossing my fingers for Aquaman (then again, it’s Jason Momoa, so who really cares? I’m going no matter what, LOL).

Cos play yes or no?
Ah, no. Although I did consider wearing a bullet proof vest with “writer” on the front to go as Castle one year. That said, there have been some pretty kick-ass female characters of late to emulate.

Please tell us about Always the Hero, and the Butterfly Harbor Stories.
Butterfly Harbor is my fictional homage to Monterey and the Pacific Grove area of California. As a born and bred California girl, I have a hard time setting my books anywhere else. I love it here. Butterfly Harbor is small town personified, with lots of fun, quirky characters who deal with serious real-life problems.

Always the Hero is the fourth story in the series and features Deputy Matt Knight, an Afghan war veteran who lost his leg in combat. He’s made a lot of promises to a lot of people and he’s not about to let anyone down. But sometimes it just isn’t possible to be all things to all people and unfortunately, he’s going to have to earn Lori Bradley’s trust again after breaking her heart. Lori has her own issues stemming from a difficult childhood that included the death of her little brother when she was only ten, and an event in high school that still haunts her even though she’s convinced herself she’s moved beyond it. She’s my first full-figured heroine, something I’ve been dying to put on the page. As someone who has battled her weight for most of her life, I wanted to explore those issues from a completely different perspective.

Is this a serial series we need to start at the beginning, or can we jump in at any point and still get a complete story?
They absolutely stand on their own so a reader can jump in anywhere they’d like. Hopefully seeing where the characters are now will entice them to read how they got there.

When did you and the writing muse discover each other?
I think I was always a storyteller. I used to make up stories all the time, probably because I was an only child and if I wasn’t reading or watching TV, I was lost in my imagination. Freshman year of high school, soon after reading my first romance, some friends and I started writing mini-romances featuring our favorite rock stars. They moved past it. I didn’t. It’s all I wanted to do. It’s really all I’ve been doing since.

How do your characters come to you? Some authors have described them as voices in their heads, others as a construct they create as they write. Where do your characters fall in that range?
Every story I’ve written has come differently. Sometimes it’s plot or story idea first, other times it’s definitely the character. When the characters appear, Most of the time I tend to know what they look like, but I spend an inordinate amount of time fleshing them out before I get writing. There have been times when I haven’t been able to wait and just jump in. For LOVE IN FOCUS, my second Kindle Worlds story for the St. Helena Vineyards series, Dante was just there (if you read the story, you’ll definitely see why).

Being a USA Today Best Seller is a huge goal, how did you feel when you found out?
I was very fortunate it happened very early on. It was a novella I wrote for a boxed set that I was asked to participate in right before my first Berkley book, ASKING FOR TROUBLE came out. I was thrilled and a bit stunned. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like adding that to my website and signature line, but that said? It’s still all about the stories for me and whichever one I’m working on at the moment.

You write both sweet romance to hot. How do you decide which is appropriate for your stories?
Honestly, my publisher decides, LOL. The Heartwarming line is Harlequin’s sweet (or as they call it, clean and wholesome) line. There’s NO sex on the page and even very little sexual/physical contact. It’s all about the emotions and the connection between the hero and heroine, which I happen to love. Not having a love scene to rely on has made me a better writer; I have to focus on more than the physical and really delve into why two people fall in love. That said, after writing a few sweet romances, I’m ready for some characters to hit the sack. Not that any of my books get particularly steamy. I’m tame by most people’s standards. I write what I like to read.

Do you have a preference for sweet or for the more detailed steamy scenes?
Totally depends on the characters. Going into any of my Heartwarmings, I know what I can and can’t include. I can push the boundaries a little with the romantic suspense and paranormal (which I just started publishing). If I had a preference? I’d fall somewhere in the middle.

I saw a teaser on your website that you plan on returning to writing paranormal and urban fantasy, how soon can we expect that to happen?
It did, actually! In February, I published the first of three short paranormal romances (all connected) in Heart’s Kiss Magazine. WARDEN OF MAGIC (book 1, February’s issue), WARDEN OF SIGHT (April’s issue), and WARDEN OF FATE make up one big story of three sisters vacationing in Edinburgh, Scotland, who each find themselves whisked into a magical storybook. From there, they each meet their heroes, imprisoned warriors, and together they must battle and defeat an evil focused on taking over the imaginary world…or is it imaginary? I’m having SO much fun writing these. It’s like coming home (it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve written any new paranormal stories).

The NSA checks out your browser history, what are they going to think of you?
Oh, trust me. If the NSA checks, you’ll be seeing me featured on the evening news, LOL. I’ve researched everything from pipe bombs (for a Heartwarming no less) to blood diseases to serial killers. Man, I love my job.
You can find Anna on these social media outlets:

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Book Bub

Instagram

 

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You can find Always the Hero at these retail ebook retailers:

Kolin Mofield, author in the making

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I like to set the mood for these interviews. So where are we? A coffee shop or a reading corner in an indie bookseller? And are you drinking coffee, tea, or some other concoction?

(I like the way you start it, set’s a tone).

We are enjoying NY style greasy pepperoni pizza for lunch at a small bookseller overlooking the Cumberland River. It’s a beautiful summer day with thunder off in the distance. (great, now I really want pizza)

At what point did you know you wanted to be an author?

I admire those people who state that they have always known they would be a writer/author and started writing beautiful prose in elementary school. My path has been far different. I was always a little different and knew that; not exactly a loner, but outside the norm. I would have imaginary stories develop at the oddest times, swimming in a pool I would find Aqua Man or alone at a social event/family event, I was slaying a dragon or finding a wild stallion meant for me, that only I could tame. I was often in my in my own little world, oblivious to my surroundings. I don’t know if it was an escape or just over-active imagination, but I didn’t realize it was the beginning of my “calling”. Fast-forward to the mid-1980s. I was divorced with two young boys, working two jobs and shopping in my parent’s pantry. I hated to be alone; I had not yet learned to like myself and those were the hardest times. My boys would have every other weekend with their father who I still refer to as Shit-Head and you can only clean the dingy apartment so many times. One of those weekends, I picked up a legal pad, you know, one of the 11 x 14 yellow pads and began writing. My first try was a historical romance entitled Whispering Cedars and filled ten legal pads and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What currently compels you to write?

Characters constantly stalking me wanting their story to be told. It is quite loud and busy in my head.

Tell us a little about what you write?

I have evolved into what I like to call thrilling mystery/suspense. Not quite a thriller, but more than suspense and mystery. Elements of romance dot the pages throughout their story, I mean, what is a story without love, it is part of the human contingent, if you ask me. Anyway, my primary character typically is an everyday person working an everyday job who is thrown into an extraordinary situation. Through their journey, we find out if they have what it takes deep within to survive. I, like the reader, never really know until the end of the story.

I began writing Historical Romance. My grandmother read every terrible manuscript I wrote (God, love her and rest her soul), said that my writing was very strong when I killed someone or the scene was dark, that I should look at murder mysteries. I have been working on them since that time. I believe she was correct and I have found my voice.

Authors are told to write what they know. How closely do you adhere to that philosophy? Tells us a bit about what you do know and how (if it does) does that leak into your work.

As to writing philosophies, I really don’t have any. Well, I take that back, I do believe that you should write the story of your heart, every time. Never, ever, write for the market. Now, there are those who have success that way and perhaps that is why I have yet to see a publisher’s contract. Shrug, who knows?

What I know for sure is that from my many, many professional positions, that experience leaks into story lines one way or another. My experience is so varied because, by the time I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had changed jobs so many times, I learned several skill sets which worked quite well for the author in me.

The closest to contentment in my day job was as a police officer and worked with my small town as a reserve for four years. Had I found this earlier in my life, I would have been happier in my “day job” and worked as a cop full time. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

I did have ride alongs with Metro police and it was invigorating. Seeing the dark, nitty-gritty streets of Nashville certainly has its benefits with ideas, new storylines, etc. Moreover, being able to experience the brotherhood of cops is the most moving for me as an author. Being affiliated with them has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

What are you currently working on?

I refer to my novels by the heroine’s first name. Typically, their name shortened to a nickname that could be misconstrued as a man. I am not sure how this came to be; but it has become part of my brand, if you will.

Anyway, Jess is completed and I am editing her story. She meets up with three friends from high school to rekindle their relationship before their reunion. Jess finds one friend dead in her hotel suite and one by one, her friends are found dead and she is forced to escape into the Smoky Mountains and then to the city streets of DC to find the killer.

Jo is half-way done and set in Colorado where she returns to her first love’s ranch as a housekeeper. She must clear her name after being set up and implicated in the murder of the Pennsylvania governor.

Charlie is fleshed out; I do know that she is a Coroner’s Investigator and is working with the police on a string of drag queen murders.

Vic is the only female cop/detective in a good ‘ole boy southern town who discovers what is the first of many bodies left in the intricate cave system in Tennessee. She has been fun to work with in this scenario from my own small town experience to pull from, but also she has some compelling OCD issues that I didn’t know about until recently. This has been a challenge for me as her storyteller.

Scottie is a new character for me and we are getting to know each other right now. She kind of reminds of Rizzoli on Rizzoli and Isles drama.

What is your publishing dream?

I suppose the ultimate dream for me is to be walking somewhere like an airport or in a park and see someone reading my book. There is no greater compliment and that would be the time I knew I made it.

I’m fascinated with how different authors experience their characters. How do your characters come to you?

They yell at me, they appear from nowhere and want their story told. Jo, who I mentioned earlier, she yelled at me for years from the pew of a church for at least ten years until I finally began her story. She would turn and look back at me, raise her eyebrows and ask when was it her turn. They poke my imagination until I begin their story. It’s quite fun finding out what makes them tick.

I understand you are a big hockey fan. Do you play? Do you skate?

No, in hockey terms, I am a bender which means I don’t have strong ankles. I barely can skate and don’t play hockey, but love the game. My boys are the ones who dragged me kicking and screaming away from little league baseball. However, after the first game, I have never looked back. It’s the best youth sport to watch; fast-paced, team oriented and competitive. Yes, I am a huge hockey fan and I am excited to say that as of this interview, my Nashville Predators have just won the Western Conference and are now waiting to see who they play in the Stanley Cup. This is so exciting for me, for our city and for the many youth hockey players who were told by others to “play a real sport.” As a goalie mom of two and one college hockey goalie in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is a stressful job as a parent as they are either the hero or the bum. Tough, tough job, but my boys handle it well. I love the sport, the family of hockey fans/players/families. In a way, it is similar to that of the cops. It’s a brotherhood and I tend to be drawn to those who are loyal and beyond reproach. (Unfortunately, the Preds did not win the Stanley Cup, but man, they came close.)

So tell me about your experience trying to get farm fresh eggs. (cause this is funny)

Laughing. Wow. One of my best friends had chickens and they had to go to a hockey tournament for a week. I told her I would feed her chickens and get the eggs. How hard could it be? Well, let me tell you, it’s not easy for someone who grew up in the suburbs. Thankfully, my better half grew up on a farm and although having a good laugh at my expense. Did you know that chickens growl? Well, they do and they peck when you try and get the eggs. The chickens sit on the eggs and you have to steal them and it’s painful. I had no idea. Then, you find a rogue rooster wild eyes, it’s quite terrifying when it chases you into a car. Oh yes, the bird from hell. Spouse filmed it and I am glad, outside of comedic viewing, I used what happened and allowed Jo experienced it as well and with many more chickens, of course, that I did that day. It wasn’t pretty.

If someone were to look into your browser history today, what would they think of you?

They would be very concerned and probably contact the FBI. (grin)

Action movies or rom-com?

Action movies with strong plots. Good horror flicks.

Saturday morning cartoons or monster movies?

Neither; coffee and meditation.

What’s the one question you always like when people ask authors?

As I have yet to be published, I have not yet really had questions asked. However, what I do get:

“I have a great story idea. We need to talk, you can write it and it will be a bestseller.”

or

“Where can I buy your book?”

“Well, I am not published yet, have been almost for years, but not yet.”

Insert pitiful look here

“Let me know if you need help with the sex scenes.”

Um, yea.

If someone asks me where I get my ideas from, I find that hard to answer. So many places, a news story, an investigative show, an article in a news paper. Many times, ideas just come to me as “what if…”. All I really know for sure is that my family is very thankful I have an outlet.

Here is my website:

They can find me at all the usual places, @Kolinmofield for Twitter; KolinMofield on Instagram and KolinMofield on Facebook.

Author Interview with Monica McCabe

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 Q: If we were having a real in-person conversation, where are we? Beach, bar, talk show, radio?

A: I’d have to combine two and say beach bar! We’d enjoy the warmth of the sun while sipping on a frozen daiquiri, listen to sea birds, and watch boats come and go in the harbor. Doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Q: Tell us about the Jewel intrigue series. Would you describe them as adventure with romantic element or romance with adventure?

A: Well, I’ve been accused of being plot heavy in the books. Like that’s a bad thing or something. *Snort* So I guess I’d have to go with adventure with romantic elements. I suppose there could be some truth to that statement though. I usually work through the plot first. The romance is second. Is that wrong of a romance writer to admit to?

 

Q: Of the three novels, which hero is your favorite?

A: Holy cow. That’s an impossible question. Each has elements that I’m drawn to, so I love them all. But…don’t tell anyone…I do have a favorite of my three books. It’s Phantom Pearl. Maybe because it’s the latest one, but it’s really more about the storyline – Yamashita’s Gold and a WWII mystery. I was fascinated by the research!

 

Q: Will there be more Jewel Intrigue books?

A: I hope so. My contract mentions an option for a fourth book, and I’m waiting on word from the publisher. If so, I have a secondary character in my first book…Jason Harvick. He had such a strong personality and kept trying to steal the scenes. Which shows, I guess, because I’ve had several demands to get busy writing his story.

 

Q: What else have you written?

A: I have a completed YA novel written in the same adventurous style. It’s set in the Amazon River basin in Brazil. But my first book ever was a historical. I love reading them, so naturally I thought it’s what I’d write. Nope. Turns out, it takes a special sort of voice and I honestly don’t have it. Critique partners kept asking me… Have you ever considered writing contemporary? I hadn’t. I eventually gave in though, and switched. That’s when I found my niche.

 

Q: What can we expect next?

A: I’ve got another adventure series in the planning stage. And I’m working on a mystery collaboration with my critique partner. And of course, book 4 in the Jewel Intrigue novels. Right now though, I’m trying to figure out this newsletter thing. Believe it or not, it’s more daunting to me than the prospect of writing another book!

 

Q: You are quite an adventurer, how much of your own exploits do you include in your writing?

A: Guilty. I’m constantly doing this. I think all writers draw inspiration from personal experience. You can’t help filtering book events through that lens and I believe it adds flavor to the writing. We can all look at the same thing and see it multiple ways. That’s a great thing!

 

Q: What has been the most harrowing experience you have encountered so far (facing down lions on safari? Seeing a real bear in the woods while hiking?)

A: I’m not sure. I’m an adventuress, but I do have limits. I don’t like heights, so climbing Mt. Everest isn’t in the cards. Neither is rock climbing. No way. But I’ve never shied away from exploring new places, learning to scuba dive, taking a hot-air balloon ride, or hiking the back country. I’ve been pretty close to Alaska’s brown bears while visiting Katmai National Park, but they weren’t interested in me, they had salmon on the brain. Haven’t yet been on a safari, but it’s on my short list. I can only hope to see lions!

 

Q: What has been the most exciting adventure you have been on?

A: Oh my word. That’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to go with climbing the ancient Mayan pyramid at Chichén Itzá, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. We flew from Cancun on a small 10 seater prop plane and landed on a grassy runway carved out of the jungle. It was fantastic. We spent all day exploring the ruins, and topped it off by climbing to the top of the pyramid. Let me tell you, the energy up there is freaky strange, but the view is spectacular. The climb down was steep though, and pretty frightening for someone who doesn’t like heights. There were no guard rails or safety features, nothing but ancient crumbling rock, steep stairs, and a sign that said climb at your own risk. We did. And it was completely worth it.

 

Q: Where do your characters come from?

A: I start with a loose idea, a type of character, then focus on plot. Once the story begins to form, personalities begin to take shape too. Take book one in my series, Diamond Legacy. I knew my heroine was going to be a dental zoologist. I got the idea from a newspaper article regarding the Nashville zoo. Seems they had an orangutan that needed a root canal and they had to get on a wait list to fly in a vet specialist. WOWZERS! That intrigued me and Miranda Parrish was born. She’d be tops in her field, travel extensively, and have to go to Botswana where she’d stumble into diamond smuggling. I knew the hero would be an undercover agent in the dark world of conflict diamonds and gunrunners, he’d also be driven by a personal vendetta. That’s the way all my books start – shadowy idea of a character, while the plot takes center stage. Eventually, that flips.

 

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: Reading is a luxury anymore. It’s a time thing. But I do have a 45 minute commute to the day job, then 45 back home. So audio books are a Godsend. Last one I listened to was a Steve Berry book. He’s a favorite because his books are a twist of historical mystery and contemporary thriller. Before that it was a Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg novel. They co-write the Fox and O’Hare series. A female FBI agent and a dashing con artist. The books are irresistible!

 

Q: Do your books have soundtracks that helped to create them? Or what do you listen to when you write?

A: No soundtrack. Music is too distracting. I need quiet in order to concentrate. What I do though, is create a wall of pictures. I print out character images, setting locales, anything and everything that has import in the book. I tape them into a collage on the wall by my computer. For Phantom Pearl I had images of Dallas and Riki, pictures of Australia and Singapore, the crashed WWII plane, the treasure, and locations of all major events. It really helps me visualize the story.

 

Q: Cake or pie?

A: Pie. Specifically…Key Lime Pie. Food of the Gods.

 

Q: What’s on your pizza?

A: Funny you should ask. One of my first jobs was a waitress at Pizza Hut. It was a lot of years ago, but one summer they came out with this incredible Taco Pizza. During the rollout we had to wear a sombrero and shout out Ole! whenever someone ordered it. Totally goofy, but the pizza was da bomb. Can’t find anything like it today…but the memory lives on. Sigh…

 

Q: If you win big on the lottery would you buy a ticket on a Virgin Galactic?

A: Umm…no. I love to fly. Like, for realz. Big planes, little planes, sea planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, even parasailing – I’ve done them all. Skirting the atmosphere on a space flight? I can’t begin to tell you how much that freaks me out. Same with parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane. Never, never, never. Not gonna happen, no matter how rich I become.
(edit: someone who understands why would you jump out of a good plane?)

 

3covers

Diamond Legacy:
Africa-where diamonds are the currency of the weapons trade, and trust is the only option between two strangers…

Emerald Fire:
History didn’t always get it right. Sometimes the past is changed by a
two-hundred-year old journal written by a man history declared insane…

Phantom Pearl:
Vendettas and government secrets make a bad combination…

These are available from

Amazon

Kobo

Nook


 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.36.15 PMAdventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure, goofing off outdoors, or researching that next big trip.

Monica is currently working on the Jewel Intrigue Series for Kensington’s Lyrical Press.

You can find Monica McCabe at:

Monica McCabe – Author of the JEWEL INTRIGUE SERIES

https://www.facebook.com/authorMonicaMcCabe

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MonicaMcCabe

https://twitter.com/@monicamccabe/