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And on this fine Monday morning (if any Monday morning can be called fine, that is…), let’s welcome author Larissa Ione to KKB. Ms Ione has graciously offered herself as willing victim erm… guest here today.

In case some of you are not aware, Ms Ione’s third Demonica novel, Passion Unleashed, releases tomorrow from Grand Central Publishing. The first title in the series, Pleasure Unbound, got quite a few rave reviews and authorly squees (check out Ann Aguirre’s) and the second, Desire Unchained, made the USA Today Bestseller list sortly after its release date. You can find much more about these books, the Demonica world and Ms Ione herself in her website. Now… onward to the grilling! erm… interviewing. (more…)

It is with pleasure that I welcome author Jill Shalvis to KKB.

A while back I dug a couple of Ms Shalvis older titles, Get a Clue and Long-lost Mom from the humongous TBR mountain range, and posted my reviews (here and here). That resulted in an exchange of emails with Ms Shalvis from which the following interview germinated.

Without more ado, here’s Ms Shalvis!

You have been a published author since 1996 and have built quite the respectable backlist during that time–all contemporaries, some with a more comedic slant and others with suspense, but no paranormals nor historicals. Have you ever been tempted to try your hand at either?

Actually, I wrote one paranormal for Brava called Out of This World, and it was great fun. But I have to say, for the moment, I’m enjoying writing the sexy contemporaries most. Instant Attraction really blew my skirt up, so I think I’ll stick with that for awhile.

How would you say your writing has changed in the past dozen years? (I.e., balance of dialogue vs description, showing vs telling, etc.)

I’d like to think my writing has greatly improved. So much that I tend to get hives when someone reviews an older book (as you know :grin: ). I don’t like to go there! I’m definitely in the zone now, stronger characters, faster dialogue and banter . . .

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Let’s welcome author Carrie Lofty to KKB! Carrie has agreed to let me grill her a bit :grin: before her historical romance officially hits the stands tomorrow, so let’s get right down to it!

Your debut full length novel, What a Scoundrel Wants, is released tomorrow, December 2nd by Kensington, with Scoundrel’s Kiss slated for release in late 2009. These are both historical romances set in rather unusual time periods—in the Middle Ages, one in England and the other in Spain. Your previously published short story “Through the Garden Gate”, is a time travel romance set in Sorrento, Italy in 1958.

And my first manuscript, Serenade, which will be available as a free serial beginning in January, was set in 1804 Salzburg. Guilty on all counts, I’m afraid. Would you believe I started out with more conventional fare as a grad student of history? My master’s thesis was on the American outlaws Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok. But perhaps studying the Old West for a decade made me eager to seek out new places once I left academia. (more…)

Folks, please help me welcome Ann Aguirre for a grilling session erm, interview.

How long have you written—one of those “since forever” or more of a “sudden epiphany” person?

I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer. When I was in first grade, we had Career Day at school. We got to pick what we wanted to do for a living from cards with job descriptions on them. I chose “freelance writer”. My teacher said, rather condescendingly, “That’s not a real job, honey. Why don’t you pick something else?” That should’ve prepared me for the row I had to hoe.

I never did pick anything else. I scribbled stories from age eight onward. In tenth grade, I wrote my first novel, 150 pages on an old typewriter: small-town girl meets a mysterious boy who works as the Winnie the Pooh mascot at Sears. Despite having led a boring life heretofore, our heroine saves the boy numerous times. Even then, I had no sense of what was proper behavior for a heroine.

My next ‘serious’ attempt came in college. I was studying English Lit, which mostly bored the crap out of me. I discovered romance novels about this time. I ate those books like Cracker Jacks, especially the Loveswept line. I was a real sucker for the Romancing the Stone type story, where the city-bred heroine goes into the jungle with a survivalist hero.

And I thought, I can do this! How hard can it be?

Thus was born my deliciously bad would-be Loveswept romance. The heroine, Skye, was a stripper / heiress. She ran away from her father’s tyrannical control to dance topless and make her own way in the world. Her father hired former Black Ops military man, Stone, to retrieve his wayward daughter. I called it Heaven and Earth. Symbolism! Who says I’m not using my Lit degree? To my vast astonishment, Loveswept didn’t buy it. (more…)

Today we welcome the talented Lauren Dane!

Ready to be grilled? :evil :grin: :

How long have you been writing? (i.e., “since before I could write” or “I just started when…”)

I’m one of those, “Oh I’ve always loved to write” people but I’m also a practical girl so while I wrote for my college newspaper and had a ‘zine with my husband and did the odd poem and short story here and there, I never planned to be a writer. I went to law school instead, LOL.

But then through a host of things happening in my life I ended up on a lot of bed rest when I was pregnant with my daughter and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll give that writing thing a try.” My husband brought home a second hand laptop and I wrote Triad.

That was in 2004 and I’ve been fortunate enough to build something with my writing since.

Would you share your THE CALL story with us? The catch: one paragraph :grin:

I had “the email” experience with my earlier books, which was wonderful but when I sold my first single title to Berkley I got the actual “call” from my agent. I hadn’t been expecting it and when I heard it was her, I said, “You’d better be calling to tell me you sold something,” as a joke. She laughed and said, “Well, I am.” I burst into tears and sat on my stairs while my kids milled around wondering why I was weeping like a baby, scribbling details on piece of paper I still have to this day. (more…)

Welcome again, Shiloh!

Through the Veil, your newest release, has a crossover appeal—romance and a mix of science fiction/urban fantasy/paranormal flavor. You have said that you have a hard time labeling this novel, and that it was very difficult for you to write it. If you had to describe, in ten words or less, the ideal reader/target audience for this book, what would those words be?

(You gave me a word count-that’s cheating… and words in parenthesis don’t count) Probably paranormal romance readers and maybe urban fantasy readers.

You’ve said that your husband inspired this story, could you share what you mean by this?

He did. :grin:

Okay, so I bruise easy. Always have. There is no medical reason for it… I just bruise easy. And I’m a klutz, so I pick up new bruises all the time.

One morning, I woke up and my husband noticed this huge bruise on my hip. He sighs, shakes his head and says, “People are going to think I beat you.”

A little while later, he comes up and tells me, “You need to write a book about this woman who wakes up with all these bruises and she can’t figure out why. Turns out she’s being sucked into another world while she’s sleeping and she’s fighting a war there.”

I think… hmmmm… I can do that. And I did. It just took a few years. :grin:

Why was this novel so hard to write for you? Was it the world building, i.e. keeping the internal consistency of this universe’s rules while allowing for plot twists, etc.?

It’s more complex. I don’t know if it was so much the world building, although that takes time. I think since I have to do some world building my paranormals, I work that it almost automatically, but this book had layers, shades of gray, shades of right and wrong. And a couple of extra stubborn characters.

Being as I am spoiler-phobic, I find it quite difficult to ask questions about the plot and the characters that, from my perspective, wouldn’t reveal too much too early, so the following questions are perhaps a bit too general—please do feel free to be more specific if and when it suits you.

Your world building in Through the Veil is really good and very complex—which is for me is as essential as good characterization, for me, when reading any alternative universe/fantasy story. Did you have to keep some sort of chart or such like for tracking different beings, their abilities, habitats, etc.?

When I first started the book, no. But I started it originally maybe three years ago and then set it aside. Just wasn’t ready to work on it yet.

At that point, the ‘main’ bad guy in the story wasn’t people, but the demon races.

When I got back to it, I decided it would be a good idea to make notes of the demon races just to keep them straight in my head, physical descriptions, their strengths, weaknesses, etc. Once the story got rolling, I didn’t need the notes much, but I left them in there in case my editor thought it would be useful. Ended up being the glossary found at the beginning of the book.

Charts are too organized for me… even the word makes me break out in hives. Got any Benadryl? :wink: (A: I’m not the only one! *happy dancing*)

The history and the changing politics in Anqar have major influence on the events in Through the Veil. Did you keep a timeline for both Ishtan and Anqar?

No. That I kept straight in my head.

Kalen is both reluctant to lead and very effective at it—how do you feel about this dichotomy in his personality? (more…)

(nota bene: As I said yesterday, this is the very first time I attempt interviewing anyone, please be kind, okay? Thanks!)

Shiloh, thank you so much for agreeing to be my guinea pig… erm, for being with us today. You have a new book, Through the Veil, coming out next Tuesday from Berkley Sensation, and I’m going to ask all sorts of questions about it later on, but first I’d like to be nosy about other things, if you don’t mind?

:grin: As long as you don’t ask about my sex life, how much money I make…. Fire away, Aztec.

Although it may seem a bit too coincidental to ask this now, it’s something I’ve been long curious about… How did you come to choose your nom du plume?

Well, it’s Scottish and I love anything Irish, Scottish, Celtic… I don’t know why but when I was trying to pick a name out, Walker just sort of jumped into my mind. Then I needed to find a first name. I’d see Cheyenne McCray’s books on EC, and I loved the feel of her name, so to speak, and was thinking of something with a similar feel, I guess. I was skimming the internet for something, I don’t even remember what, and SHILOH sort of jumped out at me. It was in reference to a church, a city, something, I can’t remember. Started thinking… SHILOH WALKER… huh, I like that.

So voilà…! Shiloh Walker was born.

You’ve said elsewhere that you don’t like having your picture taken and posted online. Would you give us the Cliff Notes of why this is so?

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I happened to be reading some of my old author interviews the other day, (Ya know, when the main blog was live) marvelling over how much my views on Romanceland has changed since I started them, just over two-and-a-half years ago.

Anyway, one of the interviews that amused me greatly was Cheryl Holt’s, so I thought I’d repost it. I think I’ll probably re-visit some of my fave interviews over the next few Tuesdays.

Anyway, enjoy.

Author Name: Cheryl Holt
Website: cherylholt.com
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Latest book in shops now: Too Hot To Handle (Sept ’05) , and Too Tempting To Touch (March ’06)

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Target, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs?

I life in a very small town on the west coast of the US, so the nearest Target store is two hours away. I don’t get there very often. Usually I go in the autumn to shop for school clothes for my 2 kids. You have a very glamorous view of my life, which is — in fact — very quiet and very normal. Where I live, a loaf of bread is anywhere from $1.29 to $2.29.

Why did you choose to write erotic romance books, rather than traditional romance?

I started out writing regular historicals, then the publisher where I was writing shut down the lines I’d been writing for, and I was let go, or “orphaned” as they call it in the book business. My first book wasn’t even out on the store shelves yet. It was very depressing.

I needed to get back out on the market and sell something, and the agent I had at the time advised me to write an erotic historical proposal (this was in 1999) because the market was just opening up and it was going to be very hot. I looked right at him and said “what’s an erotic historical?”

I finally wrote one, Love Lessons, which I sold to my current publisher, St. Martins Press, and it turns out that I not only have a knack for writing great love stories, but also for writing very sexy, very hot love stories. It still surprises me

Books such as More Than Seduction, aren’t for the faint-hearted, do you have a certain audience in mind when you write, and if so, what kind of people do you imagine, read your books?

I don’t think about the audience too much, or I’ll drive myself crazy trying to figure out what everybody wants. I get letters that tell me that my books are too sex-packed, that they’re too tame, that they’re too fast-paced, that they’re too slow, that they’re too action-packed, that they’re too boring

Everybody who reads books has such diverse tastes. I simply try to think up a great story, with great issues and great characters, then I write it down, and hope people enjoy it.

Luckily, my editor really encourages me. She likes me to “push the envelope” with stories, to give people heroes and villains that they can love and hate, so I work very hard to do that. But when you have terrible villains, doing terrible things, it can create situations that aren’t what you’d find in a “typical” romance, so my stories leap beyond the boundaries that you’d find in other romance novels.

When you develop your characters, do you model them on people you know in your life, or do they all come from inside your head? (more…)