Category Archives: Author interviews

Winner of the Lisa Dale giveaway!

Slow Dancing on Price's PierThanks so much to everyone who commented on my interview with Lisa Dale, and to Lisa for giving away a copy of Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier.

The very lucky winner is…Maureen!

Maureen, send me your mailing address to romancingkatrina (at) gmail (dot) com.

Everyone, this week you have the chance to win Shana Galen’s upcoming historical romance, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride (and learn some cool facts about pirates, too!).

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Interview with Lisa Dale – and giveaway!

Lisa Dale

Photo by Eric Rank

A couple of years ago, I began hearing about an author who wrote very smart contemporary romantic novels. I picked up Lisa Dale’s It Happened One Night and fell in love with her style.

Lisa’s intelligence and curiosity about a wide array of subjects shine through her stories. She’s here today talking about her latest release, A Promise of Safekeeping, and giving away a copy of her previous novel, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier.

Welcome, Lisa!

Thank you tons for having me!

1. Your novels always feature characters who have really interesting careers – or maybe it’s the way you include fascinating bits of your research into your novels that makes their careers seem so interesting. From astronomy to flowers to the history of coffee, you cover a wide range of topics. What’s been your most interesting subject to research, and what can we look forward to reading more about in A Promise of Safekeeping?

I love all of it! I’m as nerdy as it gets…so I’ve always got my nose in a book and am trying to learn new things. Part of that comes from being a writer: we have to know things like, what certain flowers are called, what certain trees are, what are the architectural parts of a building and what period are they from…etc. Knowing those kinds of things aids in writing good descriptions.

A Promise of SafekeepingMy characters’ careers are often just an excuse for me to dig into a subject. Lauren, in A Promise of Safekeeping, is a body language expert—which is SOOOOOO fascinating. Lauren’s great at her job, but not so good at reading body language in her personal life. She can tell if a criminal is lying…but her love life is a different story. What kind of person would you be if you could read the words beneath the words?

The hero, Will, is an antiques dealer, and I think that’s because I’m starting to realize that I’m infatuated by the concept of history, by the notion of so many lives and experiences happening in the same space, by history being all around us, right now, in the present.

Will collects antique keys, which reflects the themes of “keeping” and “locking away” that run through the book. Old keys embody what I love about antiques: the mystery of the past. The inherent opaqueness of it. What did this key secret away? Or, who did it imprison? Who was it meant to keep out? I think this idea of the layers of history has been a latent theme of my writing that is just starting to come out in A Promise of Safekeeping, and more in my W-I-P.

2. Your characters face enormous challenges that many readers will recognize from their own lives. To me, this makes their happily-ever-after all the more satisfying. Do you get many emails from readers who’ve experienced the challenges your characters have?

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Winner of the Catherine Mann giveaway!

Hot ZoneThanks so much to everyone who commented on my interview with Catherine Mann, and to Cathy herself for giving away a copy of Hot Zone.

The lucky winner is…Kathryn Anne Merkel!

Kathryn, I’ve emailed asking you for your mailing address.

Everyone, this week you can win a $10 gift certificate to the book retailer of your choice AND win a gift certificate for a contemporary romance novelist who has a book coming out this month. Just leave a comment on my Contemporaries to Covet in January post telling me which contemporary romance you’re looking forward to this month, and I’ll choose a winner next week!

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Interview with Catherine Mann – and giveaway!

Catherine MannEarlier this month, I had the privilege of reading Hot Zone, a romantic suspense novel by Catherine Mann. It totally blew me away, from one of the most gripping opening scenes I’ve ever read all the way to its poignant ending.

I loved it so much, I seethed with jealousy that I didn’t write it myself.

I’m so happy to have Catherine here today, giving away a copy of Hot Zone and answering my nosy questions. Welcome, Catherine!

Thanks for inviting me to visit on your blog – and thank you very much for your cheers for HOT Zone!

1. You started off with a career in arts and teaching. You’ve got degrees in theater and fine arts, and you’ve taught at advanced levels. Can you tell us how you transitioned from that career into a writing career, especially one where you write gritty military suspense novels?

I’ve always been an avid romance reader, since my early teens, and even tried to write a novel in junior high school.  But I tabled the dream and tucked away that first attempt, because hey, what are the odds of selling a book, right?  My creative outlet then turned to the theater, which in hindsight I see now that somehow I seem drawn to careers that are difficult to break into.  But my mother always said in choosing your career, follow your dreams, your passion, and the rest will fall into place.  (Thanks, Mom!)

2. How has your theater background helped you as a writer? Do you find yourself incorporating theatrical skills (like storyboarding or having a keen eye for setting) when writing your novels?

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Winner of the Shannon Stacey giveaway!

Exclusively YoursThanks to Shannon for giving away a copy of Exclusively Yours, and to everyone who commented on my interview with Shannon Stacey.

The winner is…Shari!

Shari, I’ve emailed you asking for your address.

Everyone, I’ve got two other giveaways going on right now. If you tell me an author you “discovered” in 2011, you could win a book gift certificate, and if you comment on Roni Loren’s guest post about romance heroes with six-packs, you could win her debut contemporary romance Crash Into You.

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Why do all the romance heroes have six packs? – Guest post by Roni Loren

First, I’d like to thank Kat for inviting me over here to her blog. You gotta love someone who says–I’d like you to guest post and can you make it about sex? LOL

Why, yes, yes I can actually. : )

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this article via Twitter (where all interesting things come from) on Slate called P0rn Women Want: Why Does it Make Men So Uncomfortable?  The post was basically about this guy:

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James Deen. (Pauses to snicker about the ridiculous stage names.) But anyway, apparently this guy is causing a stir because he is appealing to women-which is obviously not the market p0rn targets. Here’s what they say of Deen:

Deen has carved out a niche in the industry by looking like the one guy who doesn’t belong there. Scroll through L.A.’s top p0rn agency sites and you’ll find… just a few dozen men available…. These guys all have a familiar look—neck chains, frosted tips, unreasonable biceps, tribal tattoos. Deen looks like he was plucked from a particularly intellectual frat house.

Which of course made me think–yes, this is why most women roll their eyes at p0rn. Beyond the complete lack of story line and emotional connection, the dudes are ugly and the girls are fake-looking. If the male actors looked like Alexander Skarsgard or Bradley Cooper, I’m thinking we ladies might change our mind and take a peek.

Come on, you know you’d look.
But the reason, the article hypothesizes, that guys who are “prettier” don’t get hired in p0rn is because it makes the guys watching it uncomfortable. Because *gasp* they don’t want to have any sexytime feelings about the guys. The post says:

The straight male performer must be attractive enough to serve as a prop, but not so attractive that he becomes the object of desire.

Hmm. Okay, maybe I could see that if a guy is particularly homophobic or un-evolved. But it seemed a little far-fetched. So, of course, I asked my husband (who is mostly evolved and finds p0rn more comedic than sexy) his opinion. After a derisive snort, he said, “It’s not about guys worrying about gay feelings. The reason is the same reason your romance novels have Mr. Perfect as the hero and Ms. Average Every Day Girl as the heroine.”

And you know what? He had a good point.

In fantasy, whether it be via books or something visual, we naturally put ourselves in the heroine’s (or hero’s if you’re a guy) shoes. If the heroine is written as some gorgeous model type who never gains a pound, never has an insecurity, and who wakes up with perfect hair–none of us are going to be able to relate. So most often, romance writers create heroines we “get”. And though she may actually BE beautiful, she doesn’t know it. We only see her beauty through the hero’s eyes when we’re in his POV. (Because isn’t that really our fantasy? That the guy we love sees us as the most beautiful girl even if we aren’t to the rest of the world.)

But on the flipside, in our fantasy, in addition to having the guy be smart and kind-hearted and loving, we do want him to look like Bradley Cooper or Alexander Skarsgard. Men haven’t cornered the market on being visual, you know. It’s not to say we hold up our mates to those six-pack ab, slay the dragon, alpha standards, but everything is exaggerated in fantasy.

Which is the same reason why the guys look like they do in p0rn and the girls are the exaggerated female “ideal” (giant boobs, skinny, long hair, always ready and willing, etc.) The guys don’t want to think–damn, in order to land that kind of girl I’d have to look like Brad Pitt. They want to think, hey, I’m better looking than that frosted-tipped, tribal tattooed guy. I could totally bed this girl.

*snort*

So even though men and women are built very differently, it seems we have some things in common when it comes to this. We’re all a little insecure and we all can go a little overboard in fantasy land. It does kind of make me want to write a less than perfect-looking hero though, just to make a point.

But in the meantime, you can admire the perfect abs of my hero Reid on the cover of CRASH INTO YOU. 😉  *pets*

Any thoughts on all of this? Anyone think it really is guys being afraid the pretty boys will make them think impure thoughts? And how do you like your heroes in your books? Does your mate ever give you flack for reading romance novels with half-naked men on the front?


Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.
Her debut romance CRASH INTO YOU releases January 3, 2012 from Berkley Heat/Penguin. If you want to read more posts like this one or follow her journey to debut authorhood, you can visit her writing blog FictionGroupie or her author blog. She also tweets way too much for her own good.

Giveaway!

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Roni’s debut, Crash Into You. I’ll randomly select the winner on Tuesday December 27th. Good luck!

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Winners of the Tracy Sumner giveaway!

Tides of PassionThanks so much to everyone who commented on my interview with Tracy Sumner.

The winners are…

Na gets Tides of Passion

and

Cathy P gets Tides of Love!

Na and Cathy, these are digital books. I’ll send Tracy your email addresses so she can send you the book.

Everyone, this week Shannon Stacey is giving away her fantastically funny contemporary romance Exclusively Yours.

I’ll also post a bonus giveaway this Friday, so make sure you subscribe if you haven’t already.

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Interview with Shannon Stacey – and giveaway!

Shannon StaceyThis summer I got the chance to read and review a contemporary romance novel called Yours to Keep by a new-to-me author, Shannon Stacey. I couldn’t put the book down. It had everything I love in contemporary romance: characters I can relate to and a perfect mix of hot passion with tender emotion. And it’s funny as hell.

Shannon Stacey is now one of my auto-buy authors. I love her series featuring the quirky Kowalski family and their adventures of DOOM. And I’m so glad to have Shannon here today giving away a print copy of the book that got the Kowalskis started, Exclusively Yours.

Welcome, Shannon!

Thank you so much for inviting me! And for not only falling in love with the Kowalskis, but sharing the love with your readers!

1. My pleasure! What made you decide to start writing romance, and what were you doing before? How long were you writing before you got published?

Yours To Keep coverI knew from childhood I wanted to write books when I grew up and, once I discovered romances (in my early teens), I knew I wanted to be a romance author.

It’s harder to say how long I was writing before I got published because different phases of my life pushed writing into the background at times. I had a few stories rejected as a teen. A few rejections here and there. But it was in early 2002 that life had settled enough for me to really pursue publication and I was offered my first contract in January of 2005.

2. Your backlist is really eclectic. You’ve got an action/adventure romance series, some western historicals, erotic romances, light paranormal and a futuristic romance. Do you plan to mostly stick with contemporary romance from now on, or would you like to keep exploring different kinds of romance?

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Interview with Tracy Sumner – and giveaway!

Tracy SumnerA couple of weeks ago, Tracy Sumner contacted me to ask if I’d like to read one of her historical romance novels, Tides of Passion. Whenever someone asks me this, I always feel honored, but that honor is tempered with a bit of trepidation. What if I don’t like their novel? Or, worse, what if it leaves me feeling ‘meh’? What do you say in that situation?

Thank God, that didn’t happen with Tracy’s novel, Tides of Passion. I hate to sound clichéd, but it swept me away. I loved the intensity of the conflict between the hero (a small-town constable charged with keeping the peace) and the heroine (a suffragist stirring up local women to fight for their rights). Even more, I loved how realistically and maturely the two confronted their issues with each other, instead of letting their differences define them. (You can read my review here.)

Tracy’s intelligence shines through the story, and I’m thrilled to have her here so we can all get to know her better—and you get the chance to win one of her novels!

1. One thing that kept my heart pounding as I read Tides of Passion was the interplay between Savannah’s fight for women’s rights and her growing feelings for Zach. Did you choose to write about the period because of its potential for conflict between suffragists and the men they loved, or did you have other reasons for setting this series in late 19th century North Carolina?

Tides of PassionGreat question! Okay, the series starts with the novel TIDES OF LOVE. I actually dated someone who was a marine biologist, and he had worked briefly in Beaufort, NC (which is what the fictional Pilot Isle is totally based on). Anyway, the setting was one I chose based on that.

Savannah’s career came about because I lived in Manhattan during the writing of TIDES OF PASSION. So, I knew the hero of the story was the luscious older brother, Zachariah, but the heroine…? She was a New Yorker, I just knew it. And digging into the history of turn-of-the-century NYC uncovered the women’s rights movement. Voila!

I also felt that the lifesaving programs around at that time on the Outer Banks (due to the dangerous shoals and subsequent shipwrecks) was part of Zach’s passion, responsibility and despair.

2. Kensington published several of your books about ten years ago, and you’re now re-releasing them yourself digitally. What have you been up to in the years between?

Moving! 🙂 Due to my husband’s career (finance, not the military!) we move often. Anyway, I also have a fairly active graphic design career. And a four-year old! Add to that travel (I’ve been to about 50 countries and counting) I stay busy. I am writing, though, and trying to get the books out there. All due to my lack of discipline. I apologize! Loving the indie/self-pub aspect, though.

3. I hear you have an anthology coming out soon and a contemporary novella in April. What can you tell us about them?

Well, I’m part of a joint anthology in April with a group of writers. Excited. More info here.

The holiday anthology from this group is a bestseller on Amazon!

It will be a contemporary with a spring-based theme. My other release is a Victorian “light” paranormal sometime in 2012. Not sure of the date yet. And still a working title. By “light” paranormal, I mean psychic characters. No shape-shifting, etc.

4. Which of your heroines is most like you? And which of your heroes would you most like to…spend quality time with? 🙂

To Seduce a RogueNoah is my favorite hero, hands down. The sexy nerd. A marine biologist. Intelligent and surprised by passion. I just LOVE him. Though his brother Zach comes in a close second.

Heroine? Maybe Charlie (To Seduce a Rogue – releasing Jan 2012). She’s rough around the edges, driven and a little uncaring about fitting into society. 🙂 She’s a creative type.

5. Like me, you’ve been bitten with the travel bug. What’s the most spellbinding place you’ve been to? Would you ever set a book there?

Nepal? I white-water rafted for two days down the Kali Gandaki river there. Amazing! I also have a big love affair with Vietnam. My son was adopted from there – and I spent four months in 2007/2008 going through paperwork!

Tell us about Tides of Love and Tides of Passion.
I’ll put the back cover copy here. 🙂

Tides of Passion
National Reader’s Choice: Best Long Historical
Beacon Award: Best Historical

She is his greatest temptation.
He is her forbidden desire.
A battle of wills leads to love.

AN UNCONVENTIONAL WOMAN
Tides of PassionSpirited Savannah Connor is passionately committed to stamping out social injustice. Yet when she arrives in Pilot Isle, North Carolina, ready to take up a new cause, she quickly finds herself on the outs with the town constable. Zachariah Garrett is the most arrogant, infuriating, maddeningly attractive man it’s ever been her misfortune to meet. And suddenly, Savannah is fighting a whole new battle—this one against her own yearning for a man who is impossible to resist.

AN UNCOMPROMISING MAN
Ever since his wife’s death two years ago, Zachariah Garrett has dedicated his life to Buy from Amazon.comkeeping the peace. And avoiding love. But Savannah Connor isn’t an ordinary woman—and she proves hard to ignore. She’s a beguiling beauty with the power to awaken emotions Zach thought he’d never feel again, and the tenderness to help him forget his fears. And risk his heart once more.

Tides of Love

He left all he loved behind…
Will he be able to return and win her heart?

A SPURNED WOMAN

Tides of LoveElle Beaumont has learned life’s lessons the hard way–by foolishly exposing her youthful heart to love, only to have it broken when her true love fled Pilot Island, North Carolina. Now Noah Garrett is back, rekindling dreams she’d given up for lost, and turning her world upside down. Elle’s girlish yearning for him has become something more powerful than she’d ever imagined.

AN HONORABLE MAN

A man dedicated to science and rational judgment, Noah rejects all notions of Buy from Amazon.comromance…until the girl who used to cling to him like a shadow begins haunting his every thought. But even as he struggles to resist Elle’s sensuous beauty and the wildfire attraction erupting between them, Noah cannot deny that their passion is as irresistible and endless as the tides of love.

***

There are lengthy excerpts on my website, too.
@SumnerTracy
Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor

Giveaway!

Tracy’s giving away a digital copy of Tides of Love and Tides of Passion, so we’ll have two winners! Comment below before the end of Monday, December 12 to enter!

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Winner of the Sarah Mayberry giveaway!

All They NeedThanks to everyone who commented on my interview with Sarah Mayberry. I loved her answers and I’m glad you guys found it interesting.

The winner of All They Need is…Kim!

Kim, send me your mailing address and we’ll get you the book.

Everyone, this week I’m giving away a book gift voucher to one commenter and to a contemporary romance author they recommend. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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