Thank you so much for answering some questions for me.
1- A Collar for Christmas certainly has an interesting premise. What was the inspiration for the story? it was very intriguing.
I sort of plan my stories backwards from the way most authors do it. I always have, and probably always will, start with the type of sex scenes I want to write. They are always, always, the bare bones basis of every story. At its genesis, A Collar For Christmas really stemmed from my desire to write a story featuring a non-sexual kink scene and show a more fluid BDSM relationship that went through a renegotiation process. The rest of the premise was just a matter of figuring out how to make that work in a story.
2- Your books are so sexy and erotic. Do you ever find yourself wondering if you’ve gone too far?
First, thanks. I’m glad you find them sexy and erotic. Secondly, I do often wonder where that line is. For me personally both of my novels are what I would consider very tame. I’ve published a variety of short stories under a different pen name that were much closer to pushing the envelope and my personal taste is geared more toward edgier kink than what I’ve released so far. I have a fantastic editor and a fantastic group of ladies that test read for me and I’ve had conversations with all of them about how far is too far. I always want to produce stories that I can be proud of personally, but every writer’s goal is to appeal to their market. For me it’s about going far enough to stay true to the genre and the BDSM lifestyle, but not going so far as to alienate readers. That line is drawn in a different place for every author, and in many ways I’m still figuring out where that hard line is for me and my readers.
3- What do you think it is about the BDSM lifestyle that attracts readers so much?
I think it’s a wide variety of things. I know for me, I like exploring the emotional and psychological aspects of the lifestyle. For most people, sex not only satisfies physical needs, but emotional needs as well. For some, those needs are met with casual encounters, others with soft, sweet love-making. But for some, those needs are met with obedience and bondage and pain and praise. I like exploring why.
4- Do you plot out your stories or just go with the flow?
Oh no. I plot extensively. My chapter outlines are 5-6 pages long before I start adding notes. I probably spend twice as long plotting a story as I do writing it. When I want to simply write whatever’s on my brain I don’t do it with a current project, I start something new. Just sit down and write whatever’s on my mind just to get it out, and then go back to my current project. Sometimes those rambling, stream of consciousness works get absorbed into other projects, and sometimes they get tossed in the trash.
5- How long does it take you to write each story?
That’s a tough question, because it’s all about how much time I actually get to write. I can usually produce about 6-7 k words a day when I work. A Collar For Christmas was written in about a month and A Perfect Solution was written in about 3 weeks. But I’ve been working on the current WIP for 3 months and only have 3 chapters finished. So, it really just depends.
6- How long have you been writing?
Since I can remember. The subject matter has changed drastically, but this has been a lifelong thing. For me, I didn’t become a writer, I just was a writer.
7- Do you see more opportunities for the m/m genre in books?
That depends. I think in a lot of ways, yes. The market is still growing, and readership is still expanding. There’s a lot of opportunities for authors to establish themselves as a powerhouse in the genre, more so than in m/f romance. I also think a lot of m/m publishers are still working to find the limits in the genre, because it is still growing, and I think that allows authors to take more risks, be a little edgier with their writing than 90% of the m/f genre.
8-Is there more freedom in writing about m/m or bdsm relationships in the self publishing world than in print?
I definitely think that the rise of the ebook, whether self-pubbed or through an online publishing house, has definitely made it possible for some of the more “taboo” romances to make it. I’m not sure if it’s just because of where I live or what, but I’ve never seen a m/m romance on the shelves at my local booksellers and there’s very few BDSM stories in the m/f section. I’m sure print stories of this type exist, but they’re definitely not mainstream. I’d never even heard of m/m fiction or BDSM before I discovered ebooks in my teens. So yeah, I think the online publishing world has definitely given some of the unconventional relationships a home where there wasn’t any welcome in print media.
9- I am fascinated by the fact that Liam used BDSM as a way of controlling his panic attacks. Is this something that you discovered in your research or something that you created in your mind?
A little of both. I’ve talked to a lot of submissives and read a lot of accounts of submission that talk about using BDSM scenes as a way to “reset” their brains. I’ve heard of submissives with insomnia “needing” to go under because it helped them sleep. One of my very close friends suffers from Higher Sensory Perception, a brain function that is similar to having an eidetic memory, but causes a person to process close to 90% of the sensory input at any given moment rather than the 10-15% most people average. She says scening frequently has helped keep her from getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data her brain records. So I’ve heard of similar situations, but this particular situation with Liam was really more of me needing a particular type of character, and creating the flaws necessary to put him where I needed him to be emotionally.
1o- Are you working on anything new right now?
I’m always working on something new. The problem right now is having too many somethings to work on. I’ve got four or five stories in the works, but probably the one that I’ll be finishing first is a fantasy story about second chances and letting go of old fears and not judging a book (or a sexy man) by their cover.
11- The relationship that the men have in A Collar For Christmas isn’t as taboo as it once was. What do you think was the biggest influence in people letting down their inhibitions.
Mark Twain said that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” And I think he was spot on. People may not physically be moving across borders, but they’re seeing much more of the world than previous generations have. I think TV and the internet and all the celebrities talking about all the injustices of the world have broadened a lot of people’s horizons and that’s done two things. One, it’s made people less afraid to be who they are and like who they like, because if the internet is good for only one thing, it’s to show you that no matter your kink, you’re not alone. Also, it makes people realize that there are far more serious issues going on in the world than who’s sleeping with who and how.
12- Can you picture anyone in your mind that could play Aaron and Liam?
When I was plotting, I was sort of thinking of Chris Evans for Aaron, but I didn’t really have anyone in mind for Liam. And then I watched an episode of Being Human, and Aidan Turner is pretty much what I had in mind, just perhaps with a touch more muscle.
13- What is the one emotion or feeling that you wanted the reader to take away from this book?
Oh, that’s a tough one. Probably just the feeling that making a relationship work isn’t about being perfect, it’s about finding out how you fit together.
14- One book that you think everyone should read?
I’m gonna go outside the box here and recommend something a little off the wall, but I read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology the first edition when I was in high school and it changed my life. I think everyone could benefit from at least skimming through it.
15- One book that you are most looking forward to its release?
Jeeze, I don’t know. Nothing’s really coming to mind at the moment, sorry.
16- Do you think that part of the fascination with this type of lifestyle is because it is considered taboo and if it became very mainstream than it wouldn’t be as fascinating?
I have no idea what it would be like for other people. Some may like it only because it’s taboo, and I definitely have kinks that I only like because they are taboo, and most only in the realm of fantasy if they were real life situations I wouldn’t find them hot. So yeah, I could see how for some people it’s just the taboo nature that’s really turning their crank, but for me, it’s not. I like BDSM and it’s themes and I’ll like them probably until I die whether they’re still taboo or not.
17- Any last words for your fans?
Just thanks for reading, and for hanging out with me today!
Thank you so much.
1- Did you ever expect how popular this series would become? No way. I am still blown away and oh so humbled with the response that my boys have gotten. I get all crazy emotional when I let it sink in.
2- What was the inspirations behind this series? Really I just write what I feel. I let the characters and the moods just take me away.
3- Did you intend this to be a series or did that just evolve as you were writing? Originally it was just Axel and Izzy. Then those other men popped in and wouldn’t leave.
4- Do you have a favorite Corps Security man? Right now it’s a toss up between Greg and Maddox.
5- Beck is certainly an emotional read. Did you expect people to respond so strongly to this book? I knew going in that it was going to be very emotionally driven. I was worried that people wouldn’t like it because of that. It definitely is VERY different compared to Axel and Cage. To be honest, I really thought I would have a lot of people that didn’t like it because I went heavy.
6- Was it harder to write Beck than the other books in the series given the heavy subject manner? Beck almost did me in emotionally. I think I left a part of my heart in the pages of that book. Without a doubt it is the book that means the most to me on a personal level.
7- Do your books just evolve organically or do you have a complete outline for each book? 100% organic. For the most part the characters are all very detailed and planned but as for the story, in my head I know where I want to go but the rest is all their show.
8- Do you have any sexy man inspiration behind each character or someone that you could see as each character? Of course I do! www.pinterest.com/harpersloan I have a board on there for each character in the series.
9- What is next in the series? Next up and soon is a surprise that will be announced soon. Then it’s on the Asher and Chelcie.
10- Will Sway ever find true love? Or get his own book? I don’t have a book planned but he will get his HEA. I love him too much to leave him without one.
11- How long does it usually take to write each book? Beck took me the longest. Axel and Cage both took about 3 weeks.
12- Do you have an ultimate alpha male that makes you weak in the knees? Kristen Ashley’s TACK!
13- What do you think is the sexiest scene you have written so far? Hmmm… I think Axel and Izzy’s first time back together was one of my favorites.
14- You definitely have some dedicated fans. Do they have any say in where each book will lead? Of course they do. I wasn’t going to make Sway a return character until the readers told me how much they love him.
15- How far do you see this series going? Will we one day see Children of Corps Security Men? (that would be freaking sweet) I might have something up my sleeve for the kids
16- Do you have any stories other than the Corps Security that you want to write? There will be for sure 5 full length novels.
Lightning round questions.
– Favorite movie of all time? Dirty Dancing
-Favorite book/ or author of all time? Kristen Ashley’s Tack
-What’s one book that you think everyone should read? Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx
– Favorite song of all time?? Uh.. that changes daily. Right now it’s Aint it fun by paramore
-Favorite color?? Teal
-What book are you most looking forward to its release? There really are too many. LOL
-Favorite food of all time? Stuffed Shells
-Coffee or tea? Coffee
-Any last words to live by? Never Give Up
Thank you so much. This has been an honor and I cannot wait for your next book.
First off, let me tell you that this story was amazing. It has the perfect name because I was definitely tense as I read the book.
What inspired you to write this story?
So, I had this dream about an interaction between a young woman and a bartender, then the woman’s roommate coming to get her. This scene is nothing in the book itself, but it was as like as soon as I let the characters in they’ve been ruining my sleep for the last year.
Did you have to do a lot of research as far as the FBI scenes?
Not for this book, for the next book in the series I did. I worked for the Department of Justice in two different departments, so I knew how the agencies worked. I’m not as familiar with the ATF, which comes into play a little more in the next book in the series.
Why did you decided to bounce from past to present throughout the book?
In By A Thread, I wanted to give readers an insight into Stella making through the shooting. So Tension started at the same point, but I needed to backfill what happened during the shooting and immediately after. That way the readers know where she is in her head.
Social media is featured predominately throughout the story. Was this planned or did it just occur organically as you were writing?
It occurred organically while I was writing. Today, you see this happen where something occurs and it hits Twitter, Facebook and then the news. Twitter is a focus in Tension, because I find it so interesting. People feel more free to express their true feelings on social media, so peoples opinions are rampant.
As I was reading the story, it almost felt that twitter was another character – was this intentional?
Yes. Social media can take on a life of its own and really make or break a person.
Is the use of twitter and hash tags any kind of statement on today’s society?
Well, I think we live in a world where everything is immediate and we are replacing personal interactions with quick and immediate contact. I feel like our youth is going to be very different from us with a lack of ability to interact on a personal level, but I won’t get on a soapbox about that.
Do you use social media outlets such as twitter, facebook,etc and what are your thoughts on them especially as an author?
I do and I love it. I meet the greatest people through social media. There can be some weirdos, but I’ve really enjoyed people so far. I am really honored for someone to read my book and find me on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. I love that people take the time out of their busy lives to do that.
Are any of the characters based on someone that you know?
All of my characters have characteristics of people that I have come in contact with, but there is no one person that I base any character on.
George seemed like the perfect boyfriend, did you at any time throughout the story want to “toughen” him up and have him yelling and screaming at Stella?
In Tension, he was really treating Stella with kid gloves because she’d been through so much. Those gloves come off in Book 3.
The ending, oh, the ending killed me. Did you know where you were going or did you at a certain point say this is a good place to end this one?
When I started writing Tension I knew it would be the end of the story, but I write organically and went with where the characters took me and they were not done with me yet. I had a different ending and my mom, who is instrumental in my writing process made me change it. So if you don’t like it blame her. Hi, Mom.
What type of books do you like to read?
What types do I not like? I love reading all sorts of books. I love so many books. In the last year I’ve loved everything from Unbroken, to The Fault in Our Stars to Vain. I like good writing and a good story, period.
Do you have a favorite book that you think everyone should read?
I mean…I think everyone should read a bunch of books. If I had to pick one book everyone should read I think To Kill A Mockingbird. It is one of my favorite books of all time. I did buy a copy of The Fault in Ours Stars for my kid to read when he gets to be the right age.
Is there a specific book that you would love to see turned into a movie?
You mean besides By A Thread? Just kidding. The Uglies would probably make a really good movie. I wish they would make more movies from books instead of just redoing movies from the 80s.
When will the next book be out?
March 2014. Also, Patrick has a book that will be out next year as well.
MY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KER DUKEY
4- How long have you been writing and what was the very first thing you wrote?
18- When you finish a book is it hard to leave the characters behind?
21- Do you ever see yourself writing in other genres? comedy, etc
A. My sister, she pushed me too publish and is a huge fan and supporter
23- Ok. You are from the land of sexy, suave men- who is the hottest British man candy in your opinion
A. I’m from the UK So we gave you Henry Carvill
NICOLA CHEY MATTHEWS
Q: What is your favorite place to write?
A: I always write sitting at my desk in my office. It’s nothing fancy, but I have discovered that sitting around a TV or in the general living area of my home distracts me too easily. I prefer to be closed off from everyone and everything else so I can concentrate on the action happening in my storyline.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
A: When I get on a reading kick, I devour entire authors and series, reading everything I can get my hands on. I’ve read thousands of books over the years, everything from Stephen King to Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, V.C. Andrews. I’ve read so many that there are very few that have actually stuck in my head. I would have to say that The Talisman and The Stand by Stephen King are two of my favorites. I rarely read a book more than once, but I read each of those books like three times apiece. The Mummy or Ramses The Damned is another favorite of mine. I always wished that Anne Rice would have written a follow up to that one. The Flowers in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews struck a chord with me. I did not have the best home life growing up, so I really related to the abuse going on in the storyline. I also really enjoyed the Jurassic Park series as well. I’ve always loved anything based on science and medicine as well as the supernatural.
Q: Do you have any weird antics that you do while you write, or antics that make you write better?
A: *laughs* Okay, I absolutely love music, and I always have my headphones on when I’m writing. I love to sing as well, even though I do it very, very badly. I’m bad about keeping time with the music when I’m typing, so the faster the beat and the heavier the song the faster I type. I’m a huge Marilyn Manson fan and love listening to music that has a really heavy, dark feel when I’m writing fight scenes. I get really into it, singing loudly and fidgeting in my chair. Anyone who doesn’t know I write and sees me doing that would swear I was crazed. But when I’m having problems getting a scene to come out just right, though, I have to cut the music off so I can really concentrate on getting the scene to come together the way I want it to.
Q: I am a writer project and when I am writing a sex scene I always think that it will end up looking like a bad porn movie, how do you avoid that?
A: I’m not sure I do avoid that altogether. It all depends on how I want the scene to come off. I’ve purposely written stories and scenes that were supposed to come off sounding like a really bad porn scene. Other times, I want it to come off more like a great romantic love scene. I think a lot of it depends upon the words used to describe the scene and the action/body parts. It’s the difference between the way a love scene was written twenty years ago in a Harlequin Romance novel and the “mommy porn” we see today. If I don’t want it to sound like porn, I use more delicate, flowery words and descriptions to depict the lovemaking, as opposed to using more vulgar, raw, in-your-face descriptions to depict the act. To put it bluntly, it’s the difference between “He shoved his dick so far into her cunt it hurt” and “He sank himself deep into her warm, welcoming confines, the sensation of being so fulfilled almost more than she could bear.” It’s easy to write porn, harder to make it seem more appealing and not so vulgar.
Q: What is your favorite genre to write and why don’t you just write that?
A: My favorite things to write about are supernatural elements and creatures. My novels generally encompass a whole host of categories, such as romance, action, adventure, maybe even a little bit of horror as well. But everything I write about always has some type of supernatural element to it. I do not like writing about everyday life. To me, that’s not challenging. This world already has its own set of physical rules that governs it. I prefer to make up my own world, my own rules, make my own decisions on how everything acts and reacts within that world. As I like to say, I have a major god complex: my world, my rules. It’s so much more fun to make up not just the storyline and characters, but to be able to create and build a whole world in which they operate. The characters and storylines are not just bound by the physics in the real world. To me, writing a story based in the real world is just boring. So I choose to write about everything that doesn’t exist. Life is hard enough; I want my readers to be able to escape into a world unlike none they have ever come across before. But I also want it to be real enough that readers get lost inside that world, which is why a lot of my writing has shifted into a more para-sci (paranormal science fiction) genre.
Q: Which person in your life is the most inspirational to your writing?
A: Hmmm, there are many writers who have influenced me over the years. I’ve always loved to read books and write my own stories. I picked up the call of the pen when I was only eight. But the one person who inspired me to keep on writing and never, ever give up no matter how many times I was told I was never going to make it as a writer is Bret Michaels. He has been my mentor and hero since I was thirteen. As I said, my home life growing up was not the best in the world. We were incredibly poor, I lived in a run-down house with just my dad who had many health issues and was pissed off at the world because of the hand life had dealt him. Unfortunately, I was the one whom he took his anger out on. I escaped my life into the world created by writers and musicians. When I was in seventh grade, at the age of thirteen, I came across Bret Michaels late one night while listening to the radio. There was something in his voice, something that struck a chord inside of me. Seeing him keep writing and performing despite his health concerns and all the agents that told him and the rest of the band that they would never make it in the music business, and then seeing them succeed when everyone told them they wouldn’t, and for them to keep doing that year after year. It made me realize that no matter what anyone said, no matter how many rejection letters I got, that I a am and always will be a writer. I will never stop writing, I will never stop doing what I love no matter what others say, no matter how many publishers pass me up, because I do not write for them, I write for myself. It is my sincerest hope that one day I get to shake Bret’s hand and thank him for never giving up either, and that because of him doing what he loves, it encouraged a scrawny, miserable thirteen year old girl enduring her own personal hell to walk out of that fire, reborn, and never taking ‘no’ for an answer.
Q: Which book would you recommend that everyone should read?
A: Of my own? Everyone needs to read The Red Fang. This is what started the whole series, and I think it is in need of some major rewrites *laughs*. Reading that book that I was so proud of when it finally hit print and reading some of my newer stuff just reminds me that we never stop growing as people and as writers. But that book will always be one of my favorites because it was one of the very first novels I wrote, knowing it was not going to be well received because vampires are so over these days. But I wrote it anyway, because I believe that once you start reading it, you will want to read more, learn more about the characters, and will fall in love with them just as much as I have.
Q: Do you find that one genre of your books sells more that others and do you think that book sell in trends?
A: Oh, absolutely books sell in trends. Storylines are just like any other business, it is all based on what is the hot ‘fad’ of the day. One thing that intrigues me about the human race is how they will all jump on the same bandwagon and go along with what everyone else thinks for fear of being rejected or tossed out of their group. I find it hilarious that everyone that I knew who were all into the Twilight series talked about how much they hated the books once the fad had died down. All it takes is just one person, usually the leader of a group, saying they like something and then everyone runs out to buy it so they can all be ‘cool’ too. Books are no different. Whatever the flavor of the day happens to be is the thing that everyone will run out to read. And it’s funny that the publishing business and marketing departments are the ones who are dictating what everyone ‘wants’ to read. You get enough people talking about how great something is and launch a big enough advertising and marketing campaign and they could have us all thinking that eating dirt was the best thing since sliced bread. It’s why we are constantly being bombarded with bad books and really bad movies. No one wants to be the one to state the obvious when something really sucks. Thankfully, I’ve never been swayed by trends. I write what I want to write about, and if people like it great, and if they don’t, it’s their loss.
Q: Describe your books to readers.
A: Take some supernatural creatures, add in unrealized romance, some hot sex scenes, sprinkle in some science fiction, some fight scenes, and a lot of action coupled with an author who purposely breaks every writing rule she was ever taught and you have the patented Nicola Chey Matthews formula for some really great reads.
Q: Which one of your books would you recommend for someone to start with that has never read any of your books before?
A: Wow, that’s a tough one. I would have to suggest Vindictus, The Dark Lord. It’s not too over-the-top like some of my stories and novels are, not quite as raw. It’s the closest thing to a romance that I have written and isn’t so far out there that you get lost trying to follow the science behind the fiction. It’s a stand-alone novel as well so you get a complete story that doesn’t really leave you with tons of questions that you want answers to. And for those who have read it and wanted more, I do plan to write a follow up at some point J
Q: How many books on average do you write per year?
A: That’s hard to say. I have a full time Evil Day Job and kids, a husband, so writing is not something I get to do as often as I would like. Some of my stuff came pouring out. I wrote the first two chapters of Vindictus in a day and then abandoned the storyline for about three years. When I did get back to writing it, I had the entire thing written, edited, and in print in under three months. The Red Fang, however, I knocked around in my head for about two years before I finally decided I was going to try to write it. It took me about three years to complete it because I wanted to add more to it. The storyline was originally meant to be a short story, but the more I thought about it, the more it grew. There was about two years in there that I couldn’t make up my mind what parts I wanted to keep and what parts I wanted to toss. I wanted it all in there, and after driving myself insane for a few years starting and stopping the story, I finally realized that the story was going to have to become a novel and in order to keep everything, there would have to be more than one novel. So I pondered the storylines and how I wanted them all to play out before I finished The Red Fang. I actually had the entire series planned out before I went back to writing the first book. Readers don’t realize just how much time, energy, and planning went into that book. It’s why it took me so long to write it. I wanted the storylines for it and the follow up novels to fit together as perfectly as possible.
Q: What are some of your favorite things: movies, music, authors, books, foods, hobbies?
A: The one thing I absolutely cannot live without is my tunes. My tastes range from country to rock, metal, and just about everything in between. Just depends on what type of mood I’m in. I love to read, but when I’m activity writing, I do not read at all. I’m always afraid it will influence my writing style and the storyline, so I steer clear of books when I’m working on a project. I love creating things, so I’m always doing little art projects like beading jewelry or creating logos and promo ads. I also love watching movies, and despite all the great movies they have come out with in recent years, I find myself always going back to re-watch older movies. I guess they call them ‘classics’ for a reason.
Q: You seem to be rather outspoken on facebook. Do you think that this affects the sales of your books?
A: Yes and no. I think it turns some people off while attracting others. Bottom line is that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you say, you are always going to piss somebody off. It’s that whole you can’t please everyone all the time thing. I know how the self-publishing and traditional publishing business and marketing operates. I am very well aware of some of the gimmicks that go on in the industry and I am very opposed to some of those gimmicks. I call it like I see them. Sure, it offends quite a few people, but it has also earned me the respect of many. And I figure if I am going to be outspoken, I might as well use it to my advantage. The difference between me and other authors is that I do not go around claiming to be a great writer or use all those pie-in-the-sky gimmicks. I’ll tell you straight up that I butcher the English language, that I purposely go out of my way to break writing rules. It’s raw, it’s casual, and yet I have a knack for drawing readers kicking and screaming into a story they don’t want to read. My favorite compliment I have ever received was from a reader who told me he absolutely hated the genre I wrote in and never read anything dealing with the supernatural until he came across my work, and even though he hated the stories he has read everything I have ever written and published, because he just couldn’t get enough of my writing style. Now that’s powerful.
Q: Can you ever see yourself writing a “traditional” main stream romance novel?
A: Right now, no. I’m too in love with the supernatural realm. That’s not to say that I would never be able to write one or would never want to. I’ve reinvented myself numerous times, so traditional romance could very well be in my future. For now, I’m still trying to get all the supernaturals out of my head. One day, sure, I might decide to take on that challenge.
Q: What are your ultimate future goals?
A: The same as every writer, to finally be able to write full time. But maybe not just write. I’ve been working with graphic artists and would love to have some of my novels turned into a series or even a movie. I have so much I want to do, but in the end I would just love to be able to spend my time working on my creations, rather that be writing novels, or TV series/movies or even graphic novels. I’m tired of having to split my time up between doing a job that only half-ass pays the bills and giving life to my creations. Getting paid to do what I love so I could do it all the time, that’s my ultimate goal. I know most authors dream of that huge book deal where they are suddenly rich and can finally write full time. I would happily take the same measly $25k I currently make a year at my Evil Day Job, just so long as it was an on-going salary so I could keep writing.
Q: Do you have any words of advice for someone trying to become an author or trying to break into the publishing world?
A: Okay, this is going to get me into trouble, and it is something that authors do not want to hear, and all I can say is that if you don’t like this advice or if it pisses you off then you are writing for the wrong reasons. First off, never, ever give up, never stop writing. Writing is like anything else, the more you do it the better you are going to get at it. You are going to grow as a writer and your style is going to change over time. So don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good. The first thing that you write is good, it just may not be publishing material, but it was good for someone who just tried their hand at it. You will get better, you will grow. Now for the reality check; don’t expect to land a publishing contract or to get rich, or even make enough money that you can finally write full time. You are not –insert famous author’s name here-. I know these days it seems like publishing contracts are being handed out like candy, but don’t get your hopes up. Getting published does not automatically mean you will be rich and famous. It’s hard, it doesn’t pay well, and if you go into this thinking you are going to suddenly become rich and famous, you are going to be severely disappointed. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Success is a relative term, and while it may seem like some no-name author just ‘struck it big,’ chances are that author had years upon years, if not decades, of going unnoticed in the publishing world. The important thing is to just keep writing, keep going, and one day you will achieve success in your own right. Having goals is important, and having a really big goal is also important, but keep in mind that reaching your goal takes a lot of small steps, and you need to celebrate those steps as they happen.
Q: Any last words or a favorite quote for your fans?
A: Everyone is always asking why I call myself the “Mistress of the Erotic Night.” I actually did not come up with this ‘title.’ Back when I was posting on an adult stories site and forum, a conversation arose between myself, some readers, and a few fellow authors. Someone made the comment that I was the mistress of all erotic supernatural creatures of the night as my stories generally involved supernatural characters and quite a bit of BDSM overtones. A fellow author then dubbed me “Mistress of the Erotic Night” and it stuck. Now it’s more like paying homage to my erotic roots, reminding me of just how much I have grown as writer over the years.
Q: It seems everyone is going indie these days. Readers tend to be turned off by this, thinking that if the writer wasn’t good enough to be picked up by at least a small publisher, then they can’t be very good. What are your thoughts on this?
A: I think self-published authors and books are just like traditionally published books: for every one good book you come across, you will also come across dozens that suck. I always like to say “a good story is in the mind’s eye of the reader.” A “good” book is another relative term. Just because it is self-published doesn’t automatically mean it is bad book any more than a book being traditionally published automatically means it is a good book. You are going to get really great books and really bad books regardless of who published them. I do think that the ease of self-publishing has made it even more difficult for good authors to get noticed and the constant over-the-top claims and gimmicks are getting to be the norm. It makes it more difficult for readers to sift through all the ‘hype’ and find a good book. I think it is giving self-published authors a bad name overall, but it is something that cannot be helped as even traditional publishers use these same tactics. In short, don’t judge a book based on who published it. You are bound to come across books you love, and books you hate, that were both self-published and traditionally published.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with one of my all time favorite couples, Jake Green and Nina Kennedy from Jake Undone by author Penelope Ward. This sexy couple enchanted me with their flirtatiousness and utter sincerity.
Me: What were your first impressions of each other?
Jake: I thought Nina was adorable at first sight. When I shook her hand, it trembled and I loved the effect I seemed to have on her. I mean, she was gorgeous and sweet on top of that and I knew that day, that my life was about to change. I loved messing with her, too. She’s so gullible.
Nina: Oh my God, I thought he was so hot. I couldn’t get past my attraction to see anything else at first to be honest. But when he started tutoring me, I realized he was way more than just looks. He was so smart. And over time, I also figured out that he had the biggest heart. It’s what I love most about him now.
Me: You had quite an interesting encounter the first day that you moved in. How awkward was that when you actually physically met Jake?
NINA: To walk in on anyone having sex is awkward. (Thankfully, I only overheard it and didn’t see anything.) It still makes me nauseous to think back on that, but I am just thankful that at the time, I didn’t know who it was, since I hadn’t met anyone in the house yet. When I met him later that day, honestly, it made total sense, because he just looked like a player, mainly because of his appearance and wicked grin. But then, in the days that followed, I noticed he never brought any more girls around. And I was relieved, because I was falling hard for him and the jealousy would have killed me.
ME: Was it love or lust at first sight?
Jake and Nina answer at same time: Lust (Laughing)
ME: You were so sweet to help Nina try to work through her phobias. Did you secretly have an ulterior motive?
JAKE: Hell yeah! Of course. (Laughs) I wanted to be with her all of the time. I needed a reason. Yes…I wanted to help her, too. I got to spend time with her, touch her a little and when she transformed from scared to smiling each time, it would give me such a high. She ended up getting over most of the fears, although not 100-percent. And she ended up getting good grades, so it was a win-win situation.
ME: Nina, which do you prefer- sweet Jake or naughty Jake?
Nina: Hmm. That’s a tough one. I really can’t choose…but if I HAD to…I’d say naughty.
ME: Does Jake still make you the paper machete birds?
NINA: Yes…he still does. I don’t get greeting cards on birthdays and anniversaries. I get bats and doves now with sexy messages. That’ll always be his thing for me.
ME: Nina, how hard was it not to throw down your books during your sexy tutoring sessions and scream, “Take me Jake”.
NINA: Really frickin’ hard. Those sessions were before we got together and I found myself constantly getting distracted by the way he would bite down on his lip ring or the way he smelled. I didn’t know he wanted me too back then, so the ache was even worse, because I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to have him. He gave me very few signs that he wanted me during the studying days. He was always so serious and studious. Thankfully, one of us took it seriously. I would have never passed math otherwise!
ME: Jake what was ,your first thought when you learned you were going to be a father?
JAKE: Just…joy. Having lost my own father so young, I always wanted to have that experience. But because of situations in my life, I had ruled it out. So, when she told me, it felt like a miracle.
ME: How is parenthood?
Nina: It’s challenging and rewarding.
Jake: Fucking awesome. Best experience of my life.
ME: How would you describe each other as parents?
Jake: Nina is a very hands-on mother. Sometimes, I wish she’d put him down for just a second so I could have my way with her. No, seriously, she is the best mother that I could ever hope for my children. She’s like psychic or something; she always knows exactly what he wants even though he can’t talk yet.
Nina: Jake is an awesome Dad. He spoils A.J. though and sometimes I have to reprimand him for it, but secretly, I think it’s cute. Jake’s Dad would be proud of how good of a father he has become.
ME: Do you plan to have more children?
Jake: Yes…hopefully soon.
Nina: Not that soon!
Jake: We’re practicing making one a lot. Let’s put it that way.
ME: What is your relationship like with Ryan these days?
Jake: That’s a tough subject for her.
Nina: It’s…better than it was. We’re talking now at least. The first year after I found out he lied to me I was devastated and refused to speak to him. But I just saw him last week and even though things aren’t like what they used to be, I have hope for the future.
Jake: And I was on my best behavior. I didn’t punch him this time. So…that’s a step in the right direction.
ME: Jake, You had the mother of all secrets. How hard was it keep it to yourself?
JAKE: It tormented me having to keep it from her. When I first met Nina, I never thought things would get as serious as they did. I should have said something from the beginning, but from even before Nina, my other roommates never knew. I didn’t know how to approach the subject. By the time I starting falling in love with Nina, I had kept my other life from her for so long, that it just got harder and harder to find the right time to tell her. It felt like a huge weight was lifted once she found out though.
ME: Nina and Jake, what does the future hold for you?
Nina: I may go back to nursing school when A.J. is in school. But for now, I am enjoying being a Mom.
Jake: I want more kids with my beautiful wife and lots more tattoos with all their names.
ME: Any chance we could get to see any of your tattoos?
Jake: This one on my side is my baby’s favorite. And I have a new one of an angel with Nina’s name over my heart now. That’s new. And A.J.’s initials on my arm next to the moon tattoo in memory of my Dad.
ME: Nina, any tattoos in your future?
Nina: Besides my ring finger, I don’t have any others yet. But Jake is trying to convince me to get a tiny bat tattooed in a special spot.
ME: What is the sexiest thing about each other?
Nina: Physically, everything is sexy about Jake…his body, his tongue ring, his big hands. His confidence is sexy too.
Jake: I love Nina’s eyes, her beautiful hair, her sexy curves, her beautiful stomach where my baby came from. And she is so sweet and innocent, but can be dirty too and that combination is sexy.
ME: What is that one thing that made you fall in love with each other?
Nina: Jake’s devotion to me and his strength.
Jake: Nina’s trust in me when she was facing her fears and her good heart.
ME: Do you still get called Troll?
NINA: it’s been a while since I have heard that nickname. Can’t say I miss it!
ME: Can’t say I blame you there, Nina.
ME: How hard was it to forgive Jake after you learned his secret?
NINA: In time, I the saw situation for what is was…something out of his control and that had no bearing on his feelings for me. It’s never been easy, but I deal with it because I love him more than anything. It is what it is.
ME: Jake, you’re famous for changing Nina’s phone ring tone. What song do you have programmed that describes your life right now?
JAKE: My Wish by Rascal Flatts. It’s a song for my son.
ME: Oh, my heart just melted.
ME: Did both of you believe that you would ultimately get back together?
Nina: I wasn’t sure for a while to be honest. But now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him or my son.
Jake: I knew I’d never love anyone else, but I wasn’t always sure things would work out. Now, I know we’re in it forever.
ME: Nina are you still dealing with your phobias or are they pretty much under control now?
NINA: I still don’t like to fly. But elevators are doable and the subways are a breeze. I have my moments, but Jake really did help me through my fears and really the whole relationship drama took my mind off of my fears, too.
ME: What is your favorite thing about each other and what is the most annoying?
Nina: Favorite thing about Jake is his clever sense of humor. Most annoying is his sick sense of humor.
Jake: My favorite thing about Nina is her bootylicious ass. Just kidding. It’s how she makes me feel more loved than I ever have in my life. Most annoying is her worrying about everything.
Word association. I will say one word and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind.
-sexy- Nina: Tattoo Jake: Boobs
-babies Nina: Wait Jake: Yes
-marriage- Nina: Happy Jake: Forever
-tattoos Nina: Jake Jake: More
-happiness Nina: A.J. Jake: A.J.
-family Nina: Three Jake: Six
-future Nina: Jake Jake: Nina
-success Nina: Happiness Jake: Pregnant!
Thank you both so much for your honesty in answering my questions. This is one of my all time favorite interviews. Your happiness really shines through. Best of luck to both of you and , of course, the baby.
JAKE: One more thing before you go. Could I please ask everyone to check out Penelope’s books? She wrote our story, but she also has another book called Gemini. I’ve read it and it has my seal of approval. Can you leave the links for me?
ME: Of course.
I nearly fall out of my chair as Jake winks at me.
JAKE: Thanks hun. (turning to Nina) You ready baby?
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
–Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a 40-something wife and mother of 3 furkids – George – cat, Bella – dog, Rainy – dog. I hope to someday move to where there is no winter. I am so done with snow and cold! I love to sing (usually in the car) but I can carry a tune in a bucket. I’m shy – I can see myself as Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone as she is in the beginning of the movie.
– Could you describe your books to readers who may have never checked out your books.
I write romance of all kinds – one paranormal and one suspense so far. Nothing too graphic – the heat level depends on the story. Strong characters with flaws…
-Where do you come up with your stories? What inspires you the most?
Ever since I was a kid, I imagined storylines for my favorite shows (I was usually the heroes love interest of course). I still find myself imagining storylines – so I just started thinking of them with my own characters instead. Sometimes I will be inspired by a storyline on a show but usually it’s a song. Saving Cassie was inspired by “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams. Invisible was different. I was thinking about how I was “invisible” in high school and suddenly I wondered why someone would want to be invisible. The story grew from there.
– Do you have any writing rituals? (for example: listening to music while you write, etc.)
I have to have music playing while I write. If it’s too quiet I can’t concentrate. It also helps if I’m off by myself. I have an office where I can turn on my tunes and write. I usually have to turn off my wi-fi or else I spend too much time on the black hole that is Facebook…
– What is your writing process? Do you plot everything out or just spontaneously write?
I’m a pantser (I know in my head where the story needs to go but I don’t outline). I have thought about trying to write to an outline… we’ll see if I actually do!
– When did you decide to take the plunge and become a published author?
I’m a confirmed bookworm and I’ve always wanted to write a book. I was finally ready to start writing down the story in my head when a friend introduced me to NaNoWriMo. I signed up and started writing – it didn’t seem right to write that many words and not do something with it.
– I’ve heard a lot of authors say that their characters talk to them and make them change their stories. Does this happen to you?
Yes. After creating and writing about a character they start to feel real. They let me know when the story isn’t going the way they think it should.
–Do you have a favorite genre to write in? Do you have a genre that you would like to try to write in?
So far, romance is my favorite to write. I’ve always been a sucker for a Happily Ever After. Someday I want to try and write something in science fiction – I’m sure it will have an element of romance to it.
-Is it hard to let your characters go after you finish a book?
Yes. I am currently working on Book 2 in the Fairfield Corners series – I love to see what happens after the HEA. I’m that way when I read also – I love to read series but I hate when a book ends with a cliffhanger.
-I totally fell for Jax in Invisible. Is there a character that is your all time favorite book boyfriend?
Right now I would have to say it is Brad from the Bullett series by Jade Jamison. Who doesn’t love a bad boy rocker with a heart of gold?
-Do you have muses for your characters?
Sometimes it’s characters from TV shows, or just pictures I find on Google or Shutterstock.
-What do you have planned as far as future books?
Well, I’m working on Ragan’s Song, Book 2 in my Fairfield Corners Series and I have some ideas for Book 3. After that, who knows, maybe a sequel to Invisible…
-What are you currently reading?
Today I finished Fully Automatic by Jade Jamison and I just started Flame by Brooke Cumberland.
-Tell me about your experience with NANOWRIMO?
NaNo was amazing! At first it was hard to write without editing but I got the hang of it. If I hadn’t done NaNo I don’t know if I would have ever finished anything. I tried NaNo again in 2013 but didn’t get my 50,000 words. I have a story that I may revisit someday.
-I think Invisible would make an awesome movie. Is this something that, if offered, you would ever consider?
Yeah, I think I would. I haven’t decided who I would want to play Jax but for Lainie it would be Kristen Hager (Nora on Being Human).
-What genres of books do you usually read?
Lately it’s been NA and Romance but I read almost all genres. Horror is another of my favorites.
–Tell me about breaking into the indie publishing world.
Well, I don’t think I’ve actually “broken into” the indie publishing world yet. Trying to do it on a budget is not easy. I keep hoping that I’ll get one of my books into the hands of the right person and things will take off. My first goal is to break even – Invisible was professionally edited (and it shows) and that wasn’t cheap. I give away copies and donate to giveaways all the time.
-I’m a fellow animal lover. Can you tell me about your fur babies?
George is a black cat and is the oldest. He puts up with the dogs and his humans.
Bella is a german-shephard/black lab mix. She is a hyper girl – I call her Stinker Bella and Energizer Bella.
Rainy is a full blooded English Mastiff. She is my baby. Her favorite spot is on the couch with her head in my lap. She is my drool factory – we have “dog rags” scattered throughout the house to deal with all her slobber.
-Will you be attending any book conventions?
. I am actually participating in my first author signing event on November 15, Indie Unmasked in Indianapolis, IN http://indieunmasked.weebly.com/.
-Any words of wisdom for your readers? Never give up on your dreams. Don’t judge your success by other’s success.
-I’ve never asked this before. But what is one thing that makes you really laugh?
Fart jokes. I don’t know why but they just crack me up.
-Favorite word or saying?
Really? Crap. Son of a biscuit (I work at a Catholic university so I have to watch my language!)
Thanks to LA for an amazing interview.!!!!!!!!