Izzy’s Insights – Interview with Character Dage Kayrs…Take 2

on January 26, 2012

 

Sergej Khakimullin
Shutterstock

My name is Izzy and I interview book characters.  Many people say I’m a character, myself.  *Snort*.  That’s nice of them.  I’m hoping Rebecca lets me interview a bunch of her characters–I can’t wait to be in the same room with all of the Kayrs brothers.  MEOW.

So, I tried interviewing the king once before, and his brothers showed up to cause havoc.  Talen is particularly tiresome when it comes to interviews…who knows why.  But Dage agreed to meet me again and this time we met at a very quaint coffee shop that’s off the grid.  The coffee is spectacular and there’s free WiFi, so even if our meeting got cut short, I was happy.  For those of you who haven’t met Dage yet, he’s about six and a half feet tall, packed hard, with black hair and incredible silver eyes.  Frankly, it shows he trusts us that he’s not hiding the odd color.  Here’s the transcript of the interview, with a couple of my thoughts thrown in:

ME:  So.  Thank you for trying this again.  I’m sorry about last time.

DAGE:  That certainly wasn’t your fault.  Sometimes my brothers are a handful.

If that wasn’t the understatement of the millennium, I don’t know what was.  But I nodded and gave him my most professional smile.  He smiled back…not fooled a bit.

ME:  So, I wanted to talk to you about Max’s mission – I believe he left the other day.

DAGE:  Interesting.  Why do you believe that?

Okay.  Vampires can be kind of scary and this one scarier than most.  Even though his tone stayed calm and no expression crossed his face, an odd tension made the air around us kind of heavy.  The king probably didn’t like his information getting out.

ME:  My sources are pretty good.  And this interview won’t run until Max has finished his mission (but about a month before TEMPTED, Max’s story, comes out—don’t tell the king), so there’s no reason not to talk about it.

DAGE:  Hmmm.  Okay.  We’ll discuss Max and then we’ll discuss your sources in my organization.  Basically, there’s a woman named Sarah Pringle who has created a blog and website about the Kurjans.  They’re after her, and we need to get to her before they do. 

(The Kurjans are the bad guys–pasty faced bad vampires afraid of the sun.  Unlike the good vampires).

ME:  You’re going to let her keep the website up?

DAGE:  No.  Jase already took it down and posted information about her writing a good book.  The website has been taken care of.  Now we just need to get her records from the insane asylum because I’m sure she told them all about the Kurjans.  We can’t have that information out there.

A bit of concern had me sitting back in my chair.  What exactly were the vampires going to do to poor possibly-crazy Sarah Pringle?

ME:  I find it odd you sent Max.  I mean, he’s Janie’s bodyguard now.  What did he used to be?

DAGE:  Max has always been part of the family…serving as my bodyguard as well as one of my best hunters.  The guy is a Russian bloodhound when it comes to hunting.

ME:  Ah…okay.

To be honest, I’ve met Max.  The guy isn’t just a hunter. 

ME:  But why Max?  Many of your people are scouts, including Conn.  Why send Max?

DAGE:  Let’s just say I think Max is the right guy for the job.

A really cute twinkle entered the king’s eye at this point and for a second, I could just stare.  Then I shook it off and got back to business, reminding myself that I was a professional and the guy had a mate.  I mean, really.

ME:  Are you matchmaking, king?

DAGE:  I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

At this point, a barista sauntered up to give the king a free muffin.  I mean, seriously.  It’s a coffee shop.  You order at the counter and take your own food to your table.  Okay, I’m not just irritated that she didn’t bring me a muffin.  I’m irritated on Emma’s behalf.  Dage politely thanked the woman, keeping his attention on me.  She returned to the counter, her butt swaying the whole time.

ME:  I bet that happens a lot to you.

DAGE:  What happens to me?

Man, guys are clueless.  Even immortal deadly ones.

ME:  Forget it.  So, I have to know, does Max get a happy ending?

The peace was too good to last.  I should’ve started with the main question.  Guess who showed up?  NOPE!  It wasn’t Talen.  Jase, the youngest brother, hustled inside, his brown hair ruffled and eyes flashing.

DAGE:  What’s happened?

JASE:  Something’s going on with the witches…Conn is leaving now.  We have to go.

Darn it.  My source in the Realm hadn’t reported anything about the witches.  I mean, we all knew Conn was heading to Ireland to collect his witch soon (and I fully expect she’s not going to allow any sort of collection), but I hadn’t known it would be this quickly.

DAGE:  Izzy, I appreciate your time, but I need to get going.

The darn barista, who had somehow lost a couple buttons on her shirt, hustled over, her gaze on Jase.  So, yeah.  The guy is seriously hot.  But I mean, come on.

ME:  I’d like to talk about Conn and his mission to Ireland.

Dage flashed a smile as he stood to join Jase. 

DAGE:  I’ll arrange for an interview with Conn when he gets back.  You’ll enjoy meeting him.  And we’ll discuss your sources in the Realm next time.

Okay, it was kind of a threat.  Then, well…the coffee chick made a move.  Not a kill ya type of move.  But an almost genuine trip to basically land in Jase’s arms.  They got all tangled up, and he ended up just picking her up.  The woman beamed.  Then she pouted really pretty when he put her down with a smile and whispered something in her ear.  The Kayrs men left.  I took a look at the flushed waitress.

ME:  What did he say?

NEARLY TOPLESS WAITRESS:  He said he’d be back next week

Excellent.  So will I.  🙂

Max gets a love…

on July 21, 2011

I’ve been a bit quiet lately…under deadline.  This is what happened:  When I was in New York, I talked to Caitlin about maybe writing an e-book novella for the Dark Protector series to be released between HUNTED (book 3) and book 4.  Now, we haven’t negotiated for books 4-6 yet, so I was being optimistic.  Early August is when we start talking the next deal.

Well…Caitlin talked to Megan, who liked the idea of a novella and would like to publish it in April, the month before HUNTED is released.  This is very exciting…but…Megan needs the novella by the end of August.  So, after several emails back and forth with Caitlin, I decided the novella should be about Max, who is Janie’s bodyguard.  He is in both FATED and CLAIMED, so seemed like a good choice.

Max is actually a rather funny guy, originally from Russia.  Yeah, who knew?  His love, Sarah Pringle, is a teacher who, ah, just escaped from a mental institution.  Really. 

Anyway, this is why I’ve been away from the blog a bit.  I’ll do better.  🙂

Carina Press Author Bonnie Paulson is giving away a book!

on July 19, 2011

UPDATE:  Congrats to Maw25 for winning the copy of BREATHE AGAIN!  Bonnie will contact you with details. 🙂

!I’d like to welcome my friend, Bonnie R. Paulson, whose book BREATHE AGAIN will be released next month by Carina Press.  I asked Bonnie to blog a bit about emotion in contemporary romances.

I’d love to give away a copy of BREATHE AGAIN to one commenter today–there’s a question at the end, but you can comment on anything you want.

Romantic suspense and paranormal romances own a level of intensity to their emotions. Dark, deep, dramatic feelings with highs and lows and rare in-betweens pushed with urgency and fear.

Contemporary romances have the capabilities of exploring the subtle nuances of growing love among responsibilities, day-to-day difficulties and modern conveniences without the drama of fangs, claws or mind-reading (which I’ll be the first to admit I like a bite here and there).

World-building is important in the contemporary style but word count can be used more for scene building since the reader already understands the rules and idiosyncrasies of the time period. Plus, the laws of physics aren’t altered, so we don’t have to worry about the hero sucking her neck for sustenance, instead for pleasure – hello! And the heroine is strong but not enough to break a telephone pole in half. Characters are easier to identify
with… although let’s be honest. I ripped apart a telephone pole last week and no one, not one person, was impressed. I guess it’s been done.

There are still rules in contemporaries. You don’t want to read a book where the heroine sleeps with everything male. Too much sluttiness makes it hard to believe the sexual relation with the hero is special. And the hero doesn’t want to be too roughly physical because then wouldn’t he be physical with her or in jail all the time? And, let’s face it, wooing the heroine is difficult when he’s strapped to anger management classes.

My favorite aspect of contemporaries is the chance to take a controversial subject, spin it and then make my characters live it. Maggie deals with suicide in Breathe Again.

Breathe Again will be released August 22, 2011 from Carina Press.

Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she’s suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend, Ryan Stewart, offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn’t want to like Maggie, not when he questions Ryan’s feelings for her.. But it’s hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she’s sleeping under the same roof.

Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she’s haunted by the past, she can’t open herself up to the future… 

Excerpt:  

I remembered my promise to stay away. Kneeling beside the pool spotted with lily pads, I pressed my fingers into the soft ground beside the mirror surface. Numerous large fish colored with brilliant orange, white and black highlights shimmered under the water. Lazy swimmers, the beautiful creatures hid in the shadows of the random leaves, the sparkling afternoon light finding their gliding bodies in the dark.

Watching the fish, I avoided being the first to speak. Why waste my time getting familiar when I planned to distance myself the first chance I got? I bit back a laugh. Not that I’d get the opportunity while I joined him on walks to sweet
settings.

My hair escaped again from the ponytail and fell past my shoulder. I pushed the mass behind my back.

“You’re part Irish, right?” Brodan’s deep voice fit in with the outdoor surroundings, rumbly and rugged.

“Yep. How’d you guess?” I smiled, lightening the sting my words could bring.

“Your mom or dad?” He stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankles and relaxing his arm along the backrest.

“Dad.” I stood, feeling mulish for not sitting beside him. Wandering around the water, I asked, “Brodan sounds Irish. Can you claim the luck?”

“Not a lot. Dad drank Guinness, does that count?”

Humor between us, how odd. A few steps and I was beside him, attempting nonchalance.

We sat together, studying the man-made scenery, the silence long yet somewhat comfortable. A fish surfaced, poking its mouth into the air only to disappear into the shadows once more.

“I don’t want to like you, you know?” His quiet voice shattered the calm with more impact than a scream.

My favorite part of writing Breathe Again would be the fight Brodan and Maggie put up against the attraction between them. Sometimes I would laugh and call them both idiots
as I wrote. Other times, I would actually tear up a bit – no one thinks true loves should be apart. 

I was pregnant when I wrote it and tears came easily, but writing a scene at the end, outside the hospital, tore me up, even more than the Allstate commercials I’d been watching.

When you read a novel do you enjoy sad parts throughout or do they create bitterness toward the author?

Thank you so much to Rebecca for allowing me to swing by today. I would like to offer up a digital copy of Breathe Again for a randomly selected commenter today. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks about Brodan. 

BIO:  Inland Northwest bred, Bonnie has a degree in radiology technology as well as multiple experiences in the medical industry. Four children and a terrific husband ground her as they rev around the countryside on their dirt bikes. Food, reading/writing romances and family make up just a small percentage of her favorite things. 

Countdown to RWA conference–Part III – The Nuances of Pitching Your Book

on June 20, 2011

Pitch with finesse, not a hammer…

There are many good sites that give direction about pitching to editors and agents at a conference.  So I wanted to approach the situation from a different direction. 

1)      First and foremost, remember that…AGENTS AND EDITORS ARE PEOPLE, TOO.

Yeah, I said it.  And I’d even go as far as to say they’re a lot like writers.  We all love books and chose this industry because of the good stories.  Many people who enjoy getting lost in books are kind of…shy.  So keep in mind, the agent/editor you’re pitching to might also be a little nervous.

Don’t sit down and instantly barrage them with your story.  Pretend you’re meeting them for the first time (which you probably are), and act accordingly.  Say…  “It’s nice to meet you.”  Ask them how the conference is going for them. Ask them the best part of the conference…or if they had been to any good workshops yet.

2)      Try not to go all fan-girl (or fan-boy) on them.

Remember the kinda-shy part?  Well, if you start gushing about how great they are…they’ll probably get uncomfortable.  HOWEVER, you know who they love?  Their AUTHORS—and their BOOKS.  Tell them how much you enjoyed AUTHOR x’s last book and how surprised you were by who the bad guy turned out to be.  The agent/editor will warm up…and hey…you have something in common.  You both loved the book.  (Caveat – don’t tell them you loved it if you didn’t.  Honesty counts.)

3)      Have confidence in your book—and do your research

Yeah, you’ll be nervous. That’s okay.  But you need to have confidence in your book.  Don’t apologize for pitching it.  When the time comes, and it usually does with the agent saying, “So…tell me about your book.”  Start with your pitch…and let them know right off the bat what kind of book it is.  IE.  “I’ve written an 85,000 word dark paranormal that I think will fit in the Brava line.”  That way they know where to put it.

4)       Tell them about the characters, plot, and twists…but more importantly…how is it different???

So you’ve written a vampire book for Brava.  Yeah.  There are tons of vampire books out there…so what makes yours different?  In my case, it was the science involved…the fact that vamps and shifters are just different species on earth…much like humans.  Then a genetic virus was created…

So while you’ve shown what type of line the book should belong to…how does yours stand out?

5)       Remember that you love your book!

This is fun.  You’re discussing your book – those characters you adore—with someone else who also loves books.  Enjoy yourself—when the agent/editor asks you a question, dive in.  Get philosophical about the black moment.  Gush about the hero.  Admire the heroine.  Smile…and have fun.

I Kill People in Books

on March 21, 2011

I kill people in books.  It’s true.  The lady who cuts me off for a parking spot, the bat-sh*t crazy chick who yells at me in a bar…even the lady at the post office who growls at my many packages.  They die.  And hard.

One of the most cathartic things to do is work out your demons via writing.  Of course, you often end up passing emails to your critique partner titled, “Best place to bury a dead body,” or “Do you think I could snap a neck with a stapler?”  In the name of research, of course.  Other fun notes we pass back and forth: 

  • Does the human body really bend that way?
  • I don’t think a man would really call that “Tonto.”
  • Your heroine already fell off the bed – there’s no way he can reach her now.
  • I think the grave should be deeper.
  • I’m not sure they’d eat his liver first.

So, one of the many fun things about being a writer is that you can talk pretty much about anything.  In one of my works in progress, my heroine stumbles upon a marijuana growing farm.  Well, my husband was using my laptop and went to ‘favorites’ for our bank’s URL.

He finished banking and asked, “Why do you have the ‘hydroponic marijuana guide’ listed as a favorite?”  My answer:  “So I wouldn’t forget the name.”  What’s cool is that he nodded, because that made perfect sense to him.  He lives with a writer.