Friday, February 26, 2010

Welcome to Starla Kaye's guest blog!

Welcome Ms. Starla Kaye to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.

Did you always want to become a writer?

I have been writing since junior high, but I never considered being a writer and wanting to get published until about twenty years ago.

What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?

For me, the “most” interesting fact about writing is that I get to meet so many interesting people...mainly the many characters I’ve created over the years. And I get to research settings and many other aspects that go into my characters’ lives. I love to learn.
The “least” interesting fact about writing is how tedious it can be to do revisions, sometimes. I enjoy working with a good editor who can help me grow as a writer, which makes the revision part less painful.

How did you celebrate your first release? What was it like to see your book in a bookstore? Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?

I write for online publishers so my sales are different than for my writer friends who sell to print publishers. Yet I am thrilled with each of my sales in my own way.
I share the excitement of each sell with my critique partners and my two local writers’ groups.
I haven’t had the opportunity to see my books on the shelves of a bookstore...yet. Maybe someday. But I sell a number of my books now as paperbacks and Kindle downloads, which both are exciting, to me. Each time I actually see one of my books published as a trade paperback it makes me all warm and fuzzy.

How did your family react to fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?

When I first started writing romance my husband (as seems to be commonly joked by husbands) liked to brag that he was the model for the hero...and in the intimate scenes. It was okay to smile and let him have his moment. My immediate and extended family all know that I write romance, but I don’t think any of them have read anything I’ve written. Actually, I’m okay with that.

Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?

Yes, I read every spare moment I can. A lot of my writer friends read to analyze another writer’s style or to critique a book. I don’t like to do that. Yes, I may notice how a particular writer creates a storyline, how the conflict works, and how they create the characters…but I try not to focus on any of that. I either enjoy a book or I don’t finish it because it didn’t appeal to me for whatever reason.
I’m also a reviewer as well as a writer, which gives me even more opportunity to read other writers. I particularly like to read the first efforts of new writers, as well as read later works of theirs to see their growth as a writer.
I like so many authors both new and established. My long-time favorites are J.D. Robb (although I don’t really like her work as Nora Roberts), Catherine Coulter, Kay Hooper, Alyssa Day, Christine Feehan, and Janet Evanovich.
I’m not sure that any of them have influenced my writing other than to make me also desire to create a series of my own. They all do such amazing jobs of creating enjoyable casts of characters and building a world unique to their storylines.

Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?

I’m not sure you can be a good writer if your current cast of characters don’t live with you as you write their story. They need to become “real” in your mind so that you can give believable depth, so readers can believe in the characters.
I’d have to say that my current cast of characters take over part of my subconscious life. Their story and how I’m going to tell it with their help sort of hums in the back of my mind when I’m not writing. I often get those epiphany moments in the middle of the night or just before I become fully awake.
I don’t have specific living role models for my characters. Sometimes I draw personality elements from multiple people I’ve known or know, particularly details about older adults. I’m a volunteer gerontologist who works with a number of older adults and sees the sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, but always uniquely wonderful things in seniors. I love to use them as side characters to give warmth and color to a storyline.

Where do you get the inspirations for your books?

I have an amazing imagination and have never had a problem with new story ideas. And I write many romance sub-genres, which really lets my imagination have free rein. I draw theme ideas from the world around me, from people I’ve known or read about, from events that interest me.

Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?

I’ve never had a problem with writing love scenes and I try not to make them all the same. I’ll admit to doing a lot of research on the hows, wheres, and physical reactions involved. Good love scenes are part of building the characters growth, part of leading them to their Happily Ever After moment.

Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?

I have a lot of deadlines because I write for three publishers, although mainly for two. I’m fortunate in that they will buy whatever I propose to them and always want more...and they’d like it tomorrow. Truthfully, I work best under the pressure of a deadline.
I’ve never suffered a writer’s block and I’m very thankful about that.

Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer) ?

I like both, but I tend to read a lot of series books. I like to see the life changes with characters who have become like family or friends to me. I like to see what happens to a new character that was introduced in a story, and I like to have the “old” characters show up again.
I’ve always wanted to write a series of books and am finally starting on a series of four books. I’ve done a couple of books that tie together, but this will be new for me.

If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?

That’s a tough question because I tend to like all of my heroines and put myself in their place as I write their stories. I’d have to say, though, that “Whiskey” Wakefield in one of my historical Westerns, Whiskey’s Rebellion, was a favorite of mine. She had two older brothers determined to marry her off to a U.S. Marshal friend of theirs so she could become his problem rather than theirs. To start things off “right” with him, she flew into Dodge City in a balloon and she frustrated his life from that moment on. I love to “torture” a hard-edged but good-hearted hero.

What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?

Again, this is a tough question. One of my most recent books, Holly’s Big Bad Santa, was fun to write and emotional, too. He was the bad boy son of the town’s founding family who had left everything behind: his family, his “duty,” and his girl. But all of it stayed with him as he became a man, the guilt, and the pain of losing the only woman he’d ever really love. Then his parents finally locate him as he is recovering from being seriously wounded on the job and ask him to come home. The time is right and....

Would you like to give another genre a try?

Originally I planned to write mysteries and I’m working on the beginning stages of planning a mystery series involving a group of older adults. I’m going to co-author this series with my daughter and really looking forward to it.

Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?

Aimee’s Cowboy, which is a story about an American cowboy who learns he has a French family and gets romantically involved with his adopted French “cousin,” was my hardest to write story. I had visited France and was determined to write something involving France. And I write a lot of cowboy stories. So I thought this would make a great mix, but I struggled with it.
So Wrong, So Right, which is actually a short work, was one of my easiest stories to write and not just because it was short. It had all of the elements I like to play with: the studly cowboy who is happy with that existence and the woman who rocks his world.

If you could choose of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you as the cast?

I’m a sucker for Christmas movies, for second chance stories. Even though Holly’s Big Bad Santa is only a novella, I’d like to see it blown up into a longer book and made into a movie. I can see these characters in my mind and I like the emotional things they go through to find their second chance at love ever after. Adam Baldwin and Amy Adams.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

Just to get a real “feel” for the time period, I would like to spend a very short amount of time in Medieval Scotland, London during the Regency time period, and in Dodge City around 1876.

Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?

I usually have country western music playing in the background partly because I can tune it out easily and partly because there are a lot of emotions in the songs.

Big congrats to your latest release, can you please tell us something about the book?

Holly’s Big Bad Santa was my most recent release from Black Velvet Seductions in December 2009. Jared had left Danville, Kansas a confused and angry teenager. The black sheep of his family, he’d done his best not to look back. Then a letter from home made it impossible for him to stay away. Holly was leaving Danville for a new life in California. Suddenly he was desperate to return home, to convince her to build a life with him. But convincing Holly proved to be more difficult than he’d thought. Holly had always loved Jared, but after fifteen years she’d given up hope of him returning to Danville and she’d decided to move on with her life, a life which didn’t include Jared.

Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?

I’m currently writing a contemporary Western romance, Bet Your Boots, which is published as weekly chapters until the book is finished. Dr. Mandie James, a romance therapist, needs a relaxing place to rent for the summer and offer retreat sessions to troubled couples hoping to save or strengthen their marriages. Her best friend is co-owner of a ranch with a new guest ranch part and concerned about her emotionally wounded brother who has suffered from two bad marriages. Victoria sees a chance to help her friend and get help for her brother. Cole Whitlock is less than thrilled with having the dude ranch business added to the working ranch he grew up on and recently has been forced to take over management of. He’s even less thrilled when he discovers the psychologist Dr. M.M. James, who he agreed to rent the guest facilities to for the summer, is actually a beautiful young woman…even worse a romance therapist…even worse they’ve been set up by his matchmaking sister.
I’m also working on a contemporary romantic novella, Cupid’s Mistake. Kodie Kittredge, an up and coming bronze sculpture artist, has had a rough year, including being left at the altar for a wedding on Thanksgiving Day. She is easily convinced by her best friend to spend New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, where what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Her friend talks her rancher brother and a couple of his buddies to also come to Vegas for some R&R after a hard few months. Two “hot” women, one of which is his sister, out to have a really good time has Ty Mandrell suddenly wary of just kicking back to party crazy with his buddies. But as his night of watching over them goes on, he finds himself overly attracted to Kodie. Too much mutual attraction, too many drinks, too many numbed brain cells and they make a trip to Cupid’s Wedding Chapel. What happens in Vegas doesn’t end up staying in Vegas. Now what do they do?

Starla Kaye


Roseanne Dowell said...

Great interview. Your book sounds fascinating.

Penny Rader said...

Great interview! I love your stories, Starla, and am always in awe of how prolific you are. Your enthusiasm for each new story is truly contagious. Thank you for sharing your characters as well as your writing wisdom with all of us.


Renee Vincent said...

Hello Starla, what a wonderful interview. It's always nice to read how other authors cope with deadlines and create that special love scene unique from the others.

Good luck to you!