Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

HBW Calendar

  • 08/02- open
  • 07/30 - Keta Diablo
  • 07/26 - Mariah Lynne
  • 07/23 - Mageela Troche
  • 07 19 - Vicki
  • 07/16 - RWA
  • 07/12 - Edith Maxwell
  • 07/09 - Chris Redding
  • 07/05 - Vicki
  • 07/02 - Fourth of July

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interview with Kathy Ivan, new Carina Press author, on August 27!

Hi, Kathy. Thanks for being with me. I've known you for a while now and I'm happy you are published!!
Tell us about yourself. How long have you been writing? I’ve always loved reading and tried my hand at writing short stories while in high school, but nothing serious. Back then I think I enjoyed the reading of the books more than the writing of the stories. That’s not to say I haven’t always had characters and stories dancing around in my head; I have. But they were only for me. I didn’t share them with anybody else.

Several years ago I reconnected with Jane Graves (we worked for the same company doing medical transcription—her in the office and me from home). She’d published a few books with Harlequin and I dropped her an e-mail congratulating her on her sales. She responded and invited me to a book signing at Dreamin’ in Dallas which was happening a few days later. I went to the book signing and was thoroughly impressed by the entire event. So I decided to come to a DARA meeting. From the very first meeting, I was hooked. I had come strictly as a reader, but once the creative juices got flowing again, I dove in with a purpose. I had to get that first book written.

How did you get from an office career to writing romance?  I still have that office career! My day is spent still doing medical transcription from early morning until late afternoon. Three days a week I go to Curves to work out. Then back home. By then it is dinnertime. Once that’s done, the rest of the evening is spent writing. Definitely romance. While I will read just about anything I get my hands on (literally), my first love has always been and will always be romance. I’m a firm believer in happily ever after.

Who is your favorite author(s) and why?  I tend to have very eclectic tastes in reading. I’ll go through spurts where I’ll read a specific genre, everything I can find until I’m glutted on it. Then I’ll switch to a new genre and start the process all over again. Right now I’m going through a paranormal/urban fantasy phase. Recommendations anybody? Some of my favorites include Janet Evanovich, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle, Karen Marie Moning, Laurell K. Hamilton, Shayla Black, Jo Davis, Jane Graves . . . the list goes on forever. And don’t forget the rest of our wonderful DARA authors. I read them all. 

Tell us about your new book.  Desperate Choices (Carina Press, September 27, 2010) is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements. Here’s the back cover copy.

When psychic Theresa Crawford’s former beau walks into her New Orleans New Age shop, she senses trouble. Big trouble. Max Lamoreaux hasn’t come to discuss their relationship—the private investigator is on a case, and he needs Theresa’s help.

Max’s godson is missing. The police have declared Tommy a runaway, but Max’s gut tells him otherwise. While he’s highly skeptical of Theresa’s abilities, her visions provide the only clue as to who’s taken Tommy. The longer Max works with Theresa, the harder it is to resist his desire for the sexy woman.

As they inch closer to finding Tommy, Max and Theresa also discover that time hasn’t diminished their powerful attraction. But Theresa harbors her own dark secrets from her past. Secrets that broke them up before—and could drive them apart again, unless Theresa can learn to trust Max with everything….

Here's an exerpt:  Even though it was late afternoon, in her mind’s eye it was twilight. The dusky time between day and night where everything fades to shades of gray, black and white. She extended her extrasensory flow, hearing nothing except the normal sounds of nature. Crickets chirped, mosquitoes buzzed, an occasional bird lifted in flight. The normal sounds of a Louisiana evening.

Things began coalescing into definition. She stood alongside a motorbike. The motor wasn’t running.

She let her psychic senses run free. In the distance, she heard an engine. Its growl grew louder as it approached. A vehicle pulled to the side of the road a short distance ahead of where she stood beside the bike.

“Theresa,” Max interrupted. Never opening her eyes, she raised her finger to her mouth, motioning for quiet.

She concentrated on the vehicle, but as hard as she tried, it wouldn’t come into a clear image. She could only determine it was a light color and large. Focus, she whispered in her mind. Go deeper. Bring it into focus.

A sudden jolt broke her concentration. Her neck snapped back, jarring her from the vision and back into reality. Theresa stared up at Max’s face inches from hers, so close she could feel the warmth of his breath. His grasp on her shoulders felt firm yet insistent.

“Theresa.” A hint of anxiety filled Max’s normally placid voice. “Theresa. Snap out of it.”

“What’s wrong, Max?”

“What’s wrong? You were standing there, barely breathing, shaking like a leaf, and you ask me ‘What’s wrong?’” Max’s hold on her eased and she watched him run a hand across his eyes. “What the hell just happened?”

The vision vanished, faded away like mist evaporating. Nothing left but the daylight surrounding her and Max. She handed him the phone and managed to stagger a couple of steps, resting her hip against the hood of the car.

Her body trembled, exhaustion enveloping her like a heavy cloak. This was one of the reasons she hated this kind of reading. It wiped her out, leaving her emotionally and physically drained.

“There’s not a lot I can tell you, Max. I saw the bike at the side of the road. Right there.” She pointed. “It wasn’t running. I couldn’t tell why not. I didn’t get the impression there was anything mechanically wrong, but…”

She took a few steps away from the car and glanced toward the woods. They were dense, thick and mysterious, yet no sense of danger emanated from them. Sunlight poured through the few leaves, wiping away all trace of the twilight hues from her vision.

“Another vehicle pulled over there.” She gestured toward the road again, indicating an area about twenty feet beyond where his car was parked. “It was large, light in color. Maybe white or a light yellow or tan, I couldn’t tell. It stopped. I sensed a brief moment of fear, but just as quickly it was gone. Tommy felt relief. He didn’t seem afraid. He seemed thankful, maybe even happy.”

Theresa looked up into Max’s eyes for the first time since the vision ended and met his gray-eyed gaze.

“Max, whoever took Tommy wasn’t a stranger. It was somebody he knew.”

Copyright 2010 Kathy Ivan
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

What is the appeal of writing romantic suspense and mysteries?  I’m a “who done it” kind of girl. I don’t know why but I always tend to look for the why of a story. Why did a character do something? What made the hero or heroine or the villain do whatever they did. Because of that, romantic suspense just seemed to work well for my style of writing.

What kind of writings turns you off? What stops you from writing? If I start a book, I will do my level best to finish it. I try to remember the effort a writer puts into working with a story and really will read to the end—in most instances. There have been a few occasions when I just couldn’t finish a book. In fact I’ve gone so far as to throw a book or 2 across the room (just not those on my e-reader).  Sloppy writing and poor editing can throw me out of a story very quickly.

By the way, did you know I’m the queen of procrastination? Welcome to my kingdom. Unfortunately I do let things interfere with my writing time more frequently than I should. I’m trying to correct that but . . .

How have you shocked your readers?  I can’t say I’ve shocked my readers; I don’t have any—yet. The only people who’ve read Desperate Choices have been critique partners and a few beta readers. Once the book releases and people get a chance to read it, they may be surprised at how dark the story is. I’m not what most people would consider a “dark” person, but there are moments in the story that are very intense.

How do you get your ideas? What is your writing day like?  My ideas can come from anywhere and anything. I love to play the “what if” game. Or I can be watching a program on TV like 20/20 or 48 hours describing a crime that’s been committed, and bang, a kernel of an idea pops into my head and I’ll start seeing the characters and how it fits around their lives, going in a totally different direction than the story I’ve just watched. Or I’ll get a flash of a character or a location and start working from that. Sometimes it’s even the end of the dark moment that will pop into my head and I’ll work backwards from there, and the story line evolves as I deconstruct the big black moment. Plus, I’ll bounce story ideas to my sister, who is a fantastic sounding board. She can usually spot a plot hole a mile away and gives me great ideas on how to fix my screw ups. Ideas and motivation are everywhere. The trick is finding the time to get them all down on paper. (See above for my typical writing day.)

Can you share three writing tips?

1. Never give up. I know everybody says that, but it’s the truth. I decided it was time to retire Desperate Choices. After making a deal with one of my critique partners (thanks again, Ann) that I’d send it out one last time (to Carina Press), I gave it one final shot. That was on March 6, 2010. I got the call on May 11, 2010.

2. Get good critique partners. Have people read your manuscript who will give you honest constructive feedback. It’s easy to find people who will read your work and gush as say how wonderful it is, but that won’t get you one step closer to publication; it’ll just make you feel good for the moment. Having people who aren’t afraid of yielding the dreaded red pen and slashing and hacking at your baby may hurt, but it will ultimately make you a better writer.

3. Be true to what you write and write what you love. If you don’t believe and love the story you’re writing, trust me, the reader will be able to tell that in a minute.

Fill in this blank: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if: He looked past the physical and saw the real me inside. Physical beauty fades but a person’s true worth is formed by their actions and deeds. I absolutely love a hero who digs for the rare special gem in their woman and finds their true beauty.

How much do you love cake? Ohhh, cake!!! Picture drool running down my chin now. I love cake; unfortunately, I’m not allowed to have it very often anymore. But when I do, I’m a chocolate girl all the way, especially a really good German Chocolate cake.

Thanks for having me visit on your blog, Vicki. You’re the best!


Liz Lipperman said...

I'm commenting now because I will be on a plane tomorrow morning and I didn't want to miss this.

First off, congrats, Kathy. I am so excited for you...even more so since I now know this was the last chance for the story. I always say..it only takes one to say yes.

Thanks to both Kathy and Vicki for the great interview. I can't wait to download the book.

Addison said...


I am SO excited to get my hands on this book!!!

What a great interview. And I so hear you on your message of persistence. Publishing is a challenging business, but try and try again is the name of the game. Belief in your work and your craft - AND sending out the work - means everything!!!

Congrats again!! :-)

Phyllis Middleton said...

I'm also commenting now because tomorrow will be hell day for me.

Great picture Kathy!! Love it.

Also can't wait to get the final copy. Oh too cool. Congrats to you!

Kathy Ivan said...

Thanks so much, Liz.

Yep, as I had told you, I was going to "retire" this story from submissions, but gave it one last shot--Carina Press. :-)

The rest, as they say, is history. Have fun on your trip. Will miss you at the DARA meeting this month.


Author said...

Wow, what a way to start a morning -- with good girlfriends! Thanks, Liz, Addison, and Phyllis. You are the best!

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Kathy,

I'm a procrastinator also. That's why I'm posting instead of jumping right into the day job. Love your exerpt. Sounds wonderful. And your three tips are dead on. It took me years to get that first call. But especially agree that if you don't love your story, nobody else is likely to.

Congrats on your success!

Kathy Ivan said...


You are so right. Persistence is the name of the game if you want to be published.

Desperate Choices holds a special place in my heart because it's the first book I completed; the one I started when I joined DARA.

Congratulations on your success, too. Wishing you many sales.


Kathy Ivan said...


So glad you stopped by. And sorry you are going to be having a hellacious day. Been there, done that. :-)

You've been with me through this whole process, and I couldn't ask for a better friend. Fingers crossed that you will be published soon, too.


Kay Thomas said...

Congratulations, Kathy!!

What a fabulous interview. I'm so excited for you and I loved the excerpt. This is my favorite kind of story. Max sounds yummy.

I can't wait to read DESPERATE CHOICES.


Anonymous said...

Congrats, Kathy! Persistence and self-confidence are definitely key in publishing. That and plenty of chocolate cake :)


Author said...

I'm so thrilled Kay and Elyse posted. And I agree, chocolate cakes rocks.

Nancy said...

Kathy, I'm thrilled about your sale! DESPERATE CHOICES will be a must read for me!

Kathy and Vicki, great interview! Have a fab weekend!


Liz Fichera said...

Congratulations on your release, Kathy!

I can relate totally to bouncing ideas off a sister. I do that to my younger sister, Mary. Constantly!

Kathy Ivan said...


Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed writing Max and Theresa's story. . .and I agree, Max is definitely "yummy." (Although his brother Remy is no slouch, either.)


Diana Cosby said...

Congratulations on your release, Kathy, ultra exciting! ^5 Wonderful interview, and I'm with you, it's about what's inside a person that counts. Take care and please know that I wish you every success! *Hugs*

Kathy Ivan said...


So happy to see a fellow Carina author here.

I'm nothing if not persistent. I can be a bulldog about things, and in this business I think that's a good thing.

Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate your support.


Author said...

Hi, Nancy! Thank you for stopping by to congratulate Kathy. I think she's awesome too, but then, so are you. oxoxo

Liz, so nice to have you here. Enjoy!

Kathy Ivan said...


My sister is "Mary" too. She a great sounding board and can spot a plot hole a mile away. :-)

Congratulations on your release, too. And thanks so much for dropping by.


Kathy Ivan said...


Great to see another "girlfriend" here and I'm looking forward to our next get-together.

I appreciate all the wonderful support DARA shows more than words can say. Especially yours.

Thanks for being here.

Author said...

Hello to the fabulous Diana! who will be on my blog in October.

Kathy Ivan said...


If anybody knows about persistence in this business, it's you.

I've appreciate your support throughout the years, and hope you enjoy Desperate Choices.

Thanks for coming by my very first guest blog.


Kathy Ivan said...


So good to see you here. Thanks so much for your kind words and your encouragement. It means more to me that words can say.

Thanks again.


Suzanne Ferrell said...

Good morning, Vicki and Kathy! What a great interview. Kathy, I'm so excited for you and can't wait for the release of Desperate Choices! I love a good parapsychology-who-done-it romance!

Author said...

Thanks, Suz. I love Kathy's interview, her book. The cover is awesome.

Elizabeth Essex said...

Kathy - I can't wait to read this story. I'm already in love with your hero! So knowing how persistent and dedicated a writer you are, what's in store for you next? What stories or projects are you working on now?

Marcelle said...


Congratulations on the publication of Desperate Choices. I'm buying an e-reader next week and yours is one of the stories I plan to read on it! Thanks for sharing your writer's journey.


Carolyn Matkowsky said...


Congratulations on your release. I'm really happy for you. When I worked fulltime, my day was much like yours. I agree completely with your writing tips. Your books sounds great.

Carolyn/Cara Marsi

Author said...

Hi fellow True girl, Carolyn. Thank you so much for stopping by. We get to chat in December.

Miss Essex! We're doing our interview in September. Pick a date!

Hi, Marcelle. Thank you for commenting. Kathy and I are having a blast.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Suz!

Thanks for dropping by.

I agree, I not only like to know "who did it" but "why did they do it?"

So looking forward to reading "Lacy". Do you have a release date yet?


Susanna Ives said...

"When psychic Theresa Crawford’s former beau walks into her New Orleans New Age shop"

Okay, I'm reading your book! I love NO as a setting.

Kathy Ivan said...

Elizabeth (Liz):

Great to see you here. I agree, Max is a definite keeper. I just love a strong hero.

Looking forward to your interview with Vicki next month, too.


Kathy Ivan said...


Great to see you here. I love my e-reader (I have an older Sony but its still going strong) and its loaded to the gills with books.

Your's is going on there, too. I love all the stuff Carina has been putting out, the quality definitely shows.

Thanks again for coming by.


Kathy Ivan said...


Any friend of Vicki's is a friend of mine. :-)

So your a TRUE buddy. Love those stories in the magazine, they are also so clever and well-written.

Thanks for dropping by the blog.


Kathy Ivan said...


I have several projects going right now. I'm trying to write Remy's book (he's Max's brother in Desperate Choices and plays a pivotal role), but he's not cooperating.

I'm also working on a novella length romantic suspense with paranormal elements.

Plus there's a secondary character in Desperate Choices who is only in one chapter, but he's wanting his own story, too, so I'm plotting that out.

So its busy, busy. Just need to find the time to get them written (and hopefully sold)!


Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Susanna!

Big wave from Texas. I love New Orleans, too. Only been there on business, but it was just too inspiring a setting not to use it.

Thanks for saying you'll read the book. That's what I'm hoping, that people will read the story. That's why I like tell stories so much.


Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kathy, thanks for asking. No, "Lacy's" release date isn't set yet, but I hope to hear soon!

Pam Phillips said...

Hi, Kathy,

Congratulations, I'm happy for you and looking forward to downloading your book.

Author said...

Hola, Pam. Kathy and I are lucky to have friends like you who have stopped by. Thank you so much.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for coming by. I'm thrilled that you want to download my book. Sept. 27 can't come soon enough for me.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday at DARA.


Kathy Ivan said...


Well, definitely keep me in the loop when you get your release date, and I'll mark my calendar. After all, we're now "white rose" buddies!


Shelley Munro said...

Congrats on your upcoming release, Kathy. I enjoyed getting to know you and learn about your book.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey, Shelley

So glad you dropped in from the other side of the world!

I'm thrilled Desperate Choices found a home with Carina.

And, Shelley is hosting me on her blog, as well, on 09/27/2010. I'll keep everybody posted as it gets closer.

Thanks again, Shelley.


Author said...

I'd like to thank all the wonderful friends who dropped by today who congratulated Kathy on her new book!

AND a big thank you to Kathy for doing the interview. I am truly honored.

Good luck to all!

chris k said...

wow- almost missed this - Am in San DIego for a family wedding but had to pop in for a minute

I can hardly wait to read the final version of the book!

And I love the cover - I think the art department did a fantastic job -So glad you never gave up!!

Author said...

Hi, Chris! We missed you yesterday, but am glad you posted today. I love San Diego.

Kathy Ivan said...


Thanks so much for doing this interview with me. I had a fabulous time vising with old friends and making some new ones.

Now for the lucky recipient of the copy of Desperate Choices . . .

Elyse Mady

I've e-mailed Elyse with the good news. Thanks everybody else for stopping by and spending a few minutes of your day with me.


Author said...

My pleasure, Kathy. I can't wait to hear how the books does, too.

Congratulations, Elyse.

BTW, Desperate Choices already has an excellent review.

TwitterNovel said...

Great interview!

Blog Archive