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.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Interview with Kathy Ivan, new Carina Press author, on August 27!
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!