Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Laura Kaye's 10Q

How did you start your writing career?

I’ve been a writer my whole professional life—I’m a historian by education and occupation and have published two non-fiction books in history. But I began my fiction writing in 2008 after recovering from a head injury! The neurologist told me when you have any sort of brain trauma, new neural networks are formed to work around the injury, which sometimes results in new interests and even personality traits. Maybe, maybe not, but I definitely found myself wanting to try my hand at writing fiction. Maybe it’s because reading was my primary pastime while I was recovering. But, I hit my head on July 4th, really felt the call to write in mid-August, and had a 145,000-word manuscript drafted by November 1. It’s a kinda interesting story, no? LOL

Tell us about your next release.

Ooh! My next release is a contemporary ménage a quatres called Just Gotta Say! It’s about four long-time roommates/best friends…here’s the blurb:

When Callie Davis stumbles upon two of her three roommates, Jack Fenton and Noah Ryder, in a surprising, molten-hot midnight tryst, desire to play with them grips her.  After a horny week fantasizing about multiple guys—particularly her guys, her three long-time best friends—Callie thrills to find herself home alone one night.

Threesome porno and sex toys in hand, Callie acts out her fantasy not knowing her roommates’ plans changed.  Returning early, Jack, Noah, and Lucas Branson—who harbors an unspoken love for Callie—burst in on her.  She’s mortified, until the men invite her to live the fantasy with them.  She wavers, but her crush on Lucas and the lure of his bed are too strong. The guys’ words, her fantasies, and her body’s unmet need convince Callie she’s just gotta say, “What the fuck.”

As three strong sets of hands caress and undress her, Callie can’t help but wonder if she can really handle them all, and whether being with the three of them will risk a future with the one she really wants.



What was your first sale as an author?

My first sale was my first novel, the one I wrote after the head injury. It went through a lot of revisions—the published manuscript is 95,000 words, so that tells you something right there! LOL Forever Freed is a paranormal romance about a reclusive, empathic vampire who falls in love with a woman he planned to kill and her young daughter, then must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, lie by omission, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear. It released from The Wild Rose Press on May 20.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

Yes! I’m a huge believer in critique partners! I have the benefit of the critiquing skills of my best friend, who’s a YA paranormal author, and my local RWA chapter’s 12-member critique group, to which I belong. We meet once a month to exchange a chapter. Even when I think the manuscript is as good as I can make it, they find things that make it 100% better. Every time. No writer should go without critique partners if they can help it. The best people to give you advice on your writing are other people professionally pursuing writing and publishing.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

Two things: First, that I tend to leave the emotional reaction out when I write the first draft, so that I now have a regular revision task of filling that in. Luckily, the dialogue and physical action tend to be clean on the first draft, so it’s easy to go through and amplify the emotional. Second, that the story and characters take on a life of their own and often go off in directions I didn’t anticipate. And I love those moments of discovery. Makes me feel like the story is coming through me rather than I’m making it up.

How do you describe your writing style?

I’m tackling this question even though I have no idea how to answer it! LOL I’m a visual writer—I see the scene in my head as I write, and I can actually move around within the scene in a 3-D kinda way.  So I think that makes my writing style, in part, descriptive and “real.”  It’s also a bit on the naughty side, but never without the heart to go along with it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Relatable characters with whom you can sympathize, who make you root for them. Interesting and believable conflict and tension. Snappy, realistic dialogue. An interesting world the author’s words allow you to visualize in your head. I don’t want much, do I? Things I think detract from a good story: Bickering as conflict, for one. Another would be when an author overplays the will-they-or-won’t-they conflict re: whether the hero and heroine will get together and DO. IT.  Changing verb tense always drives me a bit nuts, too. I think every story has the potential to be a good story.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Almost never. I can’t keep myself from singing when I hear music. LOL So it’s a bit distracting. But I love to make playlists and find music very inspirational when creating a new story or writing a current one. I like to listen to playlists in the car—I find driving a generally good time for brainstorming anyway. There are a LOT of instances where a particular song helped shape a whole scene in my writing. Which music varies from story to story, from scene to scene. I’ll have to come back and do a Playlist post some time! *grins*

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

I definitely do! And just wrote a guest post about this at another blog last week! You can read it HERE.  But I’ll sum up the main points: First, write, write, and keep writing. You can’t revise what you haven’t written, and you can’t submit what you haven’t written.  Second, treat your writing as a profession, which means in particular joining the relevant professional associations related to your genre. Third, don’t lose writing momentum after finishing your first book. Move onto your next project so you have something else to offer if an agent or editor asks what else you have. Fourth, find and use critique partners! And, fifth, know the rules and norms for your genre—because it’s harder for new writers to get away with flouting the norms regarding word length, point of view, plot, etc., so why put another potential obstacle in your way?

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

Okay, I have to admit that these examples are from back when I was writing a wee bit of fan fiction, which I got into for a while after finishing that first draft of Forever Freed, but they’ve stuck with me ever since. I had, oh, several dozen people write to tell me that my stories were responsible for reinvigorating their marriages—and they weren’t joking about it either. People poured out their thanks for what my writing did for their relationships. But the two letters that probably meant the most was one where a bed-ridden arthritic woman told me my stories were what got her through the day everyday, because they helped her escape the confines of her illness. And a two-page letter that concluded with this:  “I just wanted to let you know how much this diversion has meant to me over this 3-month, one-year anniversary of my dad's illness and death. It has transported me to another reality, it has made me laugh and made me cry, and made me desire more in my own life.” Makes the hair on my arms raise just rereading it.

Thanks for reading,
Laura Kaye
twitter: @laurakayeauthor

Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romance with four books releasing in 2011. Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong.  Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with the supernatural.  Though an avid fiction writer as a teenager, a career as a historian took her in other directions until recently.  Now that Laura’s inner muse has awakened, she’s constantly creating new story ideas!  Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


Barbara Elsborg said...

I too think crit partners and having several eyes look over your work is essential!!
Did you head injury result in any other huge benefits!! An ability to predict the lottery numbers!!
Glad it all turned out so well!

Laura Kaye said...

LOL Barbara! I wish! I did kinda lose my appetite for the better part of 6 months and lost weight, but unfortunately, that particular side effect wore off! O.o

Unknown said...

Hi Laura,
Wonderful interview!

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

Maureen said...

It's amazing how life challenges us in one direction and we use it chart a new course in life! Congrats on making it work for you.

And what a great fan letter!

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for coming over and commenting, Lea Ellen!

Maureen - Yes, it truly is amazing how that happens! Thanks!

P. Kirby said...

My head injuries, as a child, wiped out my ability to do math. A real pain in the butt for someone like me who loves science. Eventually, most of the broken stuff got rewired, but I still don't "understand" spoken numbers. (I have to see them written down.)

145K novel in a month? Wow!

Laura Kaye said...

P. Kirby--wow, the brain's a really interesting and totally mysterious thing, isn't it?

Coupla months, but yeah...! :)

Thanks for commenting!

kathleen said...

Just Gotta Say sounds hot!! I know which guy I hope Callie gets. I'm partial to blondes. Go Jack!

Congrats on your upcoming release!