Monthly Archives: August 2013
Congratulations to Julie Oest! Julie, you’re the winner of Wicked Firsts, an anthology featuring works from Katie Reus, Cynthia Eden, Elisabeth Naughton, Alexandra Ivy and Joan Swan!
And be sure to come back next week when the incomparable Diana Belchase interviews the lovely and talented Susan Boyer, the Agatha Award Winning author of the Liz Talbot mystery series.
I first became friends with Katie Reus on the ride up to Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference in 2010. I had just sold to St. Martin’s and Katie confided to me on that trip that she was hopeful about interest a publisher had shown in her wolf-shifter paranormal series.
Now, it’s three years later: we’re both published, and she’s burning up the charts not only with her traditionally published paranormal romances (which she sold to that interested publisher), but her self-pubbed romantic suspense has landed her on the bestseller lists. And in a little over a month, her first traditionally published romantic suspense novel will come out. As you may have guessed by now, this is one hard-working lady!
And now, without further ado, let me welcome my friend, Katie Reus!
Thanks so much for having me here today, Manda!
Thanks so much for being here! I’m so excited to celebrate your new releases with you! So, let’s begin at the beginning. Why romantic suspense? What drew you to it?
I discovered romantic suspense in college, years before I realized that writing was for me. The genre is such a fun escape with an HEA. Doesn’t get better than that.
No, it doesn’t. Is there any one romantic suspense book in particular that made you think, “I want to write like this”? What was it about that book, do you think?
All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard, hands down. It was the book that introduced me to romantic suspense so even though I didn’t have a clue I wanted to be a writer when I read it the first time, that book stuck with me over the years because of the main couple. The heroine is strong and capable and the hero is so alpha delicious and his one weakness is the heroine. The characterization of their relationship is hot and complicated because in the first scene she’s with the hero listening to him order her husband to ‘finish the job’ which will entail him blowing himself up. (They’re on a mission working for the CIA at the time). Of course the h/h don’t meet up again until 5 years later and then the fun really begins. The depth of the characters is amazing.
OMG! I love me some Linda Howard. Definitely a great place to get inspired! Who are some of your other favorites?
[Aside from] Linda Howard (her older RS titles), Kaylea Cross, and Cynthia Eden.
So, let’s get into your own writing, now. Your self-published Red Stone Security series has been wickedly successful. What is it about these books that keeps readers coming back for more?
This has been such a fun series to write and you’re right, the reception by readers has blown me away. While these books are romantic suspense, they’re really character driven. The suspense is definitely second to the romance. The heroes are alpha, dominating, super sexy, and put their females first above everything else, which is incredibly hot. And all my heroines are really strong characters with no TSTL moments. I tend not to read reviews too much, but the ones I’ve seen and the ones my readers email me about all say similar things about loving my strong female leads paired with my alpha heroes so I know that’s a big part of the appeal.
My Deadly Ops series is really high-octane suspense. While it’s character driven to an extent, there’s a balance between the suspense and romance in each book. One could not exist without the other in this series. These books are also a lot more complicated plot-wise. Headline acquired the UK/AUS rights and my editor there made a comment how filmic the first book is and I realized that she was right. It’s like a big action move but with lots of romance and of course an HEA 😉
Do you see the Deadly Ops moving beyond a trilogy at this point, or is that something you’ll decide later?
I would love to continue the series, but at this point that’s something I will decide much later.
Let’s get serious now. *Manda lowers her glasses and gives Katie the eye-brow lift that inspires fear in all interview subjects.* I heard a rumor that your husband shares some background traits with Jack, the hero of Targeted, your first Deadly Ops book.
Katie, are you just transcribing your life onto the page?
Lol, those pesky rumors! In this case, it’s partially true. My husband was a sniper in the Marine Corps years ago (longer than I’ll admit) so when developing Jack’s character I got to grill him with a billion little questions for realism that I’m pretty sure drove him crazy. But when he read the prologue of the ARC he was like, ‘hey! I told you this’ over and over at different sections. It was pretty cool to see his reaction.
Moving on! You also write paranormal romance for NAL. Do you have any difficulty switching gears between your RS-writer-self and your Paranormal-writer-self?
Not really. Switching between the genres is something I look forward to. I love mixing it up. However, switching between my different paranormal worlds (I have a few novellas with Nocturne) is more difficult because there are different rules and I have to stay true to them in each ‘world’.
That makes sense. So, keeping with your paranormals for a moment, you write wolf-shifters. Are wolves your favorite shifters, or are there more that you’d like to write? Badger-shifters perhaps? (Sorry, that’s my college mascot. I had to ask!)
Snort, sorry, no badger shifters in the future! I absolutely love wolf shifters (or lupine shifters as they’re called in my Moon Shifter series) and I’ve also penned some stories that include jaguar shifters. I also have an idea for another type of shifter that in 2014 I’ll hopefully get a chance to write. And no, I’m not telling what 😉
You are a cruel woman, Katie Reus. Cruel, indeed. I guess I’ll just move to the next question, then.
You were already traditionally published when you decided to embark upon your self-publishing journey. What was it about self-publishing that drew you in? Are you planning to continue self-publishing?
There were so many factors, but control and reaching readers faster were two huge deciding factors. I’m a fast writer and there’s no way NY could keep up with my output so the explosion of self-publishing came along at the right time for me. About two and a half years ago I dipped my toes in the water with a novella that was supposed to be an experiment (Killer Secrets) in self-publishing. At the time I was too busy with contractual stuff to even think about doing more than that, but it was a good experience and got me semi-prepared for when I would jump into the deep end of self-publishing a year later.
A few months after that I pitched a proposal to my agent meant for a certain Harlequin line and while she liked it she said (in so many words) that the heroine was too ‘alpha’ for the line. And she was right. I was weeks away from having my first baby and had other contractual obligations that were pressing on me so I shelved it even though I was almost completely done with the story and totally in love with the characters. Normally I’m pretty amenable to suggested changes but there was no way I was changing my heroine’s personality. So almost exactly a year later I decided to take the plunge full on into self-publishing with that story (No One to Trust, book 1 in my Red Stone series) and by the end of 2012 I had self-published four stories in the series and my readers were clamoring for more. Then in April of 2013 I hit the USA Today bestsellers list for the first time with the 6th story in the series. For me, self-publishing has been the best move for my career because it’s let me reach more readers and now I have a better understanding of exactly what my fan base wants. Seriously, I can’t write fast enough for my readers!
That is so freaking cool! I love hearing about authors (like our own Rachel Grant) jumping into the deep end and having it pay off!
So, By my count (and I’m no math major) you’ve got two traditionally published series’ going and you’re continuing to put out a ton of self-published stories. What is the secret to your incredible output? And will you give me some of whatever you’re taking?
I’m just a total maniac. I have a bit of a type A personality and once my readers started wanting more-more-more, it only pushed my internal drive even harder. I’ve got a two year old and a husband with a crazy work shift so I have to carve out time to write but when I do, I go completely offline and just focus. This might sound crazy, but I’ve got a ‘to do’ list from now until December and I know exactly what I’ll be working on every week and what word count I need to hit every day to make my goals. I’m just very goal oriented. And post-it notes really help my focus, lol.
That said, I also have a lot of help. I’ve got a really supportive family who helps out with my son when I’m on deadlines. Without them I would be lost. Not to mention I’ve got an amazing critique partner, great beta readers, editors and proof readers. All of that helps in turning out books fast because I need multiple sets of eyes before I’m comfortable putting anything out there.
Thanks so much for having me here today!
I’d love to give away a copy of Wicked Firsts, the anthology that I just co-published with five other amazing authors! Just tell me; what’s your favorite thing about romance books and be entered.
Hear that, folks? What is your favorite thing about romance books? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Wicked Firsts!
A little about Katie: USA Today bestselling author Katie has been reading romance since a young age—ever since she discovered her mom’s hidden stash. Luckily the addiction stayed with her into adulthood. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. To learn more about her please visit her website, blog, facebook or find her on twitter @katiereus.
JULIE OEST: Wins the blingy tiara keychain! (Only if you are a resident of the continental US)
BRENDA RUMSEY: Wins her choice of one of Misty’s ‘Super Agent’ books!
Readers: Meet Misty Evans, a multi-published author in multiple genres! Writers know there are many ways to create a realistic heroine who’s thrown into the fray of adventure. Misty explains how she came up with Anya, the heroine of the latest book in her Super Agent series: The Blood Code. Welcome, Misty!
If I was going to cast you in the leading role of a heroine in one of my books, would you be an international spy, an FBI agent working undercover, or perhaps an everyday woman wrongly accused?
In other words, which type of romance heroine are you? Suspense? Mystery? And would you rather star in a contemporary romance or a historical?
I write in multiple genres, including paranormal and urban fantasy, but today I want to talk about romantic suspense and romantic mystery heroines. Do you like angst and drama? Heroes with sketchy backgrounds and no-win situations? Move over Angelina Jolie, you’re a romantic suspense heroine. You’re bold, brave, and take no prisoners. You know how to handle a gun (if only in your imagination) and can outmaneuver anyone in a car chase.
Maybe you prefer things a little less hectic, but are thrilled to find a dead body buried in the rose garden. You like a plot that asks lots of questions and throws suspicion on everyone. You cross off the suspects one by one until you figure out it was Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the wrench. You’re a mystery heroine.
How about contemporary versus historical? Would you rather be a heroine running a million-dollar internet start-up? Or a heroine running slaves on the Underground Railroad?
What if you were a lost princess? You could be in a contemporary mystery or a historical romantic suspense. And what if the president of your homeland blackmailed you into returning so you could have his babies and restore a royal bloodline…would you do it?
That’s the premise of my latest Super Agent novel, The Blood Code. The heroine, Anya, is not your typical contemporary romantic suspense heroine. At least not at the beginning. She’s not a trained undercover agent, nor does she have a clue how to outmaneuver the Russian president who wants to use her to build a new family of royals. But she’s one determined gal, and she’s not about to let the bad guy win, even if it means sacrificing her own life.
And that’s what makes all heroines – no matter the storyline or genre – great. Each one, whether funny, angsty, or highly trained – sacrifices something during the story so that good wins over evil, and the bad guys eat dirt. Throw in a sexy hero who can help, and they’re guaranteed to save the day.
THE BLOOD CODE: Fifteen years ago, Anya Radzoya fled Russia with her grandmother after the suspicious deaths of her parents, but she can’t escape the royal genes that make her one of Russia’s last living princesses. When President Ivanov blackmails her into returning to Moscow in exchange for her grandmother’s life, Anya discovers he’s planning to unleash a nuclear war. With no one else to turn to, she joins forces with CIA operative Ryan Smith.
Undercover at the nuclear summit, Ryan recruits Anya to find proof Ivanov is resurrecting the Cold War, but he suspects his new asset is a double agent. Anya is determined to rescue her grandmother with or without his help, however, and Ryan finds himself falling for the beautiful princess before he even trusts her.
Trapped inside the Kremlin with a cunning and ruthless opponent, the two must risk their lives and their hearts to save Anya’s grandmother as well as millions of innocent people.
USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more about her stories at www.readmistyevans.com Or visit these booksellers:
So how about it, readers? What type of romance heroine would you be and why? One commenter will win a blingy tiara keychain (US only, please) and another will win a copy of their choice of my super agent books (US and International)!
Diana: Where did the title of your book, Speak of the Devil, come from?
Allison: I called this book Speak of the Devil for two reasons. First there is a villain named Diablo — the Devil — whom my heroine is trying to bring down. Second, this book explores MS-13, a terrifying real-life street gang that is notorious for its brutality and misogyny. One of my biggest challenges as a prosecutor was convincing victim/witnesses of MS-13 to tell me what happened. Victims were often terrified to talk to authorities. “Speak of the Devil and he will appear,” one witness told me. There was this feeling that if you spoke about evil, you would bring it to you. I often had…
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Winner of WHY DUKES SAY I DO by Manda Collins
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Tomorrow is Part 2 of Diana’s interview with Allison Leotta
Tuesday 8/13 we welcome Entangled author, MISTY EVANS