Saturday, April 21, 2007

Interview With Karen Kelley

Welcome to Karen Kelley, author of the recently released “Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind.”

Tell us the storyline of your new novel, Karen.

"Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind" is a romantic comedy. Mala lives on the perfect planet, Nerak, but she longs for something more. After watching a documentary from her grandmother's travels, Debbie Does The Sheriff, she knows she has to find a sheriff of her own. Beam Me Up, Hottie! She finds exactly what she's looking for in Sheriff Mason McKinley, and probably a whole lot more than she expected!

This was such a fun book to write with the pesky tabloid reporters, The Elders and of course, Barton. I fell in love with Barton who is Mala's robot companion unit.

You’re well known for your contemporary romances. Isn’t a fantasy a bit of a departure for you? What made you write one?
I love writing contemporary romances but I guess I just wanted something more. I’ve always been a big fan of paranormal/fantasy. I decided to send a proposal to my editor that had a lot more comedy and the heroine was an alien. Kate absolutely loved it.

Describe Mala. What was it about her that made you want to tell her story?
Mala is searching for something more. I think I can relate to her a lot and hope other women will, too. I used to work as a nurse. It was a good job. I absolutely loved my co-workers. I should’ve been satisfied—right? I wasn’t. I wanted more. I realized the only way I was going to have more was to pursue my dream. No one could do it for me. Mala felt the same way. She went in search of something more.

Mason sounds very, very sexy. Why is he drawn to Mala?
What can I say—I love a sexy hero. I write for myself as much as I do for the reader and I want my sexy hero! LOL Mason is intrigued and fascinated by Mala. She’s different, she’s exasperating and oh, no! he’s falling in love with her!

Your books are always such a fun read. Do you enjoy writing them?
I have a blast writing my books! Sometimes they can give me a bit of a headache when a scene just isn’t working, but for the most part, yes, I do have a lot of fun. Kate once asked if I sit in front of my computer laughing most of the time. I’d never really thought about it but you know, I do. I love writing romantic comedy.

I’ve read and enjoyed your previous books. Is “Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind” as light-hearted as your other books?
It has a lot more comedy in it. Friends and other writers have always said comedy was my strength so with "Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind" I decided I wouldn’t hold back and just see what happens. So far, the reviews have been fantastic---"Romantic Times" gave it a 4 1/2 Top Pick! I couldn’t be more pleased.

Do you think you’ll write more paranormal romances?
Definitely! I have Kia’s story (Mala’s cousin) coming out in February of 2008. She’s a warrior who’s determined to bring her cousin home. I also have "The Morgue The Merrier" out in September of this year. This is an anthology with Rosemary Laurey and Dianne Castell. I’ll have two stories in that one.

Also in September of this year I’ll have "Double Dating with the Dead" about a skeptic, a psychic and two sex–starved ghosts stuck in a vacant hotel. In October of this year, I’ll revisit a character from "Southern Comfort," Bailey—the hero’s sister---in an anthology with Lori Foster and Dianne Castell, "I’m Your Santa." That’s a straight contemporary comedy.

What are you working on now?
Another romantic comedy, single title, with a ghost. I just signed another contract with Kensington for three more Bravas so for the next year I’m going to be busy.

How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
It depends on how tight my deadline is. Usually four months works best for me.

A lot of my readers are writers, too. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone take away your dream. Early on, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. She said I wasn’t smart enough to be a writer. I believed her. I didn’t write for ten years. Oh, the dream was still there but I pushed it way back. One day my son found the beginning of that first story that I just couldn’t throw away. He said it was really good and asked why I had stopped writing. I didn’t have a good answer.

I started writing that day and I never let anyone take away my dream again. It still took six years before I sold, but when I did, my mother told me the reason she’d told me I wasn’t smart enough was so that I wouldn’t be hurt. She passed away two months before my first book came out.

I now have six books and two anthologies in print, three books and two anthologies coming out soon, and I just contracted for three more single titles.

So as far as advice goes—if you have a dream, keep working toward it, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Great advice, Karen. I hope you'll come back again in September to talk about "Double Dating."

Thanks for giving us your time.

I read "Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind" in less than 24 hours. It's a fun, fun read. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy this weekend. You won't regret it. Visit Karen's website here or buy "Close Encounters" here.

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