Sunday, March 27, 2011

Romantic Suspense From a Master Storyteller

Okay, I admit, this is a huge fan girl interview for me.   I've been reading Roxanne St. Claire's books since French Twist in 2004.  But when I had the chance to meet her in Florida at a STARS Conference, about five years ago, I fell in love with her personality, her openness, and her positive attitude. Some of that down-to-earth approach can be seen in her own words on her website.

In terms of her writing, I'm not the only one who thinks she's amazing. Rocki is a New York Times bestseller AND this year she is a finalist for a RITA (the Oscars for romance writers) for her first book in the Guardian Angelinos series, Edge of Sight.  Go, Rocki!!! Please welcome Rocki to Behind the Book.  She's giving away an autographed copy of the second book in the Guardian Angelinos series, Shiver of Fear to some lucky commenter. So, get on the ball and say Hi. I promise she'll answer you.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?  Please describe the event or series of events.

Devyn Sterling, the heroine of Shiver of Fear, first appears in the opening scene of Edge of Sight (the first and only book so far in the Guardian Angelinos series), as the wife of a man who gets assassinated in the first few pages. I knew she had nothing to do with the crime, but her character intrigued me.  I described her as a cool socialite and that tag stuck in my head.  Is she...or isn't she?  She never appeared again on the page, but Devyn lingered as a possible heroine for me.  When it came time to lay out the next story, I wanted to explore Devyn Sterling...well, I wanted Marc Rossi to explore her.  I knew she had inadvertently given her husband information about her biological father that got him killed, so that led me to wonder about her biological mother...and send Devyn on a dangerous hunt to find her.  Well, she certainly can't go on that adventure alone, can she? Enter Marc Rossi, a man who has everything she wants...but believes she can't have.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that?  If so, what?

Only the very end!  Devyn longs for a big family and Marc's Rossi & Angelino crew simply makes her ache with envy.  Early in the book, he casually mentions a Christmas Eve tradition and rather than get the point of his story, she sort of gets lost in the fantasy of a being part of a family like that.  Of course, she ultimately is.  (Hey, it's a romance!  There's an HEA!)  So when I describe the festivities, I'm taking it right from my real life -- my husband is Italian and the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve is our family tradition, too.

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?

There are a few, of course. Toward the end of the book, there's a scene that, for me, is deeply heartbreaking and also quite sensual, when the heroine is vulnerable to the breaking point.  In addition (this is probably some sort of writer's sin!) I love every scene with Vivi Angelino, the hero's cousin who is working behind the scenes, especially when she interacts with FBI Agent Colton Lang.  Their chemistry warmed the keyboard, and positively fried my computer when I wrote their story, Face of Danger - out in just four weeks!!

I admit to loving your Bullet Catchers world and when I knew you were leaving it to start a different series, I really grieved. But now I'm madly in love with the Guardian Angelinos and the more flirty/snarky characters.  Are there more to come in this series? 

In a month, you can gobble up another Guardian Angelino - Vivi's story is totally delicious book candy!  And all I will say is this...neither series is over.  I don't have an exact date or title or information, but both the Bullet Catchers and the Guardian Angelinos will be back.  There is a huge hint in the last scene of Face of Danger  (Tease!!!!)

You have an extensive backlist of stories. If readers want to to go back and read some of your other books, are they still available? Where might they find a good list and descriptions?

Oh, yes, every book I've ever written is available as an ebook for any ereader.  Check out amazon,, wherever ebooks are sold.  And all of the Bullet Catchers are still in print, though they might need to be ordered (any bookstore will order them) or found on the romance shelves in the chain bookstores, like Barnes & Noble.  A complete list (in order) is on my website:  on the "Book List" page.  There are also biographies and photos of all the Bullet Catchers and Angelinos, a free read, and excerpts of every book.

What's next for you?  Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?  Will you be traveling in the next few months where readers can find you?

There are tons of opportunities to "cyber meet" and win a set of Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger!!  Watch my website, where I'll be posting a full list of a 40+ stop blog tour I'm doing in April. What's next after that is a whole lot of writing.  One of the projects I'm most excited about is my debut in the Young Adult market.  DON'T YOU WISH (tentative title) is set for release in the summer of 2012.  I love the book so much and had an absolute blast getting into the teen head to write it.  (I live with two of them, so I'm qualified!!)  Adding to the thrill of my first hardcover, my first light paranormal, and my first YA is the fact that it has been optioned for my first film deal!  My dream director, Garry Marshall, has paired up with a fantastic family-fare friendly producer, Jeff Franklin (creator of Full House), to develop the screenplay based on the book, and begin the long and excited process of movie making.  *Deep breaths, Rocki, deep breaths.*  No matter what the outcome, the journey just this far has been incredible!  Honestly, I guess the same can be said of my whole writing career!

Thank you for joining Behind the Book, Rocki. It was truly a pleasure for me.
Thank you so much for having me, Maggie!  Don't forget I'm giving away an autographed copy of Shiver of Fear to one commenter.  Ask a question (I'll come and answer!) or leave a note and be entered!

Being such a fan girl, I had already pre-ordered both Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger.  I want to be sure they are delivered to my Nook the moment they become available.  I strongly recommend all my readers to the same.  Rocki's books are available in print and ebook for all platforms.  Links to some booksellers are below.  If you prefer print books and want to support your local indie bookstore (something I always recommend), please know any of them can order Rocki's books and get them to you VERY quickly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Angels, Demons, and Redemption

This week are joined by Cassiel Knight, author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, with kick-butt heroines and sexy heroes. Her new release, Key of Solomon, is the beginning of a series that features angels and demons and looks absolutely delicious.  Please join me in welcoming Cassie and learning about this intriguing book.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head? 
Well, it's been a while and the story has gone through several incarnations but what I remember that put the spark for this one was the now defunct Silhouette Bombshell line. I'd written one futuristic romance targeted for that line because I love strong, kick-butt heroines and when that was finished, I wanted to write about a hurting woman and a fallen angel - another subject I found interesting. Plus, I was watching Tomb Raider and Relic Hunter and really thought about how to combine the two. It didn't actually work out that way - the story is light on Tomb Raider and Relic Hunter elements but I did write about angels and demons and I wanted to do that. Oh, and I wanted to mix mystical historical details as well and Egypt. So, basically, I had a soup of wonderful ideas and Relic Defender series is how I combined them, with Key of Solomon as the first book.

I'm a huge paranormal fan, and it seems that angels and demons are the new hit these days. Your story seems to really cross the line between the two. It appears that good and evil aren't necessarily easy to determine. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Definitely. This seems to be a pattern not only in books I write but those I read. I like the idea that even angels and demons can be a mix of good and bad. It's what they do that defines them not necessarily who they are. And I really wanted to write about a fallen angel who made a mistake, made the wrong choices and to show that redemption can happen to even a fallen angel.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that?  If so, what?
I wish I was as strong as Lexi! No, this story is pure fiction. Lexi and Mikos' tale really came about to blend all the things I love into one story. I guess, you could say that it's my passions in life that drive my stories.

Is there a particular scene in Key of Solomon that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?
I have to say my favorites are the ones with Rocky, my shape-shifting imp. He loves the gangsters of the 1920s and is really fairly irreverant for a lesser demon. I plan to keep him around. And of course, while I can't tell you why because it would give away the ending, I loved the moment Mikos and Lexi got together - when they found their happily ever after. Now, that, I can tell you. :)

With the subtitle, Relic Defender, this book looks to be part of a series. Is it? If so, can you tell us how many books are planned and how they'll be linked? Also, any release dates for future books?
Yes, this is a series. At this point, I have book number 2 in progress and book 3 outlined. I haven't thought much beyond that. I love the world I've created and would enjoy staying there. I don't foresee getting tired of it and there are certainly enough story ideas that it could keep going. I hope the readers will tell me whether they want the series to continue. I would certainly enjoy continuing to write it. In fact, if readers want to get a taste of book two, they can visit my blog site specifically set up to launch Relic Defender.

If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?
Up until recently, I had a futuristic romance available from New Concepts Publishing; however, I pulled it and am looking for a new home for it or publishing directly to Kindle. So, Key of Solomon is the first book in the Relic Defender series with Samhain. If readers want to see what I'm working on, they can visit my webpage. I've posted excerpts from the first book in another series that is tagged as Tomb Raiders meets The Librarian. Yes, this one truly has a tomb raider element. :)

That's the end of the interview. Thanks for joining Behind the Book.
Thanks so much for having me. It's been fun revisiting the birth of this book.

Readers, this interview had me immediately ordering Key of Solomon. I can't wait to read it!  You can get the book in your favorite ebook format from these publishers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Book Breeze -- A new monthly paper all about books

This week I'm deviating from the norm to talk to Donna Kiehle, owner and editor of The Book Breeze.  Perhaps you've seen small flyers with book reviews, or author articles in your favorite bookstore.  You may frequent a few review sites online.  The Book Breeze is all that and more.  It's a newspaper designed for readers.  Articles about authors, new short stories, and of course book reviews are all part of this new paper.  While giving a nod to the past by producing an actual tabloid on books, it also plans to stick with the future and have a PDF version available for anyone who prefers to read electronically.

The Book Breeze is fresh, exciting, and I predict it will do very well.  The first issue will be launched at the Romantic Times conference, and soon follow at the Heart of Dixie Reader's Luncheon.  

Soon the tabloid will be available in bookstores across the U.S.  Please join me in welcoming Donna Kiehle, the owner of The Book Breeze.

The Book Breeze is getting a lot of buzz among authors.  Can you tell us why you decided to start a monthly newspaper on books?

Because readers are always looking for a good book and writers are always looking for a good reader.
There are 1,500 books published each day in this country.  How does a reader navigate that volume?   How does a writer get noticed?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Amongst millions of posts and tweets?  It’s information overload. 

Sometimes, to get noticed, you need to step to the side, out of the flow, out of sync.  The Book Breeze isn’t a replacement for the social network, it’s an additional resource in the world of promotion.

I can see lots of reasons authors may want to promote in The Book Breeze, but what's in it for readers?
  • There’s Behind the Book.
  • Short stories that provide us with a brief respite in our day.
  • Articles that celebrate the written word, for instance, the importance of the industrial revolution, the dime novel and literacy or how writing opened doors for women.
  • A peek into the possibly sane world of a writer with the Writer’s Cave.
  • Book seller’s recommendations.
  • New releases.
  • Contests and puzzles and prizes.  Oh, my!

Your website says you plan a distribution of 5,000 copies.  That's huge.  Do you have a list of bookstores and libraries already?  Are these all across the U.S.? How about international?

I’m compiling that now.  I’m looking first for independent bookstores, then at the demographics of the area such as income and education level.  My goal is to get The Book Breeze into as many states as possible and if 5,000 isn’t enough of a print run, I’ll increase it to get the coverage.  As for international and online, well, it’s certainly a possibility.  I do have a friend at the English Academy in Madrid Spain who’s going to pass around copies.

For readers who are interested in getting the newspaper but don't have it in their hometown, or they live far away from a bookstore or library, how can they get it? Will you have subscriptions and/or an online version of the newspaper?

Subscriptions are available.  Because this venture is just beginning, the mail version will cost between $1.25 and $1.50 a month until the mailing list builds enough to qualify for bulk rates.  I’m also looking into sending a PDF version but since I’m still compiling my first edition it’s difficult to say at this point.  Keep watching the subscriptions page for the latest.

I understand The Book Breeze celebrates all genres of fiction, not just Romance.  Can you give us a preview of some of the books and authors in your premier issue?

Because my contacts are primarily romance, so far that is the bulk of authors. So tell your friends from other genres to submit, advertise and participate.  I’d love to see some poetry, YA, mystery, and non-fiction.  Also, if you know of an exceptional teen who writes, tell them to submit.  There is no age limit to good writing.

Well, I can hardly wait for the first issue. I'm definitely buying a subscription.  If you want more information on The Book Breeze. Visit the website or contact Donna Kiehle with your questions.