Today I welcome Erika Kelly to the blog for the first time. Here’s our interview.
What inspired your latest book?
I wanted to make an extremely disciplined, regimented, successful man completely lose control in the hands of a vivacious, sexy, surprise of a woman. I wanted to rock his world, turning it upside down. Poor Ryan O’Donnell—he didn’t know what hit him. It was a lot of fun to write!
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
The interesting thing about this question is that the original idea comes in a snippet—a lyric, a line of dialogue in a movie, a feeling from a dream. It might strike a flash of inspiration, but the actual book winds up being nothing like it because of all the story development involved in bringing it to fruition! It takes me a couple months to develop a story.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
They’re not. Even if I wanted to use someone as a template for a character, as soon as I delve into his goal, motivation, and conflict, he becomes his own unique person. So, rest assured friends and family, you won’t be featured in any of my books!
Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?
I’ve been a writer all my life, but when I decided to have four children, I devoted my time and energy to them. I figured I could pursue publishing after the last one left, and I’m happy to say the timing worked out exactly right for me. And it’s a really good thing. I had some silly notion that I could simply write my books and turn them in, but that’s not the case. It’s a full-time job, so I’m happy I didn’t get published when the kids were home.
Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
Ryan O’Donnell is at a crossroads. He’s spent a lifetime preparing for a career as a Major League Baseball player, but now that the draft is a few months away and he’s about to graduate college, he’s questioning his life choices. It would be foolish to give up when he’s so close to making it, but he feels this incredible pull of resistance. He’s trying to push past it, but it’s not working. What can he do? And it takes this woman that he meets unexpectedly to help him make the right decision. His strength: his love for Sophie is fierce. His weakness: he understands that it took a community to get him to this moment, where he’s a first-round draft pick, and he doesn’t want to let his supporters down. Unfortunately, that means he’s not ready to stand up for his own happiness.
Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
Sophie Valentine is the youngest of five siblings. And by youngest, I mean she came eight years after her next closest sibling. She keeps hoping the age gap will close as she gets older, but it seems they’ll always be in different phases of their lives. Two months shy of college graduation she learns her siblings might sell the family company. Crazy Hearts is the Peeps of the Valentine’s Day world. As the baby of the family, she doesn’t feel she has a voice—until this man she meets at an exclusive singles resort reminds her of her options and shows her a path to her own fulfillment. Her strength: she’s independent, strong, and deeply caring. Her weakness? She wants her siblings to love and value her. And in trying to win their love, she ignores her own heart.
Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
Writing is a craft. It’s something that improves the more we write and learn. So make learning your craft the driving factor—not publication. Enter contests to get feedback. Find a supportive critique partner. Expect rejection and use it to empower you to write a better novel next time. The only people who definitely won’t get published are the ones who quit. Don’t be that person.
Excerpt from MINE FOR THE WEEK by Erika Kelly
Sophie reached for the key in the ignition.
“Move over,” Ryan said.
Tearing off his sunglasses, he stuck his face into the Jeep, forcing her to lean back. “Move over. I’m getting in.”
Struck by all that masculinity, the scent of sun-warmed cotton, soap from his shower, and whatever shampoo he’d used, it took her a moment to answer. He was a formidable presence, and the energy rolling off him overwhelmed her. “You can teach me from the passenger seat.”
“I’m not going to teach you. I’m driving you.”
“You can’t drive me to the other side of the island.”
“Wanna bet?” he said.
“Because you’re going to get twenty minutes down the road, stall out, and then what? You’ll be stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere by yourself.”
“Why are you staring at my mouth?”
His jaw clamped shut. “Because I freaking love your mouth. I can’t stop kissing it, remember?”
Heat rushed up her neck, burning her cheeks. “Yes, I remember. That was very rude of you to bring it up.”
His arms reached over his head, hands clutching the roll-over bar of the Jeep. “Move over, Soph.”
“This isn’t a good idea.”
“I’m not coming back until tomorrow.”
His nostrils flared, but he remained silent.
“And you don’t want to see the volcano.”
“I’m not missing the waterfall with magical properties.” She gave him a meaningful look.
“No.” His lips twitched. “I wouldn’t expect you to.”
When she didn’t budge, he finally looked her right in the eyes and gave her the most searing look she’d ever seen. The heat, the intensity, ignited a flurry of explosions in her chest. Holding her gaze, he said, “I think you know I’m going with you.”
About the Author:
Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.
Please note that 10% of the net income of all Erika Kelly books goes to the Semper Fi Fund (semperfifund.org).
Please visit her on her Erika Kelly Author Facebook page and her website at http://www.erikakellybooks.com
To order Mine for the Week or any of the other books by Erika Kelly follow these links:
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