Welcome back one of my co-authors from Liquid Silver Books, Kayelle Allen! It’s a challenge finding new questions but it’s a great opportunity to learn more about this wonderful author.
Q: Where are you from?
I was born in Idaho, but my parents moved to New Mexico when I was a few months old. Since then, I’ve lived in almost every state and parts of Central America. However, from 7th grade up, we lived in Henderson, Nevada, right outside Las Vegas. So I consider Vegas my home town.
I love Vegas. My favorite town. Q: How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pencil! I wrote a Science Fiction book at eighteen, filed it away and got it back out a few years later and created a map of the galaxy as it would be in the story. I put it away to attend college. You don’t make the dean’s list while raising three kids under the age of six unless you really knuckle down, and I did. Once all my kids were in school, I got the book out again, but the editor I sent it to made so many suggestions about changes that I got cold feet and tucked it back in the closet for a few years. In the meantime, I submitted a short story to Writer’s Digest Magazine for their annual “Short-Short Story Contest” and was one of the Honorable Mentions. I started working on a book of rules and laws, a compendium of races and background info for the universe I’d created. Finally, all my kids were in high school, and I thought, when is it finally going to be time for me? I realized no one would give it to me, and I wouldn’t “find” it. I had to make it for myself. That December I joined a critique group online, submitted my first chapter, and by April, I had a finished book and a contract. I haven’t slowed down since.
Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
It was one I never got published because the hero and heroine absolutely refused to cooperate with me. I’m not kidding! I rewrote it completely three times in one year, using different plots, trying to get them together. However, the hero’s younger cousin kept flirting with the heroine, and she kept flirting back. What was I going to do? Finally it dawned on me like a smack to the head that the cousin was her hero, and until I got them together that story wasn’t happening. Trouble is, I write on a timeline for an overall series that this book fell into, and the young cousin was too young for an erotica. He might be old enough to flirt, but not be the hero. Their story would have to wait a few storybook years. So that one is out in the future and it’s tentatively called Rebel Son. It will be an older woman younger man story, but he will teach her more than she ever thought she could learn. From that one “failed” book, I got the ideas for five more, three of which have now been written and published. So not a total loss!
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes. I do things editors tell you not to do. *grin* I use fragments, change the pacing in the middle of scenes, and tend to use ellipses and dashes at the ends of sentences. Why? Because my characters sometimes forget what they’re talking about (like I do) or interrupt each other. Their thoughts ramble. They get so riled up at the idea of making love to the one they love that they can’t speak in full sentences. Especially the males. I do not head hop, however. I hate it when we’re seeing through Mary’s eyes and suddenly we’re John and then Mary again. Arrggh! I always make sure that changes in point of view are clear between characters. Another aspect of my style is to show, not tell, so I use narrative only where absolutely necessary. I also refuse to use the word “said” unless it’s in a sentence such as, “She said you’d take the kids today.” Instead, I use gestures and action. One of my favorite authors, Susan Johnson, used to write dialogue tags like “She lightly said,” and so on. She doesn’t write that way now, but her earlier books were full of such examples. If you think about it, it’s simply describing how someone speaks, and “lightly” is not a precise description. However, if your heroine lifts her head, tosses her curls, and gives the hero a shy smile before speaking, you not only know she is speaking lightly, you see her doing it. The main thing I’m known for, though, is that I lead readers down a path where they think they know what’s coming, and then I pull the rug out from under them and send them in another direction. I get comments all the time about plot twists and how riveting my stories are, which delights me no end. I love it when people email me to ask a question about a twist or a change I made that they didn’t expect. One reader wrote, “Think you know what’ll happen next? No way, it’s by Kayelle.”
Q: How did you come up with your titles?
My first book title came from something the hero’s master warned him to avoid. The young hero would be working with an older woman whose genetic enhancements could addict him to her. His master warned, “If she subjects you to her passion, you’ll be at the mercy of her pleasure forever.” At the Mercy of Her Pleasure received multiple four and five star reviews, as well as being named as a “recommended read” and was awarded the Most Memorable Paranormal Romance of the Year. Everyone loved the title, and the moment I told people what it was, their eyes would light up. Each book’s title tells its own story about the hero. For Women Only had a line explaining to a man that the hero was like the company he worked for: For Women Only. I have two short stories, The Last Vhalgenn (from an EPPIE Finalist anthology) and A Romance for Christmas (in the anthology Naughty is Nice). Vhalgenn is a title for the king’s (or queen’s) companion of the opposite sex who learns everything they learn. How to rule, how to fight, how to judge. Why this Vhalgenn is the last one is the crux of the story. It was nominated for a Tiptree Award, which is for challenging traditional gender roles. A Romance for Christmas is literally that, in all senses of the word. My three Tales of the Chosen books revealed stories about three Chosen — the servants of immortals called the Sempervians. Wulf, Alitus, and Jawk all related relationships of the three to one or more of the immortals. Surrender Love is the first of a trilogy which will include the titles Surrender Trust and Surrender Will. It’s about one couple who must go through three stages before they are completely bonded to one another. First comes love, then the ability to trust, followed by the surrender of will to the other person in total trust. Each aspect goes both ways.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
Interesting question! I would say as a child it was reading The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance, then as a teen, The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, as well as many of his short stories. Later, I read the Chanur series by C.J. Cherryh, and Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. I also attended a Bible college for three years, studying to become an adult teacher. Learning the King James version as well as others helped me learn the beauty of words in rhythm and balance. I understood the King James easily, because I had a strong background in English literature. Not only did the book have an impact on my spiritual life, it also gave me a deeper understanding of symbolism, which I’ve always found fascinating. When readers learn that I attended a Bible college and write gay Romance, they sometimes think these oppose one another. That’s not true. If God is love, then He should certainly want His children to know love and experience it fully. I don’t use my books to preach religion. In fact, most of my characters are far from religious, but the symbols are there if you search for them. And later, I will have a character whose spiritual beliefs lead her into war. That should create some talk!
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Wow. I have so many! I really listen to other authors. However, I’d say Barbara Karmazin was the first. I truly love this woman. When I’d email her a reply, my spell checker always wanted to change her last name to Amazing. That would certainly fit! A lot of folks call her Chainsaw for her critique techniques ^_^ but I’ve come to know her as BK. Her first critique sent me reeling for three days. I was angry, upset, and confused all at the same time. I thought briefly of giving up, but I’d come too far for that, and I finally realized that if I couldn’t take a critique from someone who wanted to help me, how could I take reviews? I made her suggested changes, tried to learn how to watch for those mistakes in the future, and resubmitted the manuscript. When Barbara saw that I was serious, she took me under her wing. It was through her recommendation that I received my first contract. I owe her a great debt.
Q: What do you feel is the most important aspect for all new authors to remember when writing or creating their own stories?
The most important is never to quit. You won’t fail until you quit. The winner keeps going back no matter how long it takes. Sherrilyn Kenyon had multiple rejections for her books and used the last stamp she had to send out a query to someone she had heard was now an editor. Imagine if she had quit. If she hadn’t sent out that one more query. We’d have a world without the Dark Hunters, Dream Hunters, without Acheron or Simi. What a terrible loss! Never ever quit.
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction?
That it’s porn. Porn is a sex scene with no concept or plot. It’s sex for the sake of titillation (what a great word to describe porn!) and excitement. Erotic Romance is the developing relationship of lovers revealed with — and often by — their sexual relationship. In this type of story, the sexual aspect of the characters’ lives is as important as all the others. For me, writing erotic romance was like getting a box of thirty-two crayons after having only eight before. Gay Romance gave me a box of sixty-four. I could never go back to eight and be satisfied with the end result.
Q: What is on tap for the rest of 2009?
I’m completing Surrender Trust and hopefully starting into edits for an early release in 2010. I’ll be doing various interviews on the net and continuing to guide Marketing for Romance Writers. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarketingForRomanceWriters/ I created this group for the purpose of helping others learn how to successfully market their work and create a name for themselves. Our motto is “Seek, teach, share, learn, succeed.” It’s open to authors (published and not yet), literary agents, editors, publishers, author promo services, and artists. With well over 700 members and a staff of four volunteers to help me, we manage to accomplish a monthly newsletter and bulletin as well as annual excerpt books for various heat levels and genres. Helping others is my passion. I’m also holding a character chat on my yahoo group, Romance Lives Forever, and will be blogging and twittering away.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I’m all over. Here are my most used links.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancelivesforever Romance Lives Forever
http://myspace.com/romancelivesforever Romance Lives Forever – MySpace
http://romancelivesforever.blogspot.com/ Romance Lives Forever – Blog
http://trsblue.blogspot.com/ The Romance Studio – Blog
http://coffeetimeromance.com/board/ Kayelle’s Coffee Corner