by Kimberly Keyes
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GENRE: Contemporary Romance
After finding her fiancé in bed with another woman, Candace, a twenty-something, up-and-coming romance novelist takes off for a friend’s vacation home in Tahoe. The good news? She’ll share the place with fellow house guest, Logan, her best friend Eric’s latest lover. Except…
Logan, the nearly-irresistible-to-women photographer, isn’t Eric’s lover. Not now, not ever. He’s in Tahoe licking his own personal wounds, and before he’s allowed near Candace, he’s sworn off of her. No problem. Except…
There’s something about Candace. She’s not simply beautiful and enticingly off-limits. It’s in the way she doesn’t flirt with him. In the way she treats him like he isn’t a shallow pleasure-seeker. In the way, somehow, she brings peace to his world-weary soul.
Too bad she thinks he’s gay. But even if he can clear that hurdle, can he really entrust Candace’s heart to his own haphazard keeping?
Exhausted. Soaked. Muddy. Hair plastered to his forehead, blinding him. He dug his elbows into gravel and dragged himself further away from the drop off, then rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. He would definitely lecture Candace. Just let him catch his breath first.
“Logan, are you all right?” Candace demanded, not content to wait for him to recover his strength. She crawled onto his chest and put her ice cold hands on either side of his face, pushing his hair out of his eyes. “Logan, answer me.”
Logan cracked his eyes open and studied her. Her fair hair was soaking wet and plastered to her skin. Water droplets slid down her cheeks, and off her nose.
“You told me you were safe, you silly man,” she half-yelled, half-sobbed. “You’re lucky your car stopped where it did instead of crashing into the gorge.”
Shivers racked her slight frame. Was she frightened? Cold? He lifted one exhausted arm and swiped her hair back from her cheeks. “Let’s get you home,” he said.
For a moment she stared at him with the blankest expression—then laughter burst from her lips. “You’re crazy.”
“I’m crazy? You just took a joy ride in the middle of a tropical storm.”
She sat back on his stomach and just smiled at him. A big beautiful smile that lit up her whole face. Something warm and wonderful filled Logan’s chest and he did the only thing he could do at that moment. Grasping her nape with one hand, and her shoulder with the other, he dragged her down and kissed her.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Kimberly Keyes author of the contemporary romance, Lover’s Leap.
Hi Kimberly, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
What were you like at school?
In high school, I was a bit of a goody-two-shoes and a romance novel junkie. I didn’t even know I was reading romances at first—I only knew I loved those little paperback books with the harlequin logo on the covers. Eventually I figured it out.
I can remember one day in my home economics class, the teacher was talking to us about breast feeding. I believe she was asking us what a mother who wanted to go to work after she’d given birth would do to keep her child fed while she was away. I raised my hand and suggested she could perhaps hire a wet nurse. The teacher laughed out loud and replied, something to the effect, “This isn’t some harlequin romance novel we’re talking about, this is real life!”
I can remember turning all shades of red, because I’m pretty sure I had an open novel in my desk cubby with my finger marking the spot where I’d left off!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I always say I want to be wildly successful, not famous. I want people to read my books and love them. I want my peers to love them. i want to be really, really good at what I do. But I don’t necessarily want people to stop me on the street to ask for my autograph.
Which writers inspire you?
There are several authors that wow me and make me aspire to become a truly great writer. Authors like Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, J.D. Robb (Who’s Nora Robert’s alias), Jayne Ann Krentz, and Jill Shelves to name a few. For one thing I love, love, love these authors’ works, for another, they are dedicated to their crafts. They’ve been writing for years, developing their voices and honing their writing skills.
Collectively they write historicals, contemporaries, futuristic fantasies, thrillers, and cozy mysteries. None of their voices is the same. What they all have in common is a unique style, and the ability to tell a story in which I can get lost. Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget the romance. Each of these authors lets me fall in love in every story.
Give us an insight into your main character, Candace. What does she do that makes her special?
My heroine, Candace, is a romance writer who’s only known true love in the books she writes. She secretly worries she might be broken—until she falls for Logan when she’s not looking. Logan isn’t looking for love with Candace, either, which is why he allows her to go on believing he’s gay (she shows up to Tahoe with the mistaken assumption firmly established in her mind). He’s up to here with women hitting on him. But Candace doesn’t hit on him. She’s sweet and open (since she thinks he’s totally safe and off limits) and she reaches a place deep within him that he hasn’t let anyone near since suffering a tragic accident that took his twin.
Love heals. That’s a common theme you’ll see in all my books, mostly because I believe it’s true.
What are you working on currently?
Right now I’m working through my first round of edits sent to me by my fabulous editor at The Wild Rose Press for my upcoming historical release, THE TROUBLE WITH TIGERS, the first book in a series called “Hidden Treasures.” I’m writing the second book in that series now. Additionally, I’m about a third of the way through the first draft of a contemporary novel I’ve had rattling around in my head for several years. This particular project is what you hear other writers call a “book of your heart.” I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
For my contemporary, LOVER’S LEAP, I could see Kate Hudson in the part of Candace.
The hero for my soon to be released historical romance, THE TROUBLE WITH TIGERS, could definitely be played by Charlie Hunman.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
I always wanted to be an author. Always wanted to write, romance, actually. But the desire got lost along the way for a while, hidden behind academic pursuits and other real-life distractions. Well, shortly after I graduated with my Masters in history which involved writing a well-documented non-fiction thesis, i decided I’d read enough nonfiction for a very long time, thank you very much, and I began reading for fun. (And that meant reading romance, of course.) One day I ran out of Judith McNaught books (I was on a McNaught kick) and I had to have a long, angst ridden love story to occupy my mind. Had to. So I thought, “Hey, why not write one myself? I just wrote a mini nonfiction book. I can do it!” I started writing and never looked back. I’ll add that my first effort is pretty terrible and will never be published!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever I can. To that end, I work like a maniac to get things off my to-do lists so that I can write without anything hanging over my head, distracting me. This means I have a very clean house, bills paid on time, birthday and christmas presents purchased early…in other words, I’m obsessive. But my obsessiveness keeps me sane! Haha
Where do your ideas come from?
I tap into two different type sources to develop a novel. On the one hand there’s the premise for a story. I might read a news story that’s talking about a crime or natural disaster or I might pick up a travel magazine that shows a unique, interesting destination, and BAM I’ve got the skeleton of a story. In Lover’s Leap, Candace, my main character has a traumatic incident in her past that colors her present. The trauma, which involves a lightning bolt and a golf course, came to me after I read a newspaper article about such an event. Another book I’m developing takes place primarily in Copper mountain ski resort in Colorado. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the last several years and a few of the local spots just seemed like they’d make great settings for a romance to unfold. In other words, real-life gives me ideas for books all the time.
The other source of my creativity has more to do with emotion. My current WIP is a contemporary involving a musician. I got the idea for this story one afternoon while I was out for a run. A particularly angsty song came on my MP3 player while I was jogging along and suddenly I saw my hero singing a song to my heroine. I saw that they’d met as kids and that my heroine had always had a thing for my hero. I saw her tutoring him in high school and then saw him taking her to his prom because he felt obligated, but pushing her off on his best friend who actually really liked her…the story unfolded all based on the emotion I felt from my characters—because of the emotion in the song playing in my headset. I could feel my heroine heart-sick over my hero. I could feel my hero resisting his attraction to her but being unable to stay away. At any rate, the ideas come like that. In unfolding images wrapped around emotion. And, as a matter of fact, a lot of times the ideas do come to me when I’m out running.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Oh this is a hard one to answer! I generally flip flop as I write. In other words, I write a very loose plot outline, then I start chapter one. Then Two. As soon as I hit a bump, such as: my heroine is walking into the room. She sees my hero. It’s been years, since she’s seen him. What is she feeling now? I have to stop and investigate her past, and think about, very specifically, what she’s going to say and do now because of said past. This is meticulous work because if her actions do not convey an emotion my readers can relate to, I haven’t done my job. And how can I relate her feelings if I don’t know them? So the plot can change just like that! But I certainly can’t work without at least a general map of where my story is going.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is getting better. And there are so many areas to work on! Conflict is one, a fiction book without conflict is boring to read, but creating an unsolvable problem then solving it by the end of the book is darn hard! Because it’s supposed to be impossible to solve! Then there’s the balance between telling your reader enough that they’re not lost, but not so much they don’t want to keep turning pages. Also your characters have to be flawed, as in not perfect. Perfect characters are boring! But you don’t want them so flawed no one can relate to their hot-mess selves!
But these examples aside, the main thing is to write something that captivates your readers. I’m always working on doing this while being true to my story. It’s challenging, but so worth the effort.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
More and more often I use my Kindle ap on my mini iPad. I travel a lot, and this enables me to bring several books with me. At any given time, I’m reading a romance, a book on craft, a self-help or educational book (I’m a dork. I find these interesting!), and a fiction book outside my genre. (Fantasy, thriller) I throw in a literary work now and then, too.
Please tell us about the cover and how it came about.
At The Wild Rose Press, the authors get a lot of input as to what appears on the cover of their books. The artists take the input and do the hard work, designing the layout and choosing the models. They have to turn something out that will appeal to readers and please a potentially temperamental author. (Who me? Picky about my covers?) The cover for LOVER’S LEAP came out just as I imagined it, with a smiling Candace sitting outdoors in the sunshine and a great view of Lake Tahoe where the bulk of my story takes place. I can also tell you the hero on my upcoming historical release is HOT and I could not be happier.
Do you think that giving books away free works?
I’m not sure. I do know the ultimate goal is to write a stellar novel that people can’t put down. If giving books away helps spread the word about how great a particular author/novel is, then I imagine gifting books works great!
How do you relax?
I write. I walk my three dogs, collectively the “Black dog club.” I snuggle them. I run and think about what makes my characters tick. I enjoy a glass of wine with my family and my honey.
What is your favorite quote?
I love music, and get a lot of inspiration from great lyrics. So, when i think of quotes several songs come to mind.
One is by Mumford and Sons: If only I had an enemy greater than my apathy, I would have won. I think this statement illustrates a common problem in today’s world. Numbed by toys and luxuries, we sometimes ignore the plight of people, our planet, animals, around us—to our own detriment.
Another is by Shawn Colvin. She sings, “I would sell your sweet, sweet soul, to touch your crazy black-gold hair.” Did you catch that? She’d sell his soul, not hers. That’s an interesting aspect of love, isn’t it? One to which we can all relate either by having seen it, experienced it, lived it. It’s not the healthiest aspect…
Of course the most awesome quote, I would say, is, “…the greatest of these is love.”
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can follow me on Twitter. (@authorkeyes) I tweet often! And I love to hear from fellow tweeters. They can like me on Facebook. I have a Kimberly Keyes author page. I post pretty regularly about what’s happening in my writer’s world. They can friend me in good reads and if they really want to be nice, leave a review for LOVER’S LEAP on that site after they’ve read it. And, of course, they can follow me via my website, www.kimberlykeyes.net. I have a blog there, as well as links to my books, pictures, etc.
Any final words?
Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to hearing from your site’s visitors.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Kimberly Keyes knew before she was old enough to drive, writing was her passion. Specifically, writing romance. Once she got up the courage to start typing, she never looked back—although some of her earlier works will never get further than underneath her bed!
She writes single title contemporary and historical romance, Victorian era, and is most comfortable working on two books in the two different genres, simultaneously.
The bulk of her time she spends writing, and re-writing, plotting, and dreaming up ways to perplex the characters living inside her head.
She’s lucky to have the unswerving support of her family, and most especially her two faithful companions, Pappillon, a twenty pound rescue puppy from Puerto Rico, and Frank, a.k.a. “President of the Black Dog Club,” encouragement, and occasionally demanding chewies.
LOVER’S LEAP, a contemporary romance, is her first published book. THE TROUBLE WITH TIGERS, a Victorian romance will be released soon, too! Both books are published by The Wild Rose Press.
Amazon Author Page
Kimberly will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.