Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spotlight Interview with Scifi Romance Author KAYELLE ALLEN

Author Bio: Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include immortal role-playing gamers, covert agents, and warriors who purr. She founded Marketing for Romance Writers http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarketingForRomanceWriters to help authors learn how to market their books, build an online image, and establish a brand, and to assist them in doing that, she created The Author's Secret http://theauthorssecret.com, an author support company which creates custom banners and other graphics.

The Interview:

GRACIE: I’m excited to have you here at The G-Spot, Kayelle! Please tell us a little about yourself (or a lot J) and how and when you got into writing?

KAYELLE: I'm excited to be here. I've been looking forward to this. I started young. I was privileged to have a mother who wrote and who loved words. Though she only had one poem published, writing was one of her great loves. She also loved art, and created many paintings throughout the course of her life. Although I didn't inherit the hand-drawing gene (my stick people prove that) I did gain a deep appreciation for art in all its forms. I used that to create my graphics company, The Author's Secret. I make banners for other authors -- and it's something I get a real kick out of doing. While I grew up with a pencil or pen in my hand, I didn't seek publication until my children were out of high school. Perhaps it was hitting the big 5-0 that made me realize the clock was ticking, but I finally decided it was now or never. I sought out an online critique group, got serious about submitting work, and had the honor of being mentored by the late author Barbara Karmazin http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Karmazin/e/B002BM1J46/. She introduced me to her publisher, Liquid Silver Books, which bought my first novel. I was one of those rare birds who didn't experience multiple rejections when I got started. My first book was submitted in February, bought in April, and published in July. So all of you who are worried about being accepted -- it can be done!

GRACIE: I read The Huntress by Barbara Karmazin and loved it! What a wonderful mentor for you to have had! Is there any one thing or person in your life that inspired your writing aside from Barbara? Any one thing or person that influenced the genre you write in?

KAYELLE: Well, of course there was Barbara. But I have had many wonderful coaches in my writing life as well. Janet Elizabeth Jones http://www.amazon.com/Incubus-Harlequin-Nocturne-Janet-Elizabeth/dp/0373618514/ continues to inspire me. Kiernan Kelly has also given me incredible boosts and guided me in many ways.

GRACIE: When did you get The Call and what was your first published book?

KAYELLE: The first book was At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. It has since been re-released by another publisher. I'll never forget how it felt getting the offer of a contract. I went into the kitchen where my husband was standing and asked him how he'd like to kiss a published author. We held hands and danced around the room.

GRACIE: What do you know now about writing and the publishing industry that you wish you’d known before you started?

KAYELLE: Oh, my. Oodles of things. Probably the most important thing is that you can write a book and get it published and then walk away and forget it. I've seen many people do that. I can't. Once I birth that book I stay with it through its entire lifecycle: editing, cover art, marketing, revamping, blogging about it, sharing information... creating an idea and writing a book is only half an author's job. The rest is to tell others about it.

GRACIE: Please, give us a little story behind the story and what inspired your Tarthian Empire series.

KAYELLE: I could never understand why authors would go to all the trouble of creating an alien world and creatures, and use them only in one book. If you were going to build a world, why not go back to it? So I created an entire universe where my characters could play. I have a galaxy-wide map, and stories planned all over. The Tarthian Empire is a collection of over twenty planets where you find all sorts of stories and secrets. I even created a tour on my website. You can click an interactive star map, or jump from one planet to the other in a list. The Tarthian Tour Company's http://kayelleallen.com/TTC-Home.html motto is "Where do you want to wake up tomorrow?" I follow that with my books.

GRACIE: In Wulf: Tales of the Chosen, what do you believe makes Wulf Gabriel the perfect match for Luc Saint-Cyr?

KAYELLE: Wulf is the son of Luc's best friend, Thomas Gabriel. Because Luc is immortal, he must keep humans at a distance, however, Thomas is one of the Chosen -- a group of people who serve the immortals. Luc can be himself around him. Thomas dies when Wulf is ten, and Wulf, not understanding why Luc can't just loan his father an "extra life" -- refuses to serve as a Chosen. He and his mother move away. Luc, honor bound to his friend's son, keeps watch over Wulf from a distance. When Wulf turns thirty, he gets himself in trouble, and goes to Luc for help. He knows most of Luc's secrets, so it's a chance for the powerful immortal to once again have someone with whom he can let his hair down -- and Wulf is supermodel gorgeous. He's arm candy, and for an entrepreneur like Luc who prides himself on having the best of the best, Wulf is perfect. But can their romance live forever? There is much more to their story than meets the eye, and no matter how things seem to go in future books, I wouldn't be too quick to answer that question either way.

GRACIE: As a Better Alitus Vivaldi is what most considered the perfect being in every way—physically, emotionally and mentally superior to most humans. Despite this, and as most intriguing and multi-dimensional characters are characters with flaws, what do you think is Alitus’ Achilles’ heel and how do you go about stomping it throughout the course of his story?

KAYELLE: Alitus is bound by his sense of honor and duty. If he has a weakness, it's that. He will serve the empress to the best of his ability no matter what it costs him. Throughout the book Alitus and in Jawk, he gives and gives and gives. Of course, the empress, being immortal, takes and takes. When Alitus and Wulf -- who are both Chosen -- end up working together, the empress and Luc are not necessarily the ones who benefit.

GRACIE: I admire the promise you make to your readers on your homepage. Is there a specific process you employ in order to keep your promise, and do you think your promise makes it easier or more difficult to keep your characters and their stories on track?

KAYELLE: You mean this one? "I promise you a complex plot that immerses you in an erotic tale and provides unexpected action in settings so real you'll swear you've been there." Thank you. Yes there is a process. When I write a story, I try to keep in mind that if the logical thing is for character A to do X, then he/she should do C instead. I think of a story as a roller coaster ride. I try to send readers in directions they don't expect, while protecting the sanctity of storytelling. It's an author's obligation to readers to take them from the beginning, through the middle, and right up to the end. But I don't lead them on a trail that's commonplace. You can expect twists and turns. One of my readers gave me a wonderful review in just a few words. She wrote, "Think you know what happens next? No way. It's by Kayelle."

GRACIE: Yes, that’s the one! Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

KAYELLE: Probably the one I'm working on now. I've been writing Surrender Trust for-freaking-ever, but it's a labor of love. I have to finish it. I want to know what happens as much as my readers do!

GRACIE: I know this is like asking a mother which is her favorite child, but which of your characters is your favorite and why?

KAYELLE: Okay, I'm going to say Luc Saint-Cyr. He's my only true alpha -- I think of the others as betas because I do write very strong female leads. He's also the wealthiest man in the empire, and it's a blast to write a powerful character who is also kind and generous. Luc goes out of his way to help others. Yet there is a dark side of him that makes people back down and refuse to argue. He's been in every book in the Tarthian Empire.

GRACIE: What about your characters makes them unique?

KAYELLE: I spend a lot of time getting to know them before I write their stories. I know their childhoods, their parents, their likes and dislikes, their pet peeves. I write them back stories that never make it into the books. I write out of the overflow of information. There is more to them than you can see on the page, and I think that makes them intriguing. A reviewer said one of her favorite characters was Luc's android servant, McDoth, in "all his butler glory." He's a minor character, but he has depth. I try to make even the walk on parts important. In fact, that was how Alitus ended up being a major character. He had a walk on part -- just hand the empress some paperwork and answer a question. But I kept needing to reference him, and saying "the empress's personal assistant" took up too much space. It was awkward. So I came up with a name for him and POW! Alitus took on an entirely new role. Once I had the name, I had details. By the end of the book, I had sketched out his life history. He ended up getting his own story.

GRACIE: What is your favorite aspect of the writing process? Your least favorite?

KAYELLE: Favorite -- worldbuilding: creating and designing and coming up with new ideas. Least favorite -- the day in day out of putting down the words. There are times when it flows and gushes. And other days, it's just one word in front of the other, like marching. You have to get it out of your head and onto the page. And that's work.

GRACIE: Are you a pantser or do you outline?

KAYELLE: I call myself a plotser. I plot; outline, and design, and then I use that as a framework while I freely let the moment take me where it will. I might know that I'm going to write a love scene, for example, but where is it going to take place? It might be anywhere. I have more than one in a car, and quite a few in a shower. Even in some beds! But who will be on top, or who will be the top, that might be decided at a whim. Sometimes, the usual top wants a break. ;)

GRACIE: A plotser. I like that J If you weren’t a writer, what other profession would you have chosen to pursue?

KAYELLE: I was an administrative assistant for many years. I'm good at organizing. I use those skills in Marketing for Romance Writers http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarketingForRomanceWriters/, where I help authors learn how to promote. I also use them in The Author's Secret http://theauthorssecret.com/. I have never liked handing off something half-done. If I send you an interview, it will have all the links in place, the spell check will have been done, and I'll have made sure my formatting matches yours. Back when my day job was to be an admin, I did that every day, and still follow it as an author. So I might still be an admin, but I wouldn't like it even one fourth as much. I love being my own boss.

GRACIE: Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Name some of your favorite books and why they’re your favorites.

KAYELLE: Two authors whose styles I love are Heather Gladney (http://www.amazon.com/Teots-Song-Naga-Teot-Book/dp/0441800831) and Mary Renault (http://www.amazon.com/The-Persian-Boy-Mary-Renault/dp/0394751019). Ms Gladney wrote Teot's War and Blood Storm, both paranormal fantasy books that were a mite on the slash side before there was such a term. I reread them every year or so. Ms Renault wrote The Persian Boy, a favorite book I also reread. When I do, it takes me into the past, walking beside Alexander the Great. I love that story and the characters in it. Bagoas, her main character, is one of the most noble heroes I've ever read.

GRACIE: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

KAYELLE: I just finished a short story called "Bill Me." It's a gay romance set in a BDSM club called Shady Business, where "no good deed goes unpunished." The anthology is called Fifty Gays of Shade, and as you can tell from the title contains a healthy dose of humor. It comes out from Torquere http://torquerepress.com/ in November. I don't have a buy link or cover for it yet, but you can read more about it here http://www.kayelleallen.com/exc-fifty.html. Other authors include Amelia June, CB Conwy, CC Bridges, DC Juris, Emily Moreton, KC Burn, KC Wells, Lydian Harker, PT Walden, Sascha Illyvich, Sean Michaels, Wade Kelly, Winnie Jerome, Wt Prater, and it's edited by Kiernan Kelly. And of course, I'm working on Surrender Trust, the sequel to Surrender Love http://www.kayelleallen.com/exc-fifty.html.

GRACIE: Do you have a website and/or how can readers contact you?


My Pinterest page has a board about Luc and Rah from Surrender Love and Surrender Trust, so if you're a Luc groupie or you belong to the "I Love Izzy" club, be sure to hit that one!

GRACIE: Where and how can readers purchase and/or read samples of your work?

KAYELLE: You can find links to every place where my books are sold, plus reviews, trailers, excerpts, and even some fun puzzle books by clicking here: http://kayelleallen.com/Books.html

GRACIE: What advice do you have for beginning writers?

KAYELLE: Never give up. Never let anyone steal your dream. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep learning. Join Marketing for Romance Writers http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarketingForRomanceWriters/ to learn the business side of the craft, and teach others what you learn. What goes around comes around. Pay it forward.

GRACIE: Anything else about yourself or your writing you’d like to share with your readers?

KAYELLE: I love hearing from readers. Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, visit my blog, or email me. I respond. I have a very very very small group for dedicated readers only. It's called the Edge of Peril (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/edgeofperil/). Don't join if you haven't read all the books, because there are spoilers. It's a quiet group -- not filled with promos or notices. But if you are a closeted Tarthian waiting for the price of a cross-galaxy move to the empire to come down in price, hit this group.

GRACIE: Kayelle, thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to share yourself and your work with us at The G-Spot and giving us a little insight into your writing and the writing process! We’ll let you get back to writing those wonderful books you write! All the best!