As part of Evernight Publishing's Birthday Celebration, please help me welcome 3 fabulous authors:
Lila Shaw, Nicky Penttila, and Kerri Patterson!
I had the opportunity to interview each of them & they each gave us a teensy snippet from their novels!
Thank you, ladies, for joining us at Kayla's Place!
- Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like readers to know about the author behind the pages?
- Lila: I'm a number-cruncher by day and a letter-cruncher by night with a few symbols like # and @ used for cross-over appeal. I never thought I'd actually be a writer. I had had fairly positive experiences writing for English classes, but I was good at numbers and logic, what did I know about telling stories?
- Nicky: I like to figure stuff out. I’m always asking “why?” and driving my friends around the bend. I like coffee, kitties, and all kinds of stories: from myths to hard science fiction, from books to movies to interactive gaming. I have allergies in spring so fall and winter are my favorite seasons. I could take or leave chocolate.
- Kerri: That I am just like them. I'm a down to earth stay at home mom. I take care of my family and write in my spare time.
- Other than writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
- Lila: I like to read. You can find me daily on Goodreads keeping track of all my books, logging my progress against my reading goal, goofing off in a few reader groups, adding more books to my TBR pile than I will ever have time to read. I like to exercise too—kettlebells, dvds (I have over 200 of them) and my spin bike and treadmill. I also love keeping up with the publishing business.
- Kerri: Gardening, although my green-thumb seems not to be working at present. Other than that, I love getting out with my family and enjoying the outdoors.
- Why did you choose the historical genre?
- Lila: I've always loved historical romances—Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, Loretta Chase. Unfortunately, I have never been a fan of reading about or studying history. It was one of my most loathed subjects in school, to be frank. Not a good foundation for writing a historical myself. While I’m not averse to a little research, I don’t have the time or the inclination to read or pour through history books. A fairy tale, however, is somewhat of an alternate reality, typically in a historical setting, often with magical elements, because they are stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The place names might not be real but they usually resemble real settings, customs and social mores. Alternate history with its wide margin for “error” I can handle, which is probably why the sum total of my historical romances have been fairy tales or steampunk, another form of alternate historical fiction.
- Nicky: My first couple of manuscripts were contemporaries, but I was such a slow writer they kept going out of date! I had a reporter heroine who covered a trial and then went back to the office to write the story; on the way back she was attacked by a bad guy. But by the time my story was finished, reporters were not only writing their stories in the courtroom but they were tweeting and vlogging. All my plotting fell apart. I published a short story early this year that includes people being surprised by a drone as part of the plot; not six months later we’re all very familiar with drones. Besides allowing me the time to write the story, a historical setting offers the chance to show how social attitudes have changed. My heroine in A Note of Scandal, Olivia, struggles because she wants the music she’s composed to be performed, but because she’s a lady that “is simply not done.” My hero, Will, is a newspaper publisher, far below Society or even the attention of a lady. These were clear social lines that people crossed at their peril; it’s fun now to challenge them in my writing and see what happens. Also, having a little distance from the story might help us understand our own times better. Will is the first English publisher who chooses to report an “objective” style of news—information without overt political slant, not trying to win an argument but to give a clear picture of events. When I started working at US newspapers in the 1980s, that was the style of journalism we practiced. These days, some US papers and other news outlets have returned to the “politicized” news style that was practiced in the early regency period (and some British papers never left it). As we watch the argument being played out in my story in the past, it’s worth taking a moment to wonder why that is happening in the present and what that means for us
- Kerri: I suppose because that is the genre I began reading first. I wouldn't read anything else because I was so in love with the difference between the past and present. Now I find myself branching out into other genres. I've found there is a certain freedom with contemporary, and especially paranormal, that you don't have with historical. However, I had a lot of fun between research and plotting while working on my new release Under the Harvest Moon. It blended historical and paranormal well, I think.
- If you had to choose another genre to jump into, what would it be?
- Lila: I enjoy writing in multiple genres. I consider myself an eclectic writer and reader. My tastes come and go in waves. I'll read sweet romances, then cozies, then urban fantasy, then erotic romance, then historicals...and throw in a few young adult and new adult books every third or fourth read.
- Do you have any quirky habits that you have to do when you’re writing? A certain spot/chair/seat, a certain song you have to listen to before getting started, a drink, etc.
- Lila: Nothing quirky. I write in the same place most of the time. I love my iMac and my great big desk. Always handy is a drink--Diet Coke, coffee, something. Stashed away in my drawer is a box of coffee nips when I need something sweet. I have to have a box of Kleenex, a garbage can and my recycle bin nearby (for the empty bottles and nip wrappers! J ). Oh, and I also have a little gargoyle figurine I bought at a Parisian souvenir shop in the shadows of Notre Dame. He's tucked away in a cubby in my desk's hutch watching over me. No music. I can't write and listen at the same time. I do plot stories in my car while listening to music however. A time and place for everything.
- Nicky: I work at two jobs (fiction writer and webmaster for a science foundation) from one little home office. It’s important to me to keep them separate, so I have two desks and computers and two bulletin boards. When I sit in my writing chair, my back is to the science desk, and when I stand at my science desk I can’t see my messy manuscript pages or the faces and places I’ve posted on the writing bulletin board.
- What do you do to get into your zone?
- Kerri: I have a notebook I begin jotting ideas down in. For whatever reason, I get more when I write it down by hand. Also, I have to have perfect quiet or my brain starts going a million directions and not one in the direction of what I'm supposed to be writing. Believe me, there have been times when I'm in the "zone," the perfect idea sparks, and then my daughter turns the TV on and all that will go through my mind is the theme song to Doc McStuffins or Dora. I've learned to start working at 4 a.m.
- How long did it take you to write & finalize your novel?
- Lila: I wrote my naughty fairy tale fairly quickly. I had one minor false start in that I originally planned on having this story be another succubus ditty, but certain elements of the story didn't flow as well or make sense as a paranormal. So, in the end, the heroine and her hero are as mortal and you and I and long dead since the story was set during the Middle Ages. Once I got past that, the story flowed fairly quickly. I think I probably wrote it at a leisurely pace over a two month span.
- Nicky: In the real world, five years; in writing time about two years. It was my NaNoWriMo project in 2007, but I finished up another project before I started editing. Then I let it rest and did a third project before I returned to Scandal to do the second edit. I submitted it to a publisher in 2010 and it was rejected, but with really detailed notes, so I did a third edit based on the notes. By that time that editor had left the publishing house, and I wasn’t interested in the house without her, so I submitted to Evernight, and the editors there loved it.
- Kerri: I had actually written the novel about a year before my first book came out. It just wasn't ready at that time. So, after The Pursuit for Love was released I immediately went to BTAH. The first draft and revisions probably took about six months in all.
- Will it be part of a series or a standalone?
- Lila: Vixen and the Pea is a stand-alone. No sequels or side character stories. This one was all about and only about Otsana and Koldo. That said, I’d love to write another naughty fairy tale, have a second one started, but it will be in a contemporary setting.
- Nicky: Standalone
- What are the first five words that come to your mind when you think about your novel?
- Lila: “How’d she manage that pea?” (You’ll have to read the story to see exactly how the pea comes into play and how Otsana parlays it into becoming the next queen of Basqueland)
- Nicky: Love, regency, newspapers, music, class
- Kerri: Family. Honor. Courage. Betrayal. Love.
- Where did you get the idea behind the plot?
- Lila: I've always loved the story of the princess and the pea. The whole concept of royalty being so much more delicate and extraordinary than commoners always struck me as incredibly pretentious. In the original fairy tale, only a true princess has skin sensitive enough to feel a pea through several mattresses. So what did I do? I made the story's royalty as coarse and crude as what we would have expected from commoners of that age. The characters of that age, especially the women, are a lusty stock, owing to a grave imbalance between males and females. Being nobility further limits the pool of available men, so a lady has to cultivate unique talents to win her man. The pea is still used as part of the prince’s test of worthiness, but not in any way you might expect.
- Nicky: From reading about newspapers in the Regency, I discovered my hero, Will, first, and then wondered what manner of woman could draw him out.
- Kerri: Honestly, that idea was with me so long I can't remember now. Probably a passing thought. I have this folder box with a file for each story idea and Bound To A Highlander was one of the origional first folders in there when I began writing. It was first named Fiery Temptation.
- Is there a character in your work that you connect with most out of everyone? Someone’s whose PoV flows effortlessly while you’re writing or someone who you just can’t get enough of?
- Lila: Yes. My other pen name is Claire Gillian and my debut novel as Claire called The P.U.R.E. features a CPA named Gayle Lindley. Gayle is the epitome of the bumbling new hire who has coasted through school only to find out that real world careers are not glamorous but are fraught with politics and bureaucracy. Real life is often “who” you know more than “what” you know as Gayle discovers again and again and again. I just love writing about her wide-eyed naiveté because I was her some thirty years ago. Gayle just seems to have those bitch-slap reality moments about so many things in her newly grown up life. I really get a kick out of drop kicking her around but in a way that’s more funny (I hope) than pathetic. I write in first person as Gayle and after a novel and novella, never seem to have writers block when I’m her.
- Nicky: In this story, it changed during the
writing. At first, I was closest to Will, because I have a reporter’s
sensibilities so that was easy. But when I got to the sexier scenes, I wasn’t
sure how a man would react, so I had to use a lot more imagination—and ask my
As for Olivia, part of the challenge for me in writing this story was to overcome this aversion I have to lies and liars. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I got good at even the “white lies” (“you look great!” “this dinner is delicious!”) that smooth social interactions. I would catch myself judging people harshly for even mild untruths. So I wanted to see if I could write a story where a character lied, and yet you still liked her and rooted for her—and she was the hero. Olivia has solid, legitimate reasons for the lie she tells, but it took me nearly the whole first draft to fall for her; by the end, though, she is the one I feel closest to.
Lila Shaw, Author of Vixen & the Pea:
· Here's a little exchange from Vixen and the Pea between the heroine, Otsana, her mother, Lady Tixier, and the hero's mother, Queen Annetta:
Queen Annetta choked on her tea. Her mother gasped, her eyes bugging out.“Otsana! Maidens do not speak of such matters.” Her mother directed her attention to the Queen. “Please excuse my daughter’s impertinence. The nerves compel her to say what she would normally never utter in polite company.”To Otsana’s surprise, instead of horror commanding the Queen’s features, the lady smiled and cocked her head, then laughed. She set her teacup down and took a deep breath. “My dear, virginity is highly overrated. I am not so foolish or so removed from the goings on of my country to overlook the dreadful lack of men. That being said, the less said the better. We shall proceed with the assumption all young ladies of the kingdom are as chaste as they claim to be, and no one will challenge that. However, if a bun is already baking, then we shall be forced to find another oven. Do I make myself clear?”“My Queen! I assure you my daughter is as pure and untouched as the snow upon the highest peaks of Ibiza. She does not bake!”
Nicky Penttila, Author of A Note of Scandal
Here, Olivia finds herself thinking of Will in a new way as they enjoy a performance of sizzling Spanish guitar:
Olivia’s face mirrored her surprise. She had lost track of him for only a moment, and yet he had snuck all the way up on her. Had he caught her surreptitiously watching him?“The music does not inspire you?” He gestured at Rosa, but his gaze remained on her.“It does,” she said, trying to pull on her familiar careless-girl mask. “I must ask after her tailor.”“That sentiment isn’t worthy of you.” He whispered, but he could have spoken aloud, as little attention as anyone was paying them in the midst of Rosa’s aggressive arpeggios. “Jealous?”Her mask faltered. “I did not mean it so.”“Then how?” He slipped to her other side, effectively cutting her off from Mr. Mellon, who did not seem to notice. Too close. She took a step to the side, turning to face her interlocutor.“She is part of our family now.” Her voice sounded breathy, unsure.“I heard you arranged this performance.” He stepped closer. “That shows a spirit of generosity, despite your words.”“She deserves the opportunity. And it is right to salute Spain.”“Our esteemed ally.” He nodded, leaning in. “But perhaps it is difficult, to see a woman who is allowed the freedom to perform, to create? Who can let her hair down in mixed company?”He looked away from her a moment, gazing at Rosa. Olivia did not dare look away from him. She let out the breath she didn’t realize she had been holding. Her mind was addled; she was reacting too strongly to this man, to his words. To his smell, deep and rich. Sandlewood, but hints of the flesh within.The corner of his mouth turned up. He teased her? The thought cast out her breath again. Her ears had a buzzing in them, unrelated to the passionate rhythm of the guitar.He could read her. He saw far too much. She reached out to touch him, no, to push him away. He turned at her movement, stepping into the path of her hand.A thrill of power coursed through her arm. It filled her center with energy of an unfamiliar sort. Unable to stop herself, she jumped. Then quickly looked around to see if anyone saw.
Kerri Patterson, Author of Bound to a Highlander
“Don’t try to evade me, lass. T’would not be wise,” he warned.She tilted her chin silently, but a smug gleam lit her eyes and had him guessing she had hidden the blade for later use. Gabhran sighed. Any other time and with any other woman he might have enjoyed this, if all his strength had returned.“Fine then. As you wish.”She shrieked and started to dash, but in two giant strides he had her pinned against the wall, one hand holding both her wrists above her head as he slowly hiked her skirts with the other, one leisurely fistful at a time. His body pressed into hers. Their gazes locked, so close they were, and held as he splayed his fingers against her soft thigh and began running his hand up, slowly searching, until she panted a mangled gasp.“Will you prefer to tell me where you’ve hidden the blade then?” he asked. When she still refused to cry mercy, “Come now, Rosin, or I might think you want me to search higher.” He faintly leaned his hips into her, gently rocking against her ever so slightly¾unable to resist the primitive urge. Quickly he brushed aside the carnal sensation he’d stirred.She glared, sparing no hostility. “‘Tis in my boot.”Still, he held her stare, a mockery surely glittering back in his own eyes. He didn’t break their locked gaze as he slid down her body, letting her skirts fall back into place slowly as he went down. Gabhran skimmed his hands over her thighs as he kept the bunched gown level with his face until he rested on a knee before her. He held only the end of her garment to see inside her boot and took the knife, dropping her gown entirely.Gabhran was minimally aware she’d had the sense to wrap the blade first, so she wouldn’t cut herself.He laughed, a dark sultry sound, as he stood again.He lifted her chin with a crooked finger, leaning closer. “Never fear, lassie. I brought extra bindings.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway