Saturday 12 March 2016

Interview: Kara Keen

As you may know, this week I'm participating in the blog tour for Romancing Vegas by Kara Keen. You can read my review of Romancing Vegas too, but today I have the pleasure of interviewing the author herself!

Firstly, tell us a little about yourself and your background. 

I always loved to read and started out as a journalist, then worked for a publisher, then went into public relations and advertising. I wrote my first two books, both non-fiction, ten years ago. I love hanging out with family, traveling with my husband (we are museum and musical theater geeks), and I cross-train at the gym five mornings most weeks. I’m not the fittest person there, but I’m consistent.

How did you first become interested in writing? 

In high school, I wasn’t much of an athlete and I sucked at flirting. I could whip up a killer essay though, and that led to being part of the newspaper/yearbook crowd. Needless to say, I graduated high school a virgin.

How do you get inspiration for your books? 

Captain’s Orders takes place on a cruise ship and I have actually taken the trip described in the novel (no hot twin captains on the real ship though). The idea for Romancing Vegas came completely out of the blue while writing Captain’s Orders. If you were a dancer and you inherited a bunch of money from a man you barely knew, what would you do with it? My heroine Oksana, a Ukrainian woman recently sprung from a human trafficking situation, has to overcome terrible trauma and form a new kind of family to create the Vegas dance show she’s always dreamed of. Of course, complications ensue.

What draws you to writing romance? 

I thought romance was too formulaic for years, and then I read Sylvia Day. I began romance reading with her and have loved Megan Hart, Robyn Carr, Christina Lauren and Bella Andrea along the way, along with many, many others. Realizing that romance is hopeful and real to women and can help them solve problems and understand people in in their lives keeps me writing it.

How did Romancing Vegas come about? 

I’ve been to Vegas many times for conventions and I’ve seen many of the Cirque-style shows like the one I describe in Romancing Vegas. These people are super human, dancer’s heaven! And Vegas is so unique. When you get off the airplane in so many American cities, they all look the same. But when you walk into Las Vegas airport, you know you’re in Vegas baby! The city is inspiring and alive with adult fun.

I’ve previously read your book Captain’s Orders – how does that differ to the new release? 

Captain’s Orders takes place on a cruise ship and the story focuses on Tania and Cole. We get a peek at Primo and Oksana’s relationship, but in Romancing Vegas they take center stage and everyone loves Primo! Tania and Cole continue to explore their relationship in the Las Vegas setting, and some really hot times are had by all!

What’s your writing process? 

 I start out with characters and some kind of a setting or “hook,” but I have no idea where it’s all going. Direction appears like a deer in headlights. Much of writing doesn’t involve typing and doesn’t look like writing – it takes place all the time, especially (for me) while exercising in the mornings. So though my “golden hours” for words on the paper are between 3 and 8, thinking happens all the time. I also think of ideas in my dreams.

What’s the hardest thing about writing? 

Waaay too much sitting! I try to change locations and stand sometimes, but so many of us spend too much time on our butts. Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking in terms of health?

What do you love most about writing? 

Of course, when someone genuinely loves the book and they tell me they couldn’t put it down. A friend emailed me that she was stuck in an airport and hardly noticed because she loved the book so much!

Which authors inspire you? 

Sylvia Day, Megan Hart, Christina Lauren, Robyn Carr, Bella Andre and many, many others.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? 

Turn the critic off and just do it. Then revise. Again, sit in the chair and do it! Read a lot. Look for some other writers to get useful feedback from. Hire a professional editor if you’re self-publishing.

What’s your all-time favourite book? 

Can’t really pick one book! In nonfiction, there’s a book about women’s health called Screaming to be Heard. In high school, I loved One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The World According to Garp, Good in Bed and I still love all of Jennifer Weiner’s novels. In romance, I love Sylvia Day’s Bared to You, Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Stranger, and Megan Hart’s Stranger. (Maybe there’s a kinky theme there?)

Where’s your favourite place to write? 

I have a screen porch to use in warm weather and I absolutely love working outdoors!

What are your ambitions for your writing career? 

My husband says he’d like to quit his job and be my full time manager. I’d like that too! I would love my books to be a movie or TV series like Outlander.

What are you currently working on? 

Two Much, a New Adult spin-off from Romancing Vegas, is about Anne and Ariana Carleton, the twin sisters of the hot twin captains in Captain’s Orders and Romancing Vegas. After that, Anne and Ariana’s friend Taylor stars in a novella about finding out that the wrong guy might actually be the right guy!

Do you prefer e-books or traditional books? 

When travelling, e-books are better but at home I like traditional books.

To find out more about Kara and her books, visit her website, her Amazon page, or her Goodreads page.

Have you read any of Kara's books? Let me know in the comments below!

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