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From playboy to papa!
Kendall Ross’s latest PR assignment is the perfect jump start for her career. But her client is hotel magnate Sawyer Locke—the no-holds-barred one-night stand she had six weeks ago. Sawyer knows the feisty redhead is the key to successfully launching his new hotel, but with his meddling father sabotaging his business plans, they have to keep their arrangement strictly professional. As in, no kisses. No fondling. And certainly no mind-blowing sex! Yet when their best-laid plans end with an unexpected pregnancy, the rebel billionaire must choose between his bachelor ways or losing Kendall and his baby for good!
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1. Hi Karen, welcome to Amanda Writes. Please tell readers a little about yourself.
I’m a married mom of two awesome teenagers, an ‘80s music fanatic, and a former record company exec. I write steamy contemporary for Harlequin Desire and a mix of even hotter stuff and romantic women’s fiction as an indie author. I am almost always the first person on the dance floor. I’m addicted to college basketball (Go Heels!) I hate lipstick. I would live on ice cream if you let me. How’s that?
2. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and what inspired your first book?
I’ve always been a writer. I think I was born with a running dialogue in my head. Still, I never tried my hand at a big fiction project until after my 40th birthday. Before that, I was always the person in the office who got stuck with the writing jobs no one else wanted to do. After my life switched to being a full-time mom, I blogged and wrote how-tos for a regional newspaper (I love to sew and do DIY projects). But my 40th came with several major life disruptions—our son, who was six at the time, had major kidney surgery, both kids were re-districted to a new school, our daughter’s best friend moved to Norway, and to top it all off, our house caught fire in a thunderstorm and burned to the ground. To say that life fell apart that year would be an understatement. That was the summer of 2008. Fast-forward to late winter 2009 and we were back in our house and the kids were settled. I felt like I could breathe again. So, I decided to try writing a novel. I’d had the idea in my head for almost ten years—what if a woman met and fell in love with the rock star crush of her youth, but it was twenty years later? That was my first book. It’s called Bring Me Back. It’s the book of my heart and set me on this crazy adventure.
3. Plotter or panster?
It’s funny you ask this because I just wrote an entire blog post about this for a website called The Verbs. I’m somewhere in the middle. My gut is to pants it the whole way, and that’s what I did with my first book, but now that I have a publisher and lots of deadlines, I have to plot or I’ll end up taking too much time. I plot loosely though, and it’s mostly centered on character arcs, or their journey to finding what they want—love!
4. What is the title of your upcoming release and can you talk briefly about it?
My July book is PREGNANT BY THE BILLIONAIRE. It’s Book One in the Locke Legacy trilogy, which centers on the Locke family of New York and their historic hotel, The Grand Legacy. It’s a story about a one-night stand that ends in pregnancy, only the hero and heroine don’t know it until weeks after they are reunited by necessity—the re-launch of his hotel is turning into a disaster and she’s the PR person who can save the day.
5. Tell readers a little about your hero and heroine in this story.
The hero is Sawyer Locke, who inherited the Grand Legacy when he was seventeen years old, much to his father’s dismay. Sawyer is the perennial bachelor. His father has been married several times and moved on far too quickly after Sawyer’s mother died. Sawyer and his dad are like oil and water, so it was easy for him to choose to do everything in an opposite manner. Kendall Ross, the heroine, is super independent and leery of men. She was actually patterned after the character of Joan in Mad Men. She gets a lot of male attention but most of it is unwanted. She’s focused on her career first and foremost. Which makes the pregnancy a huge disruption to her life.
6. What message do you anticipate readers to draw from this story?
I hope that readers will appreciate how strong and independent Kendall is. She really does not put up with Sawyer’s hesitancy to embrace fatherhood. She’s not afraid to walk away. Not that it doesn’t hurt her. It does. Greatly. But she has an immense sense of pride and she’s firmly focused on her baby’s future as well as her own.
7. What’s the most fascinating thing a reader has said to you regarding your books?
I don’t know how fascinating it is to anyone else, but I’m always amazed when readers tell me they have read my books more than once. That’s so humbling. I not only appreciate it when readers spend their hard-earned money on my books, but their time is just as important. When they choose to take the time to read a book a second or third time? It’s the ultimate compliment.
8. What kind of reader are you? Print or e-book?
I’m a kitchen sink reader! I have a giant stack of print books next to the bed, but my Kindle is just as jam-packed. I’m also bad about sticking to one book at a time. I almost never do it. I jump back and forth between different books and subject matters, depending on my mood. When I’m knee-deep in drafting a book, I don’t tend to read romance. I’ll pick up a memoir or some women’s fiction.
9. What book is on top of your TBR pile?
Too many! Seriously. I’ll just rattle off the next few I plan to read…Olivia Dade’s Hidden Hearts, The Chase by Vanessa Fewings, When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann, and I really need to finish The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I started that one in April and need to get back to it.
10. How long does it take you to write the first draft of a story?
It varies wildly, but 6 weeks is a good ballpark if I’m not interrupted by anything else. The trouble is, I’m always interrupted.
11. Have you ever been stuck with writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
I am the queen of writer’s block. I get stuck all the time. It usually means there’s a problem somewhere in the story, most often with the plot or my characters’ motivation. I tend to work through it with pen and paper. I think differently when I’m forced to write something down rather than type it. Now, I want to make it clear that writer’s block is not the same as being distracted or unmotivated to write. That’s a separate problem. For those situations, I turn off the wifi and try to remind myself how lucky I am to be a writer. Words on the page. That’s the most important part.
12. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on book three in the Locke Legacy trilogy, BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND MERGER. That will come out in February 2018. After that, I hope to spend most of July and August working on a book tentatively titled SECRETS OF A SUNNY GIRL. It’s romantic women’s fiction about two sisters scarred by their parents’ marriage and the ways their relationship changes when one gets married and the other has an old flame turn up from half a world away. It’s funny and sad and romantic and hot. I’m so in love with it. I really hope it finds a home, but if not I’ll self-publish it.
13. Any advice for aspiring writers?
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and your author voice. There’s so much pressure to sell a lot of books, churn out a lot of books, and to hop on the next bandwagon. The truth is that you can’t control any of that. The only thing you can control and truly own is what comes out of your head. Nobody else is you, so be you 100%. That will always serve you well.
Karen Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on ’80s music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. Karen writes smart, steamy contemporary romance–big city love stories and rock star romances.
When Karen isn’t creating fictional hunky men, she’s listening to everything from Otis Redding to Duran Duran with her kids, honing her Southern cooking skills (she makes some mean collard greens), or sweet-talking her astoundingly supportive husband into whipping up a batch of cocktails.
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