I’m happy to offer a warm welcome to KaLyn Cooper, a debut author with Liquid Silver Books, who appears for the first time on the blog today. She has bravely taken on the challenge of Daisy’s questions. I found her answers fascinating.
1 How long have you been writing?
Since childhood. I won my first creative writing contest in 6th grade, and no, I don’t still have the story nor do I even know what it was about. For the past 30+ years I’ve been writing for corporations, which sometimes verged on fiction, but was always called marketing and public relations. In 2009, Macho Marine, our son and I literally built our home from the studs in. (Don’t worry, MM has two advanced engineering degrees and works for Clayton Homes which builds more than 35,000 homes a year.) I hung insulation, painted the three-story monster inside and out three times, laid over 1800 square feet of tile and marble all while listening to romance novels on my iPod. When Macho Marine went to build schools in Haiti after the earthquake, I spent my nights writing my first romantic suspense novel. Later this year you’ll get to meet my five women assassins who are the Ladies of Black Swan in my new series. But my debut book, which is actually the third one I wrote, is Explosive Combination which just came out.
2 Are you a plotter or pantster writer?
My first few books I wrote as a pantser but my work in progress I actually plotted … well, I plotted most of it.
3 What do you enjoy most about writing?
I have always mentally extended books that I thought need more. I took the characters beyond that book and gave them whole new story lines, new friends and enemies. Now, I write them into my own stories and I can shape the ending to whatever I want, as long as they get their HEA.
4 How do you develop your characters?
Before I write the first word, I know in general where the action side of the story is going. The love development works its way in and through. I try to figure out the hero and heroine’s goals, motivations and conflict but I find that changes often. I write in scenes and my characters tell me where that scene is going to go. Sometimes I have to step back and wonder what that scene shows about the character and where that line will take me. This is why plotting doesn’t always work for me.
5 What is the most exciting time for you in your writing, the new beginning or the completed story? The offer of a contract?
For me, the most exciting part is the first thirty pages, which often get rewritten once I’m about half way through. All authors worry about getting an offer, but to me that brings dreaded edits. Seeing the cover for the first time is pretty special, too.
6 If you have experienced rejection as a writer, how did you deal with it?
Unlike most writers, I only have a few rejection letters. My first manuscript was picked up relatively quickly and my Black Swan series was in a bidding war.
7 Do you ever write yourself into your stories?
No. Never. Although I’ve led what many consider an exciting life as a military wife, nineteen moves around the country and to Japan, I’ve traveled to Europe and Mexico, but what I consider “my life” is pretty boring. We have two children who are now adults and even act like it most of the time. We’ve been blessed with a beautiful granddaughter who I’ve used as a character reference in my WIP.
8 Have you ever used a ‘real life’ incident in your writing?
No, not yet. My stories are action-packed, kind of the opposite of my real life. I’ve never been kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to make an explosive like in my newest book, but I have seen C-4 used to blow stuff up. Macho Marine was an engineer in the Corps with their motto “Con-struction and De-struction are our specialties but we love things that go boom.” You’d be surprised what you can do with detonation cord and shape charges.
9 What is your favorite way to find inspiration?
I take a shower. I start to write as soon as I get everyone off to work, so I’m usually in my jammies. When I get stuck or tired, I go take my shower. I think the steam and hot water help me focus. When I get out, it’s not unusual that the solution has come to me and I dictate the scene into my phone before I forget. Yeah, there’s an app for that.
10 Who are your favorite authors?
Of course, Nora. Elizabeth Lowell is my all-time favorite. Lori Foster, Liliana Hart, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Kristen Ashley, Bella Andre, and the list can go on and on.
11 Do you feel you are influenced by any particular authors?
Writing like Elizabeth Lowell is my goal in life. I aspire to write as well as she does.
12 What is the most difficult aspect of writing for you?
Keeping it short. My first manuscript was 125,000 words. Explosive Combination is almost 78,000 words. I like to go deep into the character, get into all his or her inner thoughts and turmoil. That takes up a lot of words. I’m working at writing more books around 60,000 this year.
13 Coffee or Tea?
One cup of Irish Cream coffee every morning then no more caffeine.
14 Early rising lark or night lover owl?
Both. I’ve owned three advertising agencies over the years and did most of my copy writing after ten at night. Everyone was in bed, the phone didn’t ring and I could concentrate on my writing. Now, I like to write as soon as I shoo everyone out of the house in the morning. But it’s not unusual for me to be writing at one in the morning. Thank goodness I only need five and a half hours of sleep.
15 What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I’m a gun girl. I like shooting and try to make it to the range once a week. We live on Little River that comes out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so you’ll often find me paddling a kayak or canoe. We also make wine, beer and moonshine at our house. When I’m not at my computer writing, I’m always plugged into an audio book and often curled up on the couch with my Kindle reading one of my friends’ books.
16 Do you think you will still be writing in ten years time?
Definitely. Romance writing is my new career and I have too many characters demanding stories to stop anytime soon.
ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva.
As they make their way through the rivers, mountains and jungles, their desire for each other detonates.
But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée, and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever.
In their short time together, can they crystallize a relationship, or will it all blow up?
Buy link http://amzn.to/1f2rNUD
KaLyn Cooper Bio.
KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense. Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world and the men and women who protect us every day. She believes that military wives are so much like their husbands in their resilient fortitude; they do what they have to do to get the job done, because they are the only ones who can. When Daddy’s gone, no one else is going to take out the garbage, replace the light bulb, see that the oil in the car is changed, and hold the crying toddler—or teenager—when the world seems like more than they can handle. Then they go to a cold bed and pray their beloved husband is safe and stays that way. The next day they do it all over again, many while holding down full-time jobs, going to school and volunteering their time. In her stories, KaLyn’s heroines are strong women, like the ones she knows in real life. This is why she dedicates her books to military wives and the men and women who serve. Thirty years in public relations taught her fact can be stranger than fiction and science has moved so far beyond what most people would consider real. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. After writing for corporations, sometimes pushing the fictional line, KaLyn decided to take the leap and began writing romance a few years ago. Her international travels enable her share the smells, tastes and scenery of other countries and cultures with her readers. Finally landing in Eastern Tennessee after nineteen moves, KaLyn lives on what she jokingly refers to as a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not hiding in her basement office writing, she’s often at the shooting range or paddling on the river that flows directly from the Great Smoky Mountains. To learn more about KaLyn, check out her website at http://www.kalyncooper.com/