WATCH OUT: KD Grace
SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m pleased to bring you author KD Grace. Welcome to Watch Out, it is so great to have you here.
Thanks for having me on Watch Out! It’s lovely to be here and to talk writing, romance and sex – all my favourite topics!
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
The first and most important thing that anyone who knows me even a little bit knows about me is that I’m obsessive where writing is concerned. I procrastinate on a lot of things, but writing isn’t one of them. I love to write, I love to tell stories, and I love to make my characters work REALLY hard to earn their happy ending.
I write erotic romance for two reasons. First because I believe Freud was right, and it really IS all about sex. And it’s lucky for me, or I wouldn’t have anything to write about. I think we’ve only begun to plumb the depths of human sexuality and all its amazing implications, and I find that very exciting. Second, I am a romantic to the core, and I believe in happy endings. To me a story without a love story in it is like a campfire without wood.
SC: I read in your bio that you extreme vegetable garden. What is that?
My husband and I have a very small back yard. When we first moved in, it was all grass. Then we planted some tomatoes. The next year, we planted some beans and a few ears of corn and some squash. Each year the strip of grass in the middle gets smaller and smaller and the veg patch gets bigger and bigger. We now also grow strawberries, apples (dwarf root stock, of course) raspberries and blackberries as well as veg, veg, and more veg. I’ve also taken over a weed patch behind a neighbour’s garage and planted cabbages and cauliflowers and more tomatoes there.
My husband calls me the Veggie Evangelist. I go door to door in our little cul-de-sac and give away extra plants I don’t have room for. That’s after I’ve made every effort to MAKE room for them. If there’s a spot, I’ll fill it with veg plants. No place is safe! And I am forever spreading the ‘good news’ of grow-your-own!
SC: Can you tell us a little about your current release?
The Pet Shop is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For me, the real theme of the story is our effort to understand the beast within us, to tame it and make it manageable. Of course the taming of anything wild then raises the issue of just how tame we want the beast to be before we lose that wildness that we loved about it in the first place. Ultimately, can there be a balance between the two?
When workaholic, Stella James, jokingly blames her lack of a sex life on her demanding new job with the Strigida Company, her boss sends her Tino, straight from a mysterious place called The Pet Shop. The mischievous Tino is all dressed up with a collar and a leash and nothing else. And he’s more than ready to play.
It was never Stella’s plan to have feelings for Tino, but after their first weekend together, there’s no denying she’s smitten. As her feelings for Tino deepen, so does her obsession with finding out who he is in the real world and finding out about Tino’s doppelganger, the reclusive Vincent Evanston, who keeps appearing in her life and turning up the heat. Though he looks like Tino, Vincent couldn’t be more different.
As Stella is drawn more deeply into the secret world of The Pet Shop and her own animal instincts surface, she finds herself walking the thin line that separates the business of pleasure from the more dangerous, and costly, business of the heart. To cross that line could cost her much more than just her job.
SC: Which do you prefer eBooks or paperback?
I would have a hard time choosing now. I just got back from a trip to the States, and it was wonderful having such a huge selection of books to read on my Kindle. On the other hand, my author copies of The Pet Shop just arrived, and there’s still nothing like the feel and the smell of a real book. And being able to hold my book in my hand, well, that’s a rush that I just don’t get with the eBook.
SC: What influences the topics, and genre’s that you pick to write a story in?
I suppose the fact that I’m a romantic to the core precludes me ever writing anything that doesn’t have a sexy love story woven in somewhere, and I can’t imagine writing a love story without sex. It’s the natural progression, the culmination of the chemical soup that’s physical attraction and falling in love, and frankly, I feel a bit cheated when I read a romance and it’s not there. I suppose it’s my romantic nature, but I also think love and sex are a big deal in our human journey. You can call it biology if you want, and that’s probably where my fascination with our animal nature comes in, but I think love and sex are at the core of all we do, and at the core of all the stories that move us and define us. Certainly the stories that have most influenced me are stories of love and conflict of the heart.
SC: One thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually a very private person. Most people laugh at me when I tell them that. I come across as very extroverted and outgoing, but in reality, I’m very shy and probably would have made a great hermit in another life.
SC: What is the biggest misconception you think people have about erotic authors?
I think the biggest misconception people have is that we’ve done everything we write about. I have never been able to figure why people think that. No one thinks Stephen King or Thomas Harris have done everything they wrote about. That’s why it’s called FICTION! We made it up!
SC: Your favourite part about being an author?
I love the moment when I’m far enough into the story that the world I’ve created becomes real to me, and even more important, the characters become real to me. They become flesh and blood, breathing, loving, suffering people whose lives I affect with every sentence I write, and who affect my life in the real world just by our interaction. That’s when I know I’ve got a real story, one that matters and one that will keep me, and hopefully my readers, engaged to the very last sentence. From that point onward, I eat, sleep and breathe the story, and I feel bereft when it’s time to let it go and send it out.
SC: What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading an old Tom McNab novel called Flanagan’s Run. I read it a long time ago back when I was a serious runner (well serious for me) and loved it. It’s about a race across the US during the depression. It follows the stories of several of the desperate people who enter the race for the chance to win the big prize money and how their lives, in the end, are changed by the ordeal. It’s an amazing story. I just walked the Coast to Coast across England with my husband this summer – 192 miles, and I thought THAT was hard!
SC: Currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to the starlings whistling and chirping in my back garden. I like the sounds of nature and seldom listen to anything else when I write. It’s not that I don’t love music, all kinds. It’s that I can’t write and listen. I get too drawn in.
SC: Out of all the stories you’ve written so far, are there any you would say are a favourite?
I’d have to say my favourite is whatever one I’m working on at the moment. If I’ve been drawn in by the characters and their story, then I’m there! They have me in their thrall, and I’m loving it.
SC: Describe your books in 3 words.
Thoughtful, sexy romance.
SC: If you could step into the shoes of another author who would you pick? Why?
There isn’t really anyone whose shoes I’d want to be in. Of the authors who are my idols, I’d feel unworthy, and in the end, the whole writing journey is such a personal one that though I can admire what other people have written and envy their success, I wouldn’t trade the experiences that have been my journey for anything. It’s been such a rollercoaster ride and such an adventure. And I know the cost of getting to the point I am now because the blood and sweat were all mine, and the stories on the page are, each one, sort of like merit badges (I was a girl scout when I was a kidJ) There is no stepping into someone else’s shoes, really. It’s all about the shoes I’ve worn out getting here.
SC: What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?
I happily write clichés. But I like to take those clichés and turn them upside down and twist them so that they’re new and surprising. After all, clichés are clichés, often because they’re true. I’m always asking myself, ‘how I can make it new again?’ That’s kind of my approach to whatever I write.
SC: Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
Here are a few paragraphs of Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. It’s the first book of a paranormal erotic trilogy that will be published by Xcite Books. Heatwave will be released next February.
Marie knew where she had been before she lost her compass, so she simply sat down in the middle of what might or might not have been the path and hunched around herself. She’d be alright. She was cold and wet and miserable and the rocks were not exactly gentle on her back side, but she would be alright. She would!
It had to have been a dream, although how she could have dozed under the circumstances, she couldn’t imagine. The dark figure approached silently through the fog, little more than a shadow, and yet her pulse quickened, her nipples ached, and she felt heavy and receptive. Still barely visible in the mist, he walked a tight circle around her, looking down at her, inspecting her, caressing her cheek with a large hand. ‘It was you.’ His voice vibrated up through the pit of her stomach, as though he had taken up residence just below her navel. ‘It was you. Exactly as I suspected.’
He moved to stand close behind her, so close that his heat radiated against her back. As she leaned into his warmth, he reached down to caress her breasts. She arched up into his irresistible touch as his hand moved up over her shoulder, her neck, her throat. Almost before she knew what was happening, the pressure of his touch became more insistent, more demanding, almost bruising and the heat was replaced with an icy chill.
Arousal congealed to a tight knot of fear. But as she gathered herself to run, it was a gentle touch on her arm that woke her with a start, and she looked up into the dark eyes of Anderson. For a sharp instance the strange heat between her hip bones flashed hot, then settled to a warm thrum. ‘Come with me, out of the rain.’ He offered her his hand and helped her to her feet. She was amazed to find that he was still in the black suit, no anorak, no water proofs, no proper walking boots.
SC: What is the best advice you ever got with regards to writing?
The very best advice I ever got came from Natalie Goldberg’s wonderful book, Writing Down the Bones. The advice was simply to write, get words on paper. It doesn’t have to be good, the key it that it has to be written. Once it’s written, then you’ve got something to work with, something to build on, something to make into the good stuff. I felt like that book gave me permission to write badly, and the advice was spot on. Bad writing can be cleaned up and edited into something wonderful, but that can only happen when there are actually WORDS on the page to work with. JUST WRITE! The best advice ever!
SC: What is one pet peeve you have when it comes to publishing?
There are two really. One is that everything takes so long. That’s not really anyone’s fault. That’s just the way it is. And the second is that there seems to be a huge disconnect between publishers and the writers who are actually producing the product. That, I think is, bad for both writers and publishers.
SC: Any advice for new writers out there?
Just keep writing. Get the words down. They can be edited, changed, improved, but the main thing is to get them down. I’m surprised how many times I’ve come back to make corrections on something I’ve written in a hurry the night before only to find that it was some of the best writing I’d done. Writing unselfconsciously is amazing when it happens, and I think that’s the place Goldberg was trying to get writers to in her book.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
My website, A Hopeful Romantic is a good place to start. http://kdgrace.co.uk/
I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KDGraceAuthor
And Twitter: http://twitter.com/KD_Grace