Thursday, June 28, 2018

Interview: Authors of the Kissed Anthology


The authors from Evernight Teen's new romance anthology, Kissed, agreed to answer a few of my questions about romance, anthologies, and reading! I don't know about you, but seeing how different each of their backgrounds are makes me really excited to see what they bring to YA romance!

About the KISSED Anthology:

Pucker up for KISSED!

Kisses can be innocent, playful, or just to comfort. Some are for luck and others have the promise of sweeter ones to come. 

That's why we've dedicated an anthology to the kiss. These eight hand-picked stories are brimming with romance, and they all begin and end with a kiss. 

Our talented authors will prove that love knows no boundaries. 

The Kissed Anthology is coming July 20th from Evernight Teen!

Christine Rees
Just Like the Movies
 
Why do you write romance?
I typically write more YA fiction/paranormal stories, but the KISSED anthology was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes into romance with "Just Like The Movies." I craved writing in a genre I hadn't explored on its own yet and found genuine enjoyment in bringing aspects of my favorite romcoms to life in this story.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I believe that the stigma around reading or writing romance is that only a hopeless romantic can love them, but I don't believe this is true in all cases. I am a romantic but I am also a huge cynic at times, and I savor contemporary romance among other genres. Whether it's reading or writing, I think it depends on your current interests and where you are in your life when you find a desire to dive into romance.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I tend to get lost in music for inspiration. Plenty of authors use music to zone into their story and step out of the real world for a while, but I use music as a way of driving inspiration. I pop my earbuds in and go for a walk (or a run) and let the songs guide my imagination. Certain music genres open my creativity to specific scenes -- rock leads to fighting, pop leads to happier moments such as someone's first kiss or a meet-cute, etc. I take those scenes and build a story by developing characters, flaws, and problems that need to be resolved. The scenes are a gateway for new ideas that aid in moving the story along.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
I was thrilled to try my hand at a contemporary romance in a short/novella format. It felt like a fresh take on a concept I always wanted to experiment with. As I mentioned, "Just Like The Movies" is my first contemporary romance but it is also my first contribution to an anthology. Having a limited amount of words to foster and flush out the idea was definitely a challenge, but an enjoyable one. This experience has led to a new appreciation for short stories and I intend to write more of them in the future.

What are you currently reading?
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. AEITA is a thrilling and heart-wrenching YA fantasy. It's truly an amazing ride!

About Christine: 
Christine Rees is the author of an Amazon #1 Best Seller: THE HIDDEN LEGACY. Christine is a 25-year-old Western University graduate and Sheridan College alumni, YA book writer and lover of all literature. Also an admitted movie junkie, brunch enthusiast, and cat lady, Christine spends her free time writing books with a cat nestled on her lap.  




Peri Elizabeth Scott
It’s in His Kiss

Why do you write romance? 
This is a genre I’ve read for years and enjoy. And one I’ve written for years.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it? 
I, personally, have found that the stigma isn’t as prevalent as in the past where people tended to hide their book covers! Romance might not be seen as ‘serious’ writing but it’s a huge part of everyday life. I’m often amused when someone will disparage it and yet haven’t picked up a book in years. I believe each to his own. There’s a genre for everyone.

Where do you go for writing inspiration? 
Not far! I just look around me, and listen. 

What was it like writing for this anthology? 
In that I’d never written YA before, it was a delightful challenge. I wanted to write a strong heroine and a hero with depth as well as convey a simmering connection between them based on attraction and mutual appreciation, and think I achieved it. 

What are you currently reading? 
I’m actually reading the Brew Ha Ha box set and loving it. 

About Peri: 
 Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada. She and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.


Sasha Hibbs
No Romeo
Why do you write romance?
Of all the emotions we go through—grief, horror, stress, sadness, depression—love is the one emotion that helps us to endure all the rest. I write romance because I feel that counteracts the darkness. 

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
Great question. I’ve honestly never thought about it. Now that I am, I’m sure there’s some stigma surrounding it … isn’t there always with things in life? I guess I would respond by continuing to do what I do and respect the opinions of others but not allow any bad stigma to have any power over what I love to do: read and write the heck out of romance J

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
Nowhere in particular, but I did have inspiration nearly hit me, literally, for my pervious release in January, Northern Pines. I was driving to work, using my boss’s car no less, and I came within an inch of hitting a cow. Not only was I terrified, but the inspiration for my last novel came directly from that event. I had the completed manuscript finished within a month of me nearly killing a cow and my boss’s car. I wondered what would’ve happened had I hit it. How would I pay for the damages? And boom! Just like that my mind went to being 17 again and hitting the cow that ironically belonged to the rivalry neighboring farm. 

What was it like writing for this anthology?
Wonderful! I had NO ROMEO completed in 4 days, I think. I love writing short stories for anthologies. There’s just the right dose of romance and when you’re finished with one story, all you have to do is flip the page to next great one. This particular story for me was fun and challenging. Please don’t throw rotten cabbage at me, but I’ve never liked Romeo and Juliet. It’s just too much! So, to challenge myself, I wanted to write a short story (minus the horrific ending) with that entire theme. 

What are you currently reading?
UPON BROKEN WINGS by E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade. I’m half way through it, and wow. It’s deep and beautiful and lyrical and brings a voice to YA lit that was often just a whisper and not talked about. It explores suicide, always a tough subject to tackle and my hat is off to the authors. 

About Sasha:
By age 5, Sasha Hibbs' favorite movie was Gone With the Wind. By age 12, she completed her 7th grade book report on the sequel, Scarlett. By 18, she met and married her very own Mr. Rhett Butler and as it turns out, she never had to worry about going back to Tara to win the love of her life back. Fortunately, he stuck with her. 

With a love of all things paranormal, the ambiance of the South with its gigantic antebellum mansions and canopies of Spanish moss, and a love for her husband’s rich storytelling of blacksmiths and the mythology surrounding their origins, it wasn’t long until the world of her debut novel, Black Amaranth, was born. 

When not working her day job as a nurse, you can find Sasha dreaming of her next beach trip, reading the latest YA novel, and drinking more white chocolate mocha than she should. 

Sasha lives in mountainous West Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two daughters, Aeliza and Ava. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.


Lisa Borne Graves 
Dare
Why do you write romance?
I absolutely love that butterfly-filled belly, pulse spiking, goose bump feeling when you first realize you’re attracted to someone. Compound that with the stark, sometimes overwhelmingly, plummet into love and it creates a euphoria that matches nothing else in this world. Since I found my soul mate already, I love recreating that feeling vicariously through fictional beings on the page to continue this blissful first-time feeling for myself and others.

 Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I definitely think there is a stigma around reading and writing romance due to societal expectations of women that are utterly old fashioned and wrong, not to mention full of double standards. I read it and write it and say forget everyone else. I do what I like to do. At the same time, society cannot fully be ignored. You have to abide by some unspoken rules, which forces us to get creative in portraying some things when it comes to YA novels.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
My muse, or imagination, rarely lets me down, so I find inspiration everywhere. But when I’m grappling for ideas I usually “go to” or read the classics. I’ve had my best ideas in Scotland and Wales, which I try to visit every couple years if possible. There’s something almost magical in the Celtic air, brooding in the beautiful landscapes, and rich in the antiquated architecture that demands inspiration.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
Amazing! I’ve only published one story prior to this one, so it was a great learning experience. Everyone who works for Evernight Teen are nice, constructive, and professional. As for fellow writers, there’s a huge online community where we help and celebrate each other. I felt like I’m back in high school rooting for our team to win a completion. 

What are you currently reading?
Relentless by Karen Lynch and loving it so far. 

About Lisa:
Blogger, English Lecturer, YA author, avid reader, wife, and mother--not in that order but these roles constantly battle over me for center stage. We all feel torn in the many roles we must perform in life, but writing for me, and for most writers, is a necessity, almost a malady. I write not because I want to (because sleeping or simply relaxing would be preferential) but because I need to, that if these ideas do not get down on paper I won't be able to function as a human being. My mind would be otherwise diverted and I wouldn't be able to give anyone my undivided attention.

Kate Larkindale
Run to You
Why do you write romance?
You know, I don’t really feel like I do write romance.  Sure, there are always romantic elements to my books, but that’s because romance and intimacy are an important part of life, and often the source of the most pain and terrible behavior.  Which is why it’s so good as a plot element - plenty of conflict!
Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I think there possibly is a tiny bit of a stigma around reading romance, but I don’t really get it.  Romance readers read far more than anyone else!  And as far as I’m concerned, getting people to read is a good thing in this day and age where everyone seems to have a digital device glued to their fingertips at all times.  
Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I find inspirations for stories all over the place.  Newspaper articles, documentary films, other books I read, people I see on the street…. Often those sparks of ideas don’t go anywhere until one or more collide, but there are always stories spinning through my head, waiting until the right mixture of ideas come together.
What was it like writing for this anthology?
I really enjoyed writing for this anthology.  I love having a writing prompt to set me off, and this was a nice loose prompt that allowed a lot of room for my own story to grow.
What are you currently reading? 
I’m reading a book called Diary of a Bookseller.  I thought it was going to be something quite different than what it actually is, but I’m actually enjoying reading the bookseller’s musings on the mundane details of running his second-hand bookshop.

Thanks for having me!

About Kate:
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale has settled in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

She is the author of contemporary YA novels An Unstill Life and Stumped along with several others that no one is allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance, which will likely never see the light of day. She is working on several more YA novels that may or may not ever be finished…

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.



Kacie Ji
It Started with a Kiss

Why do you write romance?
The short answer? Because it’s fun. With everything going on in the world these days I like to read stories that follow a couple falling in love and have endings that makes them, and me, happy. I’m hoping to do the same for someone else with what I write.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I do think there is a stigma around both reading and writing romance, as if it is something to be ashamed of. By why? If you like romance, great. If romance isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. Read and write what you want to and let others do the same.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I don’t need to go far to get inspired to write but if I had to choose a place that would kickstart my brain, it would be the beach. There’s just something about the sight and smell of the water and the rhythm of the waves that clears my head every time.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
It was great fun! I’d been struggling with writing YA the past little while and this anthology gave me the opportunity to dip my toes back in. It’s definitely given me the push I needed to start writing in this genre again. So, a big thank you to Evernight Teen for putting out this call!

What are you currently reading?
I’m about to start Insanity by Cameron Jace. It’s been sitting on my TBR pile for far too long!

About Kacie:
When she’s not writing or sleeping, Kacie can be found discussing plot twists with her cat who usually seems to enjoy being a part of the process. On the days he’s not she usually finds herself wishing there was a way to mainline coffee while she writes, deletes and tweaks until she sees something that makes her smile.

Roxas James 
After Tomorrow

Why do you write romance?
I write a lot of different things depending on what mood I'm in. I think that different types of writing accomplish different things. Mystery and adventure get your heart pumping. Horror gets your fear rising. Romance does all of those things though. For me, it's fun to imagine all the different ways that people can fall in love and all the obstacles that could stand in their way. As the writer, it gives me a little boost trying to come up with all the way they can work through it to get their, hopefully, happy ending. Besides, it's always fun to come up with a love story that you wish you could be living, isn't it?

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
I think that there used to be a bigger stigma around romance novels in the past, but in recent years it’s gotten a lot less. That may have come with the invention of the ebook reader so now people can’t see what you’re reading. Anonymity always makes people a little braver because who cares about reading 50 Shades of Grey on the subway when no one can see what it is. And then people become more open to idea of reading whatever they want to. And for the ones out there who just call romance trash, they obviously haven’t read any because there are some really amazing “trashy” novels out there.  

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
I go many different places for inspiration. A lot of times, I’ll get an idea while reading books or watching movies. Once, I got inspiration for a book I wrote from a knock off Louis Vuitton wallet. It might be a random line somewhere that makes me picture a scene. For this anthology, the second I read the topic for a starting kiss, I immediately picture someone kissing an old stone statue as part of a tradition, the rest of the story just followed. I never know when I’m going to get struck by an idea.  


What was it like writing for this anthology?
Writing for this anthology has been a wonderful experience. This is my first time publishing a story the traditional way and it’s just been so much fun. From the moment I came across the open call to moment I submitted it, I felt drawn to completing this. Yes, there have been times where I’ve given up mid story, but I just knew it wasn’t possible with this story. And surprisingly, I found the editing part to be the most fun. I’ve never worked with a professional editor before and was terrified of the whole process, but it was great, despite learning I have a tendency to use the word ‘that’ way too many times for a normal human being. 


What are you currently reading?
So many things. I’m listening to Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda on audiobook right now because I’ve read the book, watched the movie, and had to come back for more. As for reading reading, I’ve finally broken down and joined the rest of the world and started the Game of Thrones books. I’m currently on the second one. And on my kindle, I’m currently reading the other stories from the great authors who were selected for this anthology. I’m in good company. 

About Roxas:
Roxas James is a teacher, writer, blogger, and generally exhausted human being. He has been writing since the second grade, which made many of his teachers very angry since he did most of it in the middle of their classes. When he is not working in various parts of Houston, Texas, he can usually be found in or around his local Starbucks, where he has been given many free cups of coffee, without which, he migh never right a single word again
   
M. Wiklund
Pixie Cuts and Purple Dye

Why do you write romance?
I write romance because the most interesting thing in the world is exploring relationships between people, and romance is the only genre that has relationships as its focus. I especially love that romance is optimistic about relationships, believing that they can work out--and often optimistic in its view of the world in general. It can be dramatic and still you can believe in a happy ending.

Do you think there is a stigma around reading or writing romance, and if so, how would you respond to it?
There is--I think there's a view that it's somewhat immature and, well, feminine. I'd say that romance being a woman's genre is actually a good thing, and also that although romance is often light reading, it's the kind of light reading that serves as strong catharsis and is good for the mind and heart. Besides which, it isn't necessarily immature; romance can also at times deal with serious issues or have quite complex plots.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?
Sometimes I get inspiration from reading other people's writing. Other times I just get it from events in my own life. And when I'm absolutely desperate I may occasionally get it from prompts online--but it rarely comes down to that.

What was it like writing for this anthology?
It was tricky to condense the story of a relationship into such a short space, but it was also really fun. I hadn't actually written contemporary YA before so that was also very interesting.

What are you currently reading?
Currently I'm reading House of Names by Colm Toibin and Thorn Fruit by Felicia Davin.

About M. Wiklund:
M. Wiklund has contributed to the anthologies Kissed from Evernight Teen and BlackHearts from Dreaming Rabbit Press.




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for featuring the authors of KISSED today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is fantastic! Thank you for the lovely feature.

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  3. Thanks for having me and all the other awesome Kissed authors. What a talented bunch of writers to be included with!

    ReplyDelete

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