Hi Babette and welcome to Coffee Time Romance & More’s Interview Hot Seat! I am so excited to host you today. Go ahead and select your favorite brew and get comfortable.
What can readers expect when they pick up Clear As Day?
Clear As Day is my debut novel from The Wild Rose Press, a sweetly scorching contemporary romance about two friends with benefits facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship.
What made you pick the title?
Nate and Kay’s story went through several working titles before I settled on Clear As Day. The title came from a bit of dialogue in the story. I’m delighted that The Wild Rose Press let me keep the title, because it suits Nate’s love for Kay perfectly.
The names of your hero and heroine, Nate Quinn and Kay Browning are perfect. How did you come up with them?
Kay came into the story as Kay. Finding Nate’s real name took some time and some brainstorming with my critique and goals group, and thanks to them, it fits him perfectly.
You have fabulous conflict between Nate and Kay. Did you purposely invent challenges for them? If so, how did you come up with the idea of the challenges?
Thanks! Getting the conflict to work between Nate and Kay was the toughest part of writing their story. Starting off with a couple that were already friends and lovers and who thought they knew each other very well was a challenge. In theory, they just needed to talk to each other. But as Nate discovers, “Trouble was, everyone always made talking out a problem sound like it was so simple and solved everything, but actually doing it, and securing the desired outcome without screwing up, seemed about as easy as rowing upriver with a teaspoon.”
To come up with challenges, I had to keep focusing on opposites and putting roadblocks in their way. Nate is good-hearted, loving and loyal, why on earth would Kay not leap at forever with him? Oh, because she grew up in a dysfunctional family where love meant chaos and trusting meant pain. Nate’s done with traveling, so of course he’s offered his dream job that will take him away for months. When Kay starts to consider taking the risk of loving Nate, another couple’s marriage implodes in front of them, reminding her of her past. Kay and Nate painfully discover, despite the years of close friendship, just how much they didn’t know about each other and had assumed. Nate is faced with just how hard loving can be and Kay finds denying love doesn’t keep it from happening to her. They now needed to learn to really talk and listen to one another, take risks, and truly trust in one another, if their friendship was to survive and love they’d always really shared have a future.
If you could be one of your characters for a day who would it be and why?
Kay, without her dysfunctional family, lol! I’d love to be able to focus on my art and travel as she did.
Where did you get your characters? Are they people you know or did you make them up?
It’s all very organic. Clear As Day started with the location, and then my character Kay appeared first in her lakeside campsite, already independent, reserved, and commitment-shy. Then the man who would become easy-going, globetrotting photographer Nate showed up to disrupt her careful, comfortable rut in life. As I explored why he’d shown up on her beach and his connection to Kay, their simple friends-with-benefits relationship proved not so simple and their conflict, love story, and their tight-knit group of friends bloomed from there. Other stories that I am working on have begun with a bit of a scene or a piece of dialogue and the discovery of my characters expands from there. I don’t use people that I know as characters in my stories. I might use a piece of an event or a characteristic from real life, but my characters are their own selves.
What would you most like your readers to walk away with after reading Clear As Day?
I want my readers to have enjoyed the story. That to me is the most important part of storytelling. I loved writing Clear As Day and discovering my characters and I hope readers enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey to love and their group of friends as much as I do.
Now, those more in depth answers we’re looking for about you.
Where do you look when you need inspiration?
I haven’t had to go hunting for initial inspiration yet. The initial inspiration for a story usually just hits me while I’m working on something else. Clear As Day began life as a short story back when I was in college, as an exercise featuring the desert setting of Lake Mohave, which is a stretch of the Colorado River below the Hoover Dam. The sequel I’m working on came as a flash of a scene that I had to write, although I hadn’t intended to write a sequel. The fantasy series I’m working on began with the image of a horse appearing and vanishing from a meadow. Asking why spawned a whole story world. Another story developed from a snip of dialogue. As I’m following that initial inspiration, asking why, research, and actual writing then will get the story snowballing.
Do you ever find yourself dragging your family and friends into your stories? And, if so, do they recognize themselves?
I don’t use my family or friends in my stories directly. I did have fun with writing Clear As Day, adding in bits of my family’s trips to the river, other camping and fishing experiences, and my own enjoyment of watercolors, music, photography, and the desert.
Do you have a strict writing schedule?
I don’t have a strict schedule, but I like to write early in the morning before work and in the evening. I usually write while in an online chat with my critique group and other writing friends. We’ll often do timed challenges to work on writing or editing and share snips of our work.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, of course. I love to paint and garden and I enjoy playing with my bread machine and new recipes.
Are you working on any writing projects right now?
I’m currently hard at work to finish and submit the sequel to Clear As Day, tentatively titled Love Burns. I love this new couple, who are two of Nate and Kay’s friends, and I have enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. I am also almost done with a novella for another couple from this group of friends and have two more stories in the early stages for future sequels. I also have a fantasy series that’s simmering on the back burner while I focus on these contemporary stories. Thank goodness for coffee!
Do you have a special cure for writers block you’d like to share?
No special cure for getting unstuck, I just try to remember keep writing. Nora Roberts has said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” This really sums up the best advice I’ve received on writing. Sometimes just switching over to another project or taking time to play with a different idea will give the stuck project needed time to simmer. Just get those words out and on the page and don’t worry until you’re done. You can fix them later.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved writing and making up stories and I always wanted to be an author. I remember carting home armloads of books from the library, loving all the different stories and worlds and I wanted to write the stories I imagined, too. I remember playing out complex tales with my dolls and studiously writing out pieces of stories in spiral-bound notebooks and on backs of school papers. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.) My mom always encouraged me to write and follow my dream of publication. She always believed I could do it, even when I had doubts.
On a more personal level, do you do something special when you complete a book as a celebration?
When Clear As Day came out, my coworkers took me out for a release day lunch. We had a great time.
Tell us about the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
My husband’s proposal. It was a beautiful July evening. We’d gone for a walk on the beach after a nice supper and he dropped to one knee and proposed, and all the people on the boardwalk started clapping and cheering. Definitely a memorable romantic moment!
I love that!! The epitome of a true romantic moment and one to cherish throughout the years.
Finally, a question our Mistress always insists we ask, what brew did you select and how does it relate to your personality?
Lots of fresh-ground, hot coffee, made creamy with soymilk, in my favorite mug with the hummingbirds on it, because I need that kick and comfort in the morning, while still attempting to be health-conscious.
Yum and I love hummingbirds! Thank you so much Babette! It has been a pleasure to feature you and your work at Coffee Time Romance & More and we look forward to seeing you back here.