July is bursting with fireworks, and we are bursting with some great authors. Today we have Ms. Mara Kelly with us talking about her book STRUCK, and a little about herself. Coffee Time Romance wants to take this time to Welcome Ms. Kelly.
Welcome! Mara, thank you so much for taking the time out to join me in an interview for Coffee Time Romance. Just to get us warmed up, I have read your book Struck, published by Phaze, can you tell me where the inspiration for this story came from?
One of my favorite, *favorite* authors is Megan Whalen Turner, who writes the "Queen's Thief" series. That series is actually young adult fantasy, so - alas - no sex. I had been rereading those books, and the idea of the thief and the aloof queen kept rolling around in my head, and then the "Surge" promotion was announced at Phaze, and it all came together. I hasten to add that my characters and setting and plot are nothing like Megan Whalen Turner's - but the seed of the idea came from her amazing books.
Where did your interest in writing short stories stem from?
To be honest, I have always hated writing short stories. But when I turned my hand to writing erotica, short stories were the most natural for me because erotic short stories are what I like to read.
I have also read Under Distant Moons, out with Phaze. This is your first publication I believe, tell us which of the stories in this is your favorite and which did you write first?
"The Physician of the Hands" is one of my favorite stories in the collection, because the narrator is smart and sensual, and knows exactly what she's getting herself into even as she lets herself be taken. In many ways, the male narrator of my other favorite, "The Way of Our Kind" is the same way - he's a former paramour to a queen, and he's very honest about the choices he's made and the reasons he's made them. Both of these stories combine two of the aspects of erotica that interest me most: the role of power in sexual relationships, and historical views of sex. I did quite a bit of research for each of those stories, which is probably why I find them rewarding personally.The first story I wrote in that collection was "The Prince's Bride". That was actually my first foray into the world of erotica, and it came out of a need to explore sexuality in other projects I was working on that didn't lend themselves to erotica. Some of the other stories in the collection started the same way. "The Prince's Bride" and "Single-minded" both came out of wondering "what if?" as I was working on a young adult novel (written under a different name), and "Fallen Stars", "Only Fools Are Sure of Their Way", and "Initiation" also grew out of other fantasy novels. At least, the initial situations did. Once I changed the names and settings, the stories each developed lives of their own.
Do your stories come to you as you write or do you map them out a little?
I tend to map them out a lot, and then things happen as I write them. The characters sometimes cooperate, and sometimes don't. A story rarely ends up exactly the way I outline it, but it usually isn't too far from the outline either.
Which genre would you say is your favorite to write in and why?
Fantasy, definitely. All the fiction I write is fantasy, whether I try to write fantasy or not. I have always preferred to read fantasy with historical underpinnings, and so that's what I like to write too. I think of my erotica fantasy as a natural extension of that.
Can readers expect any novels from Mara Kelly? Where do you think your writing is headed?
I doubt I will write any erotica novels, simply because I enjoy the short stories so much. (And also because I have a toddler, so I'm lucky I can pay attention long enough to write a short story these days!) And also, let's face it: erotica serves a...certain purpose. Short stories serve that purpose a lot better than a sustained novel, in my opinion. :)
Can you tell us some of your favorite authors and books which may have inspired your own career?
I already mentioned Megan Whalen Turner, whom I think is just a wonderful, subtle, underrated author. I also adore the history-laced fantasy of Guy Gavriel Kay (which, incidentally, includes some great sex scenes!).
Tell us about the moment you made up your mind to submit your work to a publisher.
I had submitted a few short stories to magazines, but I hadn't really found a publisher who was interested in an anthology of fantasy erotica until I stumbled upon Phaze. To be honest, I don't actually remember deciding to submit it - I think that decision was made before I even wrote the first words.
Are you out in the open with friends and family about your erotic writing or still in the closet?
Oh boy. Well, most of my family doesn't know - and will never know, I hope. Some of the more mainstream stuff I have written is a bit steamy, and I am nervous about my parents reading that, so I can't imagine if they knew about this. My husband's family knows about it (they've all read it and think it's great, actually), and most of my friends know. But yeah, I am still in the closet with my side of the family. It's friendly and dark in here. :)
Both your books are with Phaze, can readers expect your work to pop up at other publishers?
Possibly...right now I am happy with Phaze, and since I write only short stories I think Phaze is really the best place for me. Many of the other publishers are only interested in longer works, or don't seem to be interested in fantasy.
Can you please give us your web site address? Did you enjoy making your own site, had you had any experience with it before?
My website is www.marakelly.net. Making the site was fun - I had a bit of experience with a previous business. I am working on some fun content for erotica readers on my site...hopefully I will be able to roll that out before my toddler is in college!
Do you have any works in progress that you would like to tell us about?
I had started working on a follow-up to Under Distant Moons entitled Distant Moons Rising, but I have gotten sidetracked recently with a fun new project. It's a series of erotic fairy tales that explore secondary characters in some of our favorite childhood stories. The first is about Cinderella's ugly stepsister seducing Prince Charming, and, inadvertently, Cinderella herself.
Mara, it has been a pleasure and I have loved your writing so far. Is there anything you would like to add for the readers?
I just want to say thanks for reading! You can sign up for my e-newsletter, Mara's Morsels, at my site (www.marakelly.net) if you'd like to learn more about my books. Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Wendy.
It's been a pleasure.Thanks Ms. Kelly for taking time to chat with us today, also Coffee Time Romance wants to say thank you! Thanks Ms. Kelly.
Interviewer for Coffee Time Romance