Welcome to our special event celebrating the idea that “Love Conquers All.” We’re happy to welcome K D Grace to share in our event today.

CTR: There are lots of old sayings about love such as “Love conquers all”, “The course of true love never runs smooth” and many more! There are also many aphorisms and epigrams meant to inspire and encourage us when we are working to overcome difficulties. Since we are featuring tales of loves and individuals who rise above a variety of hardships, barriers and troubles today, maybe you can tell us what old saw may have inspired you and how you used it to create your special story.

KDG: ‘Love is blind’ would have to be the old saying that best fits The Initiation of Ms Holly. Rita Holly meets the mysterious Edward in the pitch black of a malfunctioning train in the Eurostar tunnel, an encounter that ends before she can see his face.

I was intrigued by how, or if love might develop when the ‘love of the eyes’ is not the main way two people get to know each other. I wanted to take the analogy one step further and see what would happen if, just like Psyche in the Greek myth, Rita had to voluntarily choose not to see Edward’s face over an extended period of time. I set that up in the form of an initiation ritual into a secret society that has a hold over Edward, a hold which Rita does not understand. But in order to be with him, she must undergo the initiation.

I wanted to create a world in which our most common method of being attracted to each other – sight, and our most common response to falling in love – sex, are taken away. Rita and Edward are left with only their other senses and with their wits to overcome the obstacles set before them. The question then becomes can their feelings for each other survive the challenge. And Vivienne, the sexy but vicious head of the High Council of The Mount – the secret society into which Rita is being initiated, has no intention of making it easy.

Rita chooses to undergo the initiation on a whim to get to the man who so intrigued her, possibly even stole her heart on the train. Oh, and there is one more basic rule to Rita’s initiation: she and Edward are not allowed to make love until she is deemed a worthy member. I’ve complicated their situation even further by creating animosity between Rita and the head of the High Council, Vivienne, who has her own hold on Edward.

To make Rita Holly’s dilemma even more double-edged, she finds herself, as a journalist, and as an initiate in the mysterious Mount, in a position to get the exposé story of a lifetime on the mysterious Mount that will make her career and get even with Vivienne at the same time. Is Edward, whose face she has never seen, with whom her every move is monitored and controlled, worth the sacrifice? IS love truly blind, or is it just stupid?

CTR: Please tell us a bit about the work you are featuring today. The ISBN and buy link is always good and maybe some background or ‘story behind the story’ to pique our reader’s interest. Readers would like to know any what special people or events may have inspired you to write this particular story. You can provide a blurb here also!

KDG: The Initiation of Ms Holly was inspired by my own experience of being stuck in a malfunctioning train in the Eurostar Tunnel several years ago. Of course, writing erotic romance, I immediately conjured an encounter and worked out in my mind what that encounter would be like with someone you couldn’t see.

Not being able to experience one’s lover through the sense of sight is an archetypal story. In Greek mythology, Psyche is not allowed to see the face of her lover, but he is so tender, so engaging so charming. And since he visits her in the dark of night, it’s a fair assumption that he’s good in bed too! But of course it’s not enough. Psyche needs to SEE the man she loves to reassure her that he’s as wonderful as she believes him to be and not the monster her sisters tell her he is. As it turns out, he’s neither. He’s Eros, the god of love himself, and she has broken his only command – not to look upon his face. Let the fun begin! The tale of their love and Psyche’s abandonment and reunion with Eros is one of my very favourite myths. The Initiation of Ms Holly is a modern retelling of that story, all dressed up and turned about and set in London.

To fit with the modern theme, I reversed the order of events. Rita’s tasks are a part of an initiation, and she may not see Edward’s face until she succeeds at that initiation. At times, like Psyche, she also wonders if it is a man or a monster behind the mask.

ISBN: 9781907016431

CTR: Do you yourself have any handicap or problem that you may have had to struggle to overcome either in your career or your personal life? Do you have any words of inspiration or hope for others who might be dealing with similar or other problems? Many people rely on faith, friends, family, and other kinds of support to help them. Do you have a favorite cause or charity that you may work to support and help? Have you ever dedicated part of the profits from a book or other work to such a cause?

KDG: My biggest handicap is my own fear and self-doubt. Every day as a published writer, trying to promote my work and get more work out there, is one more step out of my comfort zone, and I am my mother’s daughter, very fear-based. I’m sure that my debut as a novelist has been delayed considerably by my fears and self-doubts, and even as I look back at the past year, I get goose bumps just thinking how far outside my comfort zone I’ve already stepped, and I just may hyperventilate if I think too hard about what’s in store for me in the rest of this year

Then there’s always one more rejection. I’m learning to say, ‘that’s alright. Next!’ But it always feels a bit like a gut punch to the fearful little girl who still lives inside. She takes a lot of reassuring.

I find my help and encouragement from a fabulous circle of writer friends who know what it feels like and are always there to encourage me and help me keep my chin up.

My biggest supporter and encourager is my husband, who is proud of me, which does wonderful things for my confidence and my fragile little ego.

We support several conservation charities, including the Surrey Wildlife Trust and Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds. I’m a firm believer that the planet must come first. It’s our home, and we don’t have another one.

CTR: Do you think our society is more supportive now of people with physical challenges, interracial/ethnic/cultural couples, single parents seeking partners etc. than perhaps we were in times past?

KDG: I think it is, much more. Now there’s a safety network that wasn’t always there and there is a sense of awareness due to internet and other media. Social networking, though it definitely has its flaws, has inadvertently become the mirror of conscience, though it sometimes misses the mark, it often gets it right and makes us aware of the needs of others, as well as injustices that we might not otherwise see. And, of course, it makes connecting with others much easier.

I bitch and moan a lot about technology mostly because I’m a bit of a techno-dunce, but it’s no longer easy to hide discrimination quietly, and it’s no longer easy to turn a blind eye. That’s a good thing.

CTR: Do you have a special hero or heroine who has influenced and inspired you? A person you especially admire who has struggled and triumphed against some tough odds?

KDG: I have several, actually, Jane Austin, the Bronte Sisters, George Elliot. I can’t even imagine what they had to overcome in a time when women just didn’t DO such things as writing fiction. It wasn’t that long ago when I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do now. There a lot of places in the world where I STILL wouldn’t be able to do what I do – my only handicap – being born a woman, and in some places that’s a biggie. I never want to take that for granted, that other woman managed to change the world with their writing against all odds. I admire them more than I can say.

CTR: Before you leave us today, please tell us where we can learn more about you and your books, how to find your blog, website, twitter or Facebook pages, etc.

KDG: You can find out more about me on my website http://kdgrace.co.uk/
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KDGraceAuthor
Twitter http://twitter.com/KD_Grace

CTR: Thanks so much for sharing our event today and giving readers an inside look at you and your work! Go in peace and harmony!

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