The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview! We would love to get to know you. Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a former high school teacher, but now that I write full time, I am slowly losing my grip on reality. I live with my husband and two children in the Greater Houston area. So far, I've not been able to find any vamps in our area. (see above shakiness on reality). As for werewolves, I suspect I have spotted a few at my daughter's school. But then, it could be that they simply need a haircut and a bath.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I would be Heather Echarpe because I can relate to her the most. She's a Texan, a former high school teacher, a little overweight, and she's been a single parent-all of which describes me. And she fell for a smooth-talking, charming, and gorgeous vampire. Look at the cover of The Undead Next Door, and you'll want to be Heather, too!
What's your favorite genre to read?
I love to read romance, because you're guaranteed a happy ending. I love watching the hero and heroine fall in love and succeed in overcoming their conflicts. Romances give you a feeling of hope. My favorite romances are paranormals because they're just so much fun!
Who or what influences you when you write?
The Deadline, LOL. It looks like a huge wrestler on steroids and stands behind my shoulder and whacks me on the head with a folding chair if I start goofing off. (Then I remind him that his grumpiness is due to the steroids and his inability to perform like my heroes. See above shakiness on reality). I read a lot of fairy tales as a child, so I think that's when I fell I love with the Beauty and the Beast theme. I've always loved humor, and I would say my biggest influences there have been Danny Kaye movies, Mel Brooks movies, Monty Python, and the TV sitcom, Frasier.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
I procrastinate until the Deadline threatens to pummel me into dust on live television. Then I'll start writing a scene and remember how much fun this job really is. I'll usually write one scene a day. If the Deadline is getting too close and breathing down my neck, I tell him he's a wimp and I write two or more scenes a day-whatever it takes to make the deadline.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I don't think I actually get writer's block. I am very slow at the beginning of a book when I'm still getting to know the characters, but that's just a part of my natural process. Once the characters are full grown in my head, I can let them take over and tell me what to do next. (see above shakiness on reality).
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
As soon as I'm allowed to, I'll post an excerpt on my website. For now, I can tell you about the next two books. They are back-to-back, releasing at the end of March and April.
The first one is Secret Life of a Vampire, starring Giacomo di Venezia a.k.a. Jack, the illegitimate son of Giacomo Casanova. It starts with Jack giving Ian MacPhie a bachelor party at the Plaza hotel in NYC. When the guys drink too much Blissky (synthetic blood and whiskey) and start playing the bagpipes and clashing their swords, hotel security calls the cops. And of course, one of those cops is a lovely young woman who suspects Jack is more than meets the eye.
The second one is Forbidden Nights with a Vampire, starring my first werewolf hero, Phil. When Vanda, the feisty lady vampire, is ordered by the coven court to undergo anger management therapy, she threatens to rip off anyone's head who offers to sponsor her. Phil is the only one with enough guts to take her on, and boy, does he!
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm planning to continue with the Love at Stake series. I'm often asked if Connor and Gregori will get their own books, and the answer is YES!
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career
I hope to still be writing, and I hope the readers will still be enjoying my books.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
I like the old-fashioned hero, which is why I love my vamp guys so much. To me, they are historical heroes. They have an old-fashioned sense of honor and integrity. They're dependable, loyal, strong but sweet, intelligent, and have great sense of humor. They always treat women and children with respect, and they're naturally protective.
What do you do for inspiration?
I listen to music when I'm not writing. Each character and book has a theme song. I read good books and watch funny movies, and I listen to Joel Osteen on TV because he reminds me that I can succeed. I am able.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I'm writing exactly what I love to write -- Heroes I can fall in love with, heroines I can relate to, fun situations that make me laugh, and happy endings that make me sigh with contentment.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I only research what I need to, otherwise I would get sucked into it and never get any writing done.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
I hate that Deadline, but he does keep me in line. When I finish my book on time, I get to kick him in the ass.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
For years, I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't believe in myself enough to give it a try. Then finally, one day, after a dreaded birthday, I decided I had to at least try. If I didn't try, I would lie on my deathbed someday and regret that I didn't at least try. So I started writing my first book. Two years later, I had my first contract, and I slapped myself on the forehead and thought-why didn't you try this earlier, you moron? Six published books later, I still struggle with self-doubt.
What would you like to tell your readers?
Many, many thanks for reading my books! I enjoy hearing from readers, so don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like bookmarks, postcards, and signed bookplates, just send a SASE to my address at PO Box 5512, Katy TX 77491-5512.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I just start writing. I have a vague idea how the book will end, but I have no idea how to get there. Luckily, I can let the characters take over and tell me what to do. (shaky on reality, you know!)
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I do belong to a critique group, and they have been a tremendous source of help, support, and encouragement over the years. They've become my best friends. They know me very well. There's always a part in the book where I'm convinced the book is awful and not working and will never get finished, and they just remind me to get over it!
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first book was a historical romance, published by Forge in 2002. It's set in Revolutionary War Boston with an American hero who's a Scarlet Pimpernel type spy. The original title was Insatiable and Saucy, but for some strange reason, it was changed to For Love or Country.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Easy! Go to my website at www.kerrelynsparks.com. There are excerpts to read and book trailers to watch. In the Vampire World section, there are vampire games to play, and a Forum where you can chat with me and other readers.
And because I love your books I just have to ask if you had the opportunity to become a vamp would you do it?
That is really tough! You realize that would mean giving up chocolate? But then, I could drink Chocolood like some of my Vamps. Of course, I would need to lose some weight beforehand so I wouldn't get stuck like this forever!
Kerrelyn thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and keep those wonderful books coming! :) JennJ