Kerrelyn Sparks, the author of the popular paranormal romance series, Love at Stake, shared a few minutes of her time to answer some of my questions back in April. I posted it on a site where I freelance, but I’m not sure how many people who are actually interested in paranormal romance have gotten a chance to read it! It doesn’t seem to get much traffic (in fact it’s been viewed less than 100 times in six months!) so I thought I’d post it here.
If you haven’t read any of her books, be sure to! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her newest novel, Sexiest Vampire Alive, and it’s awesome! I’ll probably put a review of that up here soon as well.
Elizabeth: Your first paranormal romance book came out in 2005. What inspired you to write paranormal romance?
Kerrelyn: I actually grew up reading a lot of historical romance, so once I started writing, that was the subgenre I tried first. In 2002, my first book, a historical romance, was released (For Love or Country). Soon after that, paranormal romances became popular, and I was instantly intrigued. I realized that my favorite historicals had always contained strong paranormal elements (like Green Darkness by Anya Seton, the Merlin series by Mary Stewart, or Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux). Paranormal romance would allow my imagination to run wild, so I thought it would be great fun to write. And I was right–it is fun! My first paranormal romance, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, released in 2005, and it’s been a thrill ride ever since!
Q: You’ve got quite a few books under your belt. Vampire Mine is coming out soon and Sexiest Vampire Alive will be out in September. Not only that, but you consistently make the USA Today bestseller list. How does it feel to be a successful author?
It’s a dream come true. I wake up in the morning and think, ‘How did I get so lucky?’ And when I get e-mails and letters from readers who say I made them smile even when they’re currently enduring pain or hardship, then I feel truly blessed and grateful. I try to remember that warm and fuzzy feeling when deadlines are coming too fast, the words are coming too slow, and I’m asking myself, ‘Whatever possessed you to think you could write a book?’
Q: Was writing something you always wanted to do?
Yes, but as you can see above, I have a problem with self-doubt. Even though I had the desire to write a book, I didn’t believe I could do it. Fear caused me to procrastinate for years. Even now, I have moments in each book where I fear I can’t pull it off. Fortunately, there’s a horrendous thing even scarier than self-doubt. It’s called a deadline, and it forces me to push through and keep going. And when the words do flow and the book seems to magically come together, it’s the greatest feeling ever!
Q: I frequently see authors tell aspiring authors to read, read, read! What books have influenced you most?
I agree with that. I never took a writing class. My classroom was my mind soaking up thousands of books over the course of my life. All that reading helps you develop good instincts. Every reader knows when a book is working, when it keeps them so intrigued they don’t realize five hours have gone by. My early favorite authors were Anya Seton and Mary Stewart. Then later, I fell for Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick), Julie Garwood, LaVyrle Spencer, and Jude Deveraux. Their books influenced me the most.
Q; Where and when do you get most of your writing done?
Wherever and whenever I can. I’ve had to write in cars, planes, hotel rooms, waiting rooms, and gymnasiums. This is probably true for most writers. In an ideal world, I would always write at home in my office, everyone would leave me alone for hours, and dinner would magically appear.
Q: Now that we’ve got e-books and e-readers, it seems like the book world is changing. Have these changes impacted you or your writing style at all?
The writing is the same, but the business side of being an author is changing. It’s an exciting time! I’m watching it closely, but for the time being, I’m delighted to stay traditionally published with HarperCollins.
Q: I often see authors being asked for advice for new writers, so I’m going to turn that around. What do you consider the best advice you were given when you were starting out?
To act like I already was what I wanted to be. In other words, since I wanted to be published, I dressed and behaved like a professional writer from the beginning.
Q: Which of your books are you most proud of?
The one that just released, Vampire Mine!
Q: My last question, I’ll admit, is mainly for my own curiosity. I love that some of your vampires are Scottish, complete with accents and kilts! What inspired their heritage?
My Scottish ancestors arrived in America in the late 1600s, so you wouldn’t think I could have a strong tie to Scotland. But whenever I’m in Scotland, it feels like I’ve come home. The good Vamps in my books are usually warriors who were transformed as they lay dying on battlefields, and unfortunately, history is full of brave Scotsmen dying in battle. I also wanted my vampire heroes to have a strong sense of honor and a good sense of humor, and the Scotsmen seemed perfect for that. And the kilt—who can resist a guy in a kilt? Writing the accent comes naturally to me, but I have to admit I talk like a Texan!