Friday, May 16, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Kelley St. John



Kelley St. John’s experience as a senior writer at NASA fueled her interest in writing action-packed suspense, though she also pens steamy romances and quirky women’s fiction. Her list of awards and finals started stacking up way before she got the call. Now that she’s published she hasn’t stopped being noteworthy as evidenced by her Cameo Award, #16 spot on the Barnes and Noble Mass Market Bestseller List, National Reader’s Choice Awards (note that’s plural), and Beacon Award. That’s just for her published works!

I first met Kelley when I took her workshop “Extreme Pitch Makeover” through Carolina Romance Writers. She was a ball to have as a teacher and dispensed several pearls of wisdom to work with. I know I’ll never forget her compliments about how well I phrase a high concept! Karma brought us back together when I sold and she asked to add me to her list of authors who’d received “The Call”. We’ve met in person several times, but still burn up the net conversing by e-mail…usually when I want to pick her brain. I’ve been so proud to see her flourish in the romance market and make a name for herself! Warner Forever and Harlequin, you’ve got yourselves a keeper!


What is your favorite part about being a writer, or the process itself? On the flipside, what do you think is the most challenging part of being an author today?

My favorite part is the flexibility. I can write whenever the characters are ready to talk. Since many of them decide to carry on quite lengthy conversations at 2:00 a.m., it's a good thing I merely have to pad into the next room to work :)


If you could have any special perk at a booksigning, like a band’s list for backstage, what would it be?

A special perk? Hmm...I'd say a hero, or ten ;) My sexy Cajun is always nearby, but he's there for me :) For my readers, I'd love to offer the type of heroes that I base my books on. Let's see...Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp. Yeah, that'd be good for starters -- for the readers, you know :)



You’ve become infamous for your “getaway” contests, but do you secretly have a favorite locale you’ve visited?

Playa del Carmen -- hands down :)


Since I know you’re always dashing about for promotions, have there been any bloopers, travel and otherwise, you’d care to share?

Well, Delta did run over my luggage once...with another plane. Yeah, I was on my way home from a conference, and my luggage fell off the luggage cart near the terminal. Another plane was approaching and ran over it completely. My bag was smoking...literally. Delta made no haste in buying me a new set of luggage. Worked for me -- I needed a new set :)

When you were an unpublished author what gave you the determination to push onward, even after you’d finaled in a slew of contests? Did that inspire “The Call” section of your website?

It's simply that drive to succeed. I don't think I'm special or anything by having it; I think all writers have to have it in this business. It's sometime a long and lengthy process, which is not only about talent, but also about perseverance.


What prompted you to switch gears to Harlequin Blaze and how exactly did The Sexth Sense come to be?


That series of stories had been churning in my head for quite some time. When Brenda Chin called and asked me about writing for Blaze, I tossed the idea out, and she liked it. By the way, Brenda is a fabulous editor, and I also was thrilled at the chance to write for her.


You’ve garnered acclaim and awards since GOOD GIRLS DON’T hit shelves, but were you surprised by the success of KISS AND DWELL?


I was hopeful, and yes, pleasantly surprised :)



Can you tell us more about the next three books in The Sexth Sense series due out this summer? Exactly what kind of paranormal troubles will these sexy men, including Tristan have to face?

Tristan, the sexy firefighter hero of May's FIRE IN THE BLOOD, has to literally fight a ghost to save the woman he loves. Jenee, the youngest of the Vicknair lot, learns that the Vicknairs aren't the only Cajuns with paranormal secrets, when she gets hot and heated with a psychic in BED ON ARRIVAL. And then Nanette finally admits the feelings she'd hidden for so long (yes, feelings for Charles Roussel) in LIVE AND YEARN. The problem for Nanette? Charles isn't exactly in the land of the living anymore!




I see that Harlequin is also offering FIRE IN THE BLOOD as an e-book. Care to comment on this hot trend?

Brenda Chin answered this one -- "The sexy books all sell extremely well, both in print and also in e-books, and Harlequin is definitely staying on top of this tool for providing yet another opportunity for our readers to purchase these steamy stories."


I assume you’ll be at RWA Nationals in San Francisco, but is there anything else readers should know about your plans for the future?

I'll definitely be in San Francisco. I also have several book signings scheduled around the southeast. Stay tuned to the Events section of my site for details -- http://www.kelleystjohn.com/


As a special treat Brenda Chin gave us a sneak peek at Kelley's 6th Sexth Sense novel, LIVE AND YEARN! Don't you just love it?

And as another special treat one winner will be chosen from visitors who post! So if you're interested in what makes Kelley or her characters tick, ask that burning question!




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5 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Kelley, those are fabulous titles on your books, especially the Sexth Senses. Do you come up with them or does Brenda? If they're yours, how do you choose them?

Thanks for being here today!

Tarot By Arwen said...

Hi Kelley! This series sounds FABULOUS! Gotta love those Cajuns, che`!

Eliza Knight said...

I love the titles of the Sexth Sense books! They are so quirky and catching.

So my question is, did you start going to conferences before or after you were published? (like RT and RWA)

Savanna Kougar said...

Boy, I have to agree. Those titles have always grabbed my eye. And I thought 'how quirky and incredible'.
Now that you're achieved the level of success you have -- what's the most fun about being there? Besides the writing?

Skylar Masey said...

And the winner of FIRE IN THE BLOOD is Savanna! If you'll e-mail me (skylar0masey@yahoo.com) I'd be happy to set up the arrangements!