13 Feb laura kaye.
maryland. | new york times bestselling author of over twenty romance novels. wife. mother of two beautiful girls.
Valentine’s Day is that special time of year where the love of your life shows up on your doorstep unannounced and whisks you off for an exceptionally well-planned romantic getaway. You don’t have to worry about make-up, sexy lingerie, or climate appropriate clothes, because your knight in shining armor is three steps ahead of you. You do not have a care in the world as your devotee knows every inch of your imperfect body and considers you a Goddess — no doubt, the clothes he chose will highlight your greatest assets. You worry not about toiletries, as your lover has chosen a long weekend stay at a high-end beach resort that will cater to your every whim. The help will fetch all necessities, serve you endless pina colada’s, and rub your weary feet as you and your beloved gaze into the ocean’s deep blue water…
Ah, Valentine’s Day, the grandest of all celebrations that gives way to expectations and never fails to deliver.
Now that is right out of a novella. Fiction ladies.
Another scenario may include sipping a beautiful glass of wine while falling into your favorite romance novel. Not a bad, realistic Valentine’s Day, if you ask me. Allow me to introduce you to author Laura Kaye. (If you don’t already know and love her.) Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 20 books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Laura has a delightfully charming way with words that turns any ordinary day into a magical Valentine fantasy. May I recommend her Hard Ink series this Valentine’s Day weekend? Enjoy today’s highlight!
How did you choose the life you lead and was it a conscious decision?
I came to fiction writing in an unusual way. On July 4, 2008, I hit the top of my head on the point of a cabinet door – hard – and ended up with a traumatic brain injury. As I healed from that, I was struck with a very strong creative urge. Instead of focusing on the negatives of my injury (the ongoing migraine-strength headaches, for one), I followed those creative urges into writing and drafted my first novel in 11 weeks. Once I did that, writing very much became a part of who I was and I dove head first into exploring the business and craft of it, determined to see if I could find success in something I’d come to really love.
What has been your greatest obstacle in life and how do/did you navigate it?
A big obstacle in my life—certainly as far as launching a second career was concerned—was having enough time. For the first three years of my writing, I was still working a very demanding day job as a history professor. I realized that if I wanted to make my new dreams come true, I was going to have to make time for them in my life. And that meant watching less TV, engaging in former hobbies less, and getting less sleep, too. But I figured that if I wanted to be a full-time writer, I was going to have to prioritize it in my schedule and put it ahead of a lot of other things.
A college history professor to best selling author is an exciting twist in a career path. Were you ever fearful of changing your path mid-stream?
I wasn’t ever really fearful, because I didn’t leave my position as a professor until my writing career really took off. Of course, there’s always the chance that the next book or the next series won’t go as well, but you can only do your best each time and hope that readers will go along with you for the ride.
After reading your book Hard To Hold On To … I must say that you have an, ummm … wonderfully colorful imagination. What was your husband’s first response when you decided to choose this genre? And 20 books later, what are his thoughts now? (Seriously, the man must love it.)
My husband was supportive of my pursuit of writing at the beginning, and he remains so 20 books later. He’s often made it possible for me to meet deadlines by taking the girls to do special things while I’m finishing up a book, so in many ways my success has been a team effort. It would’ve been much harder if that wasn’t the case!
My Grandmother Pauline would have told me your kind of story telling was pure smut. Did you have any resistance from your family when you announced you would be penning racy romance novels that would be consumed by the masses? And if so, how did you overcome the resistance?
I didn’t receive any resistance at all from my family or friends, although I know some writers who have. But I believe whole-heartedly in the romance genre, not just because it’s great fun and a good escape, but because it’s the most hopeful genre fiction there is. Romance novels tell us that, no matter how undeserving, unworthy, or unlovable we feel, you can overcome your problems and find a place to belong. Romance is also the best-selling genre fiction—written largely by women for a mostly (but not entirely) female audience—and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Do you feel any particular pressure to live up to the romantic antics of the characters in your books on Valentine’s Day?
LOL! Where do you think I get all my ideas??? *winks*
Please offer your best advice for aspiring writers?
–BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. You can’t revise what you haven’t written and you can’t sell what you haven’t written. So write EVERY DAY. Yes, every day. Even if you only commit to an hour a day or even 100 words a day, you need to get in the habit of making forward progress. And never underestimate the amazing power of getting to write “The End” and proving to yourself you can finish a whole book.
–Read, read, read. One of the best ways to learn how to write is to read extensively in your genre. Find books you think do a great job at characters or world building or suspense or pacing and study them (just be sure that your application of those techniques in your own work is in your original words).
–Treat it like a profession, by which I mean join the professional organizations, do the work consistently, study and hone your craft, and always present yourself professionally (on social media, on your website, and in only submitting or publishing your work when it’s in the absolute best shape it can be).
–Find a critique partner, preferably someone else who is professionally pursing publication and not just a friend who will tell you it’s great! Because it may be great, but everyone benefits from having other writers who know the craft and the genre give you feedback on your work.
–Don’t give up! At the beginning of your writing career, you will get a lot more nos and rejections than yeses and acceptances! But remember that every big name author you know experienced rejection at some point in their career.
What is your best advice on how to live a graceful life?
For me, it would be taking pleasure in the small things and ordinary moments of life, having gratitude, remembering the role of luck and serendipity in your success, and paying all the help, mentorship, and kindness you’ve received forward to others.
j. jane side notes:
I think Grandmother Pauline would secretly love Laura’s work if she were around today. In fact, she herself could have been a legendary romance novelist if born in a different time and place.
A few more interesting facts about Laura:
Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a lifelong fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Connect with Laura: