Monday, May 31, 2010

Welcome, Kaye Spencer

1: Thank you so much for being here. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

I wrote my first full-length story when I was in junior high, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

2: What inspired you to write?

While the writing bug caught me at a young age, the inspiration to write didn’t come to me until I was raising three young children on a ranch out in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors in sight. It was lonely and to keep myself from losing my mind, I began writing my first novel, Lonely Places, and published it 25 years later.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

There is a saying that a person’s greatest strength is right next to their greatest weakness. Writing is like that for me. What I like the most about writing is that it occupies my mind, my time, and my life with creative expression. And that’s what drives me crazy…it occupies my mind, my time, and my life to the point of obsession. I have to make myself step away from the computer.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

What? There’s life outside of writing?!?!? Someone should have told me. Just kidding, but it feels like that sometimes. I travel two or three times a year to research locations for my stories. I watch a lot of movies (my dvd collection). I spend time with my family, especially my two granddaughters. My husband and I walk our dog every evening (rain, hail, sleet, or snow). I’m also a wine enthusiast, and every Sunday morning, my husband and I spend several hours watching our latest Teaching Company educational lectures.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I read a great deal of nonfiction as research for my stories, but I’ve recently discovered Byran Burrough (Public Enemies), Carl Hiaason’s YA books (Hoot, Flush, Scat), and Rick Riordan’s YA series (Percy Jackson). I also like Steven Pressfield and David McCullough. I read and re-read Agatha Christie, Louis L’Amour, Don Coldsmith, Clive Cussler, Tony Hillerman, Michael Crichton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Shakespeare…the list goes on and on.

As far as romance authors: Sable Grey, Deanna Lee, Holly Jacobs, Anna Leigh Keaton, and Bertrice Small to name a few. And I have to confess that I’ve read (and own) every single William Shatner Tek War book. LOLOL

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I am a lover of words, a crafter of stories, and a hopelessly hopeful romantic.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My current novel is called, “The Dance”. It’s an erotic contemporary cowboy romance.

Here’s a blurb:

Janae Palmer, a reclusive city girl facing a book review deadline, is at her wit's end with her upstairs neighbor, rodeo bullfighter Owen Quinlan. He's cranked-up his music, and she's on a mission to give him a lesson in manners. Having fantasized about getting him in bed, she gets more than she'd planned after a knock-out introduction. Owen is more than willing to share in her fantasies, but when his rodeo life comes between them, the words of a song will either give them the courage to go on together or leave them with only bittersweet memories of The Dance.

This is the YouTube link to watch the book video of “The Dance”:
My website is:

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Yes. I keep this Richard North Patterson quote on my computer as a constant reminder to myself that I can always improve my writing.

“Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with a first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing.”

I also have a basic writing series going on at my website specifically geared toward the aspiring writer. This series of “lessons” will continue for the next few months. The first lesson posted yesterday, in fact. It’s entitled: Story Crafting, So You Want to be a Writer

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Yes, sometimes. In one of my books, the villain and his sidekick were based on three men with whom I used to work. I blended their personalities, shuffled their names around, and created two characters that I completely ruined by the end of the book. LOLOL

In my recent release, The Dance, the hero is patterned after a friend.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas usually come from pictures or images and songs. The inspiration for “The Dance” wasn’t actually an inspiration. I wrote it as a 1000-word beginning-of-story contest entry.

11: What are you currently working on?

I am working on two stories simultaneously. One is a western for Breathless Press. This story will kick-off the western line BP is opening in November of this year. The story involves a lady gambler and the two U.S. Marshals who have to arrest her for suspicion of murder.

The other story is a 1929 Prohibition Era erotic romance for Cobblestone Press. The story begins with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago and ends three days later. The heroine is trying to get away from her abusive mob boss husband with the help of an FBI agent.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I am published under another pseudonym, A.L.Debran. A few months ago, I decided that I needed a more “girlie, romance-y” name, so Kaye Spencer appeared. Kaye will eventually absorb A.L.’s identity.

Excerpt from The Dance by Kaye Spencer
Janae the indicated the photo. “This is you, isn’t it?”
He nodded. “That’s when I broke my back.”
“It’s a terrifying sight.” Taken aback at the gleam in his eyes, she realized that where she’d expected fear, there was awed, energized, and excited remembrance glowing in its place.
“It was a wreck and a half. Jason was hung up on that bull, but I got him loose just when the bull hooked me. He named his son after me.”
“You’re quite artistic. The painting is unmistakably the same scene as the photograph, but you’ve added something the photograph lacks.” She shook her head, trying to voice her thoughts. “Something raw and elemental. Primeval. Man against nature or even himself.”
Shrugging, he nodded thoughtfully. “It’s man against beast, that’s for sure, but I paint because it’s therapeutic, not really from an artistic need. Recovery is one-tenth physical and nine-tenths mental. When my head and hands aren’t busy, I drive myself nuts with wanting to get back to bullfighting.”
“But what if you’re injured again?”
“In this job, it’s not a whether I’ll get hurt, it’s a matter of when and how bad.”
“And you don’t worry about that?”
“No. I never have. It’s brutal at times, but it goes with the territory. I broke my back and had to have steel rods put in. I don’t have all the feeling back in my left leg yet, but I’m not crippled. More importantly, the bull didn’t kill me. I got off easy. I’ve known some guys who weren’t so lucky.”
““I don’t understand how you face this—” She indicated the photo. “Knowing the possible outcome.”
He looked at her as if she’d grown another head. “What do you mean?”
“Aren’t you afraid to go back and do the same thing again and maybe get hurt again, maybe even killed?”
“No. The only thing that scares me is not being able to go back.” He pondered the photo for several long seconds. “There are lots of reasons why I do what I do. There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush when the bucking chute opens and a bull charges out, whether you’re on its back or on the ground looking at it from a few feet away. And the cheers and applause that comes after I’ve gotten between a bull and a cowboy and the cowboy makes it safely to the fence…it’s…well, there’s nothing like it.
“I don’t mind getting knocked around.” He looked at her. “But the real reason is when the cowboys tell me how much they appreciate me being there for them every time they sit down on that bull’s back. I had a little girl call me her daddy’s bodyguard one time.” He chuckled. “There’s an inside joke that we’ve saved more lives than the Secret Service.”
“So in essence, you’re a human shield.” She touched the bull in the photograph. “Against a thousand pounds of—”“Two thousand, sometimes more.”
“Against two thousand pounds of bucking bovine.”
He nodded. “Yeah, that’s about it.”
“I think bull riders have a death wish, and this picture suggests rodeo clowns share the same, if not worse, affliction.”
He didn’t quite grin. “That’s a common misconception among non-rodeo people.”
“If not a death wish, then what?”

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