SAMANTHA: I’m very happy to have one of my fellow Febutantes at Lady Scribes chatting with us today. It was great collaborating with her on the Febutante Ball, and she’s a fun twitter buddy. Oh, and did I forget to mention an amazing author? (I bet she’s blushing now, but it’s true!)
Please welcome Kristen Callihan, author of Firelight, the historical paranormal novel that has been getting outstanding reviews, including a coveted starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.
All right, Kristen. Let’s get started. You proudly claim to be an 80’s child, so let’s explore this a little further, shall we?
KRISTEN: Oh, boy.
SAMANTHA: If we hopped into a hot tub time machine and traveled back to that decade, what fashion crime would we most likely find you committing?
A. Neon men’s tie
B. Fingerless lace gloves
C. Spandex and leg warmers
D. A tutu and combat boots
E. A gallon of Aquanet hairspray from an aerosol can (gasp)
KRISTEN: Hehe. It’s a tie between B and D. I definitely had a Madonna worship thing going on, so we’d probably have to throw in some rubber bracelets and a crucifix to complete the picture. But my mom drew the line at the bustier (and I really didn’t have the boobs for them yet so…)
SAMANTHA: Perhaps you’ll have a chance to wear one at the RT Booklover’s Convention. Maybe even a mask. *snort*
KRISTEN: Okay, I’ve spilled my fashion secrets, so how about you? Where you an 80s child? Did you match your socks to your gigantic sweater? Set the house on fire with the Aquanet? Have a thing for teal eye shadow? Or did you haunt another decade? Inquiring minds what to know!
SAMANTHA: I’m proud to be an 80s child. I never did the Aquanet, but I used a lot of mousse in my day. OMG! And I had a mullet! I totally forgot about that. I remember doing the bright colors in twos—two pairs of socks, two t-shirts with the sleeves rolled up. Plus, I loved my paisley Swatch Watch.
Name your three favorite 80s movies.
KRISTEN: Only three?!? But, but, there are so many! Geesh, the pressure…. Okay, Sixteen Candles, The Princess Bride, and When Harry Met Sally.
So what were your favorite three? See how hard it is to pick? Impossible! But tell us anyway!
SAMANTHA: Ooh, those are good! Hmm… I see what you mean about it being hard to pick. Definitely Sixteen Candles. I had the biggest crush on Jake!!! Then I’m going to have to go with The Breakfast Club. I still love that movie. It’s dated in some ways, but the issues are relevant even today. My teen thinks it’s tubular—uh, I mean awesome. And lastly, Raiders of the Lost Ark, baby.
My turn again. I’ve found that every job I’ve worked has helped to prepare me in some way for the publishing world. How did your work at National Geographic, Discovery Communications, and Voice of America prepare you for publishing?
KRISTEN: You know, those places sound a lot more glamorous on paper! Lol. The job at Nat Geo was for a prima donna who used to have me make reservations for his dinner dates. So that was really more of a character study opportunity than anything else! :)
SAMANTHA: LOL! (I hope she requested a table close to the kitchen at least once.)
KRISTEN: One of the things I did for Discovery was to write the short program descriptions that went to all the newspaper outlets, which really means that I’ve been published world-wide for years! (g)
As for VOA, the work there was so utterly monotonous that I finally vowed to myself to do something that I loved. So I suppose I should thank that job most of all.
Now you know I need to hear how your jobs helped you.
SAMANTHA: Well, I can tell you right now my jobs have not been glamorous at all. I’ve worked in psychiatry, which really makes people mutter things about having some relatives that could use your help anytime the topic comes up, and health care. Probably most helpful from my psych days was developing a thick skin. I mean, when you have a person at the height of a manic episode get in your face and scream nasty words, what’s a little rejection? Pffft.
Working as part of a health care team has helped me to play nicely with others. Everyone has their expertise. You do your job well, I’ll do mine well, and we’re all happy!
Do you like masked men?
KRISTEN: Who told? (g) There is something intriguing about a masked man. What’s he hiding under it? Will I like it? It’s sexy yet slightly dangerous.
SAMANTHA: If I can see his eyes, then fine. You can tell a lot about a person by looking in their eyes, imo. So, who do you like better, Batman or Zorro?
KRISTEN: If George Clooney is hiding under that Batman costume, then Batman. :-D Otherwise, I love Zorro. I loved that he had to play the goof in the public eye, then sneak off to kick some ass. And, really, the whole sword fighting thing…swoon.
SAMANTHA: Saawooon! :D
KRISTEN: As you write Regencies, I have to ask the most important question: who is your favorite Jane Austen hero?
SAMANTHA: I love Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. I know she made a lot of mistakes and ended up broken hearted, but she lived with passion. I guess I’d rather take a chance on looking like a fool and lose than to live a dull life, which is probably a good thing I’m okay with that since I often feel like a fool. LOL
Let’s talk more about Firelight. I’m loving this book, and I’m almost at the end. Archer and Miranda strike me as two lonely souls in the beginning. They both carry a lot of shame associated with their pasts. What character do you sympathize with the most and why?
KRISTEN: I really sympathized with them both for those very reasons. But I think I’d have to say that I relate more to Archer’s predicament. Not that I’ve had to wear a mask or anything, but I was bullied as a kid, and I know that deep pain of being marginalized by your peers.
SAMANTHA: Some of the best material for authors, but I hate that you experienced bullying as a kid.
KRISTEN: One of the things I really liked about Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel was your use of humor. It’s done very well, both in the way of banter and lighter moments, such as a certain miss fleeing from a certain window. Ahem. :-) Who are your favorite funny men?
SAMANTHA: My husband is really funny. He has a very quirky sense of humor that surprises me, and I love that about him. He catches me off guard. But as far as comedians go, Jim Gaffigan can have me in tears.
KRISTEN: And what drew you to writing witty Regencies, as opposed to say… dark and disturbed paranormals? :)
SAMANTHA: Here’s a true confession, I almost always write the first draft with hefty doses of darkness. There’s something therapeutic about it. After the second time I heard from my editor that my books were too dark in spots, I just began to lighten them up before I submitted them.
I had a real struggle with doing that at first, at least from the standpoint of feeling like I should lighten up those spots, but I got what she was saying about tone. I was very happy when I didn’t hear anything about my third book being dark, even though it probably has the darkest material in it. Go figure. But I do like to make people laugh, and hopefully going with my strengths will set my books apart.
In August your second book, Moonglow, is being released. I’m very happy the hero is wolfishly handsome Ian Ranulf, who is introduced in Firelight, and Daisy should make an interesting heroine, but what exactly is her power, or is that a secret?
KRISTEN: I cannot divulge that information, madam. J I will however say this, Daisy is in for a shock, and she will not like it one bit!
SAMANTHA: Oh, sure! Leave us in suspense. (grumble, grumble)
KRISTEN: As for Ian, I really like him. He is completely different from Archer, but damaged in his own way.
Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half comes out in June, and sounds VERY intriguing. I’ve always been a sucker for reunited lovers. How is this book different from Miss Hillary’s?
SAMANTHA: Jake and Amelia have a connection before their story begins, so I think one thing that’s different is the acceleration of the relationship. There’s more passion and emotional connection between Jake and Amelia.
KRISTEN: And what was your favorite part in writing this book?
SAMANTHA: Can I say favorite parts? There’s more physical humor, and even if no one else gets a kick out of it, I laughed a lot! Jake has a tendency to get into scrapes and can be a bit clumsy, so it was fun to write those scenes. :)
Also, two characters emerged in the first draft and they are a hoot! I had so much fun writing their scenes together. Bibi, Amelia’s dearest friend, and Jasper Hainsworth, Earl of Norwick, are the most unlikely of couples. I hadn’t intended to include a parallel love story, and I was so afraid my editor would make me cut it, but everyone loved the characters and their interactions. Plus, their love story really weaves in with Jake and Amelia’s relationship, so it’s not just tossed in.
I see you have another work out. What can you tell us about Ember?
KRISTEN: Ember is a short story that my publisher approached me about doing last fall. The idea was to give readers a further glimpse into Archer and Miranda’s world. It tells the story about the lost time between when Archer and Miranda first meet in the prologue for Firelight until they meet again when Firelight starts. In Ember, we get to see more of why Miranda steals and what shapes her into the woman we know in Firelight. As for Archer, we get to see what prompts him to give up his search for a cure and return to claim Miranda.
Finally, can you tell us a little bit about your fall release, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie?
SAMANTHA: Okay. Here’s the nutshell, clumsy version. Daniel, Jake’s older brother, has chosen to live the life of a shipmaster (captain) who never allows women on his ship. Yet, he makes an exception for the heroine, Lisette, when he discovers being in her presence keeps his guilty thoughts over his wife’s death at bay.
Lisette is running away from her dangerous fiancé to save her young brother from being placed in an insane asylum, but she lies about why she is desperate to leave on Daniel’s ship, the only one bound for England the next day. Of course they begin to fall in love on the journey, but that darned fiancé has found out where she’s going and he’s giving chase. There’s a little mystery and suspense, because that’s what I love, but it still has lots of humor. And it has heart, I think. :-)
I forgot to ask Kristen if she's giving away a copy of Firelight today!!! I bet she'll let us know. But for sure I have two copies of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel for commenters brave enough to tell what fashion crime they committed as a teen. Every decade had them.