Today I’m pleased to welcome erotic romance writer Karenna Colcroft. Karenna, I love your website theme line of “turning passion into forever.” And your explanation of the stories you write was great: “The person-meets-person, fall in love, have hot sex, live happily ever after kind of stories. The type of story where the first rush of passion becomes forever after.”
Do you have cheerleaders supporting you as a writer?
Yes, I definitely do. My husband calls himself my “research assistant” and has told me many times to just stay home and write if that’s what I want to do. (The darling man doesn’t realize that we can’t afford to have me do that…) He also tells people at work about my books. My parents and my in-laws are very supportive and get excited for me about each contract. And my kids are supportive and proud of me, but annoyed because I won’t let them read my romances until they’re at least eighteen.
(Starla) You’re lucky to have so many people in your corner, supporting you. And your husband sounds like men (maybe most romance authors’ husbands).
What made you decide to try and be a published author?
I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was three or four years old. I’d learned to read by then, and I loved making up stories, so I knew that I wanted to see my stories in books like the ones I was reading.
(Starla) Three or four? Wow! You’ve been determined a long time. Congrats on reaching your goal.
Can you give us two random thoughts about yourself, something that might surprise your readers?
I am apparently a computer killer. A computer that a friend gave me three and a half years ago started conking out a year and a half ago, and I ended up giving it to my daughter. (It barely works for her, but it works better than it did for me.) The next computer I had, which hubby gave me, fried a few months ago and we never did figure out what was wrong with it. Since then hubby’s been letting me use his laptop, but now the LED display’s going on that.
The other random thing is that when I was about 13, I made up my own language, complete with grammar rules.
(Starla) Computer killer, huh? Your husband is very brave to let you touch his laptop.
How long have you been writing? What is your main writing genre?
I’ve been writing since I was five years old, although as I mentioned I started making up stories when I was even younger. My main genres are contemporary erotic romance and young adult urban fantasy (which I write under a different name).
How and why did you decide to use a pen name? Do you have more than one?
I chose to use a pen name for the erotic romance because there are people in my family and my ex-husband’s family (including my ex-husband) whom I don’t want to find out that I write erotic romance. I also chose to use a pen name because of the young adult stuff I write. Although I hadn’t yet been published in young adult when I started writing erotic romance, I’d decided to use my real-ish name for the young adult, so I needed a different name for the romance. I chose “Karenna” because as a child I always liked the name Karen, and “Colcroft” after a friend of mine suggested “Cockroft” and I thought that might be a little too obvious.
What do you love about writing? Hate about it?
I love finishing a book and submitting it to a publisher, and having good feedback from readers. I hate actually writing…It takes too long, and I want to find out what’s going to happen in the story!
What two things do you wish you had known before you started writing?
I wish I’d known how much promotion is involved. I used to think that all I had to do was write the books. Now I know how much work I have to do to get people to buy them. I also wish I’d known how much time would be involved.
(Starla) I totally understand. Promotion takes you away from writing…but you don’t have something to promote if you can’t write.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere. Some of my characters are inspired by people I know, like my husband, who so far has inspired the characters Alec, from Beginner’s Luck, Micah, from Their Home Port, and Corin, from Shiny Objects. Some of my stories have been inspired by songs. Just a few minutes ago, my husband was telling me about a strange dream he’d had, and before a minute had gone by I had a new story plot. Now I just have to find time to write it!
(Starla) Wow! You do have a great husband if he inspires you so much.
What is your favorite part about building a story world?
Making my own rules. For example, in Salad on the Side I have a vegan werewolf and an Alpha who prefers to be submissive in bed. If I had to follow other people’s rules, I wouldn’t be able to get away with things like that.
(Starla) Those are great examples and I’m definitely going to have to check out that book.
Describe your working environment.
In a word, cluttered. I have stuff on top of my desk including the series bible for my werewolf stuff (Salad on the Side was just the beginning), bills that I need to pay, my calendar, and a few assorted pieces of scrap paper that I can’t remember why I have anymore. Above my desk, wreaking havoc on my wallpaper, I have calendar pages for the current month and next month, a couple of thank you notes, quotes that are meaningful to me, notes about blogs and interviews that I need to remember to do, and the bulletin board and markerboard where I keep track of the projects I’m working on. We have a computer room here, which I share with my husband and my younger daughter (older daughter has a laptop that she uses in the living room), and my corner of the room is pretty cluttered.
Do you write a story clear to the end before doing more than simple editing? Or do you stop after each chapter and completely edit before moving on?
I write clear to the end. I tried editing chapter by chapter once, but then the plot took a random turn and I ended up having to rewrite half of the rest of the book, which took even more time. Since I don’t completely plot things in advance, it’s easier for me to just wait until I’ve written the whole thing, then go back to the beginning and address any plot inconsistencies while I’m dealing with typos and grammar.
How do you get beyond writer’s block?
Since I write both romance and young adult, and I’m constantly setting deadlines that aren’t quite as far away as I think they are, I’m usually working on two or three projects at the same time. So if I get blocked on one, I switch over to another.
(Starla) I work on multiple projects for three different publishers, so I understand about switching from one project to another sometimes.
What do you come up with first in starting a story: Title? Characters? Plot? Setting? Conflict?
It depends on where the inspiration comes from. The title is almost always the last thing; I stink at titles. The setting is usually pretty established in my mind; I tend to set almost all of my books in either Maine, where I’m from, or Boston, where I live now. Characters and plot take turns coming to me first.
How do you research the time period, setting, plot specifics, character specifics?
I try very, very hard not to write anything that needs research. Basically, I’m lazy. LOL. The characters are formed in my imagination, so I don’t need to research anything to do with them. Occasionally I do need to do some setting research, which usually just involves taking a trip to make sure I have it right. My stories all take place in present day, so I don’t have to research the time period.
Do you have a writing schedule? How do you juggle writing, family, work, and life’s surprises?
I’ve tried having a writing schedule and always rebel against it. I don’t work well with schedules. Writing is my full-time job; I work part-time for my father-in-law. So most of my days are spent at the computer, writing, promoting, and tearing my hair out. I do make time once or twice a week to take my daughters somewhere special like a museum or park (they’re 16 and 13), and unless I’m under a tight deadline or have an online chat I need to be at, I’m off the computer by 6 pm so I can focus on my family.
Now let’s talk about your newest release, Shiny Objects, from Passion in Print Press…
Publisher: Passion in Print Press
Release Date: August 20, 2011
What is unique about this particular book?
I’ve read and heard about some ménage romances where there isn’t much hesitation on the parts of the people involved. They’re a threesome because of some supernatural thing, or just because they feel like it. I’m not saying that’s the case with all ménage stories, just the ones I’ve read and heard the most about. In Shiny Objects, Elena, Corin, and Niko don’t intend to end up in that situation. Elena’s happy with Corin, her live-in boyfriend, but when Niko, her former lover, comes back into her life she realizes that their feelings for one another haven’t faded. Corin tells Elena he’s okay with it if she wants to have something going with Niko, but he isn’t as okay with it as he thinks. Niko believes he can have a relationship with Elena without letting pesky emotions like love get in the way, but that doesn’t turn out to be the case. There’s a lot of conflict within each of the three of them, and a lot of negotiating among them to make the situation work.
Did you have a favorite character in this book?
Niko, unquestionably. He’s based in part on a friend of mine, someone I care a lot about, and I had such great fun trying to figure out how my friend would speak and think if he was in a situation like that. My friend even contributed bits and pieces to the story.
Did you have a favorite scene?
There’s a scene where Elena and Niko are making out (and a bit more) in her car on a rainy night. The chapter starts with “The rain pounding on the car roof echoed the pounding of Elena’s heart.” That’s the scene that my friend contributed to, after challenging me to write a car-sex-in-the-rain scene; the phrasing of that sentence is his. So since he had a part in that scene, it’s my favorite.
Did you have a scene that was particularly hard to write? Why?
The scene where Elena confesses to Corin that she had sex with Niko, and Corin becomes angry with her even though he’d encouraged her to have that kind of relationship with Niko. I cried writing that, because Corin hurts Elena so much by turning on her for doing exactly what he suggested she do.
Will there by any sequels to this book?
I would say no, but the last time I said that I ended up with more sequels and related stories than I could handle, so I’ll just say I’m not currently planning one.
Elena is happy in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend Corin. But when she runs into her former lover Niko at a party, she realizes she still has feelings for him. Her attempt to form a friendship with Niko goes off-course when the two of them kiss.
When she confesses to Corin, he encourages her to not only remain friends with Niko, but to pursue a relationship with the other man. At first Niko has no objections, but the two men soon become rivals, and Elena isn’t sure she can handle being shared.
Still nude, Niko stood and stretched. Being in the bedroom with Corin without Elena there was awkward. Now that they were finished for the night, he wanted to go home before the awkwardness gave way to bickering or worse.
“Are you staying?” Corin asked without looking away from the book.
“I don’t think I should.” Niko turned to face him. “Elena sprang that invitation on both of us. I’d rather you not feel put out with her because of it.”
“Elena has a heart bigger than this state.” Corin set the book aside. “I was caught off guard. That doesn’t mean I’m put out with her. She’d be hurt if you left.”
Niko hadn’t thought of that. He’d never cared whether a woman wanted him to spend the night. He’d always left, or asked them to leave if they were at his home. None of them had seemed bothered by it.
The one woman who had ever spent the night with him was Elena. The first time she’d visited his apartment, when she’d fallen asleep on his floor. He hadn’t thought about that in a while, but it had meant something to him that she’d stayed after he fell asleep. She hadn’t wanted to leave without saying goodbye.
That was when he’d started to love her.
Having her stay with him during his nap the last time she’d been at his place had meant a lot as well. And he knew that she wouldn’t have asked him to stay if it wasn’t important to her.
“Is it going to bother you if I’m here overnight?” he asked.
“I would have said so.” Corin sighed. “It’ll be weird. Like this whole thing. As long as I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with you touching me, it’s all good.”
“Likewise,” Niko muttered. “All right. Elena wants me to stay, so I’ll stay.”
“Okay.” Corin picked up his book again. “That will make her happy.”
He started reading again, and Niko left the room and headed through the living room and kitchen to the bathroom. The shower was still running. He pounded on the door. “Hey, other people want to wash up too, you know.”
The water stopped, and after a moment Elena called, “Patience is a virtue.”
Elena shut off the water and grabbed her towel from the rack on the sliding shower door. “Patience is a virtue,” she responded, rubbing her hair with the towel.
“It isn’t one of mine.” He pushed the door open and strode in. “Move, woman, and let the men have their turn.”
“I only see one man.” She looked past him into the hallway. “Where’s Corin?”
“Still in bed, waiting for you to go back and cuddle with him.” He rolled his eyes. “Cuddling after sex. I tell you.”
“Yeah, no one would ever do something like that,” she teased. “So I guess that means you won’t cuddle with me while he’s in the shower.”
He studied her, trying to gauge whether she meant the comment as a joke or an invitation. “I’m not used to spending time with a woman after we fuck,” he said thoughtfully. “The night two years ago when you fell asleep at my place was the first time I’d allowed anyone to stay the night. And the other day when I asked you to stay while I napped was only the second time I’d fallen asleep with a woman.”
“I know,” she said softly.
He caressed her cheek. No one else would have understood if he’d said something like that. Elena somehow seemed to see straight into his heart. “Something about you makes me not want to leave.”
“Don’t leave, then. It’s so late. I know you live right around the corner, but stay tonight anyway. There’s plenty of room on that bed.” She grinned. “I think we’ve proven that.”
“I am staying tonight. Your man persuaded me that you might be unhappy if I took off. I don’t want that.” He paused, knowing what he wanted to say but unable to bring himself to admit to her that he loved her. Some things didn’t need to be spoken. This one did. If he could only find the words. “You do know how I feel, right?”
“Yeah.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “I think you’ve shown me pretty well.”
“Can you handle it?” he asked quietly. “You handled fucking two men. Can you handle loving two men, and having them both love you?” It was the closest he could come to stating his feelings for her.
AUTHOR CONTACT INFO
Author Website: Karenna Colcroft
Facebook: Karenna Colcroft
Twitter: Karenna Colcroft
Amazon Author Page: Karenna Colcroft
Email: [email protected]