Monday, May 23, 2011

Author Interview: Laura Kaye

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. We have a treat today--an interview with paranormal and contemporary romance author Laura Kaye! She's going to be talking about her debut paranormal romance novel, Forever Freed. I recently reviewed Laura's contemporary romance novella, Hearts in Darkness, which I gave a rating of full moon, the highest of all the Nocturnal Readings ratings. She is an author to keep your eye on! For those who missed the review, you can check it out HERE.

Enjoy the interview! And don't forget to read all the way to the bottom where you can find special discounts on Laura's books, and other goodies!

Laura writes paranormal and contemporary romance full of feel-good heart and breathe-hard heat. Here is the back cover blurb of her paranormal romance, Forever Freed, which I will be reviewing this Thursday.

"A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.
I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.
But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.
Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…"

Thanks for coming by, Laura! We're really glad to have you. Let's get started.

Forever Freed is your first published novel, how did it feel to find out it would be published?

It was incredible! I cheered out loud at the Panera, where I was writing with my best friend! LOL It was thrilling to know I’d get to hold the book in my hands. Just the other day I got to do so for the first time, and it was as thrilling as I’d hoped.

Hearts in Darkness, your contemporary romance novella, was released before Forever Freed. Which were you more excited about: the very first or the first larger project released?

I was excited about them for different reasons.  Forever Freed was the first novel I wrote and first manuscript I sold, so that has always held a special place for me, and always will.  And the main character of FF, Lucien Demarco, is probably the character I know in the greatest depth.  Hearts in Darkness was exciting though because I was so eager to see how people would respond to the premise of the darkness.

What was your inspiration and how long did it take you to write Forever Freed?

Forever Freed was born from my lifelong fascination with vampires in general and, in particular, from asking the question: what would happen if a vampire became a caregiver for a human child—that’s how the relationship between the hero and the heroine’s young daughter was born. The rest of the story fell in very quickly after that.

I wrote the first draft of what became Forever Freed in 11 weeks, but then it went through three revisions over the course of about 8 months before I submitted it to The Wild Rose Press.

Forever Freed is set in Detroit, my hometown ;-) Why did you choose to set the novel here? How big of a role does setting play in your writing?

Without question, Detroit is a character in this novel. What I mean is the historical fabric of the city and its architecture became central to telling the story—from their houses, to Cadillac Square where Lucien and Sam have their first kiss, to the train station where the climactic battle takes place. 
And it was important to me to get it right, and to incorporate the decline the city’s experienced in the past 50 years into the setting description.

I chose Detroit for four reasons: 1) its urban decline could provide a good mask for a supernatural criminal element, 2) the high crime rates of the city would further mask the vampires’ activity, 3) the bad guys in the story (the Laumets) were real historical characters from the late-17th/early-18th centuries who founded what became Detroit, and 4) Detroit is among the U.S. cities with the fewest sunless days per year, important for a sun-sensitive vampire!

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who did you create first?

Lucien came first, hands down.  The first scenes in my head were of an incredibly lonely vampire watching a happy woman and child.  Lucien is a good man to whom something very bad happened, and he’s carried the guilt and grief for that bad thing on his shoulders for a century. His vampirism turns him into an empath, which exacerbates his suffering by making him drink in his victims’ emotions at every feeding. To avoid that, he starves himself for long stretches.

Samantha Sutton, the heroine, is a good-hearted young woman who has experienced loss and abandonment, but makes the most of things to give her five-year-old daughter Ollie the best life possible.  Ollie, well, she’s much more than a typical secondary character—she truly is a main character in everything that happens between the three of them.

Which characters were the hardest/easiest to write and why?

Hmm…Samantha was probably the hardest to write from a technical standpoint since the book is written in first person from Lucien’s perspective. While that’s unusual for a romance, I had no choice—that was the way the book demanded to be told. Lucien was the easiest to write, because he was the narrator and he was literally in my head. I truly felt he was writing through me at times. Ollie was also very easy, and for the most part her characterization and dialogue are based on my oldest daughter, now seven.

What was the biggest challenge for you in writing Forever Freed?

It wasn’t the writing I found challenging (that came quick), it was the revising. The first draft of Forever Freed was 145,000 words long. The published edition of Forever Freed is 95,000 words. You see what I mean. I chopped the first almost 60,000 words off the beginning of the manuscript, rewrote a new beginning, and did a lot of other revisions along the way. The manuscript’s the better for all that work. And those original 60K I’m planning to turn into a prequel called Forever Damned.

If you could tell us one fun fact about any of your characters, who and what would it be?

Oh, man, it’s hard to pick just one! Lucien’s birthday is November 2, known as “the Day of the Dead” in many cultures. I thought that was a fun bit of foreshadowing. Okay, I can’t hold back—it’s also very fun to me (since I am a historian of early America) that Antoine and Jacques Laumet were real people and actually the founders of Fort Ponchartrain, which became Detroit.

Can you tell us about what you’re currently working on? Forever Freed is a paranormal romance, but you also write contemporary romance. Do you plan on writing any more contemporary or other genres, or is paranormal the only thing in the current future?

I am published (or soon to be published!) in paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romance. I plan to stick with the genre-hopping to the extent my contracted writing commitments allow.  I have a number of projects in the works right now. First, I’m revising a novel-length women’s fiction I hope to begin querying this summer. Second, I expect edits soon from Decadent Publishing on the erotic romance, Just Gotta Say, I sold a few weeks ago. Third, I expect edits soon from Entangled Publishing on the fantasy romance series I sold in April. North of Need releases in November. Writing Book 2 in the series is my next writing priority.

Without giving too much away, what’s your favorite scene in the novel? How did you feel when you completed that scene?

Ooh, another hard question! But, I’m going to have to go with the “Black Moment”—the moment when everything goes as bad as it can. Because it brought tears to my eyes when I was writing it. I mean, I did bad, bad things to my characters there. LOL Even now, the song that helped inspire those pages is hard to listen to because it brings that heartwrenching moment right to mind.

What’s your favorite line from the story?

“Your love has helped me forgive myself. And that is a gift, Samantha, a priceless gift, this feeling of absolution. I have been searching for it my whole life.”

Classic Lucien right here, and also special to me because the first draft of the manuscript was entitled Absolution. I’ve never shared that before!
If you could go back to when you were first writing this story, what advice would you give yourself?

LOL There are a hundred different lessons about genre and craft and querying I’d want to tell myself.  But, here’s the thing, writing is always going to be a process, one that you’ll get better at with time and practice and effort. So, without having made some of the mistakes I made on this first project, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m in hard love with the journey of being a writer, so I’m not sure I’d want to change anything. The advice I think is *key* is keep writing, keep writing, keep writing, no matter what.
Which authors have most influenced your writing?

J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon are my models for all things male POV! LOL (Mmm…Brothers…  Mmm…Dark Hunters… *grins*) But, even more fundamentally, Stephen King and Anne Rice are my greatest inspiration for writing paranormal which, despite my genre-hopping tendencies, is where I feel most at home.

Favorite book?

Not a chance in the world I could pick just one.

Favorite author?

All-time: Stephen King. More recently: J.R. Ward.

Top three hottest fictional heroes?

(Besides my own??? *winks*)

Okay, lest I fill all three spots with Black Dagger Brothers (Would. Be. So. Easy.), I’ll say:
1)     Zsadist – the ultimate tortured hero.
2)     Lestat de Lioncourt – Old school, I know, but the vampire that made me fall in love with vampires.
3)     Acheron Parthenopaeus – A warrior-god the other gods fear, worship, and do anything to get in bed. Yes, please.

Favorite Forever Freed character and why?

Olivia “Ollie” Sutton—she’s such a scene stealer! And I love that she’s as pretty much as powerful as my vampire hero, just in different ways.

Thanks again, Laura, for stopping by! We're glad to have you any time!

For more information on Laura and her work, or how where you can purchase a copy of her novel, you can find her at the following places:

Twitter: @laurakayeauthor

Also, Laura is currently promoting a special offer! Through May 31st, you can get 25% off all titles/formats at her publisher, Wild Rose Press, with the code: 18b632d0b0 

Don't forget to check back on Thursday to read my review of Forever Freed until then ;-)


  1. Thanks for having me here today, Kaitlyn! Happy to answer any questions anyone may have!

  2. You're very welcome! It's great to have you and thank you for volunteering for questions! If any readers out there have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! =D

  3. what a awesome inteview i loved the questions. and the answers made me laugh. i have to say that line from the book you picked had me grinning now im even more curious

  4. Lindsey, you have me grinning too! That line IS Lucien. So glad to know I've piqued your curiosity! :)

  5. Lindsey--So glad you enjoyed the interview! Make sure you check back for the review on Thursday! Of course, reading the review is never a substitute for actually buying and reading the book yourself ;-) Thanks for following!