Featured Author · Spotlight Interview · Spotlight Sunday's

Featured Author: Kharma Kelley

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wicked Bayou Press
Publication Date: September 30, 2016
Pages: 214
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Buy: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Half vampire. Half human. 100% Badass.

Chloe Hunter can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Incarcerated by The Bureau after running amok for a century with a brood of vampires, grifting and terrorizing humanity, she’s ready to make up for her dark past. Luckily, when The Bureau would rather see her at the end of a wooden stake, in comes her new straight-laced handsome boss, Ethan Raines, who’s got other plans for the seductive ex-con.

An enigmatic and sexy vampire who finds Chloe’s hybrid blood and street prowess too irresistible to pass up, Ethan requests The Bureau to release her into his custody to protect the streets of New Orleans. Now, her debt to society is to punish other supernaturals who break the law and bring them to justice.

When Chloe’s creepy old gang involves her in a plot to unlock a mysterious box, she’s forced to make some hard choices that threaten to betray the trust of the man who’s given her a second chance at life and love. Ethan may have his work cut out for him in Tall, Dark & Deadly, the first steamy New Adult Paranormal Romance blockbuster in the Agents of The Bureau supernatural romance series!

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Sure! I was born and raised in Texas to a pair of Cajun parents. I was a Tomboy growing up, despite my Dad trying so hard to keep me a lady. Now my husband still fights that battle LOL. I’ve been writing fiction since I was 13 and after my much older friend smuggled me some romance books, I was smitten. I fell in love with romance and urban fantasies and it keeps me plenty busy. I venture into many genres of fiction, but I always come back to paranormal romance.

 

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I think it was my brother that continued to inspire me to keep writing. We both were big movie buffs and loved creating dialogue, so we both got into screenwriting. Mark continued on that path, but I kept exploring writing in different styles of fiction. I remember telling him that I was a bit embarrassed to write romance because so many people looked down on it. He told me to forget what others think and to just write for myself because I enjoy it. After that discussion, I wrote what I enjoyed and never looked back.

 

What inspired your novel?

It’s so funny it turned into a full-length novel! When I first started “Tall, Dark & Deadly”, I wanted to make a short story. I’ve always found making short stories challenging because I always end up fleshing it out more and more until it turns into a full length. I had written my first draft of my other book, “Selenium Night”, but wasn’t ready to publish it. I wanted to write something short and sweet–a “friends turn lovers” story with different characters–but not another full-length book. My rationale was to make a fun short story in the same vein of urban fantasy/paranormal romance to put out to the masses to see how people would like my style and storylines. Only then, would I have decided to be brave enough to put my full-length novel out there. (Laughs) Well, that was blown away after I decided to write it on Wattpad. Turned out, writing the story through the app forced me to think big picture and for the first time, really help me understand how to pace my story and keep my little audience engaged. Thanks to the readers on Wattpad, the story became something bigger than I ever hoped for. It was amazing, so I just ran with it. Chloe and Ethan were too fun to turn away and I’m glad I didn’t.

 

What is the genre?

It’s a Paranormal Romance with strong Urban Fantasy elements.

 

What draws you to this genre?

Oh my gosh, I LOVE world building! There are some amazing authors out there who possess such a beautiful imagination to create entire worlds that readers can wrap themselves in. As an avid reader of the genre, I could always appreciate the level of dedication it takes for an author to spin up a new reality for us to enjoy. Urban Fantasy is just so much fun and my generation was inundated with it growing up with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” That’s why I just had to mention Buffy in the book regardless of how dated it made the book feel. I wanted to pay homage 🙂 I know this generation is all about “The Vampire Diaries” (which has become my guilty pleasure), but when I started falling in love with writing and reading paranormal romance/urban fantasy, it was all about Miss kickass Buffy!

But seriously, I love spooky things and creatures finding love. There’s something intriguing about strong women finding love in all the “wrong” places in the world of fantasy. Of angels, demons, ghosts, werewolves and your occasional blood sucker, all these paranormal metaphors are catalysts of what humans are and crave most…that we’re all different, beautiful and a little bit weird–and just want someone to love us for who we are.

 

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I’m a recovering pantser, so I actually started with the character development. I knew I wanted a strong female character who was far from perfect. I wanted her to have a past where she was a bad guy and collide with a goody two-shoes. One of the themes in the story is redemption and that’s what Chloe wants. She wants people to trust her. That’s pretty hard though when you come out of incarceration and everyone is judging you. You may have served your time, but the judgement never really stops. That kinda adversity can do two things: it can force you to shut down and give up or it can fire you up and make you prove to the world you don’t need their approval and get on with your life. Chloe obviously took the latter.

It also doesn’t help that she’s a vampire-human hybrid. In that world, she’s actually the freak. She doesn’t belong and anytime you feel that level of exclusion from society, it’s gonna drive a bigger wedge between you and what society thinks. I think Chloe’s a badass because she’s got so much working against her, but still, she doesn’t let it break her. She’s my hero.

On the flip side, I probably didn’t imagine her hero, Ethan, such a prim and proper authority figure at first. He kinda developed that way organically. Because Chloe is so out there and gung-ho, it would’ve been absolute chaos without giving her some sort of an anchor. I needed a sage mentor for her. Someone who was wiser, older and on some level relate to Chloe and accept her for who she is. Ethan has seen so much and been around for so long, nothing should really amaze him. But somehow, something possesses him to take a chance on a hybrid ex-con and bring her on his team. So either he was bored or saw something in Chloe that he hadn’t seen before 🙂

In developing the plot, I kept thinking about interviews I watched and read about street gangs and small time criminals when they get out on parole. You aren’t supposed to connect with any felons per your parole release. You have a list of rules long as your arm to obey or else you go back in. It had me thinking about the gang Chloe ran with. The ones that got away would still be up to their hell-raising ways, while she was forced to walk the straight and narrow. So I thought, “Okay, I have to get the Boyettes to do something foul and in doing so, Chloe will already raise suspicions because it’s sadly ‘guilt by association’.” She’ll have to prove her loyalty to The Bureau and Ethan. What the Boyettes are up to can destroy and unravel a lot for not just The Bureau, but the world, so it’s game on to retrieve the box!

 

What inspired your protagonist?

Chloe is beautifully human. She’s flawed and hopeful and wants to be accepted. However, she’s also a “bad girl.” She’s tough and has this tenacity to her that makes the story work. When I thought about the ideal heroine for this book, I pictured her sitting in a jail cell, having this feeling of regret and resentment. She made some mistakes, and she sat back and let things happen instead of speaking up. Lots of us have experienced that kind of regret. It’s pretty character-forming, you know–having to live with a mistake where you are almost certain wouldn’t have happened if you’d just stepped up and said/done something. It doesn’t make you horrible, it just makes you human. So when I thought of a heroine, I wanted her to be someone who was destined to set things right.

 

What inspired your antagonist?

I’m a bit obsessed with villains who are a bit sociopathic. I’ve always read about the kinda gangs that were in the streets in New York at the turn of the century and there were some seriously bad guys. Twisted, hard-nosed guys that got away with a lot of wickedness. Inspiration to have a gang of brothers, the Boyettes, came from reading about the gangs like The Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys. Alistair is taunting and cruel, but he loves his brothers. He believes in family, but above all, he’s territorial and isn’t afraid to shock. He and his brothers didn’t get enough love before they turned and it spoiled them for all eternity.

 

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The action! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE action! It’s not a shock that it found its way into my Paranormal Romance books. But, I wasn’t used to writing action in my style. I had to find my own rhythm and educate myself a LOT on realistic fighting as well as how to actually write action that wasn’t so technical it was boring or so abstract readers couldn’t visualize. That part was really tough.

 

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

It would have to be the mellow downtime in the story where Chloe and Ethan get to connect. The story is so fast paced, I welcomed the time where they could stop for a minute and get to know each other better. Ethan is so closed and reserved, it’s very hard to figure out what he’s thinking, at least from Chloe’s POV. When they calm down and talk, it’s downright touching and often hilarious.

 

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

When I’m not writing, I lead a team of fantastic techies at an Austin-based software company. I love doing anything creative, so if I’m not writing, I’m painting, reading, drawing, knitting–you name it! It all fights the dreaded writer’s block!

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a collection of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter short stories titled “Love Bites.” It’s making me happy 🙂

 

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

I’m always on the lookout for the new and rising authors, but Gena Showalter writes some sizzling paranormal romance! Sherrilyn Kenyon’s magnum opus of world building keeps me inspired and giddy. Kresley Cole makes me need a glass of ice water nearby to read her work and L.A. Banks is reigning champ on urban fantasy with her “Vampire Huntress” Series. The writing world continues to miss her imagination and craft.

 

What are your future projects, if any?

Yes! I have a 2nd book to add to the Agents of the Bureau series. Leto’s story is in the works and if you read “Tall, Dark & Deadly,” I think you’ll understand why 😉 Also, I have another series I will start next year based on werewolf-like creatures called “ShadowShifters.” Yep, “Selenium Night” will be in the works for publication.

 

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Feel free to stalk me on Facebook or Twitter as I hang on those a lot. Readers can always email me–I’ll always respond 🙂

Other Links:
Website | Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube | Smashwords

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Two words: just write! Doesn’t matter how rough it comes out if you feel it sucks. Just write it! Let your imagination run wild and let your writing make its own path. Remember, you can always go back and re-tweak it. I just have one published book under my belt and I don’t plan on stopping there. The best thing a writer can do to hone their craft is practice and that only happens by writing. So stop finding excuses and write every day. Things will get better. Just write!

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