... Kally Sten
1. Tell me about your book The Coward’s Way Out and where you got your inspiration for it?
Well it’s part 4 of the Ward of the Vampire serial and that serial came from me doing something very silly: I challenged and taunted my muse! While talking to a friend author, I said I couldn’t see myself writing a ‘millionaire romance’ and that this kind of story just wasn’t for me. Lo and behold, a few months later, while I was stuck on another story, my muse dangled a plot idea in front of me, and it included, you guessed it, a (vampire) millionaire.
2. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?
I’d advise them to write it / keep writing it. Having the idea is great and so is wanting to share it, but writing is often where people stop. A lot of people have great book ideas, but many never actually start putting it into words.
3. Would you rather write for children or adults?
Oh that’s a hard one. I like both, actually. I’ve been writing adult romances for eight years, but my very first stories when I started writing as a teen had characters my own age, and I still enjoy writing in the Young Adult genre. I published a YA novella under a different pen name earlier this year, and have a second novel in edits.
4. Are you jealous of other writers?
Absolutely. All the time. But not about the obvious – not about success, best selling lists or big contracts. What makes me jealous is when I read a story with a mind-blowing premise, or a plot point that’s never been done before, or a twist on something that makes me go ‘Oh that’s genius’, or a turn of phrase or metaphor that’s new, fresh and perfect: all these things that make me wish I’d written that book.
5. What would you do with 1 million ping pong balls?
I’d write little messages on them like ‘you are loved’ or ‘your dreams are important’ or ‘you matter to the world’ and drop them in school yards everywhere.
6. What’s your favourite book and why?
It’s a novel by French author Barjavel titled ‘The Ice People’. That’s the kind of story I want to write ‘when I grow up’. It weaves three different timelines seamlessly, tells you right from the start how it all ends and yet getting there is an absolute surprise, it has fantasy, romance, adventure, betrayal, drama, and most of all hope. And having said all this I feel like reading it again!
7. What do you like most about being a writer?
Being a writer means that daydreaming is not only okay, it’s an absolute requirement of my job!
8. How do you overcome writers block?
I always have several projects going on at the same time, so whenever one of them is stalled, I can usually work on something else. And if by chance I’m blocked on everything, it’s time for the ‘sentence by sentence’ game. Which is, I make myself write just one sentence at a time in a particular project. It doesn’t make for fast writing, and I often end up not using those sentences in the final project, but putting words down usually helps me solve whatever is blocking me.
9. What three things would you save from a fire at your house? (assume that all your family get out safe.)
My laptop, which has all my work and all our pictures on it.
My jewelry box – it doesn’t have many pieces or even very expensive ones, but they were all gifts from loved ones.
The wooden wall decoration shaped like a house with two little people inscribed with our names and wedding date that we bought when we got married.
10. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
In the Ward of the Vampire serial, the hero’s last name is ‘Ward’ and from the start I looked for titles that included ‘ward’ in it. I actually made a list of all the words I could think of with –ward, such as award, forward, coward, warden, reward, inward, etc. For each new instalment, I look at that list and figure out where the story is going. So far we’ve had Ward of the Vampire, My Reluctant Warden, Awkward Holidays, The Coward’s Way Out, and the next and probably last instalment might include ‘steward’ or ‘reward’.
11. What are your current projects?
Other that part 5 of the serial, I’m working on Bloodchild, the third instalment of my QuickSilver Codex series, which is a story of magic, vampires and parallel words. I also mentioned I’m editing a YA novel. I’m also playing with a short BDSM story for the end of the year.
12. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer when I was able to go to my boss and tell him I was quitting because I wanted to write full time. Granted, it was a part time job and I was getting minimal wages, so the loss of income wasn’t very great, but to be able to put ‘writer’ on my tax documents does feel special.
13. Name one thing that drives you crazy.
Smart phones. And here’s why. I agree that they’re very useful and keep us connected. They allow us to do things we couldn’t even imagine a few years ago. But at the same time, they separate us from the people directly around us. A few months ago, I drove a few hundred miles to visit friends I don’t get to see very often, and we celebrated our friendship by going to a pretty expensive restaurant. The entire time, out of the five of us, there were always at least two phones on the table, and at one moment there were four. Checking hockey games scores, or the news, or texting people who weren’t there, or playing games... was that really why we came there for?
14. If you could have an unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?
15. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
Do I really have to choose? I have a Kindle, and don’t go anywhere without it. I also have shelves full of paperbacks I brought over to the US when I moved in from France. And my husband and I have a nice collection of hardcovers that we try to get signed by their authors whenever possible. As long as they make me dream, I don’t really care what form my books take.
After a couple of weeks, however, after several ‘mind-trips’ into a fantasy reality in which Morgan is a perfect gentleman – and perfect lover – Angelina finds herself falling for him and struggling to understand why he tries so hard to push her away. How can a man be charming and attentive one minute… and yet deliberately infuriating the next?
A visit from Irene, this time more interested in a stroll down memory lane than in murder, starts to explain Morgan’s fears. But can Angelina break down his barriers before it’s finally time to leave, or will his past prove to be too deep of a wound to heal?
We’d kissed before. We’d kissed in every one of our shared fantasies, of course, and each time had been special, from that first heated kiss on the balcony to the mind-shattering kiss in the dining room that I had been so sure was real. We’d also kissed in the ‘real world’ on New Year’s Eve, and that had been frustratingly good for something that led nowhere.
This kiss was beyond all of them. And I don’t mean the mechanics of it, caressing mouths, soft touches, and our tongues pressing together the way our bodies yearned to. It went deeper than that. Call me crazy, but when Morgan let me explore his mouth, I felt like he was letting me in, dropping the masks for once, and letting me touch the core of who he was.
I don’t know why it felt different from the other kisses, but that was the impression I had, and to be allowed closer, at last, was as sweet as the kiss itself.
Or at least it was until Morgan abruptly stopped and jerked his head back. I tried to follow, but he was still holding my face between his hands. All I could do was open my eyes and hope I looked as bereft as I felt—too much so to even put it in words.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice rasping. His gaze flicked down to my tingling lips, and he licked his own as though reflexively. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
The worst part was, he sounded like he meant it. I’m not a violent person, but once I shook off my slight daze, I did consider smacking him over the head. It wouldn’t have helped anything, but damn, it’d have felt good.
“Yes, you should have done that,” I said as patiently as I could manage. “I wanted you to. I still want you to. I want you. And I know you want me too. Don’t deny it.”
To emphasize my words, I shifted my hips against his. As close as we were, lying on our sides like this, he would have had a hard time—cheesy pun absolutely intended—hiding how aroused he was. It wasn’t only about his body, though. Something had passed through that kiss, through the gentleness of his hands, through every heated look he’d given me in the past weeks. And come on, if he’d had no interest in me, he could have left when he saw what kind of dinner I’d invited him to.
One of his hands slid to the back of my head, his fingers tangling in my hair.
“Angelina…” he breathed, and I knew what would come next. I’d heard it before. I didn’t need to nor want to hear it again.
“Don’t you dare,” I said, and for all that I was still a little breathless, I managed to make my words commanding. “Don’t you dare say I’m trapped here and this is all against my will because it’s not. I want to be here. I want to be with you, Morgan. You say you’ve lived four-hundred years and you understand people. Look into my eyes. Listen to my words. Tell me I don’t mean it with everything that I am.”
Kallysten’s most exciting accomplishment to date was to cross a few thousand miles and an ocean to pursue (and catch!) the love of her life. She has been writing for over fifteen years, and always enjoyed sharing her stories and listening to the readers’ reactions. After playing with science fiction, short stories and poetry, she is now trying her hand, heart and words at paranormal romance novels. To see her other stories, including free short stories and sample chapters, visit http://kallysten.net.