SPOTLIGHT: Nat Kennedy

Time for Spotlight Saturday again! Joining us today is Nat Kennedy. She writes gay fantasy. Let’s find out more…

You write gay fantasy. What draws you to that genre? What’s your favorite part about writing in that genre?

I really discovered my love for reading when I found the fantasy genre.  As a kid, I read animal books, and some of the Beverly Cleary, and that’s about it.  Then I discovered Xanth, a magical place where everyone has a magic talent.  The idea of this world with magic flipped my eager little reading lid wide open.  I devoured all the fantasy that I could, even if it wasn’t 100% up to my tastes, because at the time I didn’t really have many options.

I was never much of a romance reader.  I still liked my external/active plot.  I wasn’t interested in a story that was solely about two people falling in love.  Of the few romances I had read, the books were focused on women being saved and ‘oh, that brute of a man’.  Maybe I just hadn’t found the good stuff, but what I’d found wasn’t for me.

About fifteen years ago I read some romantic gay fantasy.  The stories weren’t just about the relationship, about the two characters finding love.  There was plot.  Guys were loving each other and doing things, not pining, not waiting, but being active. So, I found this subgenre and decided this was where I belonged.  I wrote little stories for friends.  Then longer novels.  Finally, I decided to take the plunge.  Last year I self-published two novellas for a greater urban fantasy series – the Wielder World.

My favorite parts?  Plotting, worldbuilding, slow burn romance.  Because there are other outside forces at work, it isn’t just about the relationship.  The characters react to the fantasy plot slapping them about, forcing them to choose and act and then, along the way, they fall in love.

You have two books out in the Wielder World series, Edge of Desperation and Center of Deception. How many books do you plan on in this series? When can we expect the next one out?

Wielder World is a planned four book series, though honestly, if I get to that point and I feel there is more story, I will continue.  The two novellas are openers, introductions to my three main characters: Reggie, August and Kyle.  They are pre-romance, a way to explore the characters, define the world, and let you know what’s at stake.  Following those is a short story treat, called Places Between, which focuses on a fourth character, Bethany, an agent for the government.  After these shorter works, there are two novels.  The next book, Afflicted to the Core, is in the editing phase.  In this novel, the romance and heat ratchet up.  The men fall for each other as they struggle against the twisted government, the shadow agency, and the Wielder cults.  They’re knee deep in trouble, and along the way, they find love.

Expect Afflicted to the Core out this year, early fall.

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SPOTLIGHT: Ember-Raine Winters

Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! This week we have the lovely Ember-Raine Winters. She writes romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Ember! So glad to have you on Love Indie Romance. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! Thanks for having me! My name is Ember and I recently published my first romantic suspense novel Beautiful Delusions in February. I love reading and watching football. It’s my favorite. I love contact sports! I live in Central California with my two beautiful children.  I love reading and writing romance! I’m a mood reader so you can also find me reading science fiction or fantasy if the mood strikes me.

Your recent new release is Beautiful Delusions. One of your main characters, Kaylee, suffers from PTSD. How hard was it to write a character like that?

It’s pretty hard I mean I know a lot about PTSD but I also know there are different forms and like everything else it manifests differently in some people. Kaylee suffers in a way that’s most common. The hardest part about writing this, though, was because of my own experiences and many of her flash backs were extremely vivid. It took me a lot longer than I had hoped because I had to keep stopping.

You’ve written two other novels, Born to Resist and Born to War, both dystopian type novels. Do you find a certain type of genre easier to write?

Not really, all of my novels tend to be edge of your seat, fast paced novels whether it’s the dystopian ones or the new romantic suspense series I have been writing. I guess that would be what I find easiest to write. There is a sweet little romance in my first series as well but it’s not the focus of the story. I guess romance would probably be the genre I find easiest as long as there is some angst and action!

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SPOTLIGHT: Amie O’Brien

It’s time for Spotlight Saturday again. Today we have the lovely Amie O’Brien with us. She writes historical romance. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Amie! We’re glad to have you here on Love Indie Romance. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you! I was excited to get the invite. Basically I’m just a “thirty-something” (holding tightly) Midwest girl. Though currently buried in snow, I’m looking forward to planting flowers in the spring and spending time with my family on Lake Michigan. My passions are horses, reading, traveling, big cities, and IKEA. (Yes, as in Swedish furniture.)

Your debut novel is The Merchant’s Pearl. Where did your inspiration come from for this novel?

Years ago I became friends with a gal who had a nonprofit in Cambodia rescuing girls from sex-trafficking. I was deeply impacted by the hurt and sense of devalue these girls were feeling. Some were as young as my own daughter. I had all these thoughts reeling in my heart and I knew I wanted to make a difference. Fast forward a year and I hit a time where I needed to back away from my favorite hobby–horses. My daughter had gotten injured, and we needed to explore something safer. She started theatre and I bought some running gear. Quickly my butt landed on my sofa and I switched to “Plan B”, LOL, writing. The Merchant’s Pearl was a storyline that actually came to me in the shower one morning. I wanted to create a Victorian novel, something Jane Eyre-ish, but I wanted to tackle those same issues of injustice and slavery.

You write historical romance. How much research did you have to complete to write your novel? 

From start to finish the novel took over three years to write and polish. I spent well over a year researching morning, lunchtime, and evening. Then I would work on writing every night when the family went to bed. I’d get so excited, I had to write while it was fresh in my memory. I had Turkish historians I’d correspond with via email, as well as stacks of books I’d purchased from American professors. I even scoured the internet for super old articles from around the world. Then I got really crafty. I had an intern who was currently going to the university that I, myself, had graduated from a decade before. He’d take me to the library and check out dozens of the hundred-year-old scholarly books I couldn’t otherwise get my fingers on. He was a God-send. “Superman.”

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SPOTLIGHT: Chloe Flowers

Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! This week we have the lovely Chloe Flowers. She writes historical pirate romance, action adventure, and women’s adventure. Let’s find out more…

Argh, matey! You write about pirates and adventure. So exciting! What inspired you to write these kinds of stories?

What saucy wench Who doesn’t love Jonny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean? I’ve seen many Caribbean Islands; I also went to college in the South. I love both.

While in Charleston, I bought a couple books. (shocking, right?) One of them was about ghost stories of the Outer Banks containing a detailed account of pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham (a lady pirate who kicks ass with an adventurous streak? I’m all in). The other was an actual journal written by the wife of a plantation owner. It contained recipes and remedies…then my imagination took over and I wondered how a British Admiral’s daughter might handle being smuggled out of England after an assassin begins killing members of her family, then plopped on a plantation just prior to the War of 1812 (umm…she doesn’t handle it well, by the way).

Tell us about your Pirates & Petticoats series. Is this an ongoing series, or can each book be read as a standalone? How many books do you plan to have?

Pirate Heiress and the 5th book (soon to be released) can be read as on their own. The first 3 make up a saga and tell the tale of Keelan Grey, an independent, sword-wielding Admiral’s daughter and merchant ship captain, Landon Hart, a scoundrel who’s manages to piss off  annoy a vicious pirate. They start in Charleston, S.C., one of my favorite places on the planet. Books 1 & 2 (Hart’s Desire and Hart’s Passion) should be read in order. Book 3 (Hart’s Reward) can easily be a standalone, if you can go without knowing how Landon seduces finally wins Keelan’s heart.

What kind of research is involved in your writing? Are you a plotter or pantser?

Some call it daydreaming, I call it plotting… I plot, plan and scheme. Once I get my story running through my head like a movie trailer, I sit down and write. Sometimes, however, my characters ignore me and take a deviant path, which always ends up in a quagmire of laughs and adventure.

For me, research is the fun part. (my husband just heartily agreed). I spent a few months learning more intimate intricate details of the Battle of 1812, since my books take place during that time. My 5th book starts in Jamaica and travels to Louisiana during the Battle of New Orleans, one of the most miraculous U.S. battle victories of all time. Andrew Jackson had this ragtag, army of misfits (barely 4500 men) made of merchants, hunters, trappers from Kentucky and Tennessee, slaves, free black men, Indians, and Jean Lafitte’s pirate’s against 15,000+ highly trained, battle-hardened British troops. (Can you guess where I’m going with this?)  :0)

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SPOTLIGHT: Bree Verity

This weekend we have the delightful Bree Verity with us. She writes contemporary and historical romance. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Bree! So glad to have you here on Love Indie Romance. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the southeast of Australia where there is a saying – “If you can’t see the hills, it’s going to rain, if you can see the hills, it’s raining.” Because it’s kinda miserable there, my sisters and I spent much of our time inside, and so we grew up on a diet of romance movies and musicals, Georgette Heyer novels and lots and lots of cats. Now, I have two rescue dogs, but I don’t tell them about my wicked past as a cat owner. I live in Perth, Western Australia with my favorite son (he’s my only son) and my favorite partner (he’s my only partner). I started writing in all seriousness about two years ago, although I’ve been writing since I was a wee thing. And I love it!

I’ve read two of your books (both great, by the way) in the A Perth Girls Novel series. Where did your inspiration come from? How many total books will be in this series?

Amanda and Lydia are the first two books in the Perth Girls series – when I first started writing, I took to heart the instruction: “Write What You Know.” I knew Perth, I’d done some dating in Perth, so it made sense that my first romance novels would be set there! There are four books in the series – Desiree is written and awaiting serious editing and Penny is still a synopsis in my head! I have an idea for a second set of four as well – after all, there are plenty of Perth Girls to go around!!

Amanda (A Perth Girls Novel) is a shorter novel than Lydia and Desiree. Is there a particular reason behind that? Or do write what the story calls for? (I was sad to see it end.)

So glad you didn’t want it to end! That’s what we writers count on – you finish the first one, and you *HAF* to go get the next one!! Amanda is a novelette because of that exact reason – she is the lead-in to the rest of the series, and was specifically written as a novelette.

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SPOTLIGHT: Sagarika Sabarwal

Another great Saturday with another great indie author. Today we have Sagarika Sabarwal joining us. She writes romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Sagarika! We’re glad to have you here on Love Indie Romance. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Sagarika is a pen name. Does that have any particular meaning behind it?

First I planned on keeping my identity anonymous. Some of the characters in my story had a strong resemblance to people I knew ( I can go ahead to say, some characters were inspired by my friends) and I didn’t want people to assume it is my story. But then I realized for widespread promotion, I need to start from my social circle for which disclosing my identity was essential, and so I gave up on my animosity but retained it on book covers. I chose the name Sagarika because mom in particular was fond of that name and came up with it when I asked her for a name.

You just started writing a story on Wattpad. What has your experience been like?

My experience in Wattpad hasn’t been too great since I don’t have followers there and I haven’t spent much time in promoting my work there either. I am not sure how to go about it either. Since the story I am writing there has some sexually explicit scenes, it has been made private and until the readers follow me, they won’t be able to read it. So the number of readers following the story have been less. I haven’t completely given up on that platform, but I need to think of ways to get followers.

Besides writing, you also accept review requests. What’s your favorite part about that? Least favorite?

Favorite part about accepting reviewing requests is getting a chance to meet new authors and reading their stories. I will also be supporting and promoting indie authors, which is something I will always be proud of. The journey the indie authors have to undertake to promote their book is very tedious and I want to support them in every way possible. The sad part about it is, I won’t be able to accept all the requests. Firstly, it’s lack of time and secondly I am a very picky reader. I enjoy books that are either dark, unconventional and Taboo. And until I get into the book completely ( which is dependent on my book) I won’t be able to do justice to them. I rather not read a book than reading it half-heatedly.

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SPOTLIGHT: Angel Chadwick

It’s Saturday and that means another spotlight! Today we have Angel Chadwick joining us. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Angel! So glad to have you here on Love Indie Romance. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Angel Chadwick! I’m a mom of a nine year old boy who is autistic/nonverbal, avid reader and reviewer and multi-genre author. I don’t have any hobbies and don’t have a use for hobbies. Writing and being an author is my occupation.

You enjoy writing in lots of different genres. How much research goes into your writing? What draws you to writing in so many different genres?

I like writing in different genres. I like variety and diversity in my books that includes different languages, different races, cultures, disabilities and the like. I also get bored very easily and variety and diversity with original and unique concepts keep my interest. Lots of research and my own life experiences goes into my writing.

You just released your latest novel, Weeping Well. “Fear is like a looking glass…” Describe what we can expect from this novel.

My latest novel “Weeping Well” is the first book in the series. It’s a mystery/thriller/erotic dark romance/suspense/multicultural/multiracial/interracial romance/coming of age/set in 1989-2008/international crime fiction. What you can expect from “Weeping Well” is a lot of action and drama.

What’s it like being an indie author? Highs? Lows?

Being an indie author I love being in control of every aspect of writing and publishing. I love hard work because I’m a hard worker, but I guess that’s the downside. It’s a lot of hard work and all that work falls on you as the indie author. My favorite part of being an indie author is being able to write whatever I want and not apologize for it.

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