Hey there fellow readers! Please join us in welcoming Beth Kery, author of Paradise Rules, Wicked Burn, and the One Night of Passion Series (writing as Bethany Kane) and many other titles to Read Our Lips! Book Blog.
Writing as Bethany Kane:
I’m happy to be asked, Michele!
Let's get started! Could you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become a writer?
Well, I hold a doctorate in the behavioral sciences (so any references to mental or emotional struggles in my books are pretty darn accurate). I love art, and great food and my husband dearly, but not necessarily in that order. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but for some reason, I thought I could successfully write romances. I read a bunch of different genres, but I thought I could write romance.
Wow! I’ve always enjoyed the emotional intelligence in your writing, now I see where all of that insight comes from. In your books, the heroes tend to be Doms. However, they aren't the leather-pants-wearing, let's-go-to-a-BDSM-club kind of Dom. They are the incredibly-hot-alpha-male-who-runs-the-show, but-is-also-incredibly flawed-kind-of-Dom. I love that the men you write seem exceptionally true to life and very much attainable. Was it a conscious choice to make the men you write sexually dominant, but not in a stereotypical way?
I sort of consider my males to be more alpha than classic, BDSM type doms. I don’t think I made a conscious effort to write them in a non-stereotypical way; I suppose it’s more of a personal preference to do a D/s type thing versus straight out BDSM. I like to think that my heroes or heroines don’t need a very specific type of sex in order to get turned on. I want the attraction between the H/h (Hero/heroine) to be the prime element, not a rigid set of rules in regard to how a dominant or submissive is ‘supposed’ to be. They aren’t ascribing to a lifestyle, it’s just a personal sexual preference.
I like that. I love the way you write men. I always consider D/s as part of BDSM. I think in real life, most people practice that kind of relationship in private, but it’s rare to find that in books. I feel you capture this very honestly. You have such a unique style of writing. While reading your books, I often go back and reread the last few sentences because they were so beautifully worded. Where does this eloquence come from? What is your inspiration?
Thank you! (I’m feeling singularly un-eloquent in attempting to answer that. :)). I think what you are referring to must be my writer ‘voice’ and no one can ever really identify what, precisely, that is. I do tend to let the emotion of the moment lead me.
Paradise Rules is my favorite of your books. In it, you make Hawaii feel like it was a character all its own. In fact, in all of your books that I've read, the location seemed to be an integral part of the story. Did you set out to make the reader feel the milieu as more than just a backdrop, but also as one of the players? And did you take yourself to Hawaii under the guise of "book research"? I know I would have! :)
I had made a recent trip to Hawaii before I wrote Paradise Rules, yes. As a matter of fact, I had a very upsetting moment seeing a young girl sort of forced into singing for as street entertainer to tourists, even when she was begging her father to stop. That was the kernel for the story of Paradise Rules. I do like really digging into settings. I often write about my hometown Chicago and urban life, but I also love doing a small town, as well. Small towns can be so unique to the people who live in them, and they tend to confer a very cozy feel to the book.
Oh my goodness! That makes me so sad. It must have made it so much more real for you. After reading Wicked Burn, I will never look at pearls the same way again. You seem to have the coolest proclivity for using everyday objects as sex toys. How does this come about? Do you walk around your house picking things up, looking at it, asking yourself if it could be used during sex and saying, "yea" or "nay"? For instance, did you one day go through your jewelry box, pick up some pearls and say to yourself, “These would make a fantastic sex toy!" (And it really did, by the way!)
Thanks! No, I really don’t. I can tell you that when you write erotic romance, you have to be pretty creative. Sex is an ever-changing, fascinating mode of communication. The last thing a reader in an erotic romance wants to feel is that the same sex acts are being narrated over and over again. I like to use things from settings (such as the double Dutch door or the swing in Addicted to You) or use a particularly tension-filled situation to spike the sexuality (like Lana’s anxiety disorder in Paradise ramping up the charge in the snorkeling scene). And not to be boringly intellectual, but objects—like Niall’s pearls, for instance—can pack an emotional punch. Niall’s pearls symbolized her elegance and affluent social status. Vic using them for something super raunchy, and her loving it, stands for a burning down of barriers between them.
Intellectual is never boring in my book. I love that edification. You also write under the nom de plume, "Bethany Kane". Why two names? And do you feel that you take on different writing personalities depending on whose pen name you're using that day?
The name Bethany Kane was an attempt to ‘brand’ a line of super hot novels and novellas at Berkley called One Night of Passion, each of which start with one wild, impulsive night of romance that’s later regretted, but ends up being the seed for a deep romance. I also write contemporary romances for Harlequin Special Edition, so I’m trying to carve out two ‘products’. I think Bethany Kane’s and Beth Kery’s erotic romance voice are very similar. I recall that you had said you thought Bethany was ‘darker’ but I’ve had people think that Addicted to You (the first book in the One Night of Passion series) was lighter and more humorous, so I’m not really sure what to think. J Maybe it’ll take the couple of Bethany Kane novellas I have coming out this year, along with the second book in the series, Exposed to You—Everett’s story—to better determine my Bethany Kane voice.
I thought the extraneous characters in Addicted to You were light hearted, but for me, Rill was in a much darker place. But I have a lot more Beth Kery books to read before I can make a true determination! I can’t wait! You don't tend to shy away from things that others rarely write about in erotic romance. Things like losing a child, or a child being exploited for her father's gain. What is your motivation for putting such heavy emotional material in your erotic romances?
For me, emotional intensity and sexuality are winning partners. Even if a sexual exchange is just about personal gratification, it deepens the tension level—and the sexual satisfaction—if the stakes are high. To say someone is hesitant or anxious about having sex with another person isn’t sufficient. We have to know why the situation is so powerful for them. I want there to be an element of challenge to my characters in regard to sex and falling in love. Balls-to-the-wall sex is one thing, but I want to know why it’s so charged that new drywall needs to be installed afterward.
I agree. I detest fade-to-black sex scenes. Sex is a language in and of itself. You write women who aren't perfect Pollyannas, because you leave so much room for character growth. Do you receive criticism from readers because your female characters aren't always likable at first?
Yes, some. You either love Lana or hate her. I had a lot of compassion for her from the first, but I can see how she might alienate readers. I think she’s actually very kind and warm-hearted to people she cares about—Melanie, her assistant, for instance, whom she would do just about anything for. Lana is a control freak, meaning she wants to be the one to call the shots. People admire that quality, say in the business or entertainment world. But for some reason, I think it might chafe in a romance. I liked it for an erotic romance, however, because much of her character growth comes from learning to let go and give up control with Jason. Of course, the bedroom and a D/s type of relationship is a great way to force that issue.
I adored Lana too. She was very real to me. She was one of those characters with lots of layers, where the author peels back layer after layer and then you get to the gooey center and as a reader I felt emotionally satisfied. I loved her from the moment she was fighting to get her money’s worth for her surf lesson. I would that! Plus, I think she challenged Jason in a way he’d never been challenged before. Addicted to You (writing as Bethany Kane) has such a colorful cast of characters. Where did they all come from?
I don’t know! I seriously don’t. The residents of Vulture’s Canyon sprung into my head pretty fully formed. I was trying to create a cozy, small town, very sincere type of environment and cast of characters in order to contrast with Katie’s city girl ways. I thought it’d be fun to show her going from being aghast at the backward, oddball characters and quirky town to realizing she fit in there perfectly, and this was her home.
Speaking of Addicted to You, it's book one in the One Night of Passion series. What can readers expect from the rest of the series? Will it feature characters from Vulture's Canyon ?
Vulture’s Canyon, the surrounding forest, and Katie and Rill will be commonalities in all the stories. Bound to You, a novella comes out in June of this year. Exposed to You, which is Everett’s story and a full-length novel, releases in November of 2012. That’s a really emotional scorcher. There will be another novella this year, but I haven’t gotten a release date for it yet. Probably October.
What's up next for you? What are you working on now?
I just finished the fifth book in my Harlequin series, Home to Harbor Town, and need to immediately start writing again for another deadline—this one for the novella mentioned above that will be out in October for a Berkley eSpecial.
Wow! You’re a busy lady! I Can’t wait to read more of you work! Now for some Rapid Fire Questions: Who is your favorite author?
What is your favorite book of all time?
A whole series: The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. I’ve read them so many times, the spines are collapsing.
I thought Katie Hughes, from Addicted to You, was a blast to write, because she’s such a contrast of ballsy confidence and uncertainty about who she is and what she wants from her life. As far as heroes, probably Vic Savian, from Wicked Burn. I really felt like I understood men better after writing Vic and was a little less judgmental of them. They really are a separate species. And I totally love them.
The Harry Potter books. Those spines are at risk of collapsing very soon. I even have the English version collection, where they say revising instead of studying, trainers instead of tennis shoes, and jumpers instead of sweaters. Love it.
Worst--grocery story checker at a small little store during high school. All the lottery addicts drove me nuts. Best—well, I sort of do it right now, so I’d rather not go into detail.
If you could pick any of your books to be made into a movie, which would it be? Who would star in it?
Oh, Jeez, such a hard question. Probably RELEASE, because I love the suspense elements and the use of flashbacks to reveal character and plot. I think it’d translate well to the screen. Sean would have to be played by a really rugged actor, like Dylan McDermott, or Russell Crowe; Genny, maybe Audrey Tautou. Max, by the way, would have to be Richard Gere. I actually had him in mind when I wrote his nasty, Machiavellian character. MGM apparently thought it at least had the sliver of potential to go to the screen, because they did ask my agent to see the book. Of course nothing ever came of it, but someone must have thought along the same lines.
Oh, yum! Well, mine would probably be a glass of good cabernet or a spicy malbec and…Reeses peanut butter eggs, or hearts, or pumpkins, or whatever is seasonal. They are my downfall.
I used to be absolutely annoyingly addicted to the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. I know. What a geek.
I’ll say Mary Stewart’s Merlin. He was so tragic and so incredibly brilliant and the gods cursed him in regard to women. I cherish the art of kissing, and think Merlin would really appreciate a good kiss.
Follow Beth Kery
Author’s website: http://www.bethkery.com/
Beth Kery Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1294984.Beth_Kery
Beth Kery Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Beth-Kery/1015304659
Beth Kery Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/bethkery
We are so excited to announce a giveaway of 2 of Beth Kery’s books:
Up for grabs is an autographed hard copy OR ebook of Wicked Burn and and an autographed hard copy only of Addicted To You! (Click on each cover to see our review of them)
What do you have to do to win them? Be a follower of our blog, fill out the Rafflecopter below, and leave us a comment with your email! It’s that easy!
Good luck in the contest! a Rafflecopter giveaway