Today I’m thrilled to have Carina Press and Harlequin Superromance author, Joan Kilby chatting here today. The first time I met Joan, she had just sold her first Superromance novel and I was still a ‘wannabe’ author so that was a few years ago now!
Joan is a well established Superromance authour but she yearned to write a different style of book and she’s here today to talk about the very funny, action-packed romp, Gentlemen Prefer Nerds. I LOVE the title and I loved the book. I have to say right now that we need to forget all about Maddie – the plucky heroine in the book- because Fabian is mine, all mine!
*Welcome, Joan! Congratulations on Gentlemen Prefer Nerds.
Thanks, Fiona, it’s great to be here.
*Joan, contemporary romance has struggled in the last decade against the rise of the paranormal romance fantasy romance. What do you love about the genre?
I prefer reality-based stories but that doesn’t mean the characters can’t be larger-than-life. There’s an element of OTT fantasy in Gentlemen Prefer Nerds. Real life with a huge dollop of adventure and excitement.
*Where were you when the idea for GPN hit you?
I was visiting my family in Canada prior to attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Dallas in 2007. Yes, that long ago! I wanted to pitch a story to editors and agents about an ordinary woman who is plucked out of her ordinary life by an extraordinary man and taken on the wildest adventure of her life. What I came up with was Nerds, a story became about a gemologist, a jewel thief and a James Bond-type hero.
*You’re a ‘Print-first’ author with your Harlequin Superromances. Has the process of getting ‘Gentlemen Prefer Nerds’ to purchase point with Carina Press been any different from your usual publishing experience?
Editorially-wise, not hugely different. Carina Press has been great to work with, just like Superromance. In both cases, I go through a rigorous process of revisions, line edits, copy edits, etc. There are a couple of differences. With Carina, I was sent my cover for approval. Plus Carina conducts a online promotion campaign for each book involving blogging, Twitter and Facebook and the author is expected to participate.
It’s hard to isolate a line and quote it out of context. The passage below occurs just after Maddie has had her makeover. Her brown hair has been dyed red and she’s wearing blue contact lenses. I like this scene because it shows the moment of Maddie’s transformation from nerd to glamazon, how she feels about herself, and how Fabian reacts to the new her, yet still sees and likes the persons she is inside.
“Who am I?” she whispered to her startled reflection.
Fabian met her gaze in the glass. Despite the makeup and hair color, he could still see the true Maddie looking back at him—smart, feisty, funny.
Sexy. How could she not see herself? “There are many sides to all of us. This is just one of yours.”
“No, I’m a nerd.” She nodded at herself in the mirror. “She’s a role I’m playing. I’m not that woman.”
“Would it be so bad if you were? You may enjoy wearing a different mask. It can be liberating.”
“I don’t need liberating, thank you very much. I’m perfectly good as I am. Was. Whatever.”
“You’re right, of course. But you can be this woman, too. You really are lovely.”
He ran his gaze over her slowly, stroking up her legs, embracing her hips, slip-sliding around the contours of her waist and lavishly caressing her breasts. She softened visibly, as if he’d physically touched every inch of her.
“Stop that.” Nervously, she pushed at a lock of hair. “Being a sex goddess is scary, like having a superpower I can’t control.”
Fabian wasn’t entirely in control, either. If she was soft, he was hard. He needed to stop undressing her with his eyes. “Time to go shopping.”
*Joan, the ending to GPN kind of hints at a sequel? Do you have any plans for other books?
Gentlemen Prefer Nerds can stand on its own. But I originally planned to write a five book series based on these characters. Each new book would feature a different fabulous gemstone that would be stolen by the Chameleon (jewel thief) and have to be retrieved by Fabian and Maddie. I planned a whole story arc and subplots that would run through the series to culminate in a final, satisfying conclusion. Someday I hope to write the rest of the books in the series.
*Did you carefully plan your books or write into the mist?
I’m definitely a planner and a plotter. Before I begin writing, I write character sketches and backstory and outline the story in detail. As I go along I’m constantly tweaking and re-plotting. In this way I can structure the books better and I have less re-working to do when I come to the end.
*Where do you write?
I have a home office, planned as part of our house design when we built. It wasn’t always the case–I’ve worked in cramped nooks and crannies–so I really appreciate having my own dedicated work space. As I’m working on a book it gets messier and messier. It’s not too bad at the moment because I’ve just sent off a manuscript and cleaned up a little. J
*Humour is a big part of your stories. Is it a big part of your everyday life?
I wish I could say I laugh all day long! That would be fun. But most of the time, I’m on my own, writing away, being serious and professional. I do get the odd chuckle out of my own jokes. J In the evening, when the family is around, I get a kick out of the things my hubby and kids say. They can be quite funny; sometimes even intentionally. I also like to read books with humour in them. I guess the answer is yes, humour is a part of my everyday life.
*You live in the southern Australia. Is your town famous for anything?
Funny you should ask! The town I live in is thinly-disguised as the village of Summerside, the setting for my Superromance series, Summerside Stories. It’s world-famous for that! Otherwise, no not really, but it’s a lovely part of the world.
I’m giving away a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Nerds. Just comment to be in with a chance to win. The question I’m posing is: Are you a nerd or a glamazon, or a bit of both?
Thanks, Joan for visiting and for your give-away. Okay, folks, here is the goss on the story which takes you from Melbourne to the luxurious Hamilton Island with the gorgeous Fabian!
Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt’s shop, she tells herself it’s just a joke. Even if she can’t get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind…
But Fabian Montgomery doesn’t give up easily. He’s everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing—and Maddie is suspected of stealing it—he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon. Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.
But Fabian isn’t telling her everything—like who he works for, and why he’s so interested in The Chameleon…
Joan Kilby is the award-winning author of over twenty Harlequin books. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. For more information check out her website . Follow Joan on Twitter and Facebook or look for her on GoodReads