Hello and welcome Kallypso Masters to my site. Kally has so graciously agreed to be interviewed.
So let’s begin…
1) First, tell us a little about yourself so the readers know who you are?
I write emotional erotic romance novels as Kallypso Masters. I’m 53, live in Kentucky where I was born, and have been writing romances off and one for more than 35 years (since high school). I’m happily married (28 years) and have two adult children. I rejoined the Romance Writers of America in 2009, but was a member during the 1990s, too. In April, I quit my day job rather suddenly. After a few weeks of unsuccessful job hunting, I decided to try a one-year experiment to see if I could make a living writing romances full-time. I pulled out NOBODY’S ANGEL, an erotic-romance novel I drafted in May 2009, and started editing.
A lot has happened since then, including the publication on Amazon and Smashwords this month of my first novel—MASTERS AT ARMS, an introduction to the “Rescue me” series in which ANGEL will be the next book. In May rejoined one of my former RWA chapters, the Kentucky Romance Writers, and try to be an active member.
SC: Well I have to say, just be reading your teasers you have me HOOKED. I hope this works out for you. I really do.
2) What made you decide to write? Was it something you accidentally began? Or what you wanted to do? Or annoying character who refused to leave until their story was told?
My first conscious memory of wanting to write was in the eighth grade. I wanted to be a journalist. About twenty years later, I went to college to earn a journalism degree. Even then, I made it clear to my academic advisor that writing romance novels was a strong interest. She was thrilled recently when I told her I was finally pursuing that dream. I have always loved writing and reading these novels with their happily-ever-after endings. Today, I have characters from one published work and four upcoming ones (including a Western historical that will be written after the Rescue Me series is finished).
SC: I adore writing and reading is the one thing I think I’m addicted too.
3) Tell us why you decided to publish your novel independently.
In May, I saw a couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post about writers publishing their books independently. I had only ever submitted one story to a publisher before—in 2009 for an anthology—and was given a “good” rejection. (Not what we’re looking for, but please submit something else.) I figured my writing was good, so I decided to embark on a one-year experiment. If I succeeded in making a modest income, I would continue; if I didn’t, then it would be back to job hunting. I’ll probably publish five books within that one-year period (roughly May/June 2012). Then we’ll see!
SC: My fingers are crossed for you.
4) Tell us about your current release? Where can readers buy it from?
MASTERS AT ARMS, the introduction to the Rescue Me series, tells the story of three men and the turning points that lead them to come together in a Marine unit in Iraq. What happens there and the aftermath will lead them to form a band-of-brothers bond that no one can break. A few years later, and for very different reasons, the three will band together again to open their Masters at Arms BDSM club. The book provides no Happily Ever After endings for the three men. Those will come with their upcoming romances.
But MASTERS does introduce readers to the “first meets” of the heroines for two of three men. Based on preliminary feedback from readers, the story that gave me the most anxiety—a romance with a 25-year difference in ages between Master Sergeant Adam and Karla Paxton, the 16-year-old he rescues in the beginning of the book—is the one most readers are clamouring for. (She’s no longer jailbait when the oh-so-honorable widower Adam first notices her sexually at the end of MASTERS, when she is 25!) I think they are anxious to see if Karla can bring Adam to his knees—again. But the more mature Dom Master Adam is very much a fan favourite (and with me, as well). The younger Doms will be mentored a bit by their former master sergeant as they struggle to make things right with the women they are destined to love. I should mention that Master Adam was inspired by Mark Harmon’s NCIS character (and Karla has a wee bit of Abby Scuito, the forensic specialist in that series, in her, as well as some Tarja Tarunen, the Finnish Goth singer). Their story, NOBODY’S HERO, is due to be released in December 2011.
Another of the Masters at Arms is Navy Corpsman Marc D’Alessio, an Italian-born playboy, who embarks on a journey to discover the hero within, although in his mind it is to come to grips with his guilt over his brother’s death in Afghanistan. Having embarked on his life as a Dom at the age of seventeen under the tutelage of a cougar at his family’s ski resort, he will take Damián Orlando, the third of the Masters at Arms Doms, under his wing and introduce him to a BDSM club before they deploy to Iraq. Marc keeps his emotions closely guarded and isn’t one to let his guard down easily. He’d like to go from superficial relationships to something deeper with his perfect subbie, but doesn’t know where to start until he opens up to Master Adam in NOBODY’S ANGEL, due to be released in September 2011.
The youngest and most reluctant of the Doms is then 19-year-old Damián, who come to the rescue of Savannah Gentry who is being tortured by two sadists at the hotel where he works as a bus boy. He doesn’t know that she is a sex slave and incest victim. His distaste for the BDSM lifestyle is evident early on. BDSM equals pain and degradation and that’s no way to treat a woman. (Things will change for him after Iraq.) The two of them spend one perfect day together on a beach, then are separated by circumstances beyond their control. Having been fired as a result of the rescue (her father/abuser/Master owns the hotel), 19-year-old Damián joins the Marine Corps, eventually training as a Reconnaissance Marine with Marc, the Navy Hospital Corpsman who has been assigned to his unit. Damián will return from Iraq marred for life and suffering from severe PTSD. The two will meet again briefly as secondary characters under tragic circumstances in the December release of HERO. But readers will have to wait until February 2012’s release of NOBODY’S PERFECT to see Damián and Savi exploring their feelings for one another again. Both will need to work around severe PTSD triggers and trust issues in order to find their HEA.
SC: love hearing more about the books I’m falling in love with.
5) What are you currently writing?
I am rewriting NOBODY’S ANGEL which will be released in September. This book was written originally as what I envisioned an erotic romance to be—and as a ménage. In the rewriting, after having developed the characters so much in MASTERS AT ARMS, the book is totally being revamped. I don’t know that it will be quite a ménage as much as a triangle—and at this moment I can’t tell you how it will be resolved in the end. I write by the seat of my pants and until I get to that point, I really don’t know. I know what I want to happen, though. But, we’ll just have to see.
SC: Just keep writing, just keep writing :-)
6) What inspires you most when you write?
I have a need to tell stories of redemption, heartache, reunion—stories where the characters literally go to Hell and back, before eventually finding their Happily Ever After (HEA) ending. (Ask anyone who has read MASTERS AT ARMS, and they’ll tell you that I met the first part of that going—sending them to Hell. Now I am busy bringing them back to give them their HEAs. I tend to write characters who are broken or lost—physically and/or emotionally. I write romances with dominant males and strong, but usually submissive, women who bring them to their knees.
While writing, I listen to music that inspires a particular character or scene, and also to look at photos of the actors and models who inspire the physical attributes of the characters I am writing about. I share these with my Facebook and Twitter fans regularly. (I’m more of a Facebook person, though—and primarily use Twitter when I’m trying to avoid the time suck that always pulls me in when I go to FB. Writing is so solitary and I am an extrovert, so I love to interact with people.)
SC: Love it :-)
7) What experiences have you had working with your publisher/s?
Other than one submission to Samhain (the good rejection one), I haven’t really submitted anything anywhere else. But some of my best friends are e-publishers!
SC: I’m e-published lol
8) What are you reading now?
I’m actually RE-reading Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands series. I’m on Breaking Free, the third book. One of my favorites in the series so far—two characters who have had to overcome a lot of brokenness in order to find love, especially the heroine. Cherise is my idol for BDSM romances.
I’m also reading a book by Donna McDonald’s Dating a Cougar, the first book in her humorous contemporary “Never Too Late” series. She’s an indie writer, as well, and has six books out now. I’m playing catch-up!
And I’m rereading MASTERS AT ARMS and making notes of all the things that I need to resolve or bring back up in the next three novels for these guys.
SC: So wish I was you right now and could be reading the Masters at arms.
9) What are your guilty pleasures?
To be honest, I had to google this to get some ideas. Then, I thought, why are people feeling guilty about such wonderful things? I guess my Catholic upbringing has worn off, because I don’t let guilt rule me any longer. If it feels good, do it.
10) What would be your advice, if any, for other aspiring authors?
Write every day. Even if all you can carve out is 30-60 minutes a day, plant your butt in the chair and do it. Just like an athlete trains his or her body by working out day in and day out, writers develop their craft by training their muses and their brains to get into writing mode every single day. I have not had a single day since May where I didn’t do something writing related—including journaling, editing, etc. But don’t get stuck in forever-edits, either. You have to write something before you can edit. Always keep writing new, fresh material.
Another thing to do is learn all you can about the crafting of a good novel. I have taken numerous classes over the last two decades. In in the early 1990s, I took an adult-education class with Garda Parker, a fellow writer in the Central New York Romance Writers. More recently, I’ve taken three courses (two this year along) with Bootcamp for Novelists. My classes were taught by fellow romance writer Linda Style. She’s fabulous. But there are lots of options both physical and virtual for writers to learn more about writing. No one is ever finished learning new things!
And while I have just published my “first” novel, there are many, many manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Strangely enough, when I told a friend from my college days that I had published, she was asking about the characters in a couple of those earlier ones. So, I guess they were memorable! But I’d totally gut the stories and start from scratch if I did them again. But the experience of writing those manuscripts helped me hone and develop my skills. So, the advice here is: Not everything you write is a gem that needs to be published. Listen to your beta readers and critique partners, especially if you are hearing similar things from multiple readers. And just keep writing and trying. Perseverence is the key.
SC: Thank you so much for being here today. Love your answers and I impatiently wait for the rest of your books.
This is for you to talk more about yourself, leave your blogging details, site details and generally promote yourself.
Thanks for interviewing me, Sam! I find out new things about myself with every interview I do—and hope there’s something of interest to readers and writers, as well.
I hope your blog readers will send me a friend request on Facebook (Kallypso Masters), follow me on Twitter (@kallypsomasters), or follow my “Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell” blog at http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com. And I welcome e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, I’d like to offer a giveaway contest! Please comment below and we’ll choose the winner of a free copy of MASTERS AT ARMS. Please make sure to leave an e-mail address so we can inform you if you win!