Blaise Kilgallen, is the author of Liquid Silver Books' favorites--Carnal Pleasures and A Reckless Affair to name a few, and Taking A Chance which is half of the Zodiac Anthology Sagittarius with Leigh Wyndfield. She also finds time to pen regency and contemporary romances for Wings ePress, Inc. under the name of Joan M. Fox--her most recent release being A Sweeter Revenge.
Let's take the opportunity to ask Blaise a few questions
Novelspot: There are so many things you can write about from true crime to mysteries, why romance?
Blaise: Since a teenager, I've always loved reading romances, sweet or hot. Nowadays, when I read, I still read mostly romances or romantic suspense. I've just finished a contemporary fantasy, but it's definitely a romance. Another contemporary I just completed is the second book in the Hot Studs In Construction series I started with Liquid Silver with The Plumber's Helper. So I'm still stuck in the same groove. (grinz) I'm not good at writing gore or blood and guts, I guess.
Novelspot: What makes for a good heroine in your opinion? >/i>
Blaise: Much the same ingredients as those that make for a good hero. Honesty, integrity, intelligence, a sense of humor, perhaps a certain naivetÈ in a younger heroine. Most of my protagonists are "nice-looking." If a few of my heroines are a bit "overblown" in the physical size, that's okay. A lot of men like "heavier" women. In Never Let Me Go, my "long" Regency with Wings, the heroine is definitely tall and quite "buxom." The hero likes his "armful."
I think a heroine also needs a personality (good or bad) plus something that makes her stand out from other females in the story. And if she is shy or timid in the beginning, she must change/grow in intelligence and emotional maturity, if not age, during the plot.
Novelspot: What characteristics are modern day women looking for in a male protagonist?
Blaise: Hmm? Good question. I'm not sure I can answer that one. There are probably as many different male attributes which women like today as there are 21st century women reading romances. But I'm from the old school. I still (personally) like my men tall, good-looking, sexy, charismatic, kind, honest, funny with humor, one I can look up to as to both of his size and his personality. And it wouldn't hurt if he was a little bit on the well-to-do side. (grinz)
Novelspot: The traditional romance genre with the young virgin seduced by the older, experienced man has been replaced by books focusing on close female relationships and older women retuning to the world of romance, and feisty females who seduce the man. How do you feel about the change and how does it influence your writing?
Blaise: I think it's great. I like the idea of a woman taking charge at times in a growing relationship. And I like the idea of a "level" playing field as far as romance/sex goes. Why shouldn't a woman be the aggressor? (But handle it gently, ladies. Don't scare him away! Most men are "boys" at heart even if they're Alphas.)
I also like "older" women realizing they can be sexy as hell and attract "younger" men. I don't plan to write only stories about May-December romances, but Wild Knights, my first novel with Liquid Silver is just that kind of story. In it the hero is attracted to a woman almost 10 years older than he is. I had a grand time writing that story. There was a LOT of hot SEX in that book! He's cute as well as being enthusiastic and well, experienced on how to treat a woman in bed. I'm thinking about writing another similar plot since the market looks ready for that type of scenario. I just have to come up with something a little different on which to "hook" the reader and make it interesting.
I guess it takes a certain kind of man and a strong woman who see the potential in such a relationship. Isn't it true that husbands of an age seem to die off faster than the same age wives? I'm thinking women may be better off with a younger man who will be around a while during a lengthy marriage.
Novelspot: Where does your inspiration come from? Do you see a couple arguing on the street? Watch a PBS special and wonder how far it might go if it wasn't public television?
Blaise: Sorry, people, I rarely watch TV dramas. I'm a NY Giants football fan, so I do watch TV on Sunday afternoons – without fail. (grinz) I'd rather read during an evening when I have an opportunity to do so.
As far as my inspiration…it just comes. Out of the air. Out of the blue. I have so many ideas, that I will never be able to write what goes along with them. I've taken to making tiny notes on little pieces of paper with a couple lines of dialogue, or a title idea, or something else that I read or heard about.
The Plumber's Helper came from a clichÈ title. (You know that rubber-cup-thingie on a wooden handle you can use to get the toilet to flush if it clogs!) I thought I'd like to do a series of three hunky brothers who work in construction. So, Jake Plummer took shape. I just finished the middle brother's book, "Pistol" Pete Plummer—he's an electrician and a county linesman. Took me a year to write his story, but it's on its way to LSB now. Pete's mixed up with a lady cop who's undercover disguise is a "stripper" when some of the men's clubs exotic dancers are killed or otherwise abused by one or more perverts.
Actually, Take A Chance, one half of the Sagittarius Zodiac Anthology, is a "prequel" that introduces Pete's light of love, Joyce Winters, into a romantic suspense book I've tentatively titled, Shocking Summer.
Novelspot: Why write? What drives you to write?
Blaise: I like playing with words. I used to be an avid letter writer when I was young. I got into the advertising business and wrote some commercials. Later I hired on as a catalog copywriter for almost a dozen years. But I never wrote fiction. I grew older and decided I wanted to try writing a romance. Took me almost 7-8 years to get published by an emerging e-book publisher. But after that, I learned a lot about structuring a novel. Never took a creative writing course, so I learned the hard way.
I suppose I've always had a creative bent, being a Scorpio/Sagittarius, on the cusp. I grew up drawing and painting pictures. I think doing that gives me a visual of what I want to get onto the page when I write. I can see the people, their surroundings, etc. in my mind's eye, the same way I can visualize my paintings. I earned my college degree (B.S. in Education) and planned to teach Art at the high school level. That lasted a year, because I decided teaching wasn't my bag. I love to draw and paint, but I didn't think I could teach anyone how to do it.
Since I was in commuting range of New York City, I was fascinated by the field of Advertising and TV Production, too. I spent most of my earning years in one or another ad agency (never got to do anything in TV Production, though) until I got a job with a direct mail company, selling draperies and bedspreads and helping merchandise and write their yearly catalog.
I was into horseback riding as a youngster. I wanted a more country atmosphere and decided to move away from the bustle of Bergen County, New Jersey, farther west to sub-rural Sussex County where I could keep a horse. Riding was another of my passions. I stopped writing commercial copy, earned my salesperson and broker's license in New Jersey. I listed and sold Real Estate for another dozen years before retiring to write and paint. I sold a number of watercolor paintings over the years and still paint and sell them. At this point, I'm doing romance covers for one e-publisher and hope to do more with additional contacts. You can click on my sample covers at: Karma Jones or Venus Devine where I set up two art galleries on the Internet.
Blaise: My first two published novels, The Reluctant Duke and Tame My Heart,, were based on the heroes/heroines' love and interest in equines. The Reluctant Duke (now out of print) will be newly published in downloads with Liquid Silver Books, this summer, with a sexier cover. I expect. "Tame My Heart, the sequel, will probably be released sometime early next year.
Novelspot: How did you get your first real break?
Blaise: From Treble Heart Books, an emerging e-book publisher, I let my contract with them elapsed when I started writing more "erotic romances," although, both my first books had a lot of sexual content in them. That's why they're being released in download from Liquid Silver with new covers and some additional editing.
Novelspot: It has been said that persistence in more important than genius in the world of writing. What's your take on it?
Blaise: I agree. One of these days, a New York publisher is going to contract one of my books for mass market release. Might even be one I've already written. So my advice to wannabees or currently unpublished authors is "hang in there." If you keep at it, learn all you can about your craft, your day will come. It may only be a lucky break, but when it happens, grab it and run with it.
Novelspot: What words of wisdom can you give the aspiring writer?
Blaise: (See what I said above.)
Novelspot: If you branch off into another genre, what would it be?
Blaise: I guess I'll always write romances of one kind or another. I love the Regency time frame – with all those delightful high born ladies and rakes. I'll probably be starting another one like that soon. I just finished two "sorta" contemporaries, so I'm ready for my "Regency fix."
I'd like to try writing a "real" time travel plot, too. Maybe soon.
And, I'd love to write a vampire story, but I may have missed the boat on that particular genre. I have done some research and done some reading. We shall if it gels before paranormals and vampire plots, etc. go down the tubes.
Novelspot: What is your favorite book? Why?
Blaise: Too many to list. I might give you a long list of favorite authors, but I must admit, this author is not one of my favorites. However, one of her early books is one of my favorites: A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Devereaux.
I loved Gone With The Wind from the get go when I read it as a teenager and saw the movie. I also like Jude's time-travel theme. And especially the hero.
Novelspot: You're heading off on vacation. You must pack of a few good books. What do you look for in buying a book? (Keep in mind, these are books you haven't read yet.)
Blaise: I own over 2000 paperback romances. I'm obsessed by books. I will never been able to read the ones I own, but I always seem to pick up more. And they're all romances. So I choose a book by one of my fav authors, or the cover, or the blurb on the back.
Interviewed by Morgan June 2006