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Stone, Kira

Let's take the opportunity to ask Kira a few questions

NS: Forget about the 51% of all books sales being romance, why is romance the central thread connecting all your stories?

Security (shelter), food and love are the three things that make us who we are. How we go about fulfilling those needs. Apparently I have more to say about love than money, so that’s where my stories drift. *g*

NS: In Why We Read What We Read by John Heath & Lisa Adams, the authors complained about romances being about an innocent virgin dominated by a strong male. What would you have to say to these writers who claim to pontificate on the nature of current romance novels without actually doing the research?

As little as possible. There’s no point in arguing with an unarmed opponent. If they can’t be bothered to do the research, then I don’t feel the need to take the time to educate them. Today’s readers know better… and I love them for it.

NS: Going back to Heath and Adams, they commented that the typical romance reader is a sad creature in a dead end relationship and must seek escapism via a romance novel. What’s your take since you interact with your fans on a regular basis?

You can’t pigeon-hole readers any more than you can writers. There might be one or two of that kind among the crowd, but the vast majority of romance readers are happy, intelligent, lively people… and not all of them are women. ;-) Reading a book is about relaxing the mind, finding pleasure between the pages. That doesn’t mean it can’t be found within their own lives too.

NS: What makes for a good heroine in your opinion?

The antithesis of anyone who is “too stupid to live.” She can be tricked, but not manipulated. Above all, she needs to be human. Someone the readers can relate to.

NS: What characteristics are modern day women looking for in a male protagonist?

Again, I don’t think you can pigeon-hole it. Everyone is looking for something different. The idea is to create a hero that is “real” to the reader… if you can make them believe that the heroine falls for him, chances are they will too.

NS: Books have evolved from the traditional romance genre with the young virgin seduced by the older, experienced man to be replaced by books focusing on close female relationships, older women retuning to the world of romance and feisty females who seduce the man. How do you think the romance novel will evolve even more?

Good question. It’s possible that old themes will return, like old styles coming back into fashion. However, I like to think that authors will continue to reach for new dimensions. GBLT fiction is gaining in popularity and I like to think that some day there will be no boundaries when it comes to romance.

NS: Why paranormal? There has to be a reason why the paranormal genre has taken off like wildfire, what’s your take?

Escapism, in part. To be taken to a world beyond what you know. I also think it allows us to break the rules, defy convention. Things can happen in a paranormal setting that are considered taboo for mere humans. It is both the thrill and the unknown that makes it appealing.

NS: Where does your inspiration come from? Do you see a couple arguing on the street and mentally store the dialogue until you find paper?

LOL. Yes, in part. News stories, conversations with friends, grocery shopping. Every moment of the day my brain is soaking up bits and pieces to add to my creative pot… and then when I least expect it the mental kettle boils over into a fresh new idea.

NS: Why write? What drives you to write? Could you not write without suffering physical consequences?

Writing isn’t a choice for me, it’s a matter of survival. If I don’t write, then I can’t purge the thousands of conversations and scenes in my head. When it gets too crowded up there, I can’t focus on real world things, like getting off at the right freeway exit or putting on my shoes before I walk outside -- in winter. (Yes, I really have done both those things…)

NS: How did you get your first real break?

I was looking for a crit partner and happened to join an online group that was forming. Can’t even remember now how I heard about it. One of the ladies involved was Willa Okati. I fell in love with her writing from the beginning. She taught me how to finish what I started… and how to let it go without polishing it to death. She is directly responsible for my first sale -- Devil’s Man at Changeling Press.

NS: It has been said that persistence in more important than genius in the world of writing. What's your take on it?

You need both, equally. Without persistence, you’ll never get published. Without creative ideas, you’ll never have a book worthy of being published. In both cases, there are skills you can learn to aid you with both. However, without creativity and drive your reception in the literary world will be luke-warm at best.

NS: If you branch off into another genre, what would it be?

Hmmm… I’ve written about vamps and werewolves, fantasy and sci-fi, historical and futuristic and urban fantasy. I’ve done witches and demons and a whole host of other creatures. I have a few contemporary works in progress. About the only thing I haven’t tackled in one way or another is BDSM. Maybe some day…

NS: What is your favorite book(s)? Why?

The book at the top of my Favorites list changes often. I think Willa Okati’s Chain of Three holds the top place most often. I cry every time I read that one. Fortune’s Star by Morgan Hawke is another I revisit often because I learn something every time I read her books, as well as being thoroughly entertained.

NS: You're heading off on vacation. You must pack up a few good books. What do you look for in buying a book? (Keep in mind, these are books you haven't read yet.)

My To Be Read pile is so big that I’d need a year long vacation to catch up. LOL. The books I’d pick would be ones by my favorite authors. Next, I’d look at my email folder that holds excerpts of books that sounded interesting to me. If I still had room in my suitcase, I’d look for books from houses I want to publish with… picking titles based on the blurbs.

Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me, Morgan. It was a great deal of fun, and very interesting/thought provoking questions.

Interviewed by Morgan October 2007