Many years ago, I remember sharing Golden Heart anxieties with Kay as we both waited to hear if we made the finalist cut. Then Kay received the call from Harlequin and her writing career has taken off like a rocket. Known for her powerful emotion-packed Superromances, Kay delivers on her tag line "romance from my heart to yours" by tackling gritty topics like breast cancer and past sexual abuse. In the process she's been nominated for the Holt medallion, Book Buyer's Best, and last year - a RITA. Please welcome Kay Stockham to the Lair.
Kay, as a group that has either recently received "the call," or will in the near future, we always love a call story. Can you share yours?
Ah, memories. I got the call of February 11, 2005, about 1:34 - not that I remember or anything. I was curling my hair after a morning spent baking cupcakes for my daughter's Valentine's Day party at school. My husband gave me the phone and said, "It says Harlequin." My heart stopped. Seriously. I knew there was NO reason for anyone from Harlequin to be calling unless it was THE call. Johanna Raisanen, associate editor for Superromance, was on the other end, and sure enough those were the first words she said. She wanted to buy Saving Grace which would later be retitled MONTANA SECRETS. I was her first crier. LOL. After managing to explain that they were happy tears, she laughed, congratulated me again and said that she'd call back later after I'd had a chance to process things. LOL. She called back, we talked and the rest is history. Ten sales later, I'm on my third editor but Johanna will always hold a special place in my heart because she was the first one to really "get" my writing.
Ah, an insightful editor. I'm glad Johanna recognized your talent. MAN WITH A PAST was nominated for a RITA in 2007. What was that like?
It was thrilling! Thank goodness for Caller ID because the day the calls went out, I picked up the phone, looked at the screen and immediately sat down. I had to. No way was RWA calling me about the RITAs, right? LOL I received a lot of emails congratulating me, flowers from my agent, champagne from my publisher. Such a great, great time. Oh, and the dinner out with my editor and the other RITA noms from Superromance - it was fabulous! We had such a great time. Super had a wonderful showing last year, holding four of the eight spots. The downside for me was having my RITA flag stolen. I "still" get angry whenever I think about it. I want it back! Sigh. RWA told me they'd replace it at the SF conference and I'm going to guard that flag like it was 24 kt gold. If anyone even so much as looks at it twice, they're going to have one angry woman to deal with.
LOL - I doubt that will be your last RITA flag, Kay, but a warning for any banditas that might be nominated in 2008. Guard your flags! Of course, we have the heavily armed Cassondra watching our backs so maybe that won't be a concern.So what do you have on tap for this year?
My recent project has been The Tulanes of Tennessee series with Harlequin Superromance.
The first book in the five book series debuted yesterday with ANOTHER MAN'S BABY. (I laugh every time I type that - for two reasons. One: I'm still psyched that the series I pitched almost two years ago is going to be one on the shelves. Two: my father HATES the title. LOL Every time he sees it he shakes his head and scowls.)HANNAH'S CHOICE in the POWER OF LOVE will be released in June.
And after that is HIS SON'S TEACHER in July 2008. It features a recently divorced, overweight school teacher desperate to find her inner diva and take her dream vacation to Paradise Island, and Nick Tulane, the black sheep of the Tulane family introduced in book 1. We find out exactly what kinds of secrets Nick is hiding and, boy, they're doozies! Following them are Luke (March 2009, Ethan (July 2009) and Alexandra (November 2009).
Good Heavens, girl - When do you sleep! That's quite a line-up. Can you tell us more about the POWER OF LOVE?
Absolutely! The POWER OF LOVE anthology is the brainchild of NYT Bestselling author Lori Foster. Lori and Dianne Castell put on this great reader/author event every June and they pick a local charity to receive the proceeds of the event. The idea snowballed and Lori wanted to do something special for the Battered Women's Shelter. She chose twelve lucky authors to contribute novellas to THE POWER OF LOVE and the authors and their agents have ALL donated their earnings to the cause. Each of the novellas for THE POWER OF LOVE focus on women being empowered in their lives, and I am so thrilled to be asked to be a part of it. Hannah's Choice is my contribution, and begins with Hannah Pruitt jumping off a bridge to retrieve a large bag she's seen a man dump into the canal. Given her past, Hannah is suspicious of what might be inside. She's no longer a victim and jumping in just proves it. Hannah's come home to Orchard, Ohio to face her past and the man she was too afraid to love, but the question is whether or not she's strong enough now to make the right choice.
One of the absolute wonders of publishing a book is fan mail. With your emotional stories, I'm sure they've touched many hearts. Are you receiving lots of fan mail?
I'm not sure I'd say "a lot" but I get my fair share. I love the letters and notes, too. I keep every one of them and post some of them on my website under my Reader Comments section. I've only written a couple authors about their books, so I feel very special to be on the receiving end of those notes. Which makes me wonder... We all know blogs are supposed to end with a thought-provoking question so here's mine:
How many of you have written an author to tell them how much you've enjoyed their book? And if you haven't, why not? I'd love to hear the different views on this. To help entice comments, I'll choose a name from those who post and they'll receive an autographed copy of ANOTHER MAN'S BABY.
Enjoy your day! Here in Ohio we're still digging out of the snow. I'll be popping in to chat and hope you'll keep me company.