by Anna Campbell
It is with huge pleasure that I introduce my dear friend and fellow Aussie, 2008 RITA Finalist Kelly Hunter.
Kelly is not only the author of sparkling, idiosyncratic, romantic books for Harlequin Presents Extra/Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation, she's also the President of Romance Writers of Australia. She's great fun to be around as you'll all discover when you read her answers to my interview questions.
If you'd like more information about Kelly and her books, check out her website.
Kelly, your current release is PLAYBOY BOSS, LIVE-IN MISTRESS which is out in the U.K. in December (you can order it here and not pay postage and packing). Can you tell us about this story?
Ah, yes. The pirate story. May as well be upfront with you from the start and confess a fascination with a certain Captain Jack Sparrow around the time I wrote this story. Boats appeared. Sydney Harbour. My hero became a corporate raider and developed something of a swagger. My heroine developed wiles worthy of Mae West. And yet buried beneath the romp is a wounded heroine, a patient hero, and a friends to lovers story that’s really kind of sweet.
They’re walking past an airport terminal soap shop:
‘What say we forgo your PA training for the next couple of hours and I meet you back on the plane?’
But the ancient Asian saleswoman had already made her move. ‘Come. Come,’ she said waving them into the shop proper. ‘It is good for the man to choose the soap for the woman. Choose now, benefit later, no?’
‘No,’ said Sienna, but the saleswoman ignored her.
‘This one,’ she said, and handed Lex a block of soap. Ylang ylang and lemongrass. Smell good, no?’
Lex sniffed. Considered. Decided. And all without giving Sienna a second glance. ‘No,’ he said as he handed the soap back to the woman. ‘She’s more of a rosehip kind of girl.’
‘I am not.’ said Sienna.
‘Rosehip and vanilla?’ said the saleswoman, picking up another block of soap and offering it to him. ‘This one you like?’
‘Hello,’ said Sienna. ‘Over here.’
‘Got anything with ginger in it?’ said Lex.
‘Sandalwood and ginger,’ said the woman and passed that one to him as well. ‘Also matching body lotion, hand cream, and shampoo.’
‘Sold,’ said Lex and produced a wallet from his trouser pocket. ‘Don’t bother wrapping it.’
‘How sweet,’ murmured Sienna. ‘You think we’re done here.’
‘We are done here. You wanted soap. You got soap, moisturiser, and shampoo. What more could you possibly need?’
This wasn’t about need. It was about shopping. Possibly about revenge. ‘There’s a men’s range.’
‘No,’ he said hastily.
‘Oh yes.’ Sienna studied him serenely.
The saleswoman studied him too. ‘So much hurry,’ she said. ‘Does he have airplane to catch?’
‘He just got off one.’ Lex opened his mouth to speak. ‘He’s about to tell you he already has soap,’ Sienna murmured. ‘Anyone would think he’s not a patient man.’
‘A man with no patience is like an ocean without fish,’ said the woman, and continued to study Lex. ‘Why even cast the net?’
‘I have fish,’ said Lex indignantly. ‘I have plenty of fish.’
Sounds like another winner coming up, Kelly. You are brilliant at dialogue, as I'm sure you've been told before! Your next release in America is May’s THE MAVERICK’S GREEK ISLAND MISTRESS, that U.K. and Australian readers already know as TAKEN BY THE BAD BOY. Can you give our U.S. Bandita Buddies a sneak peek at this story?
This is the third story in my Bennett Family series. This one features pilot Pete Bennett, little Greek islands, a goddess divine, a first kiss as it ought to be remembered, anticipation, frustration, seduction, expectations, and an unstoppable tumble into love. We're not talking anguish and heartache here. This one’s purely for fun, and you can find an excerpt here.
What’s next for Kelly Hunter?
Another Modern Heat story, set for release in July 09 in the U.K. This one’s set in a chateau in Champagne in France. It’s called MAVERICK MILLIONAIRE, HOUSEKEEPER'S DAUGHTER and beneath all the glamour and wealth it’s a simple coming home story.
Can you tell us about your writing journey?
I was first published in 2006 as a launch author for Mills and Boon’s Modern Extra subseries so I’m a relative newcomer to the writing business. I write two books a year and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the line I write for grow and expand into all the regular Harlequin world markets. At the moment the writing journey gets squeezed in between the day job and the demands of teenage sons, a husband, three dogs, four cows, chooks, a pig called Bella Mary, and a garden I can’t seem to leave alone. You can never have too many roses, I say. Bella Mary agrees.
You write for the Harlequin Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation/Presents Extra line. Can you tell us what differentiates this line? Any hints for aspiring writers targeting this line which seems very open to new authors?
There are excellent guidelines for the line, as well as an editor podcast that points out the similarities and differences between Modern Heat and Modern Romance, over at http://www.eharlequin.com My advice to myself whenever I sit down to write one is that even though these are lightweight feel good stories - easy on the tragedy and darkness - they still need a compelling emotional heart. Find it. Work it.
Can you take us through a day in the life of the fabulous Kelly Hunter?
Oh, that Kelly Hunter. She rises at ten to seven, gets everyone up, waits for teenage boys to ready themselves for school (that’s like watching grass grow), then drops them at school on the way to the day job. She dons lab coat, teaches eager university students about the joys of soil chemistry and physics (these are fantasy eager university students as opposed to the hungover and supremely uninterested ones who have been known to grace my lab) and finishes work at three. She then turns into after school Taxi mum, and arrives home two hours later with children in tow and also more mss words owing to fabulous mobile office (ie a laptop and a car). What’s for dinner? Erm... Teenage son takes pity on his mother and cooks… something. Family time happens. If I’m on deadline I’ll head up to bed around 9pm and write for a couple of hours. Occasionally I need incentive in order for this to happen. Chocolate. The promise of a new book to read after a certain amount of words have been writ. Wine. Sometimes I light a candle - one of those hideously expensive aromatherapy ones that smell divine but that you wouldn’t dare light for any old reason on account of it’s like watching money burn.
Kelly has very kindly offered one lucky commenter a copy of her latest witty, wonderful romance, PLAYBOY BOSS, LIVE-IN MISTRESS. Her question to the Banditas and Buddies is:
I’m always on the hunt for new incentives that’ll get me up those stairs and into the story. What are some of yours?
THE 12 DAYS OF BANDITA CHRISTMAS START TODAY! ONE LUCKY COMMENTER WILL WIN A BANDITS PRIZE EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY. THEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY, THERE'S A SUPER HAMPER OF BANDITA GOODIES GOING TO SOMEONE WHO TEARS THEMSELVES AWAY FROM THEIR PRESENTS LONG ENOUGH TO COMMENT ON OUR BLOG! SO GET COMMENTING, PEOPLE, AND MAY THE BEST ROOSTER WIN! HO, HO, HO!!!