Monday, September 21, 2009


interviewed by Suzanne

Bandits and readers let me introduce you to my friend, Celya Bowers. Welcome to the Lair Ceyla, pull up a cushy chair and I'm sure we can find a cabana boy around here to bring us some refreshments!

ANYTHING BUT LOVE is one of my favorite Celya Bowers books. Can you give us a little look into the story?

Celya: ANYTHING BUT LOVE is a contemporary romance about two very A-type personalities who don’t want to date, but end up doing just that. Kendall Matthews is a very talented doctor in a prestigious hospital. Her world get turned upside down when her past comes back to greet her. Coletrane Highpoint was her first love and now he was back in town. He hadn’t noticed Kendall when she 16, but he notices her now at the tender age of 40.

Suz: Your heroine and hero have a past history. How did that mold them into the people they are now? And how does it affect their relationships both together and with other people?

Celya: Kendall always carried the hurt of Cole’s dismissive attitude toward her all these years. It formed her into the very focused woman she is now. She’s determined not to let another hurt her again. At first Cole can’t understand why Kendall has such an attitude about him, but when he realizes she was still harboring ill feelings from the past. He tries to rectify it.

Suz: Both characters have strong family ties. Is this important to you to show that part of their lives?

Celya: I’m very close to my family. I couldn’t imagine not speaking to someone in my family at least weekly. There’s such negative images of the African-American family, I’d like to show the world that there are still solid families on this earth. All my books have strong family ties.

Suz: Your secondary characters also have a second parallel love story. Do you feel that adds to the richness of the main story?

Celya: Yes, I do. I think it helps adds a much needed layer to a romance. Nothing is worse than being so focused on someone else’s romance you don’t realize you’ve fallen in love yourself.

Suz: So what's next for Celya Bowers?

Celya: My latest release is a Celya Bowers book and is called 2 GOOD.

2 GOOD features a plus size heroine, Madisyn O'Riley and wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, Aidan Coles. Madisyn is tired of playa-playas and wants to find just one good man. She's had her fill of two legged dogs. When she volunteers at Aidan's charity, she can't believe that he's actually interested in her. Aidan is immediately attracted to Madisyn because she's not swayed by his wealth. Is she 2 Good to be true? When her security is threatened by an ex-lover, Aidan jumps at the chance to show her how much he wants her. Madisyn had begun to think men like Aidan didn't exist anymore, but is so glad she was wrong.

Suz: Can't wait to read 2 GOOD. I love football players as heroes! You also write as Kennedy Shaw. What’s up next for her?

Celya: The next book by Kennedy Shaw is called TOUR OF DUTY, and
will be released December 2009. This is a romantic suspense and is concerning unauthorized military testing with our troops in Iraq. It features high school sweethearts Mikerra Stone and Drake Harrington. This story is set in Wright City, Texas. Mikerra has a secret. She's been living in New York working as an editor, and seeing a married man. Now that man wants her dead. Mikerra returns to her hometown for safety. She never dreamed she'd run into Drake. He still habors bad feelings toward her for the break-up. Drake is a an army ranger, home on leave after a tour in Iraq. Unfortunately, he's been suffering from headaches since his return from the desert. The one person who holds the key to his headaches is the same person who broke his heart all those years ago. Can he put his hurt aside and listen to Mikerra?

Suz: Why do you write as two different pseudonyms? What is the advantage in doing that?

Celya: Kennedy Shaw’s story are usually set in the fictious city of Wright City, Texas. Every now and then Kennedy Shaw will have something different.

I wanted to keep those stories separate from Celya Bowers.

When you write totally different stories, it’s best to do it under a different name, so your loyal readers won’t be offended.

Suz: What do you see as the advantages of being a romance writer who happens to be African American? The disadvantages?

Celya: When I first started writing, there weren’t many African American romances out there. Now there’s more opportunities for writers of color, which I’m so grateful for. I try to write uplifting stories that give a reader hope. That’s why they’re paying to read my book. Escapism, but with the thought “hey, this could be me.”

To me the biggest disadvantage is that most mainstream readers think the minute they see AA on the cover, it’s going to be a story about the hood, drug dealers, and so on. I don’t write those kind of stories, because frankly, I don’t know that life style. I don’t write about baby mama drama, baby daddy drama. That’s just not my cup of tea. I write from my heart and things that occur around me. None of my friends are doing drugs, so I can’t write about that.

I guess I would like people to see my books as just romances. I don’t want it labeled a black romance just because of the color of the characters.

Suz: So dear readers, do you read books by authors who write under more than one pseudonym? Do you like when the authors use different names to differentiate which type of book you'll be reading? Celya will be giving away a signed copy of one of her books to one lucky commenter today!


limecello said...

Hi Celya, thanks for visiting with us today! Interesting interview - and to answer your question...
Yes I do read authors who write under more than one name -although I suppose not many. More authors who write in multiple genres under the same name.
I however, think it is *extremely important* that the author makes it clear to the reader if he/she is branching out into a different genre, however, so sometimes different pen names is a good thing.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Celya! Great to meet you and learn about your books--the stories sounds intriguing, and I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for them! Like Limecello, I do read authors who write under multiple names, but I do also prefer both to know what all those pen names are *and* to know what type of book I'll be getting with each of those. I don't always appreciate surprises ;) but I do love following an author across genres or wherever her muse leads her :)

Congrats on the GR, Lime!

Virginia said...

Hi Celya, interesting post. Yes I do read authors that have different pen names, but I like to know who they are. I prefer them to use the same name, because it can get confusing. I can see why authors do this but sometimes its hard to keep up with who they are or maybe I just have a pea brain! Some authors use several pen names and this gets confusing.

Minna said...

Virginia took words out of my mouth. I too read authors that have different pen names, but too many names can get confusing.

Lynz Pickles said...

Hi, Ceyla! What an interesting question at the end there... I also read books by authors who use pen names, but I'm not sure whether I like the idea or not. On the one hand, it's nice to be able to tell which genre a book is by the author's name. On the other hand, there are quite a few authors using pen names for different genres/series, and sometimes it can get really confusing. I think lime (congrats on the GR, btw!) nailed it what's most important - that the author is very clear about what they're publishing under the pen name. It also has to be easy for me to connect the different names. I can think of at least one author whose historicals I love who uses a pen name for urban fantasy... but her website isn't obvious about it. She has a completely seperate website for the two genres/names, and I only stumbled across the second by accident.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime, he might be jetlagged today after flying back from Oz. Cut him a bit of slack!

Suz and Celya, what an interesting interview. I really enjoyed your take on AA romance, Celya. And man, did they give you a sexy cover for your latest book or what? That bath picture is just...yum!!!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, Limecello! Congrats on getting te GR today. Got any plans for the wiley bird?

I'm a big fan of people who write in different genres using different names. One of my favorites is Jayne Anne Krentz. I was always fascinated by how she sounded so different to me as Amanda Quick, JAK and as Jayne Castle!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Fedora!

I'm like you, I'll follow an author across genres, too. Especially if they go from historical to contemporary or to paranormal. I'm not much of a YA author, so I don't follow authors there, too much.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Virginia!

If an author has a strong voice or writing style, then I will follow them whereever they go under one name. But, if they are going to change style, sensuality or voice, I'd like to be warned by a change in name...but that's just me.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, Minna!

Another good example of an author who has destinctive stories with different names for me is Sherrilyn Kenyon who writes as Kinley McGregor.

It helps me know if it's a paranormal or an historical.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Lynz!

When you stumbled upon the second website, were you happy to have more books by that particular author? Sort of like finding treasure?

...speaking of treasure, I think we might have some buried in the lair somewhere...hmmm, Oh Lars...let's go digging while the other Banditas are sleeping!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Anna C!

How are things down in Oz today?

I loved reading Anything But Love, and agree the picture was too hawt! The relationship between Cole and Kendall was HAWT, too!!

I'll be picking up a copy of 2 Good, too! But then I'm a little partial to the plus-size heroines!

Jane said...

Hi Celya and Suzanne,
I do read books by authors who write under more then one pseudonym. I like it when an author uses a different name for different books. It makes it easier for me to know which genre a particular book is.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Celya - welcome to our Lair! Thanks for hosting her, Suz! What a fascinating interview.

And I love a writer who gives us sports heroes!! Will be picking up your latest - even if he is a Cowboy (diehard 'Skins fan here *g*)

I think it's a great idea that writers differentiate their different writing genres/styles by using different names. Nothing worse than picking up a fave author only to find the book isn't what you want to read. eg I love Maggie Shayne's Brands' series for Silhouette and her romantic suspenses, but I wouldn't read her vampire or paranormal stuff. Although, because it's Maggie Shayne, I might be prepared to give them a try, just because I love her writing.

I like knowing the different pseudonyms too, so I can make an informed decision, but I don't hold it against them *g*.

Emmanuelle said...

Hi Ceyla, Welcome !!
Very interesting interview. I've never read any of your books but you really intrigued me. I can't wait to read one of them.
About author's names, well I don't know if I care or not, if it's a good thing or not... I think it means I really don't mind after all ;-)

Helen said...

Congrats limcello have fun with him he will be rested we didn't do much yesterday but he did have a few Tim Tams so he may be a bit over active

Hi Celya and thanks Suz for inviting Celya to the lair. WOW these books sound great the TBR pile is going to grow again LOL. I too love the cover I love the bath.

I follow authors from one genre to another and I really love reading all genres now so the answer is a yes.

Have Fun

Wendy said...

Great interview! I'm especially intrigued by having multiple identities. I have to think it gets confusing sometimes ...

That said, I'm definitely glad when authors use the different names. I read J.D. Robb, but not Nora (blasphemy, right?); I read Amanda Quick, but not Jayne Castle. While I could probably figure out which books I would want to read based on the back cover blurb, the pseudonym is a great heuristic.

Good luck, Celya! Both of your "selves" write outstanding stories. :)

Laurie said...

I'm not in favor of pen names for different genres. If they decide to use a pen name I do like the authors to note note on their websites or on the covers their more famous name so that I can relate the two.

A few additional authors who recently branched into other genres with pen names:
Lori Foster/LL Foster, Leslie Kelly/LeslieParrish,
Elizabeth Hoyt/Julia Harper,
Suznna Carr/Jenesi Ash

I do not need to have a pen name. For example: Susan Wiggs I will read her historicals and contempories. You can tell by the back cover what time period the book will be set in. Christina Dodd has contemps and paras under her regular name.
Linda Lael Miller has a bit of everything under her name.
Heather Graham too.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jane! See, I agree with you about the multiple genres under different names. Like Celya said, it sort of lets the reader know up front which kind of story they're getting!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning Anna S! How are things "across the pond"?

I knew you'd like the sports hero! Must be the hockey hunks of yours talking in your ear. :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning, Emmanuelle!

I think you'll like Celya's books. I thoroughly enjoyed ANYTHING BUT LOVE and will be looking for 2 GOOD at the bookstore.

By the way, if y'all want to order Celya's books, just click on the covers in the post and it will take you right to to order them! Same goes with any of the Bandita covers. :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, Helen! I know why that GR loves to hang out with you! It's all those Tim Tams you feed him.:)

You definitely have to add Celya's books to your TBR pile Helen! They have a nice spiciness to them, with multiple story lines throughout!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Wendy!

It's not Blasphemy. I read Nora, but not J.D. Robb. I read all of Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregors, and Amanda Quick/ JAK, but not the Jayne Castles either. Saves me time at the bookstore when I'm buying, too!

Suzanne Welsh said...

morning, Laurie!

I'm the same way with Julie Garwood and Linda Lael Miller. I'll follow them from historicals to contemporaries and back again. Same with Jodi Thomas!

Tracy Garrett said...

Hi Celya! I so enjoy your stories - and Anything for Love looks wonderful.

Do you live near any of your family or have to subsist on phone calls? Now that I live close to my parents, I'm realizing how wonderful that is and family is making a come back in my writing, too.

Addison Fox said...

Hi Celya!

I can't wait to read 2 GOOD - football heroes = yummy in my book! :-)

To writing under multiple names - I absolutely understand the marketing reasons for it, but I also find that it's an author's voice that really draws me. To echo Suz about Jayne Ann Krentz - I read her across all three names and love each and every one of them. The content of the stories is slightly different, but it's clearly Jayne's voice in all three.


jo robertson said...

Very interesting interview, Suzanne and Celya. Welcome to the Lair, Celya!

Your books sound as if they deal with universal issues. I like that and will certainly pick up one.

Can you tell us something about your path to writing? Did or do you have a dreadful day job? What brought you to this career?

MsHellion said...

Yes, I do read books where the authors writes under two names. (Sometimes I do it inadvertently. *LOL* You can't underestimate the power of VOICE.)

Celya, your books sound wonderful! And I think you definitely got blessed with by the Cover Goddess with your Anything But Love and 2 Good covers. YUMMY!

Kirsten said...

Hi Celya -- your books sound great! I can definitely see the value in having a pseudonym. I write adult romance and young adult fantasy, and I definitely want to keep those two personnas different. And as limecello says, you want to make sure to satisfy your reader expectations -- sometimes the easiest way to do that is to give yourself a new name!

Good luck with your books -- I can't wait to get one into my TBR pile!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Tracy G!

Tracy has classes right now, but will hopefully join us afterwards.

Do you find being close to family helpful or intrusive to the writing process now?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey there Addison!

I've always been partial to football players as heroes. Why do you suppose that is? Perhaps they're what we consider modern day gladiators?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jo!

One of the things I loved about Celya's ANYTHING BUT LOVE was the secondary love story between Kendall's phsyician's assitant and her receptionist.Very poignant and well handled by Celya. AND a totally different love story than the main one for Kendall and Cole.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Ms. Hellion!

Yes, I do read books where the authors writes under two names. (Sometimes I do it inadvertently. *LOL* You can't underestimate the power of VOICE.)..

So does this make for a pleasant surprise for you when you discover the two authors are the same person?

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Celya! Thanks for visiting the lair today! Your work--under both names--sounds wonderful. I love stories about people whose exteriors don't necessarily mesh, but whose hearts do. I'll be picking up a copy of 2 Good ASAP. :)

I'm interested to know how you handle publicity & promotion while writing under two different names. Is there any cross-over between your audiences (and therefore your publicity), or do you keep the two absolutely separate? I know some authors have a dual website that showcases both their personalities, & some keep them divided. How to do you manage it?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Kirsten!

I was wondering if you were going to do a different name for the YA fantasies. Talk about a totally different audience and needing name recognition for it!

Anna Campbell said...

Things in Oz are fine and dandy, Miss S! Thank you for asking!

Anna Campbell said...

Although I hear there was a natural disaster they're blaming on a...CHICKEN down Sydney way yesterday. I'm disclaiming all knowledge, even though the GR rang for bail!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Susan!

I love stories about people whose exteriors don't necessarily mesh, but whose hearts do. I'll be picking up a copy of 2 Good ASAP. :)...

Isn't it great when the heart wins out over preconceived ideas?

MsHellion said...

So does this make for a pleasant surprise for you when you discover the two authors are the same person?

Oh, yeah, though I feel like a dumbass for not catching on sooner. *LOL*

The only thing I don't like that some authors who write in two book lines--if they CROSS the book worlds. Let me be specific. Say you write historicals under one name; and you write paranormal contemporaries (say Vampires) in another. Now say in the historical you kill off a "main character" but at the end of the historical, you make it clear the main character is actually now a vampire.

THAT ANNOYS ME. That's cheating. That's totally pulling a Steven Spielberg.

But if you're just writing two types of books, say a contemporary Christian fiction and an erotica--I say go for it. (Though I may be intrigued by a Christian fic with erotica overtones...will need to think on that more.)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Celya. Welcome to the Lair! Your books sounds interesting, and I have to say I'm a big fan of secondary romances in books. I really like reading them, too.

Well, Suz, since I write under two names, I guess I have to say "yes" to your question about whether I like authors who do. LOL. :)

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Celya! Your books sound wonderful *g*

With so many different projects, do you work on more than one story at a time or do you finish one before moving on?

Great interview, ladies :-)

celyabowers said...

Hello romance bandits,
I'm very honored to be here today. So many questions! I see that I'm not alone in loving Nora but luke warm toward JD Robb. I love Jayne Krentz, hadn't really read Amanda Quick. The second name was my editor's (uhem) suggestion. He thought it would confude the readers if the books came out too close together.

celyabowers said...

My three older siblings live in Tyler. My other siblings live in the Dallas area. No matter what we talk almost daily. If one finds out something before the other that's a mess. I find it's better to go down the line and call everybody, so no one gets left out. I wouldn't change that for anything in the world.

celyabowers said...

For my writing style. I would called it uncoventional. I write when the spirit hits me. Like right now I'm attending classes full time to get my bachelor degree, so I haven't been writing much novel wise. Normally, an idea pops into my brain and refuses to leave until I've at least thought out a decent plot. I don't do character arcs, I just write. That's what I use revisions for.

celyabowers said...

My path to writing has been a long one. I've probably been writing all my life. I had super strict parents. I didn't get the courage to start getting published until I heard about DARA. Before that I would have never shown any one what I was working on. I sold my first novel in 2003 to BET/Harlequin. I've sold ten more since then.

catslady said...

I think it's a great idea to write under different names. That way there are no surprises and you get the genre that you want. Most people learn the names of their favorite authors so it's not like they are hiding something lol.

celyabowers said...


My approach to publicity is a little different. Most will say keep the pen names separate, but I wanted my Celya Bowers people to know about Kennedy Shaw and vice versa. So I have one site with two names. Running two sites was too much for me to handle while trying to write and go to college, and work part time. Maybe when I'm not working I may go back to the two site thing, but it's been working pretty well so far.

ddurance said...

I certainly understand the use of different pen names, though as others have said, it can be confusing. The author's website should include all pen names and books written under each name.


Suzanne Welsh said...

Well, Suz, since I write under two names, I guess I have to say "yes" to your question about whether I like authors who do. LOL. :)...

Well hey Trisha/Trish! I was pretty sure you'd be weighing on the pro side of the subject! And with YA vs Adult Romances, the need for a different name is very clear to me, and I'm sure your readers as well.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Celya!!

The Bandits are very happy to have you with us. Being in school does limit the writing time, doesn't it? Just like work time...speaking of which...I'll chek on y'all later, but am off to deliver some more babies...(Fall starts today, so another month and my night job should slow down! Thank goodness!!)

Have fun!

Nancy said...

Hi, Celya, and welcome! Your two different personas and their work sound fabulous. I find myself gravitating more toward characters with history than I used it. It launches the conflict quickly.

Suz, a fun interview!

Limecello, congrats on the rooster.

Nancy said...

Fedora, I also like "following" authors as they move into different genres, but I like having the different names on the covers to alert me as to what kind of book I'm picking up. Bookstore shelving generally does that, but the jumble in my house then un-does it.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Celya,

Thanks for visiting the Lair! I
read several authors who write
under different names. I am so
appreciative because they keep
me from buying a book I would not
enjoy reading with the different
names. Most of these authors do
write in genres I do not read,
such as really dark paranormals.
Good luck with your writing!

Pat Cochran

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Celya! I'm late to the party, but I love the sound of your books.

Lime, congrats on the rooster!

Suz, great post. :>

To answer your questions, I love authors writing under different pseudonyms as a way to differentiate their styles. I love the sound of the stories you write.

I'm so there with 2 Good. Oh, my. That cover is to die for and I'm all over football player heroes. Grins.

I also love the sound of Tour of Duty. :> I love RomSusp. Grins. But you probably know that if you follow the blog at all.

celyabowers said...

Hello everyone,

I have had a blast on the blog today. Unfortunately homework calls and I must say good bye to you all. Thanks to Suz for giving me this awesome opportunity and thanks to you for giving the chance to blog. I was a first timer, and you guys were great.

Have a great evening,


Christine Wells said...

Celya, welcome to the lair! Your books sound great. Suz, thanks for inviting Celya to visit us and for a thoughtful interview. I think love and romance is a universal theme, isn't it?

As for pseudonyms, I like it when authors distinguish different brands, especially in genre fiction. Somehow, part of the experience of reading commercial fiction is the fulfilment of expectation. If I expect A and get B, I'll probably be disappointed, even though in a different mood I would have enjoyed B very much.

Limecello, congrats on the Golden Rooster!