Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Bliss-ful Day in the Lair

hosted by Beth

Please help me welcome the fabulous Karina Bliss to the lair! Karina's latest release for Harlequin Superromance is STAND-IN WIFE. Here's the back cover:

Playing with dynamite, a girl could get burned…

What the hell does he know about love and marriage? And exactly how did he, Ross Coltrane - a special forces elite soldier and demolitions expert, for God's sake - end up playing middle man to his kid brother and the estranged wife who'd cheated on the guy? And most important, why is he suddenly noticing how beautiful his sister-in-law is? He's never thought about his brother's wife… that way …before.

And then he figures it out and everything makes sense: this tantalizing woman is the other twin! The two identical sisters have pulled a twin swap and duped everyone around them. Furious much? Oh, yeah. Poised to bring down their plan, Ross hesitates. Something about Viv's courage, compassion and optimism get to him. Except he's not a man who has feelings. Everyone calls him the Iceman. He doesn't know how to be anything else….


And check out this excerpt on Karina's website: http://www.karinabliss.com/standinwife.html and another one on eHarlequin: http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?itemid=24193&cid=416 You won't be disappointed!

Here's Karina:

Every book idea I’ve had has started as the hero’s story.

I thought every writer worked that way until I participated in a miniseries with Tara Taylor Quinn, Kathleen O’Brien and Janice Kay Johnson. Each of us was given free rein with our focal character. Tara and Kathleen chose heroine-centric books; Janice and I opted for hero-centric books. No one talked about it, we simply ‘knew’ whose story it was going to be.

That made me think about who carries the book for me as a reader – you guessed it. It’s the hero. I’ve talked to other readers who’ve said to give any book an A grade, the writer has to get the heroine right first.

The strange thing about my bias toward the hero is that you’d expect the opposite from my background. I’m the eldest of five girls and I went to a single-sex girls’ school. How come I find it so much easier to slip into a guy’s point of view? I think it’s because I don’t judge the hero’s actions/reactions as much as I judge my heroine’s which makes him easier for me to write. Or maybe it’s because I’m ‘being’ another character instead of shoe-horning myself into my heroine. Probably it’s because coming from an all-female background invested men with a mysterious, magical quality that translates well into writing dream heroes!

Having said all that, something weird happened with my ninth book for SuperRomance. A free-spirited heroine popped into my head and said, “Look I don’t care what you think your creative process is, missy, this is my story. So give me your strongest alpha hero and watch me bring that man to his knees.”

So I did, and she did.

In Stand-In Wife, Vivienne Jansen says things like this to the hero, Ross Coltrane: "I'm a very truthful person, but if the greater good is best served by a lie then I'll tell it."
Which is how this single New York-based costume designer ends up in a twin swap with her sister - a nurse and single mother of two. You can read an excerpt on my website: www.karinabliss.com

So who’s the most important character for you in a romance? The hero or the heroine?

Karina's giving away a signed copy of STAND-IN WIFE today so let's hear from you!

69 comments:

Sheree said...

Hi! Mostly the heroine. IF I can't stand her, I can't stand the book.

Helen said...

Well done Sheree have fun with him

Hi Karina

Love the sound of this book as for me I tend to lean towards the Hero as well but I do love a sassy strong heroine as well. I am the eldest of 4 girls no brothers for me either maybe there is something to that.

Congrats on the release I look forward to reading this one. Thanks Beth for inviting Karina along today.

Have Fun
Helen

Karina Bliss said...

Hi Sheree, see I can forgive the heroine a lot, maybe because she's my place-holder, so she needs more leeway to make mistakes. Having said that, there's nothing more annoying that a heroine who doesn't deserve a fabulous hero. Which calls into question his judgement...which calls into question the book. Guess we are singing from the same hymn book.

Karina Bliss said...

Helen, interesting that you're from a family of girls too and favor the hero. It definitely made boys more fascinating to me growing up.

Karina Bliss said...

Everyone it's close to ten pm in New Zealand and I've got the flu so having an early night. I'll be back in the morning, and will follow up any comments then.

Maureen said...

I would have to say the heroine is most important to me. I am usually more interested in her and her journey but, of course, if she's picking a hero that I can't stand then I'm not happy about that either.

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Karina! So glad to have you with us today, but I'm sorry you're not feeling well.

Feel better soon!

Beth Andrews said...

Hey, Sheree! Congrats on nabbing the Golden Rooster *g*

I wonder if that's because as women, we can relate to the heroine more? Or perhaps we're just tougher critics when it comes to other females?

Hmm...and these musings are way too deep for me when I've only had one cup of coffee :-)

Beth Andrews said...

Hi, Helen! Wonder if there is something to being raised surrounded by females that makes the hero more important to you. Very interesting *g*

Deb said...

Hi, Karina and Beth! I hope you are feeling up to par soon, Karina.

This is a tough question. I have to like both the hero and the heroine in a story for it to evolve into a believable HEA for me. An arrogant hero can be swayed by love and a good woman, so I'm going to have to say that I think the heroine is important in a story because if she's a brat or a ninny or a shrew, forget it! I don't want someone like that to deserve having the hero in the end. ;)

Janga said...

Will I sound too much like a fawning fangirl if I say that I love Karina Bliss books? What the Librarian Did was one of my top ten reads of 2010. I even persuaded a friend who doesn't read categories to read it, and she liked it so much that she reviewed it, something she rarely does.

What's most important to me is believing in the HEA, and to do so I need to see both the hero and heroine as strong, multi-dimensional characters who deserve one another. I have read a couple of books recently that I liked despite feeling that the hero had too many jerkish moments. Perhaps my enjoyment despite my dissatisfaction with the hero suggests that, if I have to choose, the heroine is more important to me.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Sheree - great rooster nab!

Long distance hugs Karina on the flu. Feeling sick makes the littlest thing so difficult.

When reading a book, I slip into the heroine's character but I find I enjoy writing the hero's character more. Does that make sense? I have two older brothers that banter back and forth. I find I pick up a lot of that bantering between men in my books. Okay - not sure of the how and why, but the process is magical to me. LOL

This book sounds very intriguing to me. I'm going to have to give it a try.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Karina! Welcome to the Bandit Lair! Thanks Beth for bringing Karina to visit.

I love twin switch stories. Will be adding this to my TBB list.

As for the most important character in a romance? Uhm, both. Give me a big whopping alpha hero every time...but oh yeah, he'd better have a heroine who can match him. I'm not saying she has to be kick-ass.

To me she has to have a core strength that brings out the best in him, tone down the over alpha parts, make him loveable. He in turn will want to please her and keep her safe, because she has his heart.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Karina, my biggest long distance sympathy on the flu. Been righting a summer bout of it in the Texas heat this week! Hope you're better soonest.

Laney4 said...

Like Donna, I too slip into the heroine's shoes, both when reading the book and when dreaming about it later. (Isn't that WHY a person reads romances, LOL?)
I too want to find something redeemable about the hero, but with most of the other characters as well - especially when a family is involved. What can I say.... I prefer the cup half full ... I always seem to be making lemonade ... yada yada yada.
Feel better soon, Karina. God bless.

Cathy P said...

I find myself relating to the heroine in books, or seeing myself in her place. If she isn't deserving to be a heroine, then I don't like the book. The hero is always important as well, because I can see myself (the heroine) falling in love with the hero and making him love me in return.

Hope you are feeling better Karina!

Minna said...

Well, usually it's the heroine. Although most often, if I can't stand the heroine, then I usually don't care very much about the hero either. And vice versa.

ClaudiaGC said...

Cograts on your new release, Karina! Can't wait to read it! I can't really decide who is the more important character for me. I think I need both. I love to be "in the hero's head", to be able to see his point-of-view. I love that especially when the hero's thoughts are really guy-like. ;) But I wouldn't want to miss the heroine's point-of-view, too.

Beth Andrews said...

I am usually more interested in her and her journey but, of course, if she's picking a hero that I can't stand then I'm not happy about that either.

Hey, Maureen! Good point about not being happy with a heroine you like choosing to be with a hero you don't like (or vice versa *g*) I do think it's easier sometimes to relate to the heroine's journey in a story :-)

Karina Bliss said...

Maureen, are there qualities in a heroine that have to be there for you to relate to her.
For me, heroes have to have an element of rogue, a dry sense of humor, a personal honor code, intelligence and self-honesty. Wow, don't ask much do I!

Karina

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

I love a strong and fun heroine, but the hero has to be yummy. When he kisses the heroine, I get all melty-wishing I was her!

Karina Bliss said...

Beth, thanks for the welcome. I'd be interested to know if your ideas evolve from the hero or heroine's story. Is there one point of view you find easier to write. I'm guessing there are some authors who are ambidexterous, haven't found one yet though.

Beth Andrews said...

I don't want someone like that to deserve having the hero in the end. ;)

Hi, Deb! I agree. This is why I actually like the ending to Gone with the Wind. While I agree Scarlett grew throughout the story, I never believed she'd changed enough to warrant ending up with Rhett. Of course, this was from reading the book so maybe if I'd just seen the movie I'd feel differently *g*

Beth Andrews said...

Will I sound too much like a fawning fangirl if I say that I love Karina Bliss books?

Janga, I say fawn away *g* You're not alone. I think Karina's books are fantastic!

What's most important to me is believing in the HEA, and to do so I need to see both the hero and heroine as strong, multi-dimensional characters who deserve one another.

That's a really good point. I've read plenty of books where I haven't quite warmed up to either the hero or the heroine but I could see what they saw in the other person and why they would want to be together.

Karina Bliss said...

Deb, if the heroine has to deserve the hero, then may I venture to say you may have a hero bias? An easy way to find out is to think of your favorite books...which character comes to mind first?
In keeper books both characters are always superb - thinking of three of mine, it's Laura Kinsale's Flowers From the Storm, SEP's It Had To Be You, Georgette Heyer's Devil's Cub but it's that skip of glee I get thinking about the hero that makes them special FIRST. The Duke of Jerveaulx, Dan Calebow and Vidal. Then I get to Maddie, Phoebe and Mary.

Beth Andrews said...

Okay - not sure of the how and why, but the process is magical to me. LOL

Donna, I love when the magic happens, don't you? *g* I think it's great you pick up that brotherly banter from your own brothers! Makes me wish my brothers bantered more :-)

Beth Andrews said...

To me she has to have a core strength that brings out the best in him, tone down the over alpha parts, make him loveable.

Love this, Suz, and I totally agree *g*

Hope you're feeling better! Darn flu. Maybe we need the Cabana Boys to disinfect the lair.

Karina Bliss said...

Janga, you've written some lovely comments about WTLD, thank you. Lets take that as a case in point. I had to revise my heroine (with my editor's advice), three times before I got her right. I knew her, I just had to work harder to get the nuances of her character on paper. Whereas the hero, Devin, sprung up fully formed on the page. What was interesting for me in Stand-In Wife is that (for once!) the heroine's voice was also clear from the first page.

Karina Bliss said...

Donna, I have more fun writing the hero too, I think because there's a sense of discovery. Women are so good at putting all the emotional clues together, guys not so much and there's a lot of fun to be had exploring that difference. Guys tend not to be so concerned about saving people's feelings, (ie: blunt) and can also be perfectly happy ignoring a problem. I love that.

Karina Bliss said...

Suzanne, taming the alpha, one of my favourite story lines. In fact, thinking about the keepers I mentioned in an above post all have that thread. Interesting. The other for me is healing the wounded warrior. Happy sigh.

Karina Bliss said...

And Suzanne, thanks for the sympathy. Right back at you. It must suck having the flu in a Texas summer. There's something that's just wrong about that!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, it's been a great week for SuperRomance super stars, hasn't it?

Karina, a HUGE welcome to the lair. Is this your first visit? You'll have to come back!!!!

As you know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books. And this one sounds wonderful too. Can't wait to read it. I love the way you combine humor and deep emotion. It's brilliant.

Interesting about the hero thing, isn't it? I find heroes easier to do than heroines too - I wonder if your theory about just being the character is right. Could be, could be.

Anna Campbell said...

So sorry we won't see you at the Australian conference next week! Fingers crossed you get to come next year. Have fun at the NZ one!!!!

Karina Bliss said...

Laney4, I do like heroine's who are problem-solvers for everyone, though they lose me if they're too perfect. Mostly because they make me feel I should be trying harder in my own life (G), which dilutes the escapism element that I love about romance.

Karina Bliss said...

Cathy P, so you're definitely heroine-centric. How do you feel about books where the heroine's the one who needs redeeming? Like SEP's Ain't She Sweet where Sugar Beth had been a horrible person and spends the book making up for past cruelties. Are heroine's like that harder to read, when you identify with them?

Karina Bliss said...

Minna, what are the heroine qualities you can't stand? Leaving aside Too Dumb To Live. One of the issues I have as a writer is making sure my strong woman isn't coming across as a bossy one.

Karina Bliss said...

Claudia G, I once read a category romance - and I wish I could remember what it was called! - where the entire book was written in the hero's point of view. It was a really good book and not knowing how the heroine was thinking gave her a mysterious quality that made it very different. The hard part about writing male POV if you've got an alpha hero is keeping him strong. You can't have him mentally whinging about something trivial. It ruins his heroic status completely!

Karina Bliss said...

I do think it's easier sometimes to relate to the heroine's journey in a story :-)

So Beth, you have a heroine bias...starting to sound drug related now.

Karina Bliss said...

Cheryl Ann, you know the writer's done a great job with her hero when you're jealous of the heroine in the first kiss.

Karina Bliss said...

Beth, I felt like that about Scarlett not ready to deserve Rhett too, though I loved her. If the book had a happy ending at that point I wonder if it would have become the classic it has?

And I love your books too. I'm so delighted to be in here in the lair with such great authors and readers.

Karina Bliss said...

Beth and Donna, quit with talking about brothers, bantering or not. I'm still jealous about not having any.

Karina Bliss said...

Anna, thanks for sharing the lair. You know I think your heroes are to die for. Cheryl Ann talks about "When he kisses the heroine, I get all melty-wishing I was her!"
I always feel like that about your heroes.
One day I'll get to the Aussie conference, have a wonderful time.

Anna Campbell said...

Awww, thanks, Karina! I must admit I like writing kissing scenes - they're often my favorites in the books I read too. Especially first kisses!

Beth Andrews said...

Hi, Laney. I'm always looking on the bright side as well *g* I like when a character changes for the better and earns their happily ever after!

Beth Andrews said...

Cathy, it is hard to read an entire book when one of the main characters is so unlikable, isn't it? Or even if it's just hard to relate to their choices or circumstances.

Beth Andrews said...

Interesting, Minna! I guess there's no point getting emotionally vested in one if you don't care for the other.

Beth Andrews said...

I love that especially when the hero's thoughts are really guy-like. ;)

LOL, Claudia! I love that, too. It's like getting a peek behind the Man Curtain ;-)

Beth Andrews said...

When he kisses the heroine, I get all melty-wishing I was her!

Love that, Cheryl Ann! I'm the same way *g*

Beth Andrews said...

I'd be interested to know if your ideas evolve from the hero or heroine's story. Is there one point of view you find easier to write.

My ideas evolve from the character who has the most to lose and who has the most to overcome. Out of ten books (3 just contracted, not finished yet *g*) 6 came from the heroine's story.

Once I know my characters - and sometimes this takes awhile *g* - I can write from their POV w/o too many problems no matter if they're male or female.

Usually if I'm struggling with POV issues, I'll come to realize I was trying to force my character to do or say something that they'd never do/say :-) Funny how stubborn they can be!

Beth Andrews said...

Wow, it's been a great week for SuperRomance super stars, hasn't it?

It's been a Super week ;-)

I'm loving this conversation and getting to hear from authors which is easier for them to write. So interesting!

Pat Cochran said...

Karina, I'm the "big sister" of twin
brothers and it was a trip watching
them grow up. If one of them was in
any kind of trouble, the other would
go to his aid. Once the younger twin
had a bad case of the flu & was home
alone in their apartment. Twin-sense
sent the older home because he picked
up a bad vibe. He found his brother
unconscious & got him to the ER where
they were able to save his life. They
still have the Twin-sense in operation
today.

As to your question, I tend to like a
strong couple on an equal footing!

Beth Andrews said...

Beth, I felt like that about Scarlett not ready to deserve Rhett too, though I loved her. If the book had a happy ending at that point I wonder if it would have become the classic it has?

That's a good question. If I had to guess, I'd say I doubt it would've had the same impact. But I really don't think it could've ended any other way for Scarlett and Rhett after everything they'd gone through.

Beth Andrews said...

Beth and Donna, quit with talking about brothers, bantering or not. I'm still jealous about not having any.

LOL. Mine are ten and twelve years older than I am so I don't remember them bantering much as they were growing up *g* I love watching my son with his sisters, though. There's much bantering but also a lot of big brother protectiveness :-)

Beth Andrews said...

Once the younger twin had a bad case of the flu & was home alone in their apartment. Twin-sense sent the older home because he picked up a bad vibe. He found his brother unconscious & got him to the ER where
they were able to save his life.


Wow, Pat! That is so amazing. I find the bond between siblings fascinating, especially between twins.

Karina Bliss said...

Pat, the research I did on the twin bond suggested some had that telepathic link and some didn't. I wonder what the difference was? How lovely for your brothers to share that kind of closeness, how could a wife compete? Hmmm, maybe there's a story there.

Karina Bliss said...

Beth, thanks for inviting me into your lair, and to everyone who welcomed me so warmly.

Karina Bliss said...

Usually if I'm struggling with POV issues, I'll come to realize I was trying to force my character to do or say something that they'd never do/say :-) Funny how stubborn they can be!

Beth, I get this too!

Louisa Cornell said...

Good job, Sheree!


Late to the party, but wanted to say Hello Beth and Karina and thanks for the great interview!! This book sounds like so much fun. Have to get it AND give the Mominator and her Little Old Lady Posse a head's up. Sounds like her cup of tea!

I have to admit I am hero-centric both in the romances I read and the ones I write. I had not really given it that much thought, but in my favorite books the hero's name always comes to mind first.

Slight Dangerous - Wulfric

Flowers from the Storm - Christian

Lord of Scoundrels - Dain

Devil in Winter - Sebastian

Untouched - Matthew

The Dangerous Duke - Max

See? Told you! I am a hero groupie!

chey said...

It depends on the story and POV.

Karina Bliss said...

Ooh, ooh, Louisa I haven't read some of these guys, so thanks for the reccie. I guess I can share Christian with you.

Karina Bliss said...

Chey, even though I'm all for heroes, I have an exception. Georgette Heyer's Sophy in The Grand Sophy.

flchen1 said...

I have to agree that usually it's the heroine, in that I need to be able to relate to her. If I don't feel connected in some way, I have a hard time enjoying the book. If she's TOO different from me or too dislikeable, it's too hard to slog through. But a good hero is important too! Can't I just say that I want them both? :D

Karina Bliss said...

fichen1, sure let's be greedy. Definitely the keepers have equally strong characters in the hero/heroine. That's why we get the sigh of satisfaction at the end that these two truly do belong together.

Jo's Daughter said...

I like both the H/H, as I want to identify with her & fall in love with him :D

Birgit said...

Actually both should be (and sometimes are), though I have to admit that I am often partial to the female heroine being the more important character. As a female reader it kind of makes sense that I often "read" through her eyes and mind, I guess.

marybelle said...

I relate more to the heroine, so she would be most important to me. I do expect her to be strong, independent & intelligent though.

Karina Bliss said...

Jo's Daughter, so I guess you fall in the group that give equal weight to both. Maybe I need a third category.

Karina Bliss said...

Birgit and Marybelle, two more votes for the heroine. That gives her a solid majority when I tote up preferences.

Beth Andrews said...

What a great conversation! Thanks again to Karina for being with us and you all for stopping by :-)