Nancy: Today I’m interviewing Starla Kaye. Her book, Maggie’s Secret Wish, is a contemporary erotic romance and was released on June 10, 2011 by Decadent Publishing. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Starla: MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH is my first published work with Decadent Publishing. It is part of their 1 Night Stand series involving a high-end, very expensive matching service run by Madame Evangeline. She is a bit magical, with a knack for finding the perfect matches for frustrated people seeking help in the relationship part of their lives, even if only for one night. She has a personal goal of making long-term love matches. When I first learned about this basic background series story line, I loved it. I am always up for trying something new, dabbling in a new romance sub-genre.
My particular story in the series, MAGGIE’S SECRET WISH, is contemporary erotic romance and involves a light step into BDSM. The heroine has suffered through disastrous relationships and while she is a sensual/sexual person, she is reluctant to get into the dating world again. Her history at choosing the “right” man isn’t good. But lately not only has she become more sexually frustrated but also she has started having dreams with a “naughty” nature. She has become curious about the world of spanking, not that she wants to try anything too harsh. Then after being badgered by a friend to at least try Madame Evangeline’s matching service, she dares to make contact by email. I won’t go into detail here, but let’s say her dreams are more than met.
Nancy: Describe the genre of this particular title, and is it the only genre you write in?
Starla: As I said, this particular story in the series is contemporary erotic romance and involves a light step into BDSM. I have written a lot of novels and novellas with such a combined focus: romance and varying degrees of BDSM. In this what I call “spanking romance” sub-genre, I have written contemporary, contemporary Western, historical Western, Medieval, Pirate, and Sci-Fi story lines. I also write contemporary romantic suspense and paranormal romance.
Nancy: When did you start writing toward publication?
Starla: I started writing toward publication about fifteen years ago, but actually started publishing novels and novellas with online publishers eleven years ago. My first book, Tug of Love, was published through iUniverse in 2000 and is still available. It was a sweet romance, particularly compared to what I mainly publish today. I did try to get it published through the print publishing houses, although I really only tried Harlequin/Silhouette. The editors I dealt with there were very patient with me and offered great suggestions, but we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some elements of the story. After the frustrations of going back and forth trying to come to agreement on story elements and then having it ultimately rejected, I decided that I didn’t want to go that publishing route again. It takes too long. I made the decision to keep on honing my writing skills and find other routes to getting published. I am extremely happy being an ebook published author, with a number of Print-On-Demand books also available.
Nancy: Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
Starla: I’m pretty sure that most writers have a supply of manuscripts they have sent out, had rejected, and finally buried under the bed or wherever. I have several manuscripts like that. But a few of my early romances have had their basic story lines or characters resurrected into new stories that have been published. No matter how pitiful some a writer’s early works are, they are still near and dear to our heart.
Nancy: What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
Starla: It isn’t enough for a writer to write a good story that someone is willing to publish. I am fortunate enough to have publishers who arrange to sell my novels and novellas at a number of places, including Amazon, Lulu, Barnes & Noble, Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks, Fictionwise, and Lightning Books. Still that isn’t enough. An author needs to spend a good deal of time arranging to be a guest blogger on a book review site or another author’s website, take part in blog tours, be a responsive member of some Yahoo group loops, offer the occasional contest, update your website or blogsite, update your Facebook page, Tweet occasionally, and much more. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. But I enjoy most of it, although Tweeting and Facebooking sometimes boggles my weary mind.
Nancy: Which is why you are a welcome guest here, and I why I will be visiting your blog on August 31st! Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
Starla: I belong to RWA (Romance Writers of America), WARA (Wichita Area Romance Authors), and KWA (Kansas Writers Association), a multi-genre writers group. RWA is a professional organization that I get some occasional help from. WARA and KWA are local writers’ organizations where I get valuable networking with published and unpublished authors who share similar frustrations and experiences. I also belong to EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection), which has an annual conference and other networking possibilities. And I recently joined EAA (Erotic Authors Association).
Nancy: Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Starla: Don’t give up if this something you really want. Keep honing your skills, keep writing, keep up with the markets, keep networking, and above all have faith.
Nancy: What’s next for you?
Starla: I am always working on multiple projects and usually in different sub-genres. Currently I am starting a new contemporary Western, So Not a Cowboy, for Blushing Books. I have started a follow-up medieval story, For the Love of Rowan, to be released, hopefully, this Christmas by Black Velvet Seductions. And I am in the plotting stage of a contemporary time travel, Katie’s Kept Man, for Decadent Publishing. Until I actually start writing a story it isn’t definite in my writing schedule, so Katie’s Kept Man might get replaced by another story idea…of which I have many.
Maggie’s boring workaholic life and focus on her obnoxious ex is grinding her down. A friend’s advice sends her to Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service 1 Night Stand. She hopes to find some fun, a date, and va-va-voom sex…not necessarily in that order. At least she will get out of her apartment for one hot night! Because, yes, she is just that desperate for a change, and there is that secret fantasy she’s been wanting to try out….
As Ian turns forty, his day job as writer of steamy erotica and night job as part-time Dom has him worried he will never have a “normal” relationship. With his particular kinky quirks, what woman would consider him husband material? Madame Eve is pretty good at her own job, are these two a match in a million or just a one night flash in the pan?
A little bit about the author
I love all kinds of settings, themes, and people. I’m an observer of everything around me, especially the romantic things I see and hear. When I read or watch movies, I want to be deeply drawn into the story line…I want to experience highs and lows, tears and laughter. With each book I write, I try to get stronger at giving my readers those kinds of experiences. To date I’ve been fortunate to have had 19 novels, 19 novellas, and 5 anthologies published with Blushing Books, Black Velvet Seductions, Decadent Publishing, and Red Rose Publishing.
She gaped in horror. Five emails from Madame Evangeline. Five! What about her message had captured the matchmaker’s attention enough to have her keep trying to contact Maggie? The spanking stuff! Oh, jeez. That had to be it. Nothing else about her basic info could possibly draw a stranger’s interest.
Fingers shaking, she opened the first message.
I’m so pleased you contacted me, Ms. Malone. I’m sure that I can find someone perfect for you. Please email me back so we can discuss this further.
Palms sweating, she opened the next message.
I’ve done a basic background check on you, Maggie, as I’m sure you’re aware I do for all my clients. Your websites are quite well done, unique. I could see your special imaginative flare. I noticed it in your query message as well. I’m positive I can find the perfect match for you. Please contact me as soon as possible.
Maggie drew in a nervous breath. Madame Evangeline had mentioned imaginative things in her original email, certainly meaning the fantasies. How embarrassing. Yet she opened the third message.
I know exactly what you need, my dear Maggie. You need time away from your work, time to satisfy your secret desires, time to let a very special man attend to your every wish. I eagerly await your response.
Satisfy her secret desires? Let a special man attend to her every wish? Oh, yes! Need thrummed through her, making her squirm in her desk chair.
Heart racing, she opened the fourth message.
What you need, dearest Maggie, is a special night at one of the Castillo Resorts and Hotels. I’m thinking the one in Maui would please you most. The more I study the websites you design, the more sure I am of your sensuality, of the type of man who could please you. I look forward to you contacting me soon.
How could the other woman know about her preference for Maui? How could this unknown woman sense so much about her? See how much of herself she put into each of the website designs? It was eerie…exciting, too.
She gathered her courage and opened the final email, one sent only an hour ago.
Nancy: wow! Sounds like a very interesting read! How can my readers buy your book?
Starla: Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at Decadent Publishing. You can find more information about Starla Kaye and my book, Maggie’s Secret Wish, by visiting my website.
Nancy: Thank you so much for visiting and for sharing your story. I welcome readers to please share their comments.