Today I am thrilled to welcome contemporary romance author M.J. Kane. And check it out! She’s having a giveaway! (read to the end of the post).
Welcome, M.J. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
Well, the person behind this pen, (or keyboard!), is a stay-at-home-mom with a very over active imagination. I once thought it was because of being an only child and spending a lot of time making up stories to entertain myself. But since I am an adult with four kids, a hubby, and six dogs, I now see storytelling as a gift! I am also a stroke survivor, and by that I mean I really survived. After nearly dying in in 2006 and recovering from partial paralysis, every day is a blessing. Discovering I have a talent I wasn’t aware of before has aided in my recovery.
Why did you decide to write Romance? What is the appeal?
The romance genre found me. As an avid reader, I’ve always been a Sci-Fi, Suspense, Mystery, Comedy fan, in books and movies. Romance movies –or rather chick flicks- of course, but reading a Romance novel was never my first pick. It was a result of ignorance about the genre. When I finally did pick up a romance novel, it was by Nora Roberts. I realized that romance novels were about more than just sex. When I decided to write, my stories were more about empowering women, survival, recovery, becoming stronger due to perseverance and change, evolution of character…and of course the part of any healthy relationship involving a man or woman includes sex. After several years of learning the rules of writing and how to tell the types of stories I write, I realized my true genre(s) is Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, and Interracial Romance.
How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?
It depends on what subject matter I want to cover in my books and how important it is to the characters life, development, and/or storyline. Mostly I research jobs so some of those activities can be depicted realistically in their daily lives. Homes, cars, houses, and locations all play a part in research as well. All of my characters have in-depth character charts and back story written so I can pick and choose what to add into the story at any time. By the time my fingers hit the keyboard, I know my characters as well as I know myself.
What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?
Best…: This came from a male reader, yes, male, who never read romance. He was impressed by the storytelling and subject matter addressed, was invested in the characters, and looks forward to reading the next book in the series.
Worst…: That the characters seemed to focus on nothing but sex the entire book. LOL! It was apparent from this comment that the reader never finished, if she did, she would have seen that the ‘sex talk’ was due to a healthy relationship and once the story progressed to the heart of it, which has nothing to do with sex and is all about recovering after enduring every woman’s nightmare, the main characters feelings, emotions, and mindset changes. All of the ‘sex talk’ was used as a way to gage the characters emotional change in the story.
Weirdest…: To her the characters came off as juvenile, but at the same time she could relate to herself at that age as well as a past boyfriend, therefore making it hit home. She’s looking forward to the next story.
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
I do a bit of both, but I’m really heavy on the plotting. I start with an idea of a story, and what topics I want to cover. Then, I develop the characters I want to put into the situation. From there, I outline the basic story (free writing) from beginning to end. Next comes the planning, breaking it down into chapters. Then I take that and write. For the most part I go by my outline, but every now and then, my characters disagree with what I have planned and the story changes a little, but that’s great because it’s proof the characters are coming alive! In my current novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, there is a fight near the end. Originally, the hero, Brian was supposed to get hurt, but as I wrote it, it didn’t feel right. Eventually he tapped me on the shoulder and threatened to walk from the entire novel if I didn’t make him do some serious damage. I listened, made some changes; as a result, reader comments and reviews have given that scene a lot of praise!
Can you tell us a little about your current work, A Heart Not Easily Broken? Is there a story behind the story?
A Heart Not Easily Broken is not based on any one person, but the experiences of many women…and men. I wanted to tell a story about a woman who is building her dream career without the distraction of romance. Upon her friends’ insistence, Ebony Campbell’s attempt to have a summer fling turns into more than she expected…in more ways than one. For starters, she finds herself falling for a man outside of her race. With her being from ‘the South’, interracial dating wasn’t frowned upon by her family, but it wasn’t encouraged either. Before long she falls in love with the man, not the color of his skin. The important thing to know about this story is that interracial dating is a back drop to the heart of her story. What I want readers to pick up on is what events lead Ebony to making a decision that changes the rest of her life. The decisions she makes after this night not only affect her physical and emotional wellbeing; it also affects her boyfriend and her best friend. In the end I want the reader to decide: What would I do if I were in her shoes?
What sets your heroine Ebony Campbell apart from all the other women in your hero’s Brian Young’s life? Why is she perfect for him?
It is not their racial differences; for one, it’s cliché. Brian, unlike Ebony, has explored interracial dating before. He is drawn to Ebony’s personality, her drive and determination to succeed in building her career. Following one’s lifetime dream is the same type of career path he’s on. While he is into music and she is studying to become a veterinarian, they support each other without expectations or deterring the other from reaching their goals. Her emotional support is what he appreciates the most.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
LOL, sometimes, but not that much. My writer’s block is more about needing some down time because my brain is overloaded with ideas, storylines, and characters …all at the same time! Now that I am published, I have to split my time up (a work in progress that has yet to be perfected!) between writing my stories and editing/ writing for my blog, and promoting my book. I usually find a book to read or watch a marathon of TV shows I love and haven’t had time to watch to give my brain a break. Two days is about all I can take before my Muse and characters force their way back in and put me back to work! If I go longer than that, I get irritated, literally, just ask my family!
Can you give us a little background on your hero Brian Young that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?
Hmm…(pulling out his Character Outline)…Wow, it’s been so long since I looked at them that I didn’t realize most of this is in there! I guess the one aspect of Brian’s personality that I don’t focus on, but does show up briefly, is the fact he feels insecure about his relationship with Ebony and being able to keep her in his life. Even though he is full of confidence about everything else, a part of him, due to his past interracial dating experience, is afraid that at any time a black man could come into her life and take her away from him and it all be about race and not love. My inspiration for his character came when I first started writing the story back in 2009. I had determined who Ebony would be and wanted a love interest that was a complete opposite. At the time I was watching Too Fast Too Furious, a favorite of mine, and Paul Walker was on the screen, blond-haired, blue-eyed, and a cocky smirk on his face. I decided then that that type of man would be one to change Ebony’s outlook on love and life.
Describe a favorite scene in your current novel
So many to choose from! Let’s see…I guess my favorite scene would be the night they first go out to dinner. Ebony feels she’s doing it to placate Brian and stave off his curiosity. What she ends up doing is realizing she is seriously attracted to him! No matter what she throws at him to try and deter him, he comes back with a witty reply that makes her think or throws her off. My favorite line is… “I want to get to know you. After that, I want you in my bed.”…..Seriously, have a hot guy say that to you, what can you do besides be speechless?
What else do you have in store for your readers?
The second book in The Butterfly Memoirs, Jaded, follows Ebony’s best friend, Yasmine Phillips. Yasmine is a sassy, bi-racial woman who is full of confidence in herself and her sexuality. She puts on a front to the world, but deep down, she’s been hurt. Readers are introduced to her in A Heart Not Easily Broken and given a chance to know what her life is like. They also see how she’s affected by the decisions Ebony makes. As a result, by the end of the novel, Yasmine is no longer in her happy place. Love and romance are no longer in the works for her. She decides to focus on bettering herself by following her dream and starting her own business. Sounds easy enough, right? Factor in the fact she already runs a central part of her family’s business, and has taken on the weight of helping a friend out in need…well, it leads to a few interesting plot twists and turns and in the end has her questioning her own true intentions. Jaded is scheduled for release in March.
To celebrate the success of my debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, as an Amazon Bestseller, and the upcoming anticipated release, Jaded, I am giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! It’s simple and easy! Leave a comment on this blog post and you will be entered into the drawing! Contest ends on Saturday, January 26th. The winner will be announced on my blog during the #SampleSunday post on January 27th and contacted by email. Don’t forget to leave your email address so that if you win, you can receive your gift card! Failure to not leave an email address will make you ineligible to win. Good luck!
Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.
Available now from 5 Prince Publishing! Buy Now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.
MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.
You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.