Wednesday, June 10, 2009


At the core of all romance is finding true love. As a reader, we want the heroine to have all sorts of 'hot' adventures in the course finding her true love.

Please welcome back, Over Coffee, C. Margery Kempe. She writes hot sexy adventures and is fascinated with interchangable identities, strong heroines, adventure, spies, and...obsessions.

Intriguing list, isn't it?

Margery explains a bit about the power of obsessions in our writing:

Hello from London! Thanks so much, Sia, for inviting me back. I was here as part of the Ravenous Romance Ornery Eleven Blog Tour last month and I had such a great time I had to drop by again.

My novel Chastity Flame

Chastity is the story of a government operative who has a lot of sexy adventures on the way to discovering what might be true love -- she hasn’t quite been able to believe it, but she willing to risk a lot to find out. The novel also provided a chance for me to delve into some of my obsessions.

We have a tendency to look at “obsession” as a negative thing. We’re always hearing about dangerous people who form obsessions with celebrities. But obsessions can be quite beneficial, too. They form the base of any good ambitious project. I remember John Irving giving the advice about writing, “You have to get obsessed and stay obsessed” and it’s true. People ask me all the time, “how do you get so much writing done?” That’s the answer in a nutshell. The fact is that for most of us, no one’s going to pay us to write (except sometimes after we’ve already done it), so you have to want to do it very badly.

And you can use your obsessions to power that: a handful of my long-time obsessions make an appearance in Chastity Flame. My very first novel I wrote in high school was called Ace Spies, Incorporated and was a Mary Sue adventure starring a character who was clearly me and some thinly veiled versions of the Beatles (well, it was the second wave of Beatlemania in the 70s). A bit embarrassing to think of now, but I stuck with it for months and wrote a whole novel just to see whether I could do it (and yes, to have lots of fun dreaming constantly about the Beatles). The only people who ever read it were my friends. One of those friends claim to still have a copy; she’s just waiting for me to achieve real success so she can cash in on it. But it did firmly fix the writing bug into my life, though it took a long time for me to really develop it.

I also find it intriguing that even then I was interested in having all these interchangeable identities with my spy heroine. The story line was that she ordered a sort of adventure holiday as a spy, but then got caught up in the real thing (hey, sounds like a certain Bill Murray film, eh? I should sue!). I even wrote it under a pseudonym. So it’s not much of a jump to Chastity’s constant stream of fake names and identities.

Another obsession in the novel is London, my favorite place in the world ever since I first came here in 1980. I loved using various locations around town that I adore like the Millennium foot bridge and the Tate Modern. The opening scene allowed me to not only use the National Gallery, but to begin in front of a painting closely connected to another obsession: British comedian Peter Cook. Les Grandes Baigneuses is not only one of Cezanne’s most famous paintings (and the wallpaper image of my British mobile phone) but at the heart of a beloved sketch from Not Only But Also, the 1960s television show starting Cook and Dudley Moore. It’s not necessary to know this, of course -- it just makes me giggle. ;-)

My advice is trust your obsessions -- they provide fuel for your dreams and if you want to write, you need all the fuel you can get. Writing itself has to be an obsession if you’re going to get anywhere with it. You have to keep believing through long nights of bad writing and sometimes endless rejections. It always pays off if only in the fact that creating is a great joy. Sometimes that’s enough.


C. Margery Kempe is a writer of erotic romance. In addition to Chastity Flame, she has a number of short stories with Ravenous Romance as well as other publishers. At present she’s working onthe sequel as well as a number of other projects, while keeping busy in her other life as a medievalist and English professor. Visit her website or her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Following Your Heart

I was fortunate to be able to have Kathryne Kennedy stop by for a chat about writing. She’s an author who really appreciates her readers and I love her recommendations to aspiring authors and published authors.

Kathryne touches or writing not what you know but what you want to know and the importance of following your heart when you write. Jealousy and negativity are so destructive to our creative spirit and she gives some good advice on how to deal with those emotions.

I struggled with what to write for this blog entry. If I sat down and was talking with a friend over coffee, or in my case, tea, it would depend on if I were talking to a reader or a writer. To a reader, I would talk about how much I love to build worlds, how I manage to take the eras that I love in history--Georgian, Regency, Victorian--and change them to magical, enchanting places. I would talk about my latest book, how the hero and heroine were so perfect for each other, but had to find that out for themselves. My friend and I would laugh about some of my characters: the were-snake Sarah and her tendency to shed. The were-penguin butler. The were-duck footman. And we would sigh with longing that in some alternate universe my heroes really would exist.

Now to an aspiring writer, I would give some advice on writing that I wish someone would have given me before I started. To write what truly interests you, not necessarily what you know. I had heard long ago that for a writer to produce a great book, they should write what they know. That made me scratch my head. Fiction is pretend…how can I know what a were-lion would act like? How can I know what historical England is like when I’ve never been there? I think a better way to put it would be, write what you want to know. That’s what research is for. And that’s what your imagination is for. And following your own heart will produce a great book.

To a really good friend who has just sold their first book, I would give some advice on what I’ve learned about being an author to help them through their own journey. You might have written a wonderful book, but if no one knows about it, it won’t matter. Think of all the authors you’ve stumbled across, and thought, wow, this is wonderful! How come I’ve never heard of this author before? So market your book. Do whatever you’re comfortable with, whether it’s social networking, guest blogging, or sending bookmarks to booksellers. But do something to get your name out there. And first and foremost, get a website.

And I would caution a dear friend to develop a thick skin. I know your book is fabulous…but you can’t please everyone. What one person will love about your book, another may not. Does that mean you should change the way you write? Does that mean that you should listen when someone says they didn’t like some element about your book? Absolutely not. Remember to write what you love, and fans will follow. The important thing is that you are receiving an emotional response to your work. And then go look at the reviews for some of your favorite author’s books on Amazon.

And then I would caution my friend about something I’ve noticed writers doing that they may not even be aware of. Do not to be jealous of another writer’s success. When a friend tells you about some milestone for them--a new contract, perhaps a starred review--be happy for them. Every writer’s journey is different, and your successes will be different. Don’t belittle another author’s accomplishments, because when you achieve your own personal milestone, there’s nothing better than having good friends to celebrate it with.

And along those same lines, steer clear of negative people. It might even be a member of your own family. Self-doubt may be one of the hardest things a writer has to overcome, and you don’t need someone pushing bad vibes at you. Find people who make you feel good when you interact with them. Good about yourself. Good about your writing. And develop that relationship. Your muse will thank you.

To a reader or a writer, I would finish with a big hug. Either would be someone I would cherish.
"I'm going into surgery on Tuesday, and I will be non-functioning (it's major surgery on my neck) for two weeks after that. I would be happy to give away an autographed copy of a book from the Relics of Merlin series to one lucky commenter."

Kathryne Kennedy is a multi-published, award winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at:
The RELICS OF MERLIN series from Dorchester Publishing:"Simply delightful!"~Publishers Weekly