Wednesday, March 21, 2012

KIM SANDERS: Her Romance Blooms On A Porch

Please welcome my guest Kim Sanders. When she's not almost becoming an alligator snack, she writes romantic suspense. I'm thinking she likes that touch of danger in her life.

Kim, welcome to Over Coffee. Glad you could make it.
Hi, Sia! Thanks for inviting me.
I'm curious, why did you choose this genreromantic suspense?
I think the genre chose me. Winking smile

I've been a hopeless romantic my entire life—the cheesy type. My family groans if I claim a “me” day during our annual Fourth of July beach vacation. I’ll threaten to leave the television tuned to the Lifetime Channel for an entire rainy day just to watch them cringe. But for the sake of peace and family unity, I’ll pop in the movie Independence Day instead and everybody’s happy—plus there’s a kiss at the end.

There is advice out there for writers that suggest trying other genres. Have you?

I did try another genre recently. I entered a horror story in a Writer’s Digest short story contest. I’d read news reports about young girls in Africa being raped by men who believed violating virgins would cure their AIDS. I transformed that horror into a short story. I gave my main character, a girl named Fatimah, a supernatural ability to save women.  But regardless of the grave tone, two new characters made an appearance that were bound and determined to have a full-blown romance. A young Scottish doctor encountered an American Peace Corps worker, and the next thing you know, there it is—a cheesy romance blooming right in the middle of horror. I tried to edit it out, but love stories seem to be my nature. Needless to say, it didn’t win. I’ve decided to file the story away and look at it again later as a possible romance novel.

Your muse seems quite happy with Shades of Gray and it seems to be doing quite well.

I have been more successful with the romance genre. My novel, Shades of Gray,  has received awards and praise and climbed to Number One on the Amazon Best Sellers’ lists for contemporary romance and Number Two for romantic suspense—so I think I’ve found my niche. Besides, I tend to live in my main character’s world while I’m writing, and the romance world is safer and more satisfying. So even though I might wander into other branches of fiction in the future, until I’m a bit braver, I think I’ll stick with love.

Congratulations! Describe your writing space?

Porches. Front porches, back porches; screened porches, verandas. As long as the weather hasn’t reached that unbearable Southern humidity, I spend hours writing from porches. If there is an ocean breeze and the faint sound of birds in the distance, I write. If the rain pounds on the tin roof, I write.

What would be your DREAM writing space?
My dream writing space would be...a sweeping veranda with the perfect view of crashing ocean waves during a storm. Of course, dream laptops are very rain resistant.

And dream verandas are safe from stray rogue waves, too. What's a favorite thing you do to relax or recharge your creative spirit?

Besides reading, photography is my favorite hobby. I try to take a camera with me every time I go for a long walk. If I leave it behind, I always regret its absence. I love landscapes and nature. Last summer, I was walking along a trail and spotted and a beautiful heron. I had a short lens, but the bird was asleep so I crouched really low and got closer and closer. Eventually, it flew off. By that point, I was pretty close to the edge of the water so I stood up and glanced down. A huge alligator was lurking just a few feet below me. I snapped a couple of shots and backed off quickly. If I’d have waited a few more minutes before scaring the bird away, I might have had an amazing action shot, but I might have been next on the menu.

Yikes! That would have been a definite bad ending. But, it's interesting that your hobby is also creative in nature. Any similarities between writing and taking pictures?

Photography fits in well with my writing.  Looking through the camera lens, I notice the details of the scenes around me with an isolated intensity. I frame the pictures and later crop them for impact. The same applies to writing in a lot of ways, but I must admit, I find it easier to crop a photograph than a page of words.

Oh, me too. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to getting the photo just right. Editing photos gives you immediate results and that's not always the case with writing. :-D  What's next for you?

I am currently working on two more novels—SHADES OF JUSTICE and THE EX LOTTERY, and hope to have another novel ready for release by the end of the year.

Kim, thank you for taking the time, away from your lovely porch and writing, to visit with us a bit today. I've enjoyed it.

  • Readers and writers: have you ever had something totally unexpected happen when you've been involved with a hobby?


Nothing is black-and-white when dealing with love or murder. In “Shades of Gray,” an award-winning photojournalist finds herself on the wrong side of the lens when she is framed for murder.

Samantha "Sam" Jennings has been hiding from the world since she was seventeen years old. At twenty-seven, living in isolation on a small private island off the coast of South Carolina, Sam guards her privacy. Her photographs are famous, but her face is anonymous. And she likes it that way.

Caleb McCloud is a defense attorney who basks in the spotlight. His legal successes have him on a career path to become the youngest president in the United States. But an entanglement from his past may put a kink in that path.

When front-page headlines scream: "Photographer Shoots to Kill," Sam finds herself facing murder charges in the death of Ben Fuller. To stay out of jail and catch the true killer, she must turn to Caleb, the one man who has haunted her dreams since she was a teenager. She vows to trust him with her life but not her heart. But as the two begin a journey to find a killer, Caleb vows to win both. Is he too late? Find out in the action packed love story of Samantha and Caleb. There is an excerpt on Amazon, and an additional one HERE

Oozes all the necessary passion of any good romance novel . . . The romance enthusiast won't be disappointed with this novel that never skimps on passion or story. 
Kirkus Reviews

Rachel Brown photography

Kim Sanders was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, the middle of three children. Her father owned and managed a small dime store in a tiny town in eastern North Carolina, and her mother was an English teacher. Kim attended the University of North Carolina, earning a degree in Journalism, and later, a law degree from Emory University. She and her husband, Paul, have two children.

You can find Kim: Facebook, Twitter, Website


~Sia McKye~ said...

Kim, this was fun. I'm glad you came to visit.
Be honest. What woke up that heron? you or the alligator? You sure do like to live dangerously, lolol!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Kim .. sounds an interesting story - I love those sorts of plots - they're my release whenever I get a chance.

Great Kim that you can combine your outdoor love and photography with scene ideas for your books. The alligator - now that is not a good thought.

I had a couple of experiences in Africa - nothing serious, but made my heart pump somewhat - a rhino chasing us down a 'ditched' style track - ie steep sides .. it couldn't get out - it might have done earlier on, but it spotted us - and they're very short sighted .. I did about a five or six point turn to get the car round .. didn't fancy driving backwards to escape - they can run fast .. and funnily enough are quite heavy!

Wildlife needs lots of respect .. good luck with the book - great interview Sia .. cheers Hilary

Kim Sanders said...

Good morning, Sia. My husband just brewed the coffee on his way to work. Great to be here.

The heron was walking away from me toward the alligator. Maybe it was luring me there after waking it up.

Hilary, I feel the same was about reading romance stories. It's a great escape. I've heard that rhinos are aggressive! That is an amazing story. Glad it turned out okay. Thanks for the good wishes.

Jo said...

I've had a few scares in my lifetime, but none of them animal related as far as I recall.

You come from my favourite part of the world, NC. We lived on the coast for 12 years and regularly go back for vacations.

Kim Sanders said...

Hi Jo,

I love the coast of North Carolina. Glad you still visit. Where do you live now?

Alyson Reuben said...

Great interview, Jo and Sia!

I laughed when you mentioned Lifetime. That's a favorite of mine, too. I find myself watching the movies and thinking, wow, that'd make an awesome book (if it isn't one already).

Shades of Gray sounds awesome. Love its premise. I'll be sure to check it out. And congrats on your success!

Elizabeth Haysmont said...

"By God, she reminds me like ME!" True Grit

Fun interview, Kim! I'll have to go follow some links to excerpts.

Good luck with your sales!

Kim Sanders said...

Alyson, glad to hear there are others who admit to watching Lifetime. I used to hide that tidbit of information just like I covered up the steamy Fabio book covers. It's all out in the open now.

Thank you and Elizabeth for the well wishes. I hope you read Shades of Gray and enjoy it.

Jill Lynn said...

Love that a romance blossomed in the middle of your horror story. LOL. And, hmm, yes I'll have one of those sweeping ocean-front verandas too :-)

Dana Fredsti said...

I have the ocean, but no veranda, more's the pity... I love the thought of writing on a screened in porch with the rain spattering down on the roof. Sigh.

Did you take that picture of the alligator? Was that the very one that was eyeballing you?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jill, I loved that too. I'm thinking it's a sign, don't you? This here girl is a dyed and true romance writer.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Elizabeth, I liked the short excerpt. I was like, wow. smooth. Captures the the feeling well and the reactions.

BTW, big Congrats to you Elizabeth, with your new book. You do realize I will be having you visit.

I've ordered Shades of Gray. I like the way Kim has with words.

Kim Sanders said...

Hi everyone,

I stepped away for a bit.

Dana, I did take the picture of the alligator, and it is the one that was watching me. I figure the heron owes me—also the one in the other photograph.

I think we all need a sweeping ocean view, Jill. We'll have to ask Dana to add the veranda so we can all write.

Sia, thanks for ordering my book! I hope you enjoy it. I also look forward to your visit with Elizabeth and finding out about her book.

Tonya Kappes said...

Kim, thanks for sharing your life here. I love to read about the authors and their journey. I too write on any porch available. Recently, my DH took me away to a cabin so I could finish a proposal for my agent and I sat outside the entire time. Completely fed the muse. In two days, I wrote over 8k words.
Congratulations on all your success!

Kim Sanders said...

That's wonderful, Tonya, and you're so right about the muse. I leave the phone inside and just take the laptop. Hope your agent loved the proposal!

Carol Kilgore said...

Interesting interview. I'd like that view of crashing waves, too. Nice to meet you, Kim.

Hi, Sia!

Kim Sanders said...

Hi, Carol, thanks for joining the conversation.

Sia, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. I'm new to the blogging, but it has been a great way to meet new people—over coffee. Speaking of coffee, it's early morning here, and I'm about to drink my first cup so I'll say good-bye.

Good luck to all the writers.

Beth said...

Kim, I love romantic suspense. Shades of Gray sounds great. I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed seeing an alligator up close and personal; I'm guessing that moment might appear in one of your books.

Good luck with the career.