Before we get to her interview and the steamy reading, kindly permit me a quick moment of squee. The indispensable QueryTracker.net website hosted a pitch contest this month for a one-line pitch and the first 100 words of a completed manuscript. Regular readers of this blog know I'm on an agent hunt for a non-romance (I know, *gasp!*) psych thriller titled White Lies, so I entered. I found out today that I'd won a 50-page read and a query evaluation. Even if the agent decides my work isn't for her, I'm super excited at the opportunity to have my query letter critiqued by a pro :D
Now then, on to what you're really here for. Welcome, Ms. Howell! Let us begin, as always, with some cover art--truly lovely despite its girl cooties :-p--and a blurb:
Aubrey Griffen is a witch whose true reasons for coming to
soon fall to the wayside when she catches the eye of Edmund Bryant, the Marquess of Dalysbury. He seduces her into a whirlwind romance until the lies and threats of his mother force her to flee to Triaill Brimuir, a secret island of her ancestors off the coast of London . Edmund goes after her only to be hit by Aubrey’s confusion and anger when she magically transforms him into an elemental beast of her own creation. Ireland
However, it is when Edmund’s lust mysteriously turns him back into a man that the couple are forced to deal with a family secret and untold of powers. Now, Edmund must learn to shift himself into the beast in order to save her in a battle of black verses white magic.
Fraught with scenes of explicit intimacy, romantic spells and mystical shapeshifting, Torn Asunder is a unique blending of the age of manners with sexual magic.
Genres: Historical (Regency), Paranormal (Witches & Shifters), Erotic, Romantic Suspense
Warnings: Explicit Graphic Language, Violence
Want to know more? Kiki was kind enough to answer my odd questions and provide us with an excerpt, beneath the jump.
The roses, elegant in their refinement, fell from one another with little grace as she undid the paper around them. Staggering back a few steps until her back met with the wall, she slid down to the floor, letting the wrapping and flowers fall where they may. Aubrey wrapped her arms tightly around her midsection. Her chest ached more with each beat of her heart as she swallowed hard, blinked away the mistiness over her eyes, and remembered.
It had been the beginning of the season, a bit over a fortnight ago, when she first encountered Edmund Bryant, the Marquess of Dalysbury. Although she rolled her eyes still at the title, she felt impelled to live through it all again--through the days of fantasy in which she had allowed herself to participate. Love at first sight didn't always give way to rational thinking. It did, however, make possible even the wavering delusions of believing impossible dreams could come true. She had just come to
to live with Lord and Lady Sanderly, her cousins who had paid for her travels under the guise of giving a poor relation of marriageable age a chance to find a good husband. London
Whereas, the truth of the matter was, she was a relation who had shown a great aptitude for learning of the magical powers she had inherited. The good Lord and Lady, while holding the public title of Earl and Countess, were actually descendants of one of the notorious Pendle witches. They were to teach her to harness and utilize her innate talents in secret while flaunting her about from various parties and balls in the public eye.
She recalled with a weak smile the first ball Lord and Lady Sanderly had thrown to immerse her into proper society. At the time, she had consciously gripped her hands before her waist to resist fidgeting while trying hard to fix to memory all of the titles of those to whom she was being introduced. Her level of discomfort had increased, however, as an unsettled awareness of someone in the room, a haunting premonition of sorts, had made her heart race and her mouth dry. She had paid mind to ignore the successive shivers which rushed the length of her spine until they pooled as heat in her tightening stomach.
Reminded she was holding her breath only when forced to speak, her ribs had begun to ache. When a chill more pervasive that any she had ever known even in the drafty county cottage she had been raised in permeated her shoulders, she had turned in the direction of the source, and her eyes had met with a man standing just across the room looking back at her. She had immediately felt challenged to not look away from the gaze of his dark eyes. They radiated a raw energy unlike anything she had ever encountered before even among those with her own esoteric abilities.
A connection was made. Her heart beat at a frantic, uneven pace like a horse racing over shoddy roads. At the same time, a vague forewarning had made her break out in a glistening of sweat while she fought the urge to escape as well the need to move toward the man. She had given merit to her reactions based only on the fact she had captured the glance of an aristocratic gentleman with a lady in a lavish satin gown on his arm of obviously higher circumstances.
Engrossed in his fine manners, she watched as his hand removed the one holding onto him from his arm with a slight nod of his head. The lady in return had given him a slight curtsy but glorious smile before turning back to her other acquaintances which Aubrey recognized to be a duke and duchess she had recently met. His tempestuous form fit in posh attire spun on the heel of his expensive footwear to find her again with his haunted and hungry eyes. He seemed an odd mix of rugged and refined. She had felt the thrill and danger of being pursued by a beast which lurked inside of the man.
What draws you to romance?
Escape from some elements of real life. This can be a stressful world at times, and even overwhelm you if you let it. I say I am a type-B wanna-be, so I have to fight the natural Type A inside of me. LOL One way I do that is to get away from the real world in books. I love to be swept away. And, in the last few years, I have found that I can escape just as well with the story in my own mind. This could happen with any genre, but there is just something about the love story that draws me in. I love the firsts I guess. But, since I also love the paranormal and sometimes the darker horror books, the romance brings an nice element into those books, the idea that you don’t have to do it alone. How was that for a round-about answer? :)
Have you ever written outside the romance genre?
If not, do you ever plan to? A little. I recently felt drawn to write a short story about a mother who had a premonition that the witch hunters were coming for her. And, since I at times read books that are not romantic, but more literary, a throw back to my English Teacher days, I think I would like to try to write outside the genre at some point. But, right now I have a list of romance storylines awaiting my attention.
By night you’re a caped cru— er, romance writer. What do you do by day?
Actually this is opposite for me. By day, my husband is a teacher and my sons are in middle school, so I write. By , I turn back into the stay-at-home mom I used to be full time. Well, or at least I try. The writing stuff sometimes creeps back in and the house stays dirty :(
What was the very first romance you ever read? How old were you? Were you being naughty and sneaking it off the shelf before you really even knew what sex was? How did it make you feel, and is that what hooked you on the genre?
I am not sure of the title, but as far as books out of that teen romance genre, it would have been a Danielle Steel book. My mom had a whole shelf of them. We bought her every new one for birthdays and Christmas. I don’t think I snuck them, but again, I liked being swept away by them. That breathless feeling when you are young dreaming of the same type of relationship for you one day. I am sure it got me hooked on the genre, or at least added it to the paranormal type teen book I was reading in high school.
Who are your latest crushes (celebrity, book character, or otherwise)? Do you ever keep those people in your mind when writing your own works?
I don’t think I would call them crushes, but I tend to like the more bad-boy type characters. I would have to go with Eric from True Blood and Damon from Vampire Diaries right now. I do use them to write, but in a different way. I read a writing tip that said to pick celebrities similar to the character in your head so that when you are writing your story you never forget what their hair or eye color is, etc. It keeps the descriptions consistent. In the novel I just finished writing, Ian Somerhalter was my main character, and another was Matt Davis who plays the teacher, Alaric from Vampire Diaries.
Do you own an ereader? Why or why not? If so, what’s on it?
Yes I so! I review books for Suspense Magazine and sometimes for my blog. The ereader is just so nice, it cuts down on the mountain of books around the house. Plus, I love the convenience of it, how easy it is to get a book when I want to read it. Right now, it has quite an eclectic mix of books on it from reading for pleasure to reviewing to research to self-help.
Are you a book hoarder?
Only the ones I loved. The rest go to Paperback swap. Of course, now that I got my ereader for Christmas, that should help the shelves out. I do still buy my research books for writing in paperback – just more assessable when I need to look something up.
What’s your current book list and where can we buy them?
I now have over 20 stories out between six different publishers thanks to being in several anthologies. My latest releases are:
Torn Asunder, a novel
A Modern Day Witch Hunt, short novel
Rituals, a novella
Most of my books are available at Amazon, ARe, Bookstrand, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. These links will take you to my author pages. Many of my books through Excessica right now have special pricing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am really excited about the novel I have coming out next month, Irreconcilable Differences. My spin on prejudice in the paranormal world - a world I created where wizards and sorcerer's stereotypically don't get along, but attraction happens anyway. The magical sparks fly on April 22and! Here is a link to the book on Excessica's Coming Soon page. I just love the cover!
Want to learn more about Kiki Howell? Visit her website, kikihowell.com. Thanks, Kiki, for stopping by!