Today on the blog I'm welcoming another new to me author Marilyn Kelly. She is talking about her "Pick-Your-Own-Ending" Novel All The Boys I Ever Kissed. Enjoy the interview and at the end Marilyn has a Free Offer.
Marilyn hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Hi. Thanks for having me.
Tell us a bit about your new “pick your own ending” novel, All the Boys I Ever Kissed.
All the Boys I Ever Kissed is about a widowed travel writer who looks to her past boyfriends to find a husband. Lana Patterson is an ambassador’s daughter and she has amazing adventures with a DC firefighter/paramedic, an Argentine millionaire, and an English baron, but each has their failings. Which man will she end up with? The readers get to choose.
I also wrote The Man Tell All Q&A because I missed having the men’s point of view in this first-person novel. I broke a lot of rules of the romance genre, but I’m happy with the end result. If you like it, please tell your friends.
So why did you decide to leave the ending up to your readers?
I made this a Choose Your Own Ending Novel because I fell in love with all three men while writing the book. It pained me to choose one, so I wrote three different endings thinking I would find one I preferred. I didn’t. All of these men have their flaws and their strengths, and I decided the reader should get to choose their favorite. What you think of that idea? I have a new book trailer with three hot guys that are delicious to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6riIYFhe2c . After you stop drooling, go to my website to vote for your favorite hero and sign up for my newsletter.
Marilyn, how’d a nice Microbiologist/Entrepreneur/DJ like you get into the writing sexy romance biz?
My serious, academic persona and my fun-loving persona are sometimes at odds, but I found a good balance writing sexy romance novels. There is so much to learn about writing a good story, so that challenges my brain. I also find most of the writing process enjoyable, although endings are hard for me. And going to RT each year lets my wild side flow in a safe space.
I understand from your bio that your husband helps with your historical romance research. Does he read and enjoy the novels too?
My husband is very proud of me, but he rarely reads novels, and definitely not romance novels. So, he hasn’t read any fiction that I’ve written. That used to bother me, but now I find it freeing, especially writing a book called All the Boys I Ever Kissed.
When I first started writing sex scenes, I struggled for variety, and that’s where he jumped in to help with enthusiasm. Also, we have been to Europe twice on research trips, and I really appreciate his support.
Marilyn, I’m jealous. You’ve been to five RT conventions (I review for them and going to a conference is on my wish list) and have been photographed with many Mr. Romances. For my readers who don’t know about him, tell them who Mr. Romance is. Who was your favorite and why?
At the RT convention, formerly Romantic Times Convention, there used to be a Mr. Romance competition. It was thrilling to have a handsome male model sit down next to me and ask what I wrote, as if he was really interested. I know the men were vying for votes or hoping I would request him as a model, and that was fine with me. The company that sponsored the competition, Dorchester Publishing, went out of business a few years ago and the competition has sadly not been revived since 2011. In the meantime, a group of male models does attend the RT convention and all the parties, and I wish RWA would follow suit. Romance is about beautiful men and the women they love, and I find it motivating to see the cover models. Anyone else want to see cover models at RWA?
At my first RT convention six years ago, I met Fabio, who never won Mr. Romance but did have a television show by that name. He was a very nice man and hugging his huge toned body was memorable. I heard more than one story of him going out of his way to accommodate women who wanted his picture, so I’ll say he’s my favorite. I have pictures on my website and here’s a link to an article that describes the competition well: http://laweekly.blogs.com/joshuah_bearman/files/mr%20romance.pdf.
Marilyn how long have you been writing and how did the novelist bug bite you?
I was considering a freelance career as a magazine writer and I was taking a class at a local college. A woman in the class was writing a novel, and one of my friends had encouraged me to try writing one because I was such an avid reader. On my birthday seven years ago, I sat down with a glass of wine and my laptop and started writing a story set in 1835 West Africa and England.
The next day I went to the library and took out You Can Write a Romance by Rita Clay Estrada and Rita Gallagher. I would write a few pages and read a few pages, learning as I penned my first story. 165,000 words later, I had a poorly written, wonderful story called Shades of Taboo. I think if someone had encouraged me earlier, I would have become an author years ago.
Any readers out there who think they want to write? I encourage you to try writing a story, join RWA and your local chapter, learn and practice, and enjoy the bumpy ride to publication.
Marilyn you’ve been surrounded by men all your life with five brothers, a husband and two sons. Do you base any of your heroes on the men in your life?
In my latest book, All the Boys I Ever Kissed, I actually made a list of all the boys I ever kissed and tried to remember some detail about each, and then I threw in some of the stories my best girlfriends have told me about their boyfriends, and I mixed it all up and embellished a great deal. The four historical romances that I wrote were complete fantasy.
Are you a reader?
I used to be an avid reader with a rotating pile of historical romance novels by my side of the couch. Since I’ve been writing, it’s harder to find the time to read fiction, and now I’m lucky if I manage a novel a month. I find that to be one of the downfalls of being an author. I still read stacks of writing craft and business books, and my office is lined with shelves of mostly nonfiction books. Also, I spend my days writing or reading on the computer, so my eyes are tired by evening.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have many. Virginia Henley, Betina Krahn, Lisa Kleypas, Bertrice Small, Robin Schone, Victoria Alexander, Julia Quinn and Amanda Quick stand out. Within my own RWA chapter I’ve discovered Shirley Jump, Heather Burch and JoAnne Rock among others. From RT there’s Delilah Marvelle, Sharon Page, Kieran Kramer, Anne Elizabeth, Renee Bernard, Heather Graham and many more.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
Sorry, but I’ll name three. Betina Krahn wrote a beautiful historical Blaze a few years ago called Make Me Yours, and I tell my friends who are not historical romance readers to start with her book. If they don’t like what I consider a romantic masterpiece, I hope they don’t move on to mine.
I fell in love with historical romance through the Skye O’Malley series by Bertrice Small. And The Lady’s Tutor by Robin Schone is one of the few books I’ve read several times.
My last question is a bit on the personal side.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
I probably watch too much reality television. The Bachelor and Bachelorette are two that I usually follow, Shark Tank, Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, and House Hunters International, plus the top 12 on American Idol. I try to limit myself to one or two at a time, otherwise Id never get any writing done.
Thanks for the visit and good luck with the new novel!
Thanks for hosting me.
Starting today: Free Kindle version of All the Boys I Ever Kissed through May 18th - download it now: http://www.amazon.com/All-Boys-I-Ever-Kissed-ebook/dp/B00K43543Q/
All the Boys I Ever Kissed Blurb
Lana Patterson wants a husband, but she's striking out online and with blind dates. Her sister suggests she look to her past to find her future, and Lana starts contacting old boyfriends. She's been practically housebound since her husband died, so she starts local, in Washington DC.
Captain CPR is Chippendale firefighter hot, but other than his incredible body and compatible sense of humor, Lana doesn't find him the ideal bedmate or potential husband. Pierce Abrams runs into burning buildings for a living, and she wants a husband who will be there to walk her daughter down the aisle.
Lana grew up as a Foreign Service child and is now a travel writer. Her sister and daughter insist she hit the road, so Argentina and England are her next stops. The first boy she ever kissed is athletic, adventurous, intelligent, wealthy, and the most amazing Latin lover. Unfortunately, polyamorous Sergio Salazar has a closet full of girlfriends that he claims he's willing to give up. Lana has her doubts.
Her high school boyfriend has more potential, since his current girlfriend is on the wane. Duncan Claymore is a baron with a castle, and oh so tempting, even introducing Lana and family to the Duchess of Cambridge. It would be a fantasy life, but his conniving sister threatens to derail their renewed love affair.
Three amazing men are all having adventures of their own. Which one will capture Lana's heart? The reader gets to choose!