THE JAMES GANG
Each month I interview a writer who has “James” in his/her pen name. My December James Gang interview is with Kate St. James.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
Kate St. James is a pen name. I chose James because my father’s first name is James, and my oldest child’s middle name is James. James is a very popular name in our family. My nephew’s first name is James, and two of my nieces are married to a James (Jim/Jamie). I added the “St.” for St. James, because my husband’s first name begins with the letters “St.” For me, St. James was a natural choice. Even Kate has some symbolism for me. I chose Kate for my first name because my husband’s last name begins with a K and has four letters in it. Also, my younger sister wouldn’t allow me to choose any other pen name except Kate! She says Kate “has sharp edges,” which, apparently, I also possess. :) I like to interpret that as a compliment, as in I have a sharp wit (please??). I refuse to accept any other explanation. My elbows aren’t THAT pointy!
2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?
I write contemporary erotic romance and erotic romantic comedy for the Secrets novella anthologies from Red Sage Publishing. My first novella, “Good Vibrations,” appeared in Secrets Volume 21: PRIMAL HEAT in December 2007, and my second novella, “Exes & Ahhs,” is featured in Secrets Volume 26: BOUND BY PASSION, December 2008. The December Secrets trade paperback anthologies release at the end of the month, but BOUND BY PASSION is available on Amazon now.
3. Tell us about your latest release.
“Exes & Ahhs” in Secrets, Volume 26: BOUND BY PASSION (Red Sage, December 2008) was great to fun to write. It’s set in the university town of Victoria, British Columbia, but features quirky secondary characters like a retired porn star and Playgirl-esque magazine publisher known as Lay-Me Lainey to play off my straight-laced heroine, Risa Haber, and her ultra-sexy hero, Eric Lange.
The back cover blurb from Secrets Volume 26 is short and snappy to accommodate blurbs for the stories of my three anthology mates, but here’s a longer version to whet your readers’ appetites:
When Risa Haber and Eric Lange were dating, she craved a lifetime and he suffered from No Woman’s Gonna Tie Me Down Syndrome. Now, Eric’s a silent partner in Risa’s dessert catering business, but keeps sticking his nose into her recipes, her client list...down her blouse. She’s tired of his insincere flirtations—the man needs to be taught a lesson, and she’s the woman for the job. However, when he pushes her sexual boundaries, she can’t help responding. Soon she fears that she’s falling for him again. Not good. So when they get trapped in a private party room following an erotically-themed event, Risa offers one last night of hot, carnal delights if he’ll sell her his share of the biz, then exit her life forever.
Unknown to Risa, Eric is no longer a fling-seeker. Risa is the sweetest thing he’s ever tasted and she’s spoiled his appetite for other women. Still, no matter what he says, he can’t seem to convince her that splitting up was a knee-jerk reaction to the intimacy he secretly craves—with her. So he’ll give her the business for a single night in her arms if that’s what she wants, but he refuses to continue letting her boss his heart around. All these months without Risa by his side have convinced him that as compatible as they are as lovers today, the rewards are guaranteed to go much deeper if they partner their hearts for life. Now to convince Risa....
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
No matter what I’m writing, I usually include a dose of humor. I like living the funny side of life with my characters. However, for my erotic romances, I also like to include a lot of emotion. If a reader laughs and cries reading one of my novellas, then I know I’ve done my job creating fully dimensional characters and making the reader believe in them. My characters are also usually on some sort of process of self-discovery, coming to grips with what they want versus what they think they want or what they’ve been told they should want. I like my characters, particularly my heroines, to discover themselves along with my readers—and along with me as I write about them.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I can’t really say that I do, because my favorites are generally those in whichever book or novella I’m writing when I’m asked. If they weren’t, then I wouldn’t have much motivation to write their stories. :) Maybe once I’ve amassed a dozen sales, I’ll be able to identify my favorites more accurately, but for now I love them all! They are individuals to me. I’m not a fast writer, so I live with my characters for several weeks and sometimes months or even years, depending on the project and whether I need to take a break from it to work on something else an editor wants to see. I couldn’t live with my characters for that long if I didn’t enjoy several aspects of every single one of them.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
To be frank, I totally love being my own boss! I’m one of those who has “always been a writer.” It was my dream since childhood. I put away the dream for several years, thinking it wasn’t practical, and discovered that working for others really isn’t my thing. They want a letter written? What am I, their assistant? Can’t they write it themselves? Do they lack the capacity? I have filing to do! When? When I WANT to. You see the problem....
Also, I love the creativity. I love creating characters and allowing them to tell their stories through me. I love getting up in the morning and going to my computer in my pajamas if I want to, then getting dressed two hours later when I realize the dog really, really needs her walk (honest, I‘m not one of those writers who spends the entire day in her PJs!). I love that I was able to be home for my children when they were small, writing when they were napping or in school. I love the flexibility, that writing is a “career,” not just a job to me, so if I have to spend my weekends answering interview questions or dreaming about a plot problem or updating my website, why, I’m more than happy to. I can’t imagine any other job that would gratify my creative streak the way writing does.
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
I’m a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist (2007), and my non-erotic romantic comedies, published under another name with a small press, have received several excellent reviews and finaled in or won contests. As Kate St. James, both my Red Sage novellas have received 4-star reviews from Romantic Times. For Secrets 26 (“Exes & Ahhs”), RT says, “Each story is light and quick, and all are filled with plenty of hot sex.” For Secrets 21 (“Good Vibrations”), RT said, “This perfect blend of story, romance and sizzling sensuality has hot alpha heroes and ladies who can hold their own with them.”
Recently, Cocktail Reviews gave “Exes & Ahhs” in Secrets 26, 5.5 champagne flutes! “This was brilliant! I loved the opening scene of this novella—it’s hilarious, saucy, and a great introduction to Risa and Eric. The love scenes are blisteringly hot and very, very sexy... This is easily one of my favourite erotic romances of recent months.”
Candy Ready’s Red Hots says, “This is a highly erotic, funny, tender romp that readers will absolutely love. You will laugh, get turned on, and cry before you finish, and you will wish for more! Eric is to die for!”
For “Good Vibrations,” in Secrets Volume 21: PRIMAL HEAT (December 2007), Enchanting Reviews gave the anthology a 4.5 quill rating and said, “Kate St. James has just found a spot on my must have list.”
I am very happy with the response to my work so far.
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
Primarily through my website—http://www.KateStJames.com/—and through opportunities such as this one! Most conferences are difficult for me to attend, due to distance constraints. I try to get to one major conference per year, but it’s not always possible. I do interviews and guest blogs when I can. For instance, Candy Ready’s Red Hots (http://www.candyready.com/) hosted me for a week of promo for Secrets 21 in the summer of 2008, and I’m visiting again in January of 2009 to promote “Exes & Ahhs”. I sign at conferences when I can (RWA San Francisco National Conference, July 2008, being the latest), and I also have MySpace and Facebook pages:
I’m not sure how the Facebook URLs work, as I just recently joined. There are several Kate St. Jameses on Facebook, but if you do a search for Kate St. James, you’ll know you’ve found me when you see a Secrets book cover.
I have a mailing list, but only send out newsletters when I have a new release. To sign up for my newsletter, please visit either my Home page—http://www.KateStJames.com/ or my Contact page—http://www.KateStJames.com/contact.html. My next newsletter will go out in mid-December.
9. What is your next project?
My third novella, “Kiss Me at Midnight,” about two late-night L.A. talk shows hosts who fake an on-air romance to top November sweeps, will appear in Secrets Volume 28 in December 2009. The anthology doesn’t have a title or cover yet, but I have a blurb up on my Coming page on my website: http://www.KateStJames.com/coming.html. I adored writing this story! Callie and Marc are excellent foils for one another.
I’m also currently marketing my first erotic romance single title, and I continue to write non-erotic romances under another name. Nope, I will not reveal what name here, however, if your readers really want to find out, a scouring of http://www.KateStJames.com/ will provide the answer. :)
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
Yes I do! If writing truly is your dream, and you’re willing to learn, take criticism, and improve your craft, believe in yourself and don’t give up! Perseverance is very important in publishing. You might get lucky and sell your first or second manuscript, or you might struggle for years, and a lot of time that struggle has little to do with talent and more to do with publishing trends and market timing. Don’t be afraid to try a new genre or target a different publisher. Allow yourself to stretch and grow. Learn to let rejections roll off you. Yes, it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds, but it IS possible. Believe me, I know, because I lived this philosophy for several years before I sold, and I continue to live it.
Thank you, Marcia, for interviewing me on The James Gang! I’m proud to be a member.
Thanks, Kate! Next month I’ll interview Samhain Publishing editor Angela James!
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Jeannie James Interview
Jamie Denton Interview
Elle James Interview
Liza James Interview
Raina James Interview
Allyson James Interview
Marianna Jameson Interview
Sherry James Interview
Maddie James Interview
Marcia James Interview