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THE JAMES GANG

February James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of “James” in their names or in their books. My February James Gang interviewee is romance and mystery author, Carolyn Hughey (aka author K.T. Roberts), who has a character perfect for the James Gang.


1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why did you pick "Jamie" as the name for your heroine in One Menu at a Time?

I chose "Jamie" because it’s a cute name for a woman. and I wanted to represent that as a chef she’s a hard worker and a little bit of a tomboy, as most female chefs are. Yet she’s not afraid to show her feminine side when the need arises.

2 Tell us about One Menu at a Time.

Mix one part job seeker, one part gourmet chef, and one part frazzled guardian, and the result is Jamie, one very stressed-out gal. Jamie dons the apron of a personal chef, but when her sweating in the kitchen fails to bring results to her bank account, she’s back to square one.

Then her matchmaking sister Renee comes to the rescue with the perfect solution. What about the sexy NASCAR driver who is looking for a private chef and who just so happens to be the brother to one of Renee’s best friends? At first Jamie does not see beyond Chase’s charming demeanor—he seems to collect women like she collects recipes. But when Jamie discovers they have more in common than she thought, will she allow Chase to capture her heart?


3. Tell us about your upcoming release(s).

At the moment, Carolyn doesn’t have an upcoming release. But K.T. Roberts does. K. T. is the alter ego of Carolyn, but she writes mysteries and thrillers as opposed to sweet romances. I’m frequently asked why the name change, and my response is, I wanted my ‘Carolyn’ fans to know that K. T.'s books were a bit edgier, because, after all, those mysteries are about NYPD detectives.

And K. T. is currently writing Blind Vengeance, a romantic suspense, which was just purchased by Montlake Romance and will be released in September 2015. I’m very excited about this book and the contract with Montlake, one of the best publishers on the planet, as most of our author family will tell you.

Here’s the blurb: NYPD Detective Max Turner is about to explode. She has her hands full with the homicide of a surgeon’s wife, who died from a bomb explosion in her husband’s car, and a retiring partner. As the case unfolds, it turns into complexity at its best and involves multiple homicides, a senator's daughter, and an illegal heart transplant. On top of all that, she's being badgered by Cory Ross, a sinfully sexy but infuriating PI who keeps insisting she's got her facts wrong even though she's certain she's got the case solved. Cory's best friend is her prime suspect, and Cory’s not about to let his buddy go to jail. Cory's relentless digging reveals secrets Max can't overlook, just as she can't ignore the sizzling attraction that threatens to derail them both. She's survived two tours of duty as a Marine, but can she survive Cory? And can the two of them solve this case before someone else dies?

I wish I had a Blind Vengeance cover to show you, but Montlake hasn’t developed one yet.

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

Yes. One Menu at a Time is the second story in a series of three. In addition to it being a contemporary romance, it’s a cooking series with my own recipes. I’m a New York trained chef and my previous publisher contracted me to do the series. Besides having a cooking theme, it’s about strong friendships between three women, each book being about one of them, but they all show up in all three of the books. And of course, I can’t forget Mama Pirelli, who nags all of them to get married and she knows just the guys. It also includes behind-the-scenes workings of the back of the house (kitchen), as well as front of the house in restaurants, to working as newly trained chefs to a well-trained chef who, with the help of her parents, purchases a B&B restaurant in New Hope, New Jersey.

K. T.’s romantic suspense series is about two NYPD partner detectives, whose relationship grows from one book to the next, although difficult, they always get their man. Whenever anyone asks about each of the books, I like to pitch them in high concept terms because it’s easier for customers to understand. The Last Witness is like Law & Order meets Scott Peterson. The second in the series, Elusive Justice, is like Without a Trace meets In Plain Sight, and the third in the series, a thriller and my latest release, is Deadly Obsessions that’s just like Criminal Minds.


5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

In my Carolyn books, my hero/heroine is Cassie Pirelli. She’s the one who started this series and she’s very much like me. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of things that have happened to me in my life and career that have been written into the stories.

In my romantic suspense, hands down, it’s Zach Gerard because he’s a romantic who will jump through hoops to show Jessie how much he loves her, but she’s a toughie who’s been hurt before and afraid to take a chance. She’s afraid of commitment. They’re both dedicated to their jobs.

In reality, I think I must have been in law enforcement in a previous life, because I’m just as enthralled as my readers are with solving the cases.


6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I love everything about being an author. The fact that I can dream up these stories and put the words on paper and have people tell me they love what I’ve written, is the epitome of success. I love the fact that people actually seek me out to buy my books and follow me, not just to my signings, but online as well. This year, I’ve developed quite a following of new readers as a result of extensive marketing. I’m also a firm believer in thanking my fans, so I had a Fan Appreciation Christmas Party for anyone who could attend. It was fun. I’ve actually blogged about it on my blog—http://booksbycarolyn.blogspot.com/


7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

You know, I’ve never really focused on contests and awards before. That said, as of late, I’ve just begun to enter my mysteries into contests. As a matter of fact, I’ve just entered Deadly Obsessions into the RITAs, the Holt Medallion, and the New England Readers Choice contests and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

As for kudos, I have wonderful reviews for my romantic suspenses, and nothing pleases me more. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, and that’s okay, but the reviews I have received have just warmed my heart and told me I’m on the right track.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

For a very long time, I was pimping my work on Facebook, but as of late, there are so many authors doing the same thing, it confuses readers. I’ve had to find other ways. There’s a lot to be said for book signings, making appearances online, and doing giveaways, and of course, paid advertising has become the norm. When Montlake publishes Blind Vengeance, I’ll have another door that’s been opened to me for advertising. Amazon and Montlake have an abundance of advertising avenues to sell my work; it boggles my mind. That said though, it doesn’t mean I won’t have to do my own advertising. I’ll be doing plenty of that as well—hopefully using smarter ways to achieve my goals.


9. What is your next project?

Once Blind Vengeance is completed, my next story is already outlined and it’s titled, Sleeping with the Enemy, a mafia story about a young child who witnesses her father’s death at the hands of someone she believes to be her uncle. She later learns her father was the kingpin of one of the most powerful families in Italy. Frightened, the mother moves to NY and they take on new identities. As she ages, she becomes obsessed with revenge, not only for the death of her father, but the one man she adored has let her down. Now she’s out for blood—their blood, and the only way she knows how to do it is to become a detective in the NYPD. When she’s given an undercover assignment in the mob, her fury becomes stronger, and that means breaking off a relationship with a man she’s madly in love with. It isn’t until she takes on this assignment that she learns he’s a member of the mob.

As soon as Sleeping with the Enemy is finished, I’ll be writing a cozy mystery series with six novels called the Cape May Capers. All take place in Cape May, New Jersey. As you can see, I have a lot of work ahead of me.


10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

I’m sure those just entering the wonderful world of writing have heard this many times, but it’s so powerful it deserves being repeated. NEVER, EVER give up on your dream. If you want to be an author, sit down and write that story because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t miss your window of opportunity. You can do anything you put your mind to. Follow your dream and dream big!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are Carolyn's links and a quick teaser from her bio:

Multi-published and internationally recognized author, Carolyn Hughey traded in her chef's hat for a computer. Originally a Jersey Girl, Carolyn and her real-life hero, Bob, currently reside in Arizona. They have four children and when Carolyn's not writing, she's studying her craft, or whipping up some gastronomic delight for family and friends.

Carolyn's Website: http://CarolynHughey.com
Carolyn's Blog: http://booksbycarolyn.blogspot.com
The Write Authors' blog: http://www.thewriteauthors.com


Stop by next month, when my March James Gang interviewee will be author, Michael James!

 

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