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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Author Interview: Kimberly Dean

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Kimberly Dean. Kimberly has written for Black Lace Books, Red Sage Publishing, Ellora's Cave, Avon Red, and her new Dream Wreaker series is published by Pocket Books.

I asked Kimberly to tell us a little about her latest book, In Her Wildest Dreams (our review of this book may be found here).

"In Her Wildest Dreams is the second book in my Dream Wreaker series," she told me. "It is set in the nighttime world of sleep and tells the stories of the Oneiroi, descendants of the Greek gods who help humans dream. What She Wants At Midnight, the first book, is the tale of an unknowing witch who summons her Dream Wreaker to her with a love spell… unaware of the implications that magic can have. In Her Wildest Dreams is a thriller about a Dream Wreaker fighting to save the woman he loves from an evil Somnambulist who overtakes her at night. Both are erotic paranormals that have received great reviews."

She consented to share the blurb for In Her Wildest Dreams with us.

Shea Caldwell fears sleep. As a child, she’d suffered greatly from sleepwalking, never knowing where she’d wander or what she might do. Her sleep disorder had worsened until one terrible night when she’d done something that could never be forgiven. She’s lived with the guilt ever since – only now her somnambulism is back.

Derek Oneiros is a Dream Wreaker, a spirit of the night that bestows dreams on sleeping humans. By day, he works with the beautiful Dr. Caldwell. By night, he watches over her as she sleeps. When an evil Somnambulist invades her dreams, the only way for Derek to save her from total possession is to possess her himself.

It’s a struggle for power, with Shea caught in the middle. The Somnambulist’s control over her is growing. Can Derek’s love save her? Or will she forever be a tool for the evil of the night?
Kimberly told me she wrote erotic romance before it was the "hot new thing." She continued, "When I started writing, U.S. publishers wouldn’t even consider my work. Black Lace Books in England was ahead of the game, and I took the chance of sending my work overseas. I was first published in 2001 when Black Lace Books included my story 'Playing with Fire' in their Wicked Words 5 anthology. They were great to work with and slowly U.S. publishers caught on that there was an unmet need in the marketplace. Smaller publishers started publishing hotter books, and I made my way back across the pond. The big New York publishers were still leery, however. I can still remember a Harlequin editor saying, 'Oh, you write the naughty stuff.' As a result, the mainstream publishers were slow to get in the game – until they decided to jump in with both feet. The pendulum has swung so far. Today I get reviews describing my books as having 'vanilla' sex. I finally figured out that they mean it’s free of S&M or fetishes, rather than it’s not hot – but I still wish they’d change their terminology.

"Overall, I think the change has been for the better. It’s opened up opportunities for some writers who were never given a chance before, and now they’re branching out into new areas. I’m sure things will change even more, and it will be interesting to see where the market goes from here."

Like other authors, Kimberly admits to wishing she could peer into the future and see just what the next big trend will be in that market.

She also thinks scientists should invent "a device that will automatically take the stories in your head (with all the vivid color, emotion, and action) and translate it directly to paper. No typing necessary."

That would definitely help with the problem of writer's block, which Kimberly admits to suffering from while writing In Her Wildest Dreams. I asked her how she got through it.

"Unlike other writers who insist you have to fight through it and write every day, I found I had to back away," she told me. "Forcing it wasn't going to help. Instead, I needed to know my story better. I tried different techniques including flowcharting and flash cards with the major points I knew the story needed to hit. Finally, arranging those flash cards on the wall seemed to work. In the end, I'm really happy with the way the story turned out. It's been getting very good reviews, so I'm glad that all the pain and suffering was worth it."

I also wanted to know which came first for her—characters or plot?

"They have to come at the same time for me," she explained. "I usually start with a scene that then expands into a fuller story. That scene will give the the characters and the necessary conflict. If I don't have both components, the story won't develop."

Finally, I asked Kimberly what advice she had for new writers.

"Learn your craft. Learn to pitch. You can have the best book in the world, but if you can’t get your concept across in a short period of time, you’ll lose your editor or agent’s interest. Act professionally," she said. "I was on a subway heading to a writer’s conference and there were other writers on board, bragging about their books. They were hooting and hollering, telling normal subway riders about how hot and sexy their books were. The thing they did not do was look at the expressions on the other riders’ faces. Even if these people had been readers, you could see that they were turned off by these authors’ behavior. That little scene did nothing to improve the reputation of romance books, and I was embarrassed on behalf of the genre." You can keep up with Kimberly on her website, http://www.kimberlydean.com

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