Today, we are fortunate to have Golden Heart winner and new author Robin Kaye visiting.

Welcome to The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers Blog, Robin. I am so thrilled to have you here.

Before we begin, I have to come clean with the readers. I know Robin and I adore her!


When I first began writing, I went to the 2006 conference put on by Space Coast Authors of Romance in Florida. Robin was one of the first people I met..she was there as one of the finalists in their Launching A Star contest. Robin won the Single Title category with a book called Romeo, Romeo. Then I ran into Robin at another conference in Arizona! She and I were making the conference rounds. We met again at RWA Nationals in 2006 and in 2007, where she won the Golden Heart in Contemporary Romance with Romeo, Romeo. During 2006 and 2007, I watched Robin final and win in quite a few RWA chapter contests with Romeo, Romeo. When she won the Golden Heart, I was thrilled but not surprised! (Sorry Robin. I just KNEW you were destined to win it).


So without further ado, Here's Robin!


How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. But it never occurred to me that anyone else would want to read it. I wrote (and still write) because it’s part of who I am.


In 2000, I moved from Idaho--where I had great friends, a wonderful community and a busy life with my husband and three small children--to Maryland where I knew no one. My son was in the second grade and my daughters (one in pre-school and one in kindergarten) were on opposite schedules. I found myself with no more than 2 ½ hours at a time to do anything. There was really no way for me to make friends.


I had recently discovered Jane Austen and was doing research online and found an incredible website with Jane Austen Fanfiction. I was amazed at the quality of writing I found there. Before long, I’d started my own story, a modern-day telling of Pride & Prejudice with a twist of Persuasion. I have to admit that after the fourth chapter, I went off on my own. I discovered early it’s a lot more fun to write your own plots. Still, it became very popular on several sites. One of the regency writers, a professor at Oxford, read it and told me I should get it published. At first I thought she was joking, but after repeatedly saying she was quite serious, the seed was planted. After I finished writing what I now refer to as “The Tome”, I started Romeo, Romeo with my eye toward publication.



Are you a fulltime writer, or do you have the dreaded day job?

Both! I’m a full-time writer, but I’m also a stay-at-home mom with three kids. Actually, I doubt I can be called a stay-at-home mom any longer. One of my daughters is a pre-professional ballerina and dances 6 – 7 days a week at a dance school an hour and a half away. I ferry her back and forth four days a week, haunting the local Panera or Starbucks while she’s dancing—that alone is a full-time job. I home school her as well. Luckily, she spends three days a week with a host family so I get a little bit of a break and actually get to see my husband and other two children.



What made you want to pursue writing as a career?

I think it was my husband. I know that sounds funny, but he took my writing more seriously than I did almost from the beginning. When I was still writing my fanfiction, he told me I was essentially working full-time and taking care of the kids, which in his mind meant I had two full-time jobs. Since he only had one, he thought it was only fair that he should take over doing the laundry. After he revived me from a dead faint, I figured out that if I wanted to keep him doing the laundry (which was the bane of my existence) I’d better start taking this writing thing seriously. LOL It’s a sad story, but basically true.

So you exchanged the laundry for writing? You got the best end of that deal!



What authors do you read? Who inspires you?

I read everything I can get my hands on. I love all kinds of writing. Growing up I read my dad’s books, Robert Ludlum, Sydney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, Wilbur Smith. I got interested in studying law and read everything by Louis Nizer, Reflections without Mirrors: An Autobiography of the Mind made a huge impression on me growing up. I think I was about 13 when I read it.


I’ve only been reading romance since about 2001. I read Jenny Crusie’s Fast Women and was hooked, after I read her entire backlist I started reading Susan Donavan, Donna Kauffman, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Maureen Child, Susan Mallery, and Nora Roberts just to name a few. I think any piece of well-written material is an inspiration. Heck, I recently read an obituary that was inspiring; I guess it’s all in how you look at things.



Do you ever use any of your everyday life as fodder for your books?

Oh God, yes! Rosalie, my heroine’s in Romeo, Romeo has a dog named Dave. Dave was inspired by my dog, Clancy—other than giving her a sex change, Dave is essentially Clancy. I’m from a Brooklyn, Italian family. I was born in Brooklyn and I love it, so I write about it. I’m married to a domestic god, so I guess that was a big inspiration for Nick. What woman would want a man who cooks and cleans for them?

I have to admit that I positively swooned during the scene where Nick lifts her sofa to vacuum under it! LOL


Tell us about winning the Golden Heart for Contemporary Romance in 2007 for Romeo, Romeo.

Talk about a shocker . I entered it with the hopes of scoring in the top 50%. I never even entertained the thought of being a finalist. I paid no attention to the date they would announce the finalists, so when I got a call from poor Trish Milburn, I thought it was someone had died. The only people I knew who lived in Tennessee are my brother and sister-in-law. Since I only hear from them on my husband and brother-in-laws shared birthday or on the occasional national holiday, I thought for sure it had to be bad news. I was very happy to hear it wasn’t. .

The first thing I thought of was oh, God, I have to buy a dress! I tried to talk myself out of it, since really, what

were the chances of me winning and having to get up in front of 2,000 people to accept such a prestigious award? Things like that never happen to me. I’m really not that lucky or that talented. I still think it’s some kind of cosmic joke.

Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks, one of the final GH judges, contacted me when I got to Dallas and asked to meet with me to talk about Romeo, Romeo. She told me how much she’d loved it, she even quoted her favorite lines from the book. I can’t tell you how surreal it all was. After attending the spotlight on Sourcebooks and meeting the Publisher, Dominique Raccah, Deb made me an offer and I accepted it. I thought nothing could make that conference better – that was, until I won. That conference is definitely going down in the annals for best conference of all time.


Romeo, Romeo is your first published book. How many books did you write before Romeo, Romeo?

I’m one of those people everyone hates. Romeo, Romeo was really the first book I wrote toward publication, though my fan-fiction was a tome of 330,000 words and was three complete romances. So it really depends upon how you want to look at it. You can consider Romeo, Romeo to be my first, or my fourth.



Tell us a little more about the plot for Romeo, Romeo.

Romeo, Romeo is about an independent businesswoman, Rosalie Ronaldi who’s life would be perfect if she could just figure out how to keep her nosy, pushy, Italian family from trying to marry her off.

Nick Romeo, Brooklyn’s Donald Trump without the comb over, thinks independent women are an urban myth, until he meets Rosalie and realizes they’re no myth, just a pain the ass. He’s finally met a woman who is looking for the same thing he is, a commitment free relationship ,and is shocked to discover that all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s moved in, c
leaned her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog.



What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m writing Becoming Mr. Perfect, the third book in my Domestic Gods series. It’s Rich Ronaldi’s book and I’m having a great time writing it. It’s a really fun book to work on.



Do you have another book scheduled to be released in 2009?

Yes, Too Hot To Handle will be released in May.


What is Too Hot To Handle about?
Dr. Mike Flynn’s single mom taught him early how to cook and clean and there’s nothing like vacuuming or doing dishes to help a guy relax. Annabelle Ronaldi doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body. Since her fiancĂ©’s death, she can’t paint and her life looks hopeless.

Until the day after her sister’s wedding, when she wakes up with Mike next to her in bed, and then she’s really beside herself- because the handsome stranger is a dead ringer for her dead fiancĂ©.


After their mind-blowing one night stand, Mike is sure this is the woman he wants to take care of forever, but she acts like she’s seen a ghost. While Mike sets to work wooing Annabelle, she sets to work sniffing out the truth of the convoluted family secret that turns everybody’s lives upside down.



What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

I can only say what helped me. I entered contests. I targeted agents, editors, and publishing houses, and only entered the contests they were judging. I received several requests from doing that. Then I entered the Gold Heart and was lucky enough to sell to one of the final judges.


The other thing I suggest is to go to conferences and don’t sit with your friends all the time. Meet people and talk to everyone. Put yourself out there and remember that you are always “on.” I’ve found myself talking to a total stranger and then after a half-hour realized he or she was an agent, editor or a writer I loved. Chit-chatting has gotten me requests from agents, editors and it even got me a cover quote.


Thank you for visiting today, Robin.

If you have questions for Robin, post them in the comments section.

I am fortunate enough to have read Romeo, Romeo and truly loved it. Robin is giving away one autographed copy of Romeo, Romeo to one of our lucky backbloggers. If you don't win the free copy, please do yourself a favor and get this book...but only if you want a delightful romance. Be warned... you WILL fall in love with Nick!

The winner's name will be posted on Friday, December 12. Come back then when I have an interview with best selling Harlequin Intrigue author, Elle James.



UPDATE - DECEMBER 17, 2008

Due to internet problems, I was unable to post the winner of the Robin Kaye book until. A note has been sent to "M" as the winner. If I do not hear from her by Friday, December 19, I will contact a runner up. Thank you again to everyone who visited.


19 comments

  1. Danielle // December 10, 2008 at 7:17 AM  

    I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read Dr. Mike's story. Enjoyed the interview.

  2. Shayla Kersten // December 10, 2008 at 7:57 AM  

    Great interview! Love Robin's story of how Romeo, Romeo got published. An author's fairy tale come true!

  3. Keri Ford // December 10, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

    Hey, Robin! We were so excited when you won at Dallas! In my mind, I say you published your 2nd book-hows that for more confusion :O)

  4. Edie // December 10, 2008 at 10:17 AM  

    Great interview! Robin, your book is on my To Buy list!

  5. Nightingale // December 10, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

    Love the title Romeo, Romeo. I had a wonderful hunter/jumper we called Romeo. I will add this wonderful sounding book to my to read list. And we are forewarned that we will fall in love with Nick. I haven't been in love this week!

  6. M. // December 10, 2008 at 10:51 AM  

    Hello,
    my first visit to this site, found you via 'Dear Author'.

    Ms. Kaye, I'm officially in love with your husband and will begin plotting how to disclose to mine what yours did as soon as I've finished posting here!

    The story sounds intriguing, the tagline is excellent, and as an aspiring comedy writer I'm always fascinated to dissect how an author successfully incorporates funny moments. This sounds like a book I should read, for sure.

    My question is about secondary characters. I believe a lot of the humor in comedies rests with the secondary characters, so they're essential. But: how do you decide on the number? Different for every book or some sort of guideline?

  7. Robin Kaye // December 10, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

    Hello everyone~

    Cyndi~ Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today. What a great turn-out!

    Hi Danielle~ It's good to see you again! Too Hot To Handle is on Amazon.com and B&N for pre-order. I'm really excited about it. I'm planning on putting the first chapter up on my website as soon as I get it back from Copy Edit. The first chapter of Romeo, Romeo is on there in case anyone wants to take a look. www.robinkayewrites.com

    I just took a break from writing Becoming Mr. Perfect - I have to tell you all, I'm having so much fun writing this story, It's Rich's book and he's incredible if I do say so myself. I wish I had more writing time and less driving time.

    I'll be popping in and out today.

    Robin :)

  8. Robin Kaye // December 10, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

    M~

    I'm kind of a seat of the pants writer who is desperately trying to be a plotter. Unfortunately, it's not working too well.

    Characters more or less appear in my books. For instance, I needed a doctor in Romeo, Romeo. Without going into detail, Rosalie (the heroine) gets sick and Nick drags her to a doctor. I had no idea that Dr. Mike would make me fall head over heels in love with him, nor did I ever imagine he'd end up being the hero of Too Hot To Handle. He just appeared and took over, or tried to anyway.

    I wish I could say that you need X number of secondary characters but I don't think there is a rule to this kind of thing. You don't want to go overboard because introducing too many people gets confusing to the reader, but then you do want enough people to hold your hero and heroine's feet to the fire, to be their mirror, to call bullshit on them and make them see how dumb they're acting, and to add comedy relief.

    In Romeo, Romeo I have a lot of secondary characters--at least 10. The nosey family, neighbors, assistants, best friends. Think about your life, how many people really know you? How many people give you marital/dating/child-rearing advice whether you ask for it or not?

    You have to also think about your H/H a recluse isn't going to have the same supporting cast as an extravert with a big nosey Italian family.

    Hope that helps~

    Robin :)

  9. jj Keller // December 10, 2008 at 12:11 PM  

    Fantastic interview! Good deal with the laundry. You've hit the jackpot with your husband!

  10. M. // December 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

    So, I'll interpret the secondary character answer as 'depends on the book'.

    I adore secondary (and tertiary, if you count pets) characters and am probably in danger of overpopulating my stories with them. Generally, I think I'd rather err on the side of too many rather than too few. I tend to get bored with stories that are just all hero/heroine, all the time.

    I am a full-fledged pantser, also. Though I've heard that a lot of writers start out that way and become more and more drawn to the plotter side as they increase in skill and pile up contracts.

  11. Mary Marvella // December 10, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

    So we are all in love with your husband, Robin, and Romeo sounds as lovable, too! We're so glad Cyndi found you and that you found your husband!

    Keep those heroes coming and write on.

  12. Mary Ricksen // December 10, 2008 at 2:35 PM  

    Sounds like you have a great husband. Thanks for a wonderful interview.

  13. Liz Jasper // December 10, 2008 at 5:16 PM  

    I love how your interview produced a collective sigh from all of us when we read that your husband volunteered to take over the laundry for you.
    And that in itself is a good takeaway for writers: having a "real" quality like that can endear a hero to a reader more than great abs. (Though those are good, too. *g*)

    Great interview!
    --Liz

  14. sshay // December 10, 2008 at 5:25 PM  

    very interesting. Thanks for letting us in.
    ~S~

  15. Arkansas Cyndi // December 10, 2008 at 5:56 PM  

    Thank you Robin for spending the day with us. It was wonderful to "talk" to you!

    See ya in Washington!

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 10, 2008 at 10:03 PM  

    Great interview! Pink Fuzzies rock! So many wonderful interviews! Robin I really enjoyed your interview, but I must admit the lovely green shade I turned was at odds with my usual scarlet! Thanks Cyndi for bring us this wonderful interview!

    Scarlet Pumpernickel

  17. Joanne // December 11, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

    Thank you, Robin, for visiting the Pink Fuzzies, and thank you, Cyndi, for the interview. Robin--your story is an inspiration. Sincere congratulations on your well-deserved success.

  18. Beth Trissel // December 11, 2008 at 3:00 PM  

    Wonderful interview, Robin. I enjoyed reading about your journey.
    You have a great sense of humor.
    I must have done something wrong because I'm still doing all the domestic chores, plus...
    :) I know what you mean about the shocker/thrill of finaling in the GH. I am a 2008 finalist in the historical category and was sick and taking a nap when the phone rang with that stupendous call. I later feared I'd dreamed the whole thing up. :)

  19. Robin Kaye // December 11, 2008 at 9:36 PM  

    Thanks for having me here, everyone! It was a lot of fun.

    My husband is amazing. He's my real life Domestic God. That scene that Cyndi mentioned about Nick holding up the couch to vacuum under it, well, I picked that one up from my husband. When Stephen and I were dating, he spent every weekend at my house so he helped me with the housework. One Saturday my mother and I walked into the living room and saw him holding the couch up to vacuum under it. My mother turned to me and said "Marry him." so I did. LOL - that was 19 years ago.

    Hugs to all~

    Robin :)
    Thanks again