Friday, August 28, 2009

Author Kathleen O'Reilly and a bunch of free books

For my money Blaze author Kathleen O'Reilly is about as good as it gets. For those of you who haven't read her series romance - you need to get thee to a bookstore quick, because her latest book HOT UNDER PRESSURE is O'Reilly at her best. For writers out there interested in writing series romance - O'Reilly is a master at shoving a whole bunch of story in a little tiny word count. She's been gracious enough to answer a few questions of mine and for one lucky commentor - you get two of Kathleen's books and then a few more from the Drunk Writers. What a day!!!

Here goes:
We are a drinking bunch – so I have to ask – drink of choice?

A fruity cabernet, not so oaky. My favorite is Liberty School.

I love a drinker who knows what she wants! What are you reading right now? Watching on TV?

I’ve got a bunch of books loaded up for vacation reading. A lot of Sarah Mayberry, Julia London’s Summer of Two Wishes, Leslie Parrish’s Pitch Black, Free by Chris Anderson, and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a band of US Soldiers who Rode to Victory In Afghanistan by Doug Stanton. I saw the author on the Daily Show, read a sample on my Kindle, and loved the writing. Being a romance reader, we get a lot of romanticized versions of modern-combat, and I wanted to read a non-fiction one.As for TV, I’m not big on the summer shows. I watch American Idol, 24, House, the NBC Nightly News, and Law & Order the original (duh-dum) whenever I can find it. We do a lot of DVD movies at our house. Currently on a Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan glom.

That's funny, I took Sarah Mayberry on my last vacation too! That girl gets around!! What's your favorite book?

AGH!!! I HATE THIS QUESTION because I do not have one. There are books that will always have sentimental attachments to me. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 101 Dalmatians, and the Flame and the Flower. However, I think my fav book, which I can read over and over is Lonesome Dove. It’s this great relationship between these two men and I love how they change and grow and affect each other. I also love Manhunting by Jenny Crusie (my fav Crusie EVAH!) and To Kill a Mockingbird. I have to be careful with reading a lot of Southern books because then I start writing in these long, languorous sentences about folks sittin around with their mint juleps, fanning in the late afternoon porch breeze, and telling stories on their neighbors. Did I mention Mark Twain? Love Mark Twain. He was the first Jon Stewart.

We're big Jon Stewart fans at my house too! And the Mark Twain comparison is spot on! Who do you want to be when you grow up?

A pampered housewife with a maid. That’s my life-goal. A maid.

I think many of the drunk writers share the same life goal. What do you love about writing series romance? And as a fan of your work who is often amazed by the depth you are able to cram into such short books – what do you love about Blaze books? That’s a weird question, I know, but honestly, your Blazes are unlike any other Blaze.

Oh, flattery will get you everywhere with me. :) There’s a lot to love about writing series. First of all, you get to write THE END on an annual basis about 3 times more often than non-series writers. That’s a big plus. But I think my favorite thing is something that Jessica from Racy Romance Reviews said about series, and I’m shamelessly scarfing her idea. A series romance is just the hero and the heroine. Not much on secondaries, not much on worldbuilding, not big sweeping external plots, just one man, one woman falling in love. Surprisingly enough, this is a scarcity in the romance genre, and I’m hoping that some of the single-title books coming out will swing back this way. As for Blaze, there’s a freedom in Blaze that you don’t find in a lot of other lines. We can have any sort of hero, any sort of heroine, any sort of plot. It’s just got to be a hot plot. :) From a writing standpoint, and speaking as a writer who writes all over the board character-wise, I like that, because I can dream up two people that were completely different from the two people I just wrote about. That’s what I love about writing for Blaze.

I think you've hit the nail on the head - the series romance appeal is that they are so concise - one man, one woman, not much else. Are you plotter? Pantser? Do you write every day?

I try to be a plotter, and at some point in time (usually about the half-way point), I do sit down and organize the story so that I don’t leave things hanging in the end, but I can’t be a plotter at the beginning. I start out with vague ideas on plot, but I always come up with better stuff the more I write of the story. So I start out a pantser, but I evolve in a plotter when the middle comes. Ideally I write Monday through Friday 9-3 when the kids are in school, but when Deadlines loom, all schedules are off. I will write on the weekend, I will check myself into a hotel, whatever works. Sometimes the books come fast and deadlines are not a problem, but if I’m not happy with what I’m writing, I can purge a lot of pages, and that’s when the hotel escapes are necessary.

HOTELS!!! Did you hear that Sinead? She goes to hotels! We have been doing something very very wrong!! How did Hot Under Pressure come about? The idea? Were you wearing bunny slippers?

LOL. That’s easy. I was stuck on the tarmac for about four hours, and we were the last flight out, and weren’t sure if we would make it or not. The plane developed this odd sort of camaraderie, where people would listen to see if they could figure out whether we were going to take off that night, or not. It breaks down a lot of barriers between the passengers. I’m usually very aloof on a plane. I use flying as my reading time, but in this case, I was more interested in knowing whether I was going to Dallas or not. As for the bunny slippers, I have no idea. I liked the idea of someone who flew a lot, but didn’t like to fly, and I thought bunny slippers would be a good flying ritual to have.

What’s next for you? I for one can’t wait!

I have three books out in 2010: January, April, and May. The January book is Midnight Resolutions, also part of the Where You Least Expect It series. It’s a story of a man and a woman who meet as strangers in Times Square and share a kiss, and then how fate seems to keep driving them together. The April Book is written by myself and Julie Kenner, and it’s four short romances about one family who is cursed on April Fool’s Day, and they have to break the curse, or learn to live with it. And the May book is currently untitled, but it’s another Where You Least Expect It, and it’s the story of a reclusive writer who closets himself away in upstate New York, and the journalist who happens across him, not realizing that she’s stumbled on the story of her career. And of course, they fall in love. :)


Maureen McGowan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen! Great interview.

I recently discovered Racy Romance Reviews and need to make a note to visit there more often. She seems like a very astute reviewer.

LOVED the opening scene of HOT UNDER PRESSURE, by the way. AWESOME.

Eileen said...

Yes, yes, a maid! I so want a maid!

Hi, Kathleen! Kathleen and I are anthology-mates from a long time ago. We were in a New Year's Eve themed anthology together.

Kathleen said...

Hello, Maureen! I shamelessly google myself, sometimes at very neurotic hours and I discovered Jessica's blog that way. After I started reading some of her other entries, and I realized she was a philosophy prof, I was like, oh, this cool! I had one philosophy class in college, and it totally blew my mind (Hegel != reality) and took me about five weeks before I finally understood. Since then, I've been wanting to know more about all the diff philosophers and what they ascribed to, and I have a great admiration for people who can rattle off philosophy beliefs, as easily as I can rattle off titles of Sponge Bob episodes. Anyway, I like reading her stuff.

And thank you for the nice words on HUP.

Maureen McGowan said...


I found her on Twitter... and read a couple of her reviews and thought they were awesome. Can't even remember what book now... but she had such an intelligent take on it.

And, for the record, having a maid is my highest aspiration, too. OMG that would make my life so much better.

Kathleen said...

Hello, Eileen!! How are you??? Obviously just as untidy as I am :) I told my DH last night that my goal was a maid. He said, sure, after the kids are out of college. I fixed him with a look. I think he got the point. :)

I remeber that anthology. Single-handedly I have killed many sub-genres. Historical, chick-lit. I'm waiting for the impending demise of hot, steamy contemporary. :)

Kathleen said...

Maureen, perhaps we need to form an RWA chap. WRITERS WITHOUT MAIDS. Sort of a coop, where the dues go to fund the member-author's housekeeping chores, and we could have a paypal button for maid-friendly readers to contribute. And we could highlight "messy writer's house of the week." And show children with dirty faces and grass-stained jeans. And we could have product placement in our books and sell out space to Lysol and Chlorox and use the funds to keep us out of housekeeping drudgery forever.

Maureen McGowan said...

What an AWESOME idea, Kathleen. I'd join that chapter.

Sinead M said...

Can I subscribe to the service that will feed my kids dinner?

I could live with a dirty bathroom, but a two year old that refuses to eat anything but mac and cheese is slowly sucking the life from me. And a 4 year old who'll only eat jam sandwiches and the nagging guilt that I'm somewhow stumping their physical and intellectual growth by giving in to their demands..

Kathleen said...

LOL Sinead (lovely name, that; it's on my heroine's to be named list, FYI) -- I'm sorry about your kids palate. I think it will evolve before your choices have damaged them forever, but there is always mother-guilt, it is eternal, so even as they grow up, you will always feel bad about what you didn't feed them, or what you let them watch, or how few hours they slept. I think it's some post-pregnancy hormone that never goes away.

However, all caveats aside, yes, I think we can make this: WRITERS WITHOUT MAIDS OR COOKS. (WWMOC). And with the addition of culinary aspects, there is a whole wealth of product placement opportunities available. Hamburger helper. Easy Mac and the California Diary producers association.

Sinead M said...

Brilliant! add in day cares, nanny services, dry cleaners, we have promotional opportunities until 2020.

I'm still in awe about your hotel plan. Love that. It had Molly and I in stunned, dreamy silence for several moments as we imagined the possibilities..

And then we figured our husbands would send the kids with us... and reality intruded.

Kathleen said...

Sinead, I HIGHLY recommend the hotel plan, even if it's just 1 or 2 nights. I have a lot of hats. Writer-hat, Mom-hat, Wife-hat, PTA-hate, Toilet-Cleaning hat, but when I go to the hotel, I only take my writer-hat. You'd be surprised at how much you get done (and how well your story can gel) when you have zero interruptions. Garden Inn by Hilton. Inexpensive, yet clean, free Internet (you have to stay away from email and Twitter, though -- serious time-suck), with microwave and frig and a variety of frozen dinners for sale in the lobby. They should put me on the payroll.

Eileen said...

I've done the hotel thing a couple of times and it rocks. I have a local writer friend that I go with on occasion. We have a good rhythm together. It's a fantastic way to get a bunch of pages written in a weekend.

And Sinead, it's okay. Let them eat the mac'n cheese and jam sandwiches. Mine were the same way and now it's pineapple jalapeno pizza, Chinese, Thai, you name it. They still don't like casseroles though.

Please also sign me up as a charter member of WWOMOC.

J.K. Coi said...

Writers Without Maids--I'm totally in! We could use the membership dues and random donations from generous readers for sending maid service to the members on deadline in a particular month, and it just might be a cure for writers' block because the more you're writing, the more you would need the maid service :)

Simone said...

We actually had a maid for nearly a year, while hubby ran his business from the house. The place had to be spotless all the time for clients and we just wrote it off as a business expense.

Everything you're imagining.. it was better. To die for. I still dream about those days.

Then he moved the business out and I went back to cleaning toilets.

Hotel weekend - I'm SO in.

Molly O'Keefe said...

ugh - blogger was mad at me all day yesterday!!!

Anyway - we'll announce the winner of all those free books on monday so keep your comments coming!

Thanks again Kathleen - local hotels and maid services appreciate your comments!!!!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Ahh! I'm sorry I missed all the action on Friday. Kathleen I'm a HUGE fan. My favorite was the story of the widower whose wife was killed in 9/11. OMG that story was so poweful without it being anything other than a story about a man learning to move on with his life. Really beautiful.

Anyway I'm down with the maid thing - but mine has to be a man, hot, and he has to force me to work out for forty minutes a day. Then of course he can go about his cleaning business.


Kathleen said...


I think there's a lot of people who would be in on this one. Share the love, share the dough, share the clean. :)

Kathleen said...


A year of maid sounds like heaven. Tres jealous.

Kathleen said...

Hi, Stephanie,

Thank you for the nice words. I like the idea of a hot man maid but I think it would distract me. Unless he was a muse or something, then I could get down with it. :)

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