Today’s guest author VK Sykes has a split personality. Or maybe I should make that a dual personality. You see, VK Sykes is actually two people. VK is Vanessa Kelly, and Sykes is Vanessa’s husband Randy, I mean Randall Sykes. Which makes me want to shout:
Okay, so it’s not the first time I’ve hosted a male writer. It is the second time. And to add extra zing to the mix, he brought his wife along. Or she dragged him over kicking and cursing. Hmm, that doesn’t sound right, now does it? My erotica writing mind is taking that places they probably would prefer I wouldn’t go, especially with a guy named Randy, LOL. Yup, I went there–I can hear Randy groaning from here. He’s probably heard that tired old joke a billion times before. Or maybe the groan is a left over reaction to the earthquake we had here yesterday afternoon…which they would have felt too because…
They’re Canadian! Well, Randy is. Vanessa’s a Jersey girl but since she’s married to Randy we can make exceptions for her. Us Canucks are very friendly. Especially since Randy and Vanessa live half the year in Canada (right near the epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake.) The other half of the year they join the flocks of snowbirds and head south for the winter, lucky ducks.
Anyway, Vanessa and Randy, as VK Sykes have a book coming out with Carina next month–it’s a romantic suspense called Caddy Girls. So I invited them to come play on my blog and sent them some questions…
Leah: All right, you two, cut out out the kissy-face and tell me, what’s the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve done for the sake of research? (Okay, I’ll try to tone down the snickering. Yes, my brain really is THAT filthy. Do you have any idea how many golfing euphemisms can be used for sex?)
VKS: In addition to writing sexy contemporaries, Randy and I also write romantic suspense. One of our current projects is set in Florida, and the heroine is a detective at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office. We thought it would be great if we could get insight into the work of a homicide detective, so we contacted the media office to set up an interview. We expected to meet with the media liaison officer and hoped to get a few minutes with a detective or police officer. Much to our surprise, the media officer conducted us up to “the Floor” of the homicide unit, took us to the bedroom (which was also the lunchroom), and then deposited us there with SIX female detectives and the chief of the Violent Crimes Unit. All of whom looked like they had better things to do than talk to a couple of romance novelists! I mean, these were serious women—all homicide detectives, all with very big guns on their belts. Fortunately, once they realized we’d done our homework, they couldn’t have been nicer. Some of them spent almost two hours with us, explaining procedures, cases, and then giving us a tour of the floor. We were in awe of these smart, cool, dedicated women who have one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.
Leah: Wow! I’m jealous. I only got to hang out and drink beer with the Toronto bomb squad and SRU but they never took me on a tour of their place. *sigh* Back to the interview: do either of you have any writing rituals?
VKS: Randy’s ritual is to sit down at his computer and start writing, darn him! He’s such a guy that way. I, however, have several rituals. I have a small meditation altar, and I usually start by doing a short meditation to clear my mind and sharpen my focus. Sometimes it even works! Then, I drag every little thing I could possibly need into my bedroom and lay it all out on the bed. I have a little laptop desk that I use for my alphasmart, so I like to write on the bed while spreading all my bits and pieces of notes, charts, and research books all around me. It’s a desperate attempt to make me feel in control! Finally, I get a cup of coffee and install it on my bedside table. Once I do all those things, I’m ready to write.
Leah: Um, gee, Vanessa, I guess I have been hanging around my testosterone filled house too long because my ritual is the same as Randy’s. The only thing I have in common with your routine is the cup of coffee. All right, I have to ask this — Caddy Girls. Golf — what was your inspiration? (Do I really need to ask that? Considering Gizmo Guy came home with a new, well, new to him Taylor Made driver today? I think we all know who came up with that idea and I doubt it was Vanessa. Although Susan Elizabeth Phillips did a golf story–Lady Be Mine. Okay, I’ll cut them both some slack.)
VKS: Randy can totally claim to be the source of inspiration for CaddyGirls. He loves golf and he loves Las Vegas, where the book is set. One day, while cruising the internet, he came across a site where you can book a female caddy for a day (or several days) of golf in Las Vegas. Most if not all of the people who do that are businessmen, looking for a cute girl to lug around their clubs. We discussed it, and agreed that a frustrated female caddy would make a great heroine for a sexy contemporary.
Leah: Ha! Knew it! So what did you do to help keep you in their world? *Yes, I’m looking at Vanessa for that one, it’s sexist, I know.*
VKS: We talk about our stories a lot as we’re writing them, so that tends to keep us focused and on point.
Leah: I’m going to get a bit more personal now. *did Randy just cringe? I’m not THAT bad. Well, ok, maybe I am* What is something unusual that you do or have done that people normally don’t know or would be surprised to know about you?
VKS: The really unusual and surprising thing about Randy is that he is writing romance novels. Most of his friends just about passed out when he told them what he was doing. Not too many guys in the romance-writing business, although that is starting to change. As for me, I wish I could say something exotic, like, I used to be a marine biologist or I go spelunking in caves, but that’s not the case. What might surprise some of my friends now is that I was such a wild child in my high school and university days. I’m pretty much of a straight arrow now, and I like to fly under the radar.
Leah: *pats Vanessa’s hand.* It’s all right, we had our visit from this week’s marine biologist on Tuesday. To have two of you in one week would just be overkill, don’t you think? This next question is for both of you: do you have a favorite book (someone else has written) that you keep as a ‘comfort read’?
VKS: For Randy, I would say just about any book by Pat Conroy. For me, just about any book by Georgette Heyer or Loretta Chase, but especially Regency Buck, Arabella, or The Grand Sophy. From Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels and The Last Hellion. When I’ve had a rough day, I love to reread those particular books. Oh, and Jayne Castle, aka Jayne Anne Krentz. Her books are awesome comfort reads.
Leah: Anyone else notice that Randy’s not getting a chance to get a word in edgewise? Vanessa’s answering all his questions for him. *high fives Vanessa* Way to go, Sister, you’ve got him trained! *cough* sorry, Randy, forgot you were here. Last question, just for fun. Which would you rather meet – an alien or a ghost?
VKS: Both would probably scare the crap out of me, but I would definitely take alien over ghost. Of course, I hope it’s an alien from Star Trek and not War of the Worlds!! As for Randy, he doesn’t believe in either of them. Mr. Pragmatist, I call him.
Leah: *cough*wimp*cough* I’ve met both. The UFO freaked Gizmo Guy and me out more than the ghost. Enough of my silliness, tell us about your latest book.
VKS: CaddyGirls is a very sexy contemporary set in Las Vegas. The heroine, Torrey Green, is an aspiring golfer who has a real shot to go pro. But she’s strapped for cash, which forces her to work as a caddy girl, lugging golf-clubs for butt-pinching businessmen. She needs a sponsor and fast, and she thinks she’s found it in rich, handsome videogame mogul, Julian Grant. But Julian wants something from Torrey, too. And when she finds out what it is, she’s not going to like it!
If you enjoy books by Lori Foster and Kristin Higgins, I think you’ll really like CaddyGirls.
For our readers, since it’s not yet up on the Carina site, here’s a sneak peek at the blurb for Caddy Girls.
Torrey Green once had a promising golf career, now she’s stuck caddying for butt-pinching businessmen. She doesn’t mind playing dumb while hauling clubs if it means she can get her golf career back on track, and she’s going to need an influx of cash to focus on the pro circuit. A booking from video game mogul Julian Grant could be Torrey’s cash-flow solution.
In town for a business deal, Julian’s partners plan for a little action on the greens. They’re looking for some fun with their rent-a-caddy girls, and have a lot riding on who can score, on the course and off. This type of gamble isn’t Julian’s style, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep his partners happy – even if that includes breaking a few hearts along the way.
Julian soon discovers that Torrey is more than just a caddy girl and they spark an intriguing attraction – but if Torrey discovers the truth behind his idiotic wager, all bets are off…
Leah: Phew! I made it through the whole interview without once cracking a joke about putting from the rough…or gripping and ripping…