Sunday, February 05, 2006

First Sale Stories: Kari Thomas, "Temptation Unleashed"

Lynda: What is the name of your first book?

Kari: Temptation Unleashed. I went through several titles before this one, and it seems to say it all about the story itself.

Lynda: When was it published (or when will it be published)?

Kari: It's due out in July, 2006. I'm really excited and wish it could be available sooner!

Lynda: Which publishing house?

Kari: Triskelion Publishing.

Lynda: What's it about?

Kari: My heroine is a modern day witch. Her mentally ill sister killed herself and her husband in a murderous ritual. They left behind a baby girl. The sister's spirit is now restless and begging her sister (the heroine) to gain custody of the child in order to protect her from danger. The heroine finds herself against very strong obstacles with her inlaws. Unknown to her, they are shapeshifters (her sister's husband was a brother of this family) and so is the niece. They'll do anything to protect the little girl and keep their secret heritage from the heroine and the rest of the world. But, meanwhile, an Evil has stepped up his plans to destroy the family and the heroine must find a way to help them fight this sorcerer.

Lynda: What was the inspiration for the book?

Kari: I love all stories paranormal, and since I'm a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), I mixed this love with my love of romance. It just seemed to fall in place from there. There are a lot of vampire romances out there now, and so shapeshifters are slowly being recognized as sexy heroes too.

Lynda: Is it part of a series?

Kari: It wasn't meant to be. But my publisher keeps asking for the sequel! Im in the middle of writing another book which will mention these characters --- very briefly --- but they won't play a part in this series.

Lynda: What do you like most about your main characters?

Kari: The heroine is fragile but strong and the hero is all alpha male.

Lynda: What's your favorite aspect of your book?

Kari: Actually, the romance between heroine and hero. I loved bringing together these two opposites and against all obstacles they were facing. It made the sexual tension between them really strong.

Lynda: How long have you been writing fiction?

Kari: Years! But it took me one full year of writing, editing, rewriting, of this one book before I finally submitted it for publishing.

Lynda: Is this your first paranormal manuscript?

Kari: Yes. I also co-wrote a fantasy-romance with a writer friend. It's still looking for a publishing home.

Lynda: Is paranormal your main focus?

Kari: Yes. I love this aspect in fiction, and nonfiction too. It broadens your whole idea of what's "out there" and keeps a reader thinking of the possibilities.

Lynda: What attracts you about your paranormal characters?

Kari: Love them vampires, but I have to admit I love shapeshifters better. There's something sexy about a guy who has to fight his animal instincts all the time! Vampires are sexy too, but the thought of having to "convert" to one to be with the one you love, isn't an idea I'd like......I can't stand the thought of having to give up great foods like chocolate!

Lynda: How long did it take to sell your book, from the time you finished your manuscript?

Kari: Actually, I was so surprised. I finished it at the end of Dec., 2005, submitted it to the publisher on Jan. 9 and received an acceptance/contract two weeks later!

Lynda: Thinking about the notion of "It's always darkest before the dawn," what was the lowest point in the process for you? Was there a time you almost gave up?

Kari: Unfortunately all writers go through that stage --- and more times than they'd like. I went through it several times and was ready to throw the whole manuscript away. I'm too much of a perfectionist and kept convincing myself that it wasn't comparably good enough with other books out there. But, I was blessed to have a wonderful writers group supporting me, and a heaven-sent writer friend, LoAnna, who kept me encouraged and going forward.

Lynda: Did you have an agent when you sold your book?

Kari: No. I took the chance to try first without one. Thank goodness it worked!

Lynda: Do you recommend that a pre-published writer focus on finding an agent first, or do you think it's OK to submit directly to the publisher?

Kari: I've heard so many pros and cons on this subject, so it's hard to choose. It worked out great for me without one, but I've heard that it's best to have that agent out there on your side, and you'll have better luck. I would suggest to any pre-pubbed writers that they check out the agents first, then go from there.

Lynda: You don't have to mention numbers, but did you get a nice advance?

Kari: Not yet!

Lynda: What was the process of revisions/rewrites like?

Kari: Argh! It was harder than writing the actual story! As a writer, you learn to get that first draft written --- fast and furious --- while inspired. Don't worry about editing/etc. until the story is finished. Then, the fun (not!) starts!

Lynda: Did your editor suggest changes you could live with?

Kari: Definitely. I feel the editor knows what she's talking about and I trust this.

Lynda: What was it like, working with the editor at your publishing house?

Kari: I learned a lot.

Lynda: Do you have any words of wisdom for us about revisions/rewriting, etc.?

Kari: Don't sweat them! Write that story, then set it aside for awhile. Leaving it for any length of time allows you to then see the work with fresh eyes and edits/revisions come much easier.

Lynda: Were there any surprises for you about the contract you signed?

Kari: I was happy to see that Triskelion sends books out to reviewers on a regular basis.

Lynda: Did you have input about your cover?

Kari: Yes. Triskelion gave me a sheet to fill out, with preferences.

Lynda: If you could go back and do something differently, what would that be?

Kari: Hmmm... I've always loved interior decorating.

Lynda: What would you do exactly the same way?

Kari: Join RWA and my local writers group. They've been the most helpful, and the friendships are priceless.

Lynda: What's your next manuscript about?

Kari: Another set of witches and shapeshifters. One set is 3 sisters and a brother (the witches), and one set is 3 brothers and a sister (the shapeshifters). They're mortal enemies but must work together to stop an enemy from the past destroy the world.

Lynda: What advice are you willing to give to all the pre-published writers out there?

Kari: Write. Write. Write. Rejections are nothing more than pieces of paper. And never give up on a dream. I really think its beneficial for pre-pubbed writers to join writers groups, or at least get a writer friend. My writer friend, LoAnna, inspired me, encouraged me, nagged me , pushed me, and refused to let me give up. That's priceless to someone who is faced with doubts. And writers need to remember to READ, also. Know your competition, know the publishing industry, and be prepared to give them what they want. I'm so honored to be able to share my thoughts here. I hope some writer out there benefits a little.


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