Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Love is a Fire" by Lyssa Layne

What do you need for a perfect summer weekend? I'll tell you what I need. A bitter-sweet romance, a little bit of drama, and a few sexy firefighters. Not on friendly terms with FDNY? There's "Love is a Fire" to the rescue. Hold that fire hose, 'cause you gonna need it. In Lyssa Lane's debut novel, "Love is a Fire", there's a little bit of everything. Likable and feisty doctor Katy? Check. A cast of likable supporting characters that make you miss your own family? Check. Twisted storyline that makes you wishing you thought of that plot development yourself? Check! Oh, and did I mention those sexy firefighters? It's just not fair that one woman gets two of them, plus a successful doctor at her knees (don't you love those testosterone-pumped face-off scenes?).

Still not convinced that "Love is a Fire" is your perfect companion for your beach trip? Meet the author, Lyssa Layne.

Lyssa, love the men of "Love is a Fire"! Can I have them all? (just kidding . . .) Please introduce the characters, and tell us what gave you the idea for "Love is a Fire".

A: Hi Katerina! Thanks so much for interviewing me and all your help getting "Love is a Fire" to this publishing stage. The idea for the book came from watching one too many medical and firefighter dramas on T.V. so I decided to create my own cast and let their stories collide. 

My heroine is Dr. Katy Malone. She's suffered a lot of heartache over the years. She's sworn off love and is content on dedicating her life to her career. 

Cue Nick Garrity, the hunky FDNY fireman who is searching for Mrs. Right. He's a family man and all around good guy. And did I mention he's a hunky fireman? 

The supporting cast includes Jesse O'Neil, Nick's best friend and total Playboy, the arrogant Dr. Jeremiah Thomas, Katy's ex-fiance a
nd co-worker then there's all of Nick's family and Katy's best friend, Tiffany, who is all the family Katy has. 

Will there be a sequel? We need more of those firefighters, please!

A: Of course! I hate when I finish a book because I want to know what comes next. So don't worry, there's a sequel. In fact there's going to be an entire series with a book dedicated to each character. 

Tell us about yourself. What made you become a writer, what inspires you, what's the one thing you love about creating your own characters and putting them through so much inferno until their happily ever after?

A: I've been blogging for about six years which has been my main forum for writing. I recently started doing product and book reviews. After reading a few indie writers, I thought, hmmm, I could do that and so I did!

As I said before, watching too many dramas on T.V. is what got my brain rolling with this story but I do most of my plotting driving to and from work, trying to figure out what crazy situations my characters could get into. I'm also a total sap so I try to tie sentiments into my stories like the fishing Santa ornament and the pearl wedding band. I also tried to write how I like to read. I despise reading three pages of description and knowing exactly who is going to wind up together. I tried to be descriptive but also leave some room for the reader to embellish on their own. I also wanted to leave them guessing right up until the very end.

What sets creative from crazy? When does the plot lose its realistic touch and goes from entertaining to unbelievable?

A: First off, I write fiction so to a degree, isn't all of it a bit unrealistic? Katy and Nick fall in love so quickly and some beta readers told me how unlikely that was. My response? It's fiction! 

What do you like to read in your free time? Which writers inspired you to write your own novel?

A: I love romance novels myself. Rachelle Ayala, fellow indie author, is the one who gave me the motivation to try this out myself.

What's your favorine line from "Love is a Fire"?

A: “I don’t want to be taken care of by anyone other than you, Nick. I want you to come home to our son and me. Above all else, I want you to be my husband!”
Now you'll have to read the story to know what that means!

Thanks again Katerina! You're a terrific writer yourself and I can't wait to get my hands on your novel. 

A major case of workaholism: a way to success or a dangerous addiction?

It's confession time.

I'm a hopeless workaholic. I've been called a hyper type-A personality, and I haven't taken it as an insult.

I've worked on each of my vacations, as much as my family allowed. Don't you know how important those moments are when you're waiting for a tourist bus to take you to yet another destination, and you have those ideas that need to be written down--now?

I commit to a lot of things, and I take all of them very seriously. In fact, I have a detailed plan for everything that matters to me in my life. I love "executing" and tracking my progress. It doesn't matter what the progress is, as long as I'm moving toward my goals.

I run on adrenaline and caffeine all day long, twenty four seven. What's the worst of it? I'm happy this way. I love being stretched in a million of ways, and there's nothing giving me greater inspiration than having a task list that runs a mile long.

Until I burn out.

Then I get migraines, lasting for days, so terrible that getting through a day is a challenge. Sometimes I lie in bed, sometimes I force myself to get up and function on heavy dose of pills. Those days are hell.

When I'm through with my down cycle, I'm up and running again in the same rhythm as before.

I realize you might be thinking there's a simple solution to my migraine troubles. Slow down, right? I can't. I wouldn't change a thing in my life. I crave the adrenaline brought by my crazed lifestyle too much.

I tried an easier job--one of those where my boss didn't want to burden me with too many projects and too-tight deliverables. It didn't end very well. Having all that free time for myself forced me to not only look for a new job, but also start my own business on the side (luckily, a friend of mine was interested to take over, so I'm now "only" focusing on my writing, my day job, and my family).

There're people who think I have problems. My husband is one of them. I understand: there've been days I've "scheduled" our quality time together after eleven at night. But there were so many pressing things to tend to, and, well, we aren't getting any younger to wait.

I love my life. It's not everyone, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Interview with Rachael Hayden

Rachael Hayden is an erotic thriller novelist. Her first book, Shafted, is an erotic thriller about a woman who falls victim to manipulations of a builder with an eye on an even bigger prize than just having her body. It's a story of lust and advantage that delves into the psychological power of sex.
Please tell us about Shafted. What gave you the idea and what was your most interesting realization while writing it?

A: Shafted is my first foray into the literary world of erotica. I got the idea when renovating my own house and thought it would make a great background for a woman who inherits a manor and falls for the builder who is hiding an ulterior motive. I set it in England, rather than in Australia, where I live, as we don't have houses old enough!

The original story had extensive retelling of the renovation process itself but it was shortened to focus more on the relationship. The most interesting realisation when writing it was the research that involved me visiting some... err... colourful blogs and websites for inspiration for the sexy scenes. It was really enlightening!  

As far as writing goes, I'm not happy unless the story has plausibility and depth, so I make every effort to give the characters motive and reason. This includes the sex scenes. I don't want people screwing just to fill in a few chapters; each sex scene has a purpose and more about the characters and plot is exposed each time. Sex can be fun, flirtatious and gratifying, but it can also be used for nefarious purposes and I tend to take it seriously.  

Will there be a sequel? What are you currently working on?

A: No, no sequel to Shafted, although I've had lots of people ask for one due to the plot twist. I'm currently working on another thriller of a completely different nature. Plenty of sex which will still place it within the erotica genre, but the story is far more developed with potential sequel. I won't give away too much, but it stay within my penchant for unpredictability.  

What are some of the challenges of being an erotic novelist?

A: There is a stigma with writing about sex, as with most things in the sex industry, so publishing this is not something I have been able to advertise freely amongst family and friends. It's a secret pleasure writing and reading erotica and my husband tends to benefit, too.

Who is Rachael Hayden? What do you love doing, besides writing and reading? If you were to come up with one word that describes you, what would it be?

A: My favourite thing to do is travel and explore. I'm one of those travellers who makes the journey more interesting than the destination and even love travelling by myself! The one word to describe me would be 'kinetic'.

What is one thing that makes you lose your cool?

A: Too much input all at once! I'm very methodical and have to finish a task or project before starting on another and when I have multiple people and things clamouring for attention, I struggle to remain composed!

Finish the scene, "Well, I've already figured that nothing good's gonna come out of a waitress and a billionaire affair, but . . ."

A: ... you never know if you never try.

When a butcher knife is essential to move the story forward

I admit it. I've resorted to some pretty drastic measures to get inspired to write a particular scene. This is the account of taking it a bit too far . . .

It was much too warm outside, and I was still feeling the buzz from a glass of Merlot I had with dinner. I was full of happy thoughts. Content. Much more interested in telling my husband the reasons I love him (okay, it was two glasses of wine) than in writing. The problem was, I had to finish a scene, and it wasn't one of those "I love the whole world" ones either. It was a dark account of someone lying in a dungeon, about to be interrogated--at least ten pages from being rescued by a sexy FBI agent.

There was too much pressure to get the scene right. And did I tell you that I just bought my new dress for a friend's engagement party, and I've spent at least thirty minutes figuring out which bra would go best with it? Trust me, checking yourself out in the mirror does not make for an inspiration for a dungeon scene.

Something had to change. Instead of red silk and pile of bras on my bed, I needed something scary. Sighing, I cleared my bed. Good-bye, happy thoughts.

Ten minutes later, I was ready. Instead of my dress, my bed featured a set of photos of cows giving birth (don't ask me why I have those--they're creepy and it works for me) and a butcher knife. I dimmed the light, trying to remind myself that this time it wasn't to set romantic atmosphere, and turned on my "scary" Pandora channel.


The scene was soon done, but I was facing a much greater challenge--how to explain to my husband what just happened to our bedroom.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Best-selling Romance novelist Lori Ryan on her inspirations, latest releases, and plans for the future

Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling romance novelist of Sutton Capital Series and Ever Hopeful (Texas Series). She combines contemporary romance settings with a twist of danger and suspense, extremely likable characters with well-crafted story development, making the perfect recipe for a novel (or two) to download onto your Kindle for summer reading. Lori's novels are positive, emotional and oh so easy to fall in love with.

Please tell us about Jack from Sutton Capital Series. Who was your inspiration for his character?

A: There wasn't any single person Jack was based on. He was my first hero so, for me, he was just everything I'd want in a hero. Physically, I tend to think of Matt Bomer when I think of Jack. Sigh. (Shhh. Matt's gay, but I still love him and I can pretend he's straight in my fantasies. He told me so.)

What's in store for the rest of 2014? What projects are you working on at the moment?

A: I'm releasing the next book in my Evers, Texas Series in June and am currently working on the next book in Sutton Capital. Sexy Sheriff John Davies will be available June 2nd and steamy hotel billionaire, Gabe Sawyer, should be out in stores in July or August. Right now, he's busy running through my dreams chasing a psycho blackmailer to try to save the woman he loves. 

You published your first novel in April 2013. What made you decide to become a writer and what were you doing before it?

A: Oh, I've been a lot of things. I was a lawyer (hated it) and a dog trainer specializing in aggression (loved it but burned out) before I turned to romance. I was reading so many romance novels during my last pregnancy and eventually I started making stories up in my head. I just had to get them out of there! 

You've recently attended RT conference. What are some of your highlights from the event?

A: Oh, there are too many to choose just a few! It was a fabulous experience. I met so many readers and other authors that I can't wait to friend on Facebook and to get to know better. I was stunned when readers knew who I was and wanted an autograph. I kept trying to convince them that surely they must be confusing me with Lexi Ryan or Lori Foster. Most of them walked away thinking I was pretty nuts. I met Anne Welch. If you don't follow her on Facebook, you should. I met Chief Scott Silverii, who consulted on some of the criminal aspects of my latest book. That was a blast getting to meet him! Nicest man ever (except my husband. Sorry honey!). I met Ruth Cardello and Kathleen Brooks, two authors who have done so much for me and who are just so incredibly sweet and fun. I met JS Scott and her fabulous husband! I had tea with Susan Mallery!!! Oh, I could go on and on. All I can say is make it a priority to go someday. You won't be sorry. And, hopefully they'll figure out a way to have the indie authors in the same room as the traditional authors next time because, yes, that was a bit offensive. Okay, more than a bit, but I'm trying to be upbeat here! 

What inspires you when you're writing? Where do you come up with your most intriguing twists?

A: Brainstorming with friends. I have two people that I throw ideas around with all the time. If I don't have an idea when I'm talking to them, it usually comes to me shortly after. Sometimes the characters tell me their own stories and that's when things work out the best. Anyone who's read the Evers Series is waiting for Ashley's story, but I gotta warn you, it's not fun. She has a tough, tough story to get out there. I was shocked when she told me. It'll floor you.  

If you could fast-forward your writing career to fifteen years from now, what would be the most groundbreaking book you've written by then?

A: You know, I specialize in beach reads or vacation reads. I want people to read my books and get to the end and wish they could have more. I want them to feel like they know the characters and want those characters in their life. I don't see myself as all that groundbreaking. I just want to entertain! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why my full-time job makes me a better writer

I'll start with a disclaimer.
My post should in no way be taken as a criticism to full-time writers. It's not my intention, as I have a lot of respect for all writers, no matter their path. The fact alone that each and every one of them got to the finish line--"The End" point of their novels--is a huge accomplishment in itself, and I'm in absolute awe of each and every one of them.

This post is an account of my own personal experience.

I love my day job.

My first groundbreaking moment was when I understood that multitasking isn't about doing a million things at once. It's about understanding what can and can't be juggled. I can comfortably create a PowerPoint presentation for my boss while participating in a conference call, but I would never do the same while writing a query letter.

Working a full-time job has taught me to organize my day with very limited resource--my time. There's only a certain number of hours in a day (even if I choose to pretend that not sleeping does not affect my productivity the next morning). On my way home from work, I write down what I want to accomplish in the evening, and come up with the absolute must-haves. Apart from those rare days when something extraordinary is going on in my life, I schedule writing time every single day without fail. It oftentimes takes precedence over cooking, cleaning my apartment, owning pets, and coming up with new and groundbreaking ways to convince my kids to practice piano.

Juggling so many things on a given day makes me appreciate those few moments when I do get to focus on my book, and you can be sure that I won't be procrastinating when I do find time for my novel. I won't be checking Facebook or Twitter updates, and I won't be checking the tennis score.

Being in a work environment exposed me to a variery of different experiences, individuals and situations that one way or another make it into my writing. There's nothing quite like listening to my coworkers placing bets on who's going to come up with the best prank to commemorate our boss' engagement. I love the roar on the floor when someone wins a new client, and I loathe the time when performance reviews are coming up. I arrive to work tired, and I leave feeling refreshed, pumped up, and ready for the night ahead. On the way home, I listen to my music and to my characters. That's when I get my best ideas. Sometimes I stop in the middle of the street, take out my phone, and type up the sentence that I just thought of, ignoring dirty looks of annoyed pedestrians who have to walk around me.

There's never enough time. But the time we do have can be spent in a variety of ways, with the various level of engagement. If we're focusing on what we're doing (we, writers, call it inspiration) , the words flow, and we whip up scene after scene in a single sitting. That's how I feel after work. I feel the energy, excitement, drive to create and dive into the realm of my imagination.

And the dress up. I love the dress up. Even though there's certain comfort in wearing sweats all day, I love the feeling of silk blouses and tailored dresses. I have my suit-wearing days when I'm playing an uptight executive (with the emphasis on the "tight" part of my skirts), and the lighter, flirtier dresses for casual days.

Yes, there are things that annoy me. I can't stand glaring grammar errors and misspelled words in the emails of my coworkers, who claim that nobody cares about  grammar as long as people can understand what they're tying to say. "Now wat I means?"

I have a confession to make. I don't hate my job. If I won a lottery, I would continue working in my current industry, and I wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe I'd buy a brand-new Apple Air.
If someone forced me to decide, I'd say I love writing more. But we don't live in the world where you have to choose one of the three houses like on those DHTV shows. We can have cake and then go out for an ice cream. I choose to live my life to the fullest, and for me, it means juggling my day job and my writing. It's what makes me happy, and when the writer's happy, well . . . it'll make better plot twists.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chasing Inspiration

I've been riding the waves of magic. The sentences have been pouring out of me, the characters came to life--well, much more colorful life, my antagonist turned into an even bigger demon, and the word count kept reaching for the skies.

Boy, was I inspired. It was one a.m., and the energy I was feeling had nothing to do with the Red Bull shot that I'd usually need to keep going at this hour.

Every author knows that once you get this adrenaline rush, you better milk every drop of it. Forget family dinners and cleaning the attic; you need to write, write, write.

This is usually the time when one of my supporting characters dies a painful death--because there's just too much happening to resist it and, lets face it, he has been a bit temperamental as of late.

I'm on the writing spree, and nothing's going to stop me. Hold your breath, my fictional charges, as anything is fair game when Inspiration is in town.

I'm surging high, drinking in the newly formed twists of the plot, deviating dangerously far from my outline. On a blink of an eye, my heroine gets a new outfit of spandex pants and a skin-tight top, her only problem being where to hide the gun under her clothing. She bungee jumps and shoots the ill-mannered mayor.

Then I crash and burn.

It happens in an instant.

One moment I'm on top of the world, and the next--there's no air left in my lungs and no gray matter in my brain. The next sentence I type takes five minutes to assemble, with very loose definition of what an assemble means. Well, there's a noun and a verb, but do they play nice together? That's a whole different story.

Granted, it's early hours in the morning. Tomorrow I'll wake up rested and ready to continue in my lightening tempo.

Alas, the next day isn't any more productive than the last part of the previous one. Words drag on, slowly, and I'm getting bored out of my mind myself re-reading them. Bullets in the action scenes don't reach their targets, my heroine's imprisonment with her sex god feels like a Cast-Away-bearded-parody without a spark or a destination. Yes, it's that bad, and soon I'm wishing that bullet would reach me instead of the bad guys.

I sit back, imaginging my ability to produce something of value as a series of storm waves--their peaks giving me the most outrageous ideas and the bottoms the curse of boredom.

If I must ride the waves, am I better off shopping instead of forcing the words out of me while I'm in the down cycle?

But no, I'm not a writer because I've been leaving my writing to chance or to the radio waves of my flawed intellect. I have my own secrets to trick my inspiration into making an appearance sooner than predicted by the drawn up-and-down cycle.

Since my approach to this is somewhat scientific, let me give a disclaimer first. It totally works. On me. Whether or not you can apply it to your own creative genius remains unpredictable. But do tell me if it does, and I will publish my own inspiration self-help book and guarantee myself comfortable retirement from the millions I'll make.


I have a playlist for each of the types of the scenes I'm writing. There's an action playlist, a sensual playlist for romantic settings, upbeat playlist for bringing me out of my blues for all other times. Yes, the words of a song (thank you, Lady Gaga) have taken me on a whole new rollercoaster with my heroes.


This is by far the most important and the easiest technique to snap me out of the "wrong" mood. I have several novels with scenes that I re-read all the time that are guaranteed to give me necessary focus. Not all of these novels are best-sellers, and not all of these scenes are powerful climaxes.

What's important is that each of the scenes that I am re-reading over and over to get inspired make me feel something, bring up a powerful emotion that helps me continue working on my own novel.


If I have trouble getting into a specific character, I sometimes go to places that he or she would frequent, experience a thing or two that would be typical of my character, try on dresses that my character would wear. Thankfully, I rarely get trapped in the basements of warehouses or get forced to kiss my nemesis at gunpoints like my heroine would after I write the inspired scenes.  

What makes you creative? What's your list?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interview with best-selling novelist S.R. Grey

S.R. Grey is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author. Whether it is New Adult or Mystery novels, she’s got it nailed, appearing in top 100 paid novels in multiple categories. Her latest book, “Never Doubt Me”, came out on April 26 2014, and has already been making the waves in the publishing world.

Let’s start off with the most important question. Chase Gartner. Who is he and why can’t we meet him for dinner? Okay, seriously, though, we’d like to know about the tattooed bad boy of your latest release “Never Doubt Me”.

You can meet Chase for dinner. I promise he’ll be a perfect gentleman. Of course, he may curse a lot. *laughs*

When all is said and done, you’ll find Chase Gartner is more than a tattooed bad boy. He is a man trying to find a balance between right and wrong. In “Never Doubt Me” he’s faced with a series of situations that challenge his vision of the man he’s trying to become. But, of course, the love of his life, Kay, is there to keep him on track.

What is different about writing NA and Mystery novels?

My mystery novels (A Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy) are very plot-driven, whereas the Judge Me Not series (I Stand Before You and Never Doubt Me) are highly character-driven. I love writing both. It’s nice to switch off between the two genres, as it helps keep things fresh.

How important are the novel’s surroundings? What made you choose those specific locations in your novels?

For the Harbour Falls novels, it was very important. My vision of where a lot of the action would take place was of an isolated, mist-shrouded island. I felt Maine would be a perfect locale. I’ve been to that state and used my memories of some rainy autumn days spent there in the novel location’s descriptions.

What’s in store for the rest of 2014? Any upcoming releases later in the year? What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on a New Adult Romance with a lot of Romantic Suspense elements. The title is “Inevitable Detour.” In “Inevitable Detour” I’m combining my love of both genres and coming up with a fast-paced story that will keep readers guessing, while they fall for the lead male, Farren Shaw. He’s mysterious and quite irresistible.

“Inevitable Detour” is slated for a September 2014 release. *fingers crossed*

I’m also beginning to work on the third and final novel of the Judge Me Not series/trilogy. The title is “Just Let Me Love You” and much of the action will take place in Las Vegas as Chase seeks to keep his brother, Will, from making the same mistakes he did when he was a teenager.

What types of books do you like to read? Who’s your favorite up-and-coming author?

I love all things romantic! Whether it be Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal… I love them all.

As for up-and-coming authors I adore, there are just too many to name!

If you could invite any fictional character for a weekend getaway, who would you choose and why?

Oh, that’s a tricky one. I’d love to invite a “real” Adam Ward (from Harbour Falls), or a “real” Chase Gartner (from the Judge Me Not series) for a weekend getaway. I’d just have a tough time choosing!

Follow S.R. Grey on social media:

Amazon Author Page:





Newsletter Sign-Up:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Write Thrillers

Rule #1.

A reader must always have a hypothesis. It MUST be a wrong hypothesis until the last chapter, but there has to be a hypothesis nevertheless. If your readers don't have hypothesis, your plot is too confusing.

Rule #2

Start with an action scene. End with an action scene. Fill the rest of the novel with action scenes. Dirty dancing does not classify as action, nor do sex scenes.

Rule #3

Avoid unnecessary filler. Conversations lasting more than a page--cut. Characters spending a paragraph to decide whether to take out their guns and reasoning with themselves whether to shoot someone--get on with it already.  

Rule #4

Know the difference between bad guys and bad boys and that one-too-many aggressive habits will turn one into another.

Rule #5

Beware of credibility of your evidence. Neon tights don't go well with pink stilettos. Every self-respecting spy would know it's a setup.

Rule #6

If Sherlock wouldn't figure it out, your readers wouldn't either. Keep it simple!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Interview with Zack Love, best-selling author of "Sex In the Title" and "Central Park Song"

Today we're hanging out with Zack Love, one of the most talented up-and-coming writers. His works range from a series of short stories to his deliciously unconventional novel "Sex in the Title", to his recent romantic screenplay "Central Park Song", and now his latest theater comedy release, "Waiting for 2000".

Let's set the record straight first. Even if you keep insisting that Sex in the Title isn't autobiographical, everyone who read your bio on your website knows that you're Evan, an ex-programmer who used to crash VIP parties. Here's the most pressing question that we all want to know. Who is the A-listed celebrity?

A: Ha, well there's actually some of me in most of the characters, but your celebrity question is one of those questions that I get asked so often I should probably post the answer in an FAQ on my web site! If “Sex in the Title” ever gets a movie deal and/or my author profile skyrockets because of some other exciting success, then going public with my celebrity crush would be flattering to this actress. But otherwise, I’d be just another male fan infatuated with her, so -- for now -- I’ll leave people guessing!

Some parts of the novel read like a history textbook, being that the Sex' action takes place in 2000. Would your men have a different experience in NYC in 2014 or are men still in as much danger in regards to keeping their members intact?

A: I think the crazy scenarios in my novel involving an attack on the trouser snake could happen in any era. But there were definitely scenes (like where Heeb accidentally drops his cell phone into a mailbox) that I don’t think would happen in 2014 (when hardly anyone uses snail mail any more). It will be an interesting challenge to update the setting for some or all of the sequel (I’m still toying with the different possibilities).

What is the social life like for an established "Sex" writer? Do women offer to take part in your next novel? Anyone with special pet fetishes that will show themselves in your next novel?

A: I wouldn’t consider myself an established “sex” writer and definitely not an erotica writer. My work is probably more in the "literary fiction" category, although I try with some of my works to reach a broader audience with humor and/or more popular genres (like romantic comedy). But the ironic title that I chose for “Sex in the Title” may confuse some readers into thinking that I'm a sex writer of sorts. As for my social life, ever since becoming a full-time author, the vast majority of my waking hours are spent in front of a laptop these days, so it isn’t nearly as interesting as you might think!    

I always loved books based in NYC. There's so much ongoing drama, elevated emotions, attitude and purest forms of love. What impact did NYC have on your work as a writer?

A: I’d say that I have a love-hate relationship with NYC (as do many NY writers, and New Yorkers in general). And while the noise, pollution, crowding, exorbitant cost and other daily irritants can grow tiresome, there is never a lack of story inspiration there. With so many people sharing such a small space, you're bound to see something interesting enough to inspire a story or character detail.

Please tell us about your latest release, Central Park Song. I love Rodney's voice. For a homeless man, he sounds touchingly poetic. What role does this contradiction play in accentuating the differences between him and his lawyer-love-interest Melinda?

A: For me, this story began with a thought experiment: what would it take to get a white, affluent woman to talk to, much less date, a homeless black guy? From there, I created the Rodney character by trying to envision someone so charming, brilliant, talented, and generally fascinating, that -- once you stopped to talk to him -- you were hooked and there was no walking away easily.

What advice do you have for Internet startup wannabes? I have this great "I Want That Feature" idea that I'm sure will make millions. No, I take that back. Billions, Zack. Here's my pitch: a one-stop place to request features for all the leading sites. Hold your breath, Facebook. The future is in collaborative design.

A: That’s actually a really great idea! You could crowd-source feature requests, with voting, and even allow coders to submit the related code for the company to try out. Does your startup idea not exist already in some form somewhere? As far as how to get an idea off the ground, that’s EVERYONE’s challenge (as it is for indie authors). So I’d say: pick an idea that you’re so passionate about you’ll keep working on it even when your prospects look dim, because it’s rarely going to be an easy path

Thanks for having me, Katerina!

Why coworkers make a perfect inspiration for novels

If you're a writer, there's no place better to get your material for your next novel than at work. There's no end to priceless gems that can be heard on the floors of Fortune 500 companies.

Backstabbing, endless investigations into whose fault it really was that the last project failed, performance evaluations gone awry, secret office affairs, hookups during happy hours. The office drama never ends.

If you're one of those lucky enough to work on a trading floor, the drama is exaggerated tenfold. A trader's idea of a watercooler chat is spearheading bets about someone's likelihood of scoring with the secretary on the other side of the floor. And the winnings? They can range from chicken McNuggets for the entire team to booze overload at a local martini bar.

Perfect ten
Men come in groomed, dressed in their finest business attire, sporting sleek hairdos and an endless list of reasons why they're so much better for that new assignment than you. Nobody falls behind in tactless jokes department or in figuring out just what goes well with their jeans on a casual Friday. There nothing quite like seeing bare feet of your male coworkers to ignite your imagination and end your writer's block.

Some come in one head, others have more. There's a three-headed guy on my floor. Don't believe me? His electronic signature is the proof. "Head of Project Management. Head of Deal Capture Development. Head of Transversal Technology." He's got all the power, particularly in transversal department. Don't ask me what the hell that means. I don't think anyone knows.

Show, don't tell
At work, people like to surround themselves with visual stimulation. One forty-something man has six framed photos of himself twenty years younger, with his hair still impact and gut nonexistent. He claims it helps him motivate himself to order Diet Coke with his burger and fries.
Anothers take on the more literal approach in regards to the 'don't tell' anecdote, withholding the answer to the source of the error you've been tasked with to investigate. Just because.

Race to the Finish Line
At work, you learn how to be truly productive and make every second count. My desk neighbor spends his day browsing Internet and starts his work at five o'clock sharp, ensuring he's busiest at the time the big boss passes by his desk on the way to the elevators.

Crime fiction
It all started on a dark, dark evening, in the middle of a big thunderstorm. I wore my favorite slingbacks that I didn't wait ruined, staying in the office until the worst of the rain passed. Inflated balls were flying across the floor. Coffee machine broke. A new trainee was in tears over someone's cruel joke about her dress. Someone switched his chair with somebody else's--the best chair. That's when all hell broke loose.

Family Dynamics
Mike reports to my boss on paper, but also informally to Janine, although he's been secretly interviewing to move to the Transversal department. He's married, but has been actively partaking in the bets to score with the secretary. The secretary would much rather go out with Mike, in spite of the fact that Mike is much more into Janine. Oh, and Mike is the guy with six framed photos.

But the biggest reason why my job provides me with the best source of writing material is that no matter how it ends, there's always a sequel.