I’d like to introduce you to KaLyn Cooper, my gun-slingin’, shine-makin’ fellow Liquid Silver Books author.
Anita Cox: Welcome KaLyn! So you write romance. Tell us why romance?
KaLyn Cooper: After thirty years of writing annual reports, brochures, promotional material and trade articles for corporations, I decided I needed happy endings.
Anita Cox: Do you write in any subgenre?
KC: Yes, Romantic Suspense. I like to call it Run and Gun with lots of Fun.
AC: What is the heat level of your books?
KC: Liquid Silver labels it a level 2 out of 4, spicy hot. It has explicit sex, no BDSM though.
AC: Tell us about you. Do you have any passions other than writing?
KC: I’ve written all my life, winning my first creative writing contest in the sixth grade. I spent thirty years in marketing and public relations where I verged on creative writing for corporate clients but never crossed that line until a few years ago when I wrote my first romance story. As a military wife to Macho Marine, I’ve moved across the USA a few times and to Japan. Nineteen moves later I’m in East Tennessee. As for passions, I’m a gun-girl. I shoot skeet as often as possible, love to hunt birds, like my pistols for protection as well as target shooting.
AC: Let’s talk about you. Could you tell us the most interesting/different childhood experience that you had (or what was your unique upbringing like)?
KC: When I tell people I grew up in New York I have to qualify it by adding Upstate before they ask me about tourist sites. My childhood home was in a very small town, on a small lake at the farthest point from New York City as you could get and still be in the same state. I had 56 in my high school graduating class. Although we lived in town, my parents owned a farm where we raised cattle for the freezer and horses we rode all summer long on trails and at horse shows. We had a ski resort less than five miles away to entertain us since the average snowfall was of over 25 feet per year. With one sister and four Alpha brothers by blood and a neighborhood of “brothers”, I grew up a strong woman. I guess that’s why romance appealed so much to me. My mom worked full time and went to school nights as soon as my youngest brother entered elementary school. We graduated from college the same year. As the oldest girl, I was tasked with Mom duties and regularly fed half the neighborhood boys at supper.
AC: So… you had an interesting family member who was influential to you. Tell us about her.
KC: My grandmother lived across the street from us and ran a nursing home in part of their big old house. While young, I spent as much time at their place as my own testosterone-filled home. I learned to work for the money I was given and she was generous. There’s a reason I never became a nurse. She insisted I speak what she called the “high English” so I was one of the few children who knew the difference between “shall I, may I and can I.” At her insistence I wore greased hands inside white cotton gloves and walked with a book on my head when she thought I was slouching. I know she feared I was too much a tom boy, influenced by all the boys that congregated in our side yard to play football, cowboys, and Batman. Believe it or not, as children we played outside! AC: Oh yes, I remember those days!
AC: I find you quite interesting and unique. Give us a Day in the Life of KaLyn.
KC: Our house is always filled with activity. We make wine, beer and moonshine, it’s legal in Tennessee. We shoot guns and in the summer have our own range. I have five raised-bed gardens so you may find me planting and plotting, but I’m not really talking to myself, I’m dictating into my smart phone. We live on the river that comes out of the Smoky Mountains National Park and try to paddle the river several times a month during the summer.
AC: OKay, let’s get into writing. As writers, we pull from life experiences. So I’m interested to know, what influenced your taste in men?
KC: Weekends of my youth were filled with horse shows and that’s probably why I don’t write about cowboys. We’d take the camper filled with my parents and all six kids, pulling a horse trailer with six to eight horses on board. We’d spend the weekend surrounded by every little girl’s dream; horses and cowboys. By the time I reached seventeen, I’d had enough of both. I traded my mare in for the horsepower found under the hood of muscle cars and my boots for high heels. I discovered bad boys were everywhere, thank God! I finally found there were a few good men and some of them drove fast cars. Macho Marine had a Road Runner that could pass everything on the highway…except a gas station.
AC: So what’s in the works? Any unfinished novels you might dust off and resume writing or reworking?
KC: Explosive Combination is my debut romance novel but I have another in the pipeline hoping to see the presses by July. My work in progress should be ready for a fall publication date. I have two or three other stories started that may, or may not, make it to “The End” but they are more Chick-Lit.
AC: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?
KC: I owned ad agencies when the kids were little and did my best writing at night. I could relax knowing everyone was home safe and tucked in bed. I’d often write till two in the morning. Now, I’m up by seven-thirty and writing by eight in my jammies. When I get tired or stuck, I go shower. The steam usually helps me clear my thoughts and the end of the scene just pops into my head so I dictate it into my phone. Mid-day I try to become a domestic goddess and cook or clean or at least throw in a load of laundry. I run errands and do normal stuff. After supper and clean up, I’ll try to relax with a book, but often end up back in my computer chair reading over and editing what I wrote that morning.
AC: We writers know that a good beta reader is worth their weight in gold. Tell us about yours.
KC: I have several beta readers for different levels of completion. For instance, Teresa Reasor, who writes romantic suspense based on SEALs, is always one of the first to read my stories. She is so good at catching plot problems and suggests the coolest twists. I have a neighbor who reads next because she’s an excellent proof reader and as we all know, we read over our mistakes. Then it’s usually ready for submission. My last manuscript took a total of six edit passes and I’m sure there’s still a mistake in there.
AC: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer?
KC: I like writing factual fiction. Every book I’ve written so far is based in facts, often obscure facts that some people would believe were not true. Over the years I’ve learned that fact is stranger than fiction and some of this stuff is too good to make up. The fact it’s real is downright frightening sometimes.
My work in progress is based on Mayan golden goddesses stolen by the conquistadors, a documented fact. I also like writing about foreign countries and I’ve been to Cancun several times. Isla Mujeres, the Isle of Women, is fascinating and its role in the discovery of gold which led to the colonization of America is mind-boggling…and true.
AC: What led you to tell this particular story?
KC: Explosive Combination, my recent release, is based in fact. I was researching explosives for a different story and learned the following facts:
- True fact: Scientists at the University of Michigan recently discovered that co-crystallization of two common explosives creates the most lethal, non-nuclear bomb on the planet, casually called Chaz.
- True fact: In September 2012 Popular Mechanics magazine published the formula, which is similar to a process used in pharmaceuticals, to make Chaz. (Can you believe they actually did that? The link to the article is on my website.)
- True fact: In 2003 the ATF was moved to the Department of Justice and became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and created the ability to assemble an International Response Team.
My brain put pharmaceuticals, i.e. drugs, together with Colombia and the ATF’s international reach concerning explosives these days and the story was born. Add to that the fact that I was supposed to go to Colombia once upon a time.
Many years ago I was set to go to Colombia to oversee a photo shoot, both stills and video, for a client who offered dove hunting, deep sea fishing and mountain stream fishing to tourists all over the world. I’d worked in a trip to the emerald mines and a few days at a beach resort. But Macho Marine was headed to Command and Staff School which required a higher level of security, beyond his current top secret clearance. When the FBI agent asked us if we had plans to travel outside the U.S.A., I excitedly told him about my planned trip to Colombia. He closed his little black notebook and stood. Shaking his head, he announced, “If she goes to Colombia, you’ll never get this clearance and you’ll never be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Your career will end.” Needless to say I didn’t go. The client brought me boxes of pictures and thousands of feet of video tape. Thank goodness the suits and sunglasses never knew the client paid me thousands of dollars in cash which he handed to me while we quail hunted deep on his friend’s plantation in Southern Georgia. I never made it to Colombia but it’s on my bucket list.
AC: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? Why?
KC:Explosive Combination started as the first story in my Black Swan series but my agent said there was too much suspense and not enough r omance, to the extent she said it would be categorized Suspense with Romantic Elements. So I increased the romance and sent it back to her. Still not enough romance. “But the sex is good,” she told me. I added more romance but it still wasn’t enough for her liking since the other books in that series are closer to a suspenseful contemporary romance. In the end, we agreed to separate this book from the series which meant I had to completely rewrite it with new characters and eliminate the references to the characters in the series. What a pain! But I did it, found a few new twists and Explosive Combination was born. I’ll let you in on a little secret; there are still mentions of a few characters from the Black Swan series.
AC: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release?
KC: I’d make it a nation-wide Groupon and then I’d make a TV commercial and place it during Blacklist. I love the Elizabeth Keen character. She’s such a strong kick-ass woman at work and yet has this feminine side, very much like my female characters.
AC: What kind of elderly woman will you be?
KC: When I get really old, I want my kids to shake their heads and ask, “What the hell is Mom up to now? Do we need bail money…again?”
AC: If your next birthday party were going to have a theme based on one of your books, what would it be.
KC: Explosive Combination is the perfect book to celebrate my May birthday. First, we’d all need to have a destination location that’s warm. I’m thinking the Caribbean. Then, we’d host an international contest to find the correct model/actor be Rafe, my hero in that book. And before you ask, of course it would involve a Speedo contest on the beach while we all sit under umbrellas sipping fruity drinks. Then contestants would be required to join us, individually, for meals. We need to judge their personalities and attributes up close and personal, don’t you agree? There needs to be dancing, too. Lots of sexy, body-rubbing dancing. As a shooter, I’d need to be sure each contestant could shoot better than me so we’d have to find a range and go shooting. Every night we’d have fireworks that lasted a long time. Ready to pack yet? AC: YES MA’AM!!!
AC: Okay, so now let’s get down to the nittygritty. Tell us where we can
stalk find you and your book.
KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense. Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. She, her husband, and bird dog live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.
Print: Use discount code PYQ4X6YR for 10% OFF – Only at https://www.createspace.com/4626245
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Will be available March 3rd from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, iTunes and where eBooks are sold