Tuesday, March 8, 2011

L.K. Below discusses her newest novel 'Stone Cold Kiss'

L. K. Below is an author of romance and speculative fiction. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she publishes young adult novels. Her newest work, Stone Cold Kiss, is available from Lyrical Press, Inc.

What is the name of your latest book? And how did you come up with the title?

My latest book is called Stone Cold Kiss. A lot of the time, I have trouble with titles, but that one popped into my head along with the story.

What is this book about? And what genre is this book in?

The book came into being when I was researching Irish traditions. One of which is to kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck and charisma. While I was dangling my main character, Kelsey, off the lip of the parapet so she could kiss that stone, I couldn’t resist tossing her (and her ice-encased heart) head over heels into love. Stone Cold Kiss is erotic contemporary romance.

Here’s the blurb:

Dangling off the parapet of a castle, Kelsey Donovan doubts her decisions as she battles with her fear of heights. How will kissing the Blarney Stone change her life? But as the arms of a sexy Irishman close around her, she begins to change her mind.

When Seamus McKinley rescues a tourist gripping the Blarney Castle for dear life, he never expected her to grab hold of his heart just as tightly. Can he convince her to meet him halfway?

Who is/are the main characters? And why did you choose them?

Kelsey is the perfect character for this story. Why?  She’s sarcastic, defensive, rational, and career-driven.  She doesn’t want to give her heart to Seamus, even as she knows she’s already losing it.

Seamus is just her opposite.  He’s carefree, wicked, and deeply committed to his family.  But you know what they say.  Opposites attract…

Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, why?
In this book, I like Kelsey and Seamus equally. They’re like my children. How could I choose between them?

What is the coolest or best part about your book? (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..

I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you more about the Blarney Stone, because I think it’s a fascinating legend (yes, I’m obsessed with history).  About five hundred years ago, a witch was saved from drowning.  Depending on the story, the Irish king of Blarney Castle saved her or one of his knights did. 

Either way, in thanks she be-spelled a stone at the top of Blarney Castle Tower so that anyone who kissed it would receive the power of persuasion.  With the most important meeting of her life approaching, Kelsey -- who has trouble speaking in public -- needs the power of the stone and flies from New York City to Ireland in the hopes that it’s not all superstition.  

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. In the third grade, my teacher wanted everyone to write a short story as an assignment. I enjoyed it so much that I begged my next teachers in order to be able to do the same thing. Eventually, I realized that I can just write on my own, and I’ve been doing that since I was about thirteen or so.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing.  If I’m not editing under the direction of an editor, I can almost never see what I need to fix in my manuscript.  For me, editing unguided like that is excruciating.

Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?
I do write full time. At one point, I tried to balance a full- (or even part-) time job with my career.  Even when my writing goals hadn’t yet come to fruition, finding the time to write while juggling a full-time job was a challenge.  Now that I’m actually published (and looking into all the good things that come along with it like promotion), I don’t know how some writers do it.  Some days I can barely keep up to date with everything as it is! Too many to name!  LOL. 

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?
Right at this second I’m working on a paranormal romance that I’m hoping to be able to sell to Harlequin’s Nocturne line.  But we’ll see what happens with that, or if I even finish it!  Soon I plan on tackling another contemporary romance.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get around to writing Mari’s this time. *smiles*

What books are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading through R. A. Salvatore’s Legends of Drizzt series.  Yes, not even close to romance LOL.  I mentioned I write fantasy too, right?

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I don’t know if I’d consider any author a “mentor”.  Mentors take you under their wing and show you how to write. By reading books, I’m not so sure any of my favorite authors did that.  I know that growing up, I loved to lose myself in Tamora Pierce’s books and they likely inspired some of my own early attempts at writing, but it isn’t quite the same. My critique partner, Gina Gordon, has also been invaluable to me.  She helps me spot things that need improving, inflates my ego when I’m feeling down, and pimps me out when I’m celebrating an accomplishment.

Do you have a publisher? And if so, why did you choose them?
Stone Cold Kiss is released from Lyrical Press, Inc.  I chose Lyrical because my lovely critique partner (Gina Gordon) highly recommended them.  Not only that, but she gave me the heads-up to a call for Irish-themed submissions.  As per usual when I see a submission call, my mind starts to wander.  I got three ideas for stories, but when I set my fingers to the keyboard, Stone Cold Kiss was the one that came out before the deadline. And I’m definitely glad it did!  Working with Piper (my editor, and the Editor-in-Chief for Lyrical Press, Inc.) has been one of the best experiences of my life.No.

If not? Are you considering expanding it?
No. Sorry to disappoint LOL. In my opinion, the story is perfect as is. I might eventually give her sister, Mari, a happily-ever-after, but Kelsey’s story

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  I’m very proud of it the way it’s written.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I had to look up a bit of Irish slang to make Seamus a believable character. Thankfully, Irish comes a lot easier to me than British. That could be because I live with a Newfoundlander -- they’re pretty well the Irishmen of Canada! LOL
Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?
In my opinion, all it takes is perseverance.  Everything else comes secondary. But do what you love, continue to send your stuff out, and eventually you’ll get an acceptance!  Publishing with small publishers as opposed to New York publishers also helps (especially considering that many New York publishers close their doors to unagented submissions).  I’ve been told that backlist is the bread and butter of self-promotion, so get your stuff out there!

Thank you Lindsay for dropping by! 

You can find L.K. Below on the web at:

Find her online at

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