Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview with Calinda B, author of 'Looks Like Trouble To Me'

An award-winning web designer and certified SEO specialist, Calinda B has worked in the Internet industry as a web page designer/developer since the early 1990's. She has also explored crazy adventure including rock climbing, bending rebar with her throat, breaking boards with her hand, and firewalking. In addition to writing, Calinda B creates fine art and music, and enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, and havoc wreaking. Calinda B makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two red-headed cats.

Her secret mission is to inspire the planet to be chock full of loving passion and she's doing her part by working on the fourth book in The Wicked Series, tentatively entitled A Wicked Ending, or the third book in The Beckoning Series, The Beckoning of Badass Things, or maybe those are done and she's working on.... She loves to write sexy books and does it daily.

Her latest book is the erotic romance/romantic suspense, Looks Like Trouble To Me.

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About the Book:

"Last name's Savage -- it means wild and uncontrolled," Jace, a party boy, yacht builder and skilled photographer with a quicksilver temper, tells the pretty waitress at Chica Rios. He's desperate to get laid, but there's something in the way of his driving, overactive libido and the girl standing before him - trouble...big trouble, and a whole lot of it, from the trustifarian prick who works by his side, to his messed up twin sister, to the secret hiding at his house.

He sets out to woo Marine Dubois, keeping her away from his trouble at home, encouraging her to let go of her inhibitions and live “Savage style,” riding with him on the back of his motorcycle, exploring the great outdoors in a variety of oh, so delectable and naughty ways.

He ends up with way more than he bargained for. Turns out she's the kind of woman who demands the truth...and that's just not the way he rolls. He uses his sexual experience to teach Zoe how to surrender. She leverages his love for her to get him to let her in - something he's not used to. Their passionate, erotic, romantic connection keeps them bound together while the trouble he brings threatens to tear them apart at every turn.

(Mature content for audiences 18+ only.)

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Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?
My dad’s a super intelligent, extremely creative guy, so I must have inherited his genes. In high school, I was in Advanced Placement English, a class for smart kids. My English teacher loved the way I wrote. She told me I’d be a writer someday (and believe me, I hate to be told what to do (laughs)). Shy, insecure, angry about life, I wanted nothing to do with such a boring avocation. I chose a more adventurous life, pursuing adrenaline junkie sports in my off-time and a creative variety of jobs—working with differently-abled kids through movement therapy, teaching dance, aerobics and hip hop, teaching firewalking, working in the health industry, graphic arts, and web design—to pay the bills and keep my bright, active mind stimulated.

When given the opportunity to write, I’ve often been praised. Once, I got a job writing for a financial website called Red Herring. They were wowed by my writing. I was surprised by their Wows. I’ve written website copy for corporations, individuals, companies large and small. Still, I didn’t see myself as a writer until a few years back when I challenged myself to write a book. Once I started, I’ve never stopped. I write every day. 

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I don’t see myself as a big deal. And, I’ve done amazing things in my life—so much so that you’d think I’d be egotistical or full of myself. I retain a heaping dose of humility and gratitude for life. One of my friends used to say, “You can’t have done all the wild things you’ve told me—you must be making it up.” I assure you, I haven’t made up my crazy, wild and passionate life. But, since it’s normal to me to live in such a manner, I don’t make it, or me, out to be anything out of the ordinary. I suffer from insecurities, doubts and sorrows, just like anybody.

Q: What scares you the most?

Since I’ve already experienced near-death (see below), I can cross “fear of dying” off the list (laughs). I can handle death – its criticism that sends me spinning (more laughter). I have to say, I hate it when a reader criticizes my work and goes out of their way to point out the flaws in a book, as if they’re doing the world a favor. It stings every time, no matter how many great reviews I have for a book—the barbs always sting. And, we’re advised, as authors, to let those snarky comments roll off our backs, that they make our work look more realistic, etc., etc. Seriously? I haven’t yet found the Teflon coating that makes criticism simply bounce from my mental musings. I can grow from useful, constructive feedback, but that snarky, negative stuff? Ouch. 

Q: What makes you happiest?

When I’m immersed in the creative process, I’m seriously happy. Certifiably happy.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

One of my personal taglines is: It’s not what happened to you, it’s what you do with it that counts.

I’ve overcome a lot in my life – two abusive relationships (one, physical and emotional, the other emotional abuse), date rape, troubled past, lots of turmoil. It’s taken intense commitment and perseverance, being willing to take responsibility for my actions, self-reflection, and hard work, but it’s been worth it.

In my worst relationship ever, married to a controlling emotional abuser, I had a brain aneurysm, in a coma for six weeks, trying to decide whether to check out or stick around. I was utterly miserable in my life. I tell people, somewhat jokingly, I tried to leave him by dying. I’m so grateful to have lived. I recovered, left him three years later, and have built a happy, satisfying life with my partner of 10+ years. I’ve got two amazing kids, both young men finding their way in life. I live surrounded by beauty in the Pacific Northwest, grateful, grateful, grateful. I’m proud of not giving up on myself, taking a chance on happiness and a better life, instead of misery. Misery can be very seductive! I continue to grow and push through whatever obstacles are placed in my way, with a good man by my side.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Writing is easy. I get lost in the stories I create. I haven’t pursued getting traditionally published very much, enjoying being an indie author (a publisher is currently interested in my work, though, which is a great confidence booster). Marketing has its ups and downs. Sometimes, it’s extremely difficult. Since I am my own marketing team, it’s difficult to know which avenue is going to bring in the most sales. While it’s immensely satisfying to create, in the end, we’d all like to make a living selling our writing.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

Success in writing comes from a multitude of factors. First, being able to write well, to tell a story that moves people and makes them think, feel, emote—now that’s an art form in itself. Since readers are moved to write both glowing and scathing reviews, I believe I can check this measure of success off my list!

Being able to earn a healthy income through writing fiction would be excellent. I’m not there yet. A recent survey revealed that 54% of traditionally-published authors and almost 80% of go-it-alone writers are making less than $1,000 a year (I make more than that). A tiny proportion – 0.7% of self-published writers, 1.3% of traditionally-published, and 5.7% of hybrid writers – reported making more than $100,000 a year from their writing. 

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

Most of my books deal with a theme of overcoming inner turmoil as well as using sexual connection as a means of transformation – sort of a side effect, if you will. These have been a major theme in my life, as well. 

Looks like Trouble to Me is about a sexy guy—Jace Savage, a yacht builder, photographer and party boy. He’s had his share of trouble in his life, starting with being raised by extremely judgmental, bible thumping parents who criticized and condemned him and his twin sister, praying for their souls. They both left home at age sixteen, as a result, heading out West to live with their Aunt Molly. Jace acted out, got into more trouble, got in with a bad crowd. His sister fared worse, becoming a drug addict. 

Jace has been in love once—and got his heart badly broken in the relationship, several times. He’s a handsome man with an overactive libido, out for a good time when the book begins. When he meets Zoé Dubois, he gets way more than he bargained for—he might actually have “f-f-feelings” for her. He tries in vain to keep her from the trouble he’s got at home, and boy, does he have loads of trouble! He really wants to step up to the plate and be a stand-up guy, but his past keeps getting in the way. 

Zoé demands honesty. She’s got insecurities. She’s has a dark secret that’s prevented her from pursuing her dreams. And now, her lust for Jace Savage may be in the way as well.
The story is passionate, full of angst, romance, hot sex and loads of trouble.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

As mentioned, I’ve always been an adventure junkie and outdoor enthusiast. I find the wilderness both calms and lets me clear my mind. Currently, my sweetie and I are assistant scuba instructors. We scuba dive nearly weekend (except lately as I’m recovering from a broken foot). I love being in the water, being weightless. I also enjoy kayaking, as well. Being in and around water is my form of heaven.

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

My editor and I worked our tails off to create a conflict laden, edge of your seat, passionate, angst-filled, erotic book. I had to laugh when one of my critics said, “there’s too much trouble and conflict to be believable”. I took much of the book from real life incidents that I, or people I know, have experienced. Truth is often stranger than fiction!

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

Learn to let the critical reviews roll off your back, savor the great reviews. By all means, don’t let the snarks get you down. I really need to take my own advice (laughs). Above all, keep writing, learning, growing. Take classes. Hone your craft. Persist.

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