Writing short stories, even mini-fiction, can’t always be worked into a writing schedule; so for those authors who may not be able to let their characters play in the sand, I’ve invited them to a nighttime beach bonfire to have a drink, listen to the crashing waves, and answer a few questions of my own.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, something readers may not have heard before?
I’m a full time paranormal romance author and I live in central FL with my husband, two young sons, a mangy mutt of a dog, and four conniving felines. One thing readers may not know about me is that there was a time when I hated reading—don’t come for me with pitchforks, I’ve changed lol! In all seriousness, I really struggled to read as a child and was considered a “non-reader” for a long time. It wasn’t until I was eight years old and first read the Harry Potter series that I fell in love with reading. After that, the rest is history. (I guess I’ve likely dated myself considering the HP books were coming out when I was still a kid. I’m still under 30, which surprises a lot of readers since I’m multi-published).
Official Bio: Romance author, world traveler, English professor, and former professional bellydancer, Kait Ballenger hated reading when she was a child, because she was horrible at it. Then by chance she picked up the Harry Potter series at the age of eight, fell in love with reading, and never looked back. When she realized she could tell her own stories, the deal was sealed.
Can you introduce us to the world(s) that you have created?
Sure! In the Seven Range Shifter series, seven shifter clans rule the mountain ranges of Montana under a Pact which binds them together. The Grey Wolves are the rulers of this Pact. By day, the Grey Wolves make their living as ranchers not far outside Billings, MT, but at night they’re fierce wolf shifters who protect humanity from their bloodsucking enemies. Cowboy Wolf Trouble is the first book in the series, which follows bad-boy werewolf and rancher Wes Calhoun. Wes’ dark past is fighting to catch up to him and his pack, and his problems only worsen when the heroine, human rancher Naomi Evans, gets swept into the melee.
Will this be your first Coastal Magic or are you a veteran? What was it about Coastal Magic that drew you to it? Why have you continued to return?
I’m a veteran of Coastal Magic. Initially, I attended because I live close by, but what made me continue attending is the interaction with readers. I get a lot of one-on-one or small group time with my readers at CMC, which I don’t always get at other cons, and those interactions are really valuable to me.
If you’ve been before, what is your favorite CMC memory? If you’ve never been, what are you looking forward to?
One of my favorite memories of CMC is a sentimental one. At CMC 2015, I was 35 weeks pregnant with my oldest son and I remember when I was sitting on one of the panels speaking all the readers in the room started laughing, because you could see my little one wiggling around in my belly even from across the room haha.
Is there any character that didn’t make as big of an impact on the story that you thought they would? Is there a character who stayed on the page longer than you thought they would?
In Cowboy Wolf Trouble, readers are introduced to secondary character, Colt Cavanaugh, who is the Grey Wolf High Commander. I’d only planned for Colt to appear briefly at the beginning of the book, but then he kept showing back up and ends up playing an integral role in the plot when he helps the hero, Wes Calhoun, get back into the good graces of their packmaster. You’re not really sure what Colt’s motivations are for helping Wes by undermining their packmaster in Cowboy Wolf Trouble, but you find out more of what’s going on behind the scenes which motivates Colt in his book, Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing (Book #2), which releases on June 25th. I’d never intended for Colt to be the hero in book two, but he took on a life of his own and now I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Is there any part of your series, any of your series, world(s) that you would like to expand on in the future?
Veteran readers of my previous work may read the Seven Range Shifters and recognize the Execution Underground hunter mythology. The Seven Range Shifters and the hunters of the Execution Underground exist in the same universe. I’m working on getting my rights back for the Execution Underground series, so I can eventually republish and finish out that series, so I’m hoping that connection can be expanded on throughout the Seven Range Shifter series in the future.
Which do you find is more central in your writing: the characters or world creation? Why?
In paranormal romance, I think both characters and world-building are important, but I personally put more emphasis on the characters in my books. If an author writes a really unique world, but I don’t like the characters, then I won’t read more. But world-building can be lackluster in a book and if I love the characters anyway, I’ll keep reading, so the characters are more important to me. My hope is that I do both well in my books!
When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you and/or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why?
As a writer of romance, I obviously love to read romance as well. My favorite sub-genre of romance to read is probably historical. I love being whisked away into a world of devious dukes, naughty rakes, and debutantes in London ballrooms, though any historical time period works for me. I like escaping to another world when I read, hence why I write paranormal and love to read historical. But I will read just about anything if it catches my eye, whether escapist or not. An author who is new to me recently is Laura Lee Gurhke. Her last book, The Trouble with True Love, was a really excellent historical! The hero was swoon-worthy!
If you could be one of the characters in your book for one day, who would it be and why?
I’d probably choose to be Naomi, the heroine from Cowboy Wolf Trouble, for a day because I’d love to snuggle up with a sexy bad-boy werewolf like Wes Calhoun ;-)
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 50 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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