DUCK CHAT: Funnin’ Around with HelenKay DimonTuesday, March 12, 2013 9:00
The first book in her new Hanover Brothers series is on shelves now, and she’s sharing a little about that with us, along with some other goodies.
So sit back and enjoy this talk with HelenKay. I betcha you’ll have a great time and then head out to your nearest bookstore!
Now let’s chat!
HELENKAY DIMON: Thank you of having me here. I always love visiting this site.
Something the hard-core fan doesn’t know…hmmm. In addition to my paralyzing fear of heights and very real concern spiders will one day attack and take over my house, I am weirdly afraid of open water. Not swimming. Not water in general. I grew up swimming and love it. What scares me is the idea of open water – the open ocean where I can’t outrun predators, icebergs, or terrible weather. I blame the movie Jaws.
DC: If you could retire any interview question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.
HKD: It’s always hard to answer the question about which book I’ve written is my favorite. There really is only one answer: “Well, what haven’t you read yet? Buy that one.”
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
HKD: I generally think I know where things are going and how the characters are going to act, but I’m frequently writing along and have a “he has a brother?” moment or something similar. I don’t outline before I write, so much of what gets on the page isn’t exactly planned. It’s one of my favorite parts about this job.
HKD: The series is about the sons of a notorious conman. Dear ‘ole dad, Charlie Hanover, was Bernie Madoff famous and created a mess before he died. He pulled the family apart, left a trail of victims behind him, as well as many unanswered questions, and put his sons in the awful position of having to defend themselves against a general belief that they must be conmen, too.
I came up with the idea after kicking around possible plots centered on children of very bad men. I thought about what the children of a serial killer might be like, etc. Something about a grifter father appealed to me. It also let me bring women into the lives of these sons who had a connection of sorts to those past scams.
Basically, I wanted something with notes of family drama but yet still sexy and hopeful. And I really love writing these guys. The middle son, Declan, is the hero of No Turning Back. Youngest brother, Beck, is the hero of book #2, A Simple Twist of Fate (out in July). I’m excited to get to write the last books in the series.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
HKD: I insist on being in control of my writing world…whether the characters like it or not. I’m more likely to let their dialogue run in my head and just follow along.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
HKD: Everything on the planet can distract me. Actually writing is the tough part. I can come up with ideas all day long. But sitting down and putting the words on the page? Some days that’s a challenge. And, honestly, the invention of Twitter has not increased my productivity one little bit.
DC: Declan and Leah are featured in No Turning Back, which just hit the shelves earlier this month. Please tell our readers about their story.
HKD: Declan is just out of the military and headed to Sweetwater, Oregon, to meet up with his brothers and sell the property left to them by their paternal grandmother. The brothers are trying to overcome the mess their conman father left behind, and Sweetwater being the site of his first scam doesn’t make things easier. One of the first people Declan meets is Leah, the daughter of one of his dad’s victims. She been taught from birth to dislike and distrust the Hanover family. She’s also been told her job is to get back the house her family lost – the same one the brothers are thinking about selling. The messed-up pasts of Declan and Leah put them on a collision course. They have to deal with their attraction and family baggage…all while Declan’s “helpful” brothers hover nearby.
DC: What has been your favorite book cover from all of your releases and why?
HKD: My favorite book cover is for the trade paperback of Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy. It was my first single title and the cover is pink and pretty and will always be special to me.
DC: How about your least favorite book cover? Why?
HKD: Are you trying to get me in trouble with the publisher art departments?!? If I had to choose, I’d probably say an early cover for a book called Hard As Nails. The book is an anthology centered around a house rehab and the cover doesn’t say sexy carpenter to me. My editor loved it, but it’s not my favorite.
DC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?
HKD: I tend to write hero-centric books. I love writing about men. But the longer I write, the more I’ve concentrated on writing complex, flawed, and hopefully ultimately likable heroines, to match those awesome heroes. When it comes to writing in general, I would say I’ve definitely changed. My voice and style are about the same, but my real hope is that every book gets a bit better than the one before.
DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?
HKD: I write contemporary romance, romantic suspense and am writing an erotic romance series for Berkley Heat that will come out next year. But I do have a secret love. I am desperate to write a space cowboy/futuristic series and explore some of my favorite tropes, like marriage of convenience, in a world where I think I could really sell them. I am hoping to make time to work on that later this year.
DC: Can you give us a sneak peek into the next book in the Hanover Brothers series?
DKD: Youngest son Beck is the lawyer of the family. He’s practical and a fixer. He knows the hot, young housekeeper they inherited with the house is not who she seems to be and he is determined to find out everything about her. Here’s a short snippet to give you an idea of what’s happening between them:
With one hand she pushed the hall bathroom door open, ignoring the creak as she spun and jumped inside. Her back hit the door and her eyes closed in relief. It took her a second to realize her sneakers slid across the black and white checkered tile beneath her and a wall of heated steam smacked her face.
When she opened her eyes again, she came face to shoulders with bare skin. Her gaze trailed over the broad chest and light sprinkling of hair that ran the deep groove to his flat stomach then down to…yowsa.
There was not as much as a washcloth covering him. Nope. She got an open shot of skin, balls and, yeah, totally naked hottie dude. Looked like Beck Hanover excelled at something other than arguing.
DC: Which fictional character would you like to hang out with?
HKD: How in the world could I pick just one?
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
HKD: The best writing advice I ever got (and still try to follow) is: your career is a marathon, not a sprint. I have a tendency to want everything right now. But I’d tell my younger self that life is a marathon, not a sprint…so calm down.
DC: What is the best thing about being a full-time romance author? What’s the most challenging?
HKD: Best thing: not wearing pantyhose (this is a subset of the “working from home” idea but, really, I do not miss pantyhose at all). Most challenging: Writing is a career where a lot of things are out of my control – publisher support, editorial approval, reader appreciation, etc. I didn’t know I was a control freak until I started writing full time, but I clearly am and it’s a constant struggle to accept that I can only control certain things.
DC: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
HKD: I go out of my way not to Google my name. I did at the beginning of my writing career but learned quickly that was the road to craziness. It’s better if I write the books, put them out there and let people do and say whatever they want.
HKD: The first romance novel I ever read was The Bride by Julie Garwood. It opened my eyes to a genre I’d never tried. I’ve read the book many times since then, but I’d love to be able to read it fresh again, to fall in love with the genre for the first time (again).
DC: What would your “voice’s” tagline be?
HKD: Flirty, sexy and a bit snarky
DC: What romance book would you recommend our readers pick up during their next bookstore run? (Yes, in addition to any HelenKay Dimon book!)
HKD: I’m going to say an oldie – After the Night by Linda Howard. I’ve read it so many times and will probably go find it again now that I mentioned it. There is something about the alpha male hero, Gray, that works for me every time.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
HKD: I would likely still be a lawyer. I left a job as a partner in a law firm to write full time. I’d probably be preparing for a case instead of answering these questions.
DC: What’s on the horizon for HelenKay Dimon?
HKD: This is a really busy year, which I love. I have this contemporary series coming out, plus a new miniseries starting at HarlequinIintrigue, called the Corcoran Team. The first, Fearless, comes out in July. A book for a favorite hero in my Holloway series with Carina Press, Travis, comes out in June. It’s titled Just What He Needed. I’m also one of the authors kicking off the new Harlequin/Cosmo line and that should be out later this year. Next year I already know I have more Intrigues, the Berkley erotic romance series, and a few others to write.
- dark or milk chocolate? – milk
- smooth or chunky peanut butter? – chunky
- heels or flats? – heels (but that’s a lie because I’m more comfortable in flats)
- coffee or tea? – tea
- summer or winter? – summer
- mountains or beach? – beach
- mustard or mayonnaise? – mustard
- flowers or candy? – flowers
- pockets or purse? – purse
- Pepsi or Coke? – Neither…don’t like soda
- ebook or print? – Love both
And because we still enjoy the answers we get:
1. What is your favorite word? – Hope
2. What is your least favorite word? – Sluice (have no idea what it means but it freaks me out)
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – My husband
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Nastiness
5. What sound or noise do you love? - Laughter
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – Any sound made by a bird (not a fan)
7. What is your favorite curse word? – I can’t repeat that here!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – Writing was the one I wanted to try, so I’m good
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Anything that involving heights.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “You made it!!”
DC: Thanks so much for visiting with us, HelenKay!
[Ed. HelenKay is giving away an e-copy of No Turning Back, so be sure to leave her a meaningful question or comment!]