Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

Carolyn Gets you the Low Down on HelenKay Dimon

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Photo of author HelenKay Dimon Today, author HelenKay Dimon answers a lot of tough, hard-hitting questions from yours truly. At the end of it all, she has a book to give away!

Read on about HelenKay, secret government agencies, writing tips and tattooed chefs and then read about how you might be win her book, Holding Out For A Hero. This is a Kensington Brava (meaning it’s hot!).

The Interview

1. Write What you Know. That’s one of the first rules of successful fiction writing.

Who knew so many authors are vampires, werewolves or demons? Anyway, in looking over your upcoming releases, I’m now curious about how long you’ve been on the run from the law. (Under the Gun) Also, I notice there’s a helicopter on the cover. Awesome. How long have you been flying those things?

When I have some free time in the evenings, I like to grab my gun, head out to the airport and fly a helicopter along the San Diego coastline. The military and FAA don’t really like this since they use the same air space and all, but that’s why I take the gun. Helicopter versus fighter plane – I win every single time. Just those few hours of flying and shooting and all is well in my world.

And did you really not suspect that some of our author brethren were creatures of the night,or at least aliens? That is the only explanation I can find for…well, never mind.

Exactly. It explains one heck of a lot. Like why writers’ conferences are so much fun and why agents and editors have to work late at night so often. (It’s the only time they can talk with certain of their clients/authors.)

2. I understand you’re a lawyer. Tell me about how being a lawyer prepared you for a career in writing. I have read more than my share of legal briefs and it’s been my impression that legal writing is pretty much the opposite of gripping fiction, except for maybe in the facts section if you happen to have an interesting case.

When did the writing bug bite? Did you sit in contracts class doodling story ideas or were you outlining novels instead of your Motion to Dismiss? Or were you too busy running a secret government agency? (It’s okay if you’re not comfortable talking about your time under cover. Just leave some blanks and I’ll fill them in later.)

I think of myself as a recovering lawyer. It’s a 12 Step program that begins with getting out and ends with learning not to argue with everyone about everything. Have not conquered that last part yet. That innate need to take the other side of every argument has not subsided yet. Maybe some day.

I have to admit something here….I was one of those. You know the ones. The people who read all the time but don’t read romance. I actually wrote and read Motions and thought they were interesting. Yeah, it’s sick. Then my life changed. I started litigating contested custody cases. Try to think of something less romantic. I dare you. The work was tough. Watching people rip their kids apart and fight over floral print curtains was hard to take some days.

One day a retiring attorney handed me three romances– Perfect Partners by Jayne Ann Krentz, The Bride by Julie Garwood and Daniel’s Bride by Linda Lael Miller — and read them and fell in love. I thought the writing was smart and sexy. I realized I’d been missing something. Something pretty great. So, I started reading a lot of romance. About two years later, fueled by an overinflated ego that is just sooooo attractive, I decided I could write one.

Didn’t know a thing about fiction writing, but off I went. After a few years of floundering and writing mostly for myself, I decided to go from hobby to potential career. I entered and finaled in Lori Foster’s Brava Novella Contest and 18 months later sold to Kensington.

I can honestly say reading romance changed my life. Right now I’d be sitting in a courtroom trying to decide which parent should have the kids on Memorial Day if my world hadn’t gone careening wildly off track and into the romance world. I thank Jayne Ann Krentz, Julie Garwood and Linda Lael Miller every single day for that fact I wear sweats instead of pantyhose to work now.

For the record, I don’t run a secret government agency but I think the world would be better if I did. Do you know who I can talk to about that?

NB: HelenKay is fibbing. Anyone who flies helicopters and shoots it out with fighter jets is OBVIOUSLY the former head of a secret government agency. I mean, come on. Doh.

Interview Interruptus

Check this out. Is she running secret agency or what? Do you see the office she’s sitting in? Does that not say covert agency all over it?

The Interview continues . . .

3. When I interview other authors, I like to get as much writing advice as I can from them. I recently read your book Right Here, Right Now, and I thought the dialogue was exceptionally deft and amusing. As someone who is humor impaired in my fiction, I’m looking for tips on writing humor. If you could also address great dialogue too, that would be helpful (Thanks!)

Did you really read it or are you just saying that to make me like you more? ‘Cause it worked I like you even more now.

Yes, I did read it. I’m glad you like me even more. I like you, too, HelenKay. FYI, we don’t lie here on my blog. Well, hardly ever. But I’m not lying about your book. Anyway, could we talk a little about dialogue and humor?

But, really, did you read it?? What happens on page 45? And don’t give me that “I downloaded the book and my page numbers don’t match with the book’s” stuff. Not buying it!

Um. Well. Gosh. Oddly enough, I DID read your book on my iPhone. The pages actually don’t match the physical copy. I can prove it:

Photo of iPhone book

See? Now. About dialogue and humor?

Okay. Good.

That’s not about dialogue. Or humor. This is a professional, serious interview here. Plus I need some advice about dialogue and humor.

Back to your question… I love writing dialogue. It’s my favorite part. When I write, I actually let the dialogue play in my head (which sounds a little nutty, now that I see that in writing) and put it down on paper as it comes to me. No dialogue tags. No narrative. Just a stream of talk between the characters in the scene, letting it come out in banter and a Moonlighting (am I showing my age?) way. I then build the scene around that back and forth. I end up trimming the dialogue down to avoid a situation where it’s obvious I love hearing myself talk and then I layer in the rest.

On humor? I will relay a conversation my hubby and I have just about every week:

Me: I’m funny. Most people aren’t funny, so you’re lucky to be with me.

Hubby (deadpan): Uh-huh. You’re hysterical.

Clearly, he does not appreciate just how funny I am.

Wow. Words fail me.

I’m not sure that my dialogue ever strikes me as funny when I write it. People tell me it’s funny, which is fabulous, because I love funny. But, really, I think humor is either a part of your voice or not. If you try to be funny –force it –it comes off as obvious and, well, not funny. I do think it’s easier to aim for amusing. We all have amusing things happen to us, stuff that makes us smile. Those relatable pieces of life amuse people and add that bit of lightness to a story.

4. I’m curious about how you managed to have two books out in the same month. Are you just an insanely fast writer?

My publishers hate me. See, those books were supposed to come out in different months. Then, each publisher shifted each book by a month and – viola – two releases. This is somewhat better than October 2009 when I had three releases…all from the same publisher. I cried a lot and worried about the?end of my career during October 2009.

But on the fast thing? I do write fairly fast but only after the book is in my head. I have to start thinking about it all the time, seeing the scenes flash by (again, sounds nutty), before I can get it down on paper in anything other than crap form.

About The Books- Plus the Interview Continues . . .

5. Can you tell me a couple of things about Under the Gun and Leave Me Breathless that aren’t in the cover blurb (since those will be posted here for everyone to read and admire.) Is there a spicy or exciting scene or two you can tease us with?

My favorite part of Under The Gun isn’t in the cover blurb. See, these folks were once engaged. Our lovely heroine Claire, dumped handsome hero Luke before the wedding and Claire is now accused of killing the guy she married instead of our fine hero. How’s that for some added conflict? If that wasn’t bad enough, I injured poor Luke in the first scene and keep the guy in pain for the entire book. Mean author.

I’m kind of scared of you now.

Here’s a little taste:

The second they were alone Luke pinned Claire with the same green-eyed gaze that used to make her forget what she was saying from one thought to another.

“If you even try move out of this room I’ll stop you,” he said.

“You only have one good arm.”

“I can do a lot with just that one.”

Which was exactly why she hadn’t yet made a run for the door. “I’m not leaving.”

“That’s not my experience,” he mumbled under his breath.

Adam stalked back into the room and dumped a small box on the table, along with gauze, some medicine, a knife and a bottle. “What are we looking at in terms of injuries here?”

Luke tried to lift his arm but groaned instead. “It’s a through and through. Not serious. Just bloody and stings like a son of a bitch.”

She eyed up the whiskey. “Which is cause for a celebratory drink?”

Both men stared at her but only Luke answered. “I’m going to use it to clean the wound.”

She noticed his husky voice had cleared and his swaying had stopped. Still… “Shouldn’t you be at a hospital? I mean, how bad is this?”

Luke picked up a bandage packet and put the edge between his teeth and ripped it open. “It’s a gunshot, so it doesn’t feel good. But, unfortunately for you, I’m not going to die.”

She forgot how dizzying his stubbornness could be. “You are if you don’t stop with the attitude.”

He peeked up at her through his mop of hair. “I’d like to remind you how I got shot.”

That was an easy one. He refused to stick with the mental plan she had worked out for him. He might hate her but his rescue tendencies hadn’t dulled.

ooh. I like.

Order Under the Gun

About Leave me Breathless

Leave Me Breathless is sexier and a bit less suspense oriented. Ben is a young superstar judge. Callie is his unwanted bodyguard and is completely unimpressed with Ben’s impressive record. Loved making the heroine the tough one and the hero the one who insisted he didn’t need help.


According to Judge Bennett Walker, trying to kill him is a dumb idea. They might make him wear a big black nightgown to work, but it covers a lot of muscles, and he’s definitely packing beneath it. He’s also an ex-prosecutor and an ex-GI Joe. So when his brother brings in Callie Robbins to protect him, Ben has a few issues. First, he doesn’t need a bodyguard. Second, she’s a 130-pound girl—more smoking hot than smoking gun. And third, what if his body wants her guarding the night shift?

Callie has no problem brushing aside Ben’s disbelief. She left the FBI to escape the boys’ club, but she can be deeper undercover and twice as lethal as any beefy John Doe. As for whether someone’s after Bennett or not, the death threats and car bombs look pretty convincing to Callie. Of course, she might get distracted, sitting inches from the sexiest judge in DC for ten hours a day. Keeping him safe is no picnic. Keeping it professional—that might be impossible.

Here’s a brief scene from early in their relationship

Cover of Leave Me Breathless by HelenKay Dimon Something clicked in Ben’s head. “Wait, how do you know about the email?”

Callie bit her bottom lip but stayed quiet.

That couldn’t be a good sign. “You were on my computer?” He knew the answer but wanted her to own up to the misdemeanor. Maybe apologize.

“I was checking for email threats.” She scribbled down something on the lined paper. “Get used to it.”

She sure didn’t sound sorry to him. “You were violating my privacy.”

“We can call it whatever you want.”

“How about illegal? I could have you arrested.”

She snorted. “Oh, please.”

It was hard to threaten someone who refused to be afraid. “Which reminds me, how did you get in the office this morning?

She reached inside her blazer pocket and flashed a courthouse I.D. badge at him. “I also have a key to the suite and my own desk.”

He followed her head nod to the small set-up perpendicular from his under the window. How in the hell had he missed that? “I don’t think so.”

“You don’t get a vote.”

She needed to understand how this arrangement was going to work. Her pushy demanding act was not the right answer. “The governor who appointed me and the electorate that keeps me here would disagree.”

She rolled her eyes. Made quite the dramatic scene of it, too. “Must you talk like that?”

“Like what?”

“All hoity and superior.”

He tried to remember the last time someone fought him this hard and showed so little respect for his position. He came up with an answer fast: never. “Was it the word ‘electorate’ that upset you?”

She threw her notebook on his desk. “To be honest, most everything you say annoys me.”

He was starting to see why she no longer had a job with the FBI. That mouth could not have been an asset in a rule-oriented, follow-the-chain-of-command government agency. “Right back at you, sweetheart.”

Oooh. I like this too!

order Leave me Breathless

Carolyn Asks HelenKay a REALLY hard Question

Which of these two scenarios would you prefer? Explain your choice.

A. You’re walking down the street on a nice day when a pastry chef runs out of the bakery you’re passing and practically mows you down. To apologize, he gives you his pastry chef hat which you wear that afternoon when you’re settling in for an afternoon of baking goodies for yours truly. The hat, you discover, confers the ability to make baked goods better than anyone in the world but only if you bake for good, not evil.

B. You’re walking down the street on a nice day when a tattoo artist runs out of his tattoo parlor and practically mows you down. To apologize, he gives you a free tattoo (location your choice). One week later, you discover that your new tat confers on you the ability to understand the directions for any product that says “Some assembly required” on the box.

Is there an option for a hot pastry chef with a tattoo? Of those two, I’d pick the hat because I can’t cook. If it doesn’t come frozen and in a box, I can’t make it. Needless to say, my hubby does all of the cooking in our house, which is a good thing because we’d starve otherwise. But the idea of being able to make all the cookies and cakes and cinnamon buns I want is just awesome. I could cook and then eat my way out of the room. I might fantasize about that for the rest of the week. Thanks for putting that in my head.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of a hot pastry chef with a tattoo! My God, that’s brilliant. He should have a tat of an apple pie on his butt.

Thank you so much for hosting me here!

You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

How To Possibly Win HelenKay’s Book

Answer one or more of the following questions in the comments:

  • Suppose the Tattooed Chef DOES NOT have a tattoo of apple pie. But there is a tattoo. What’s the next best tat for a hot pastry chef?
  • What’s your favorite pastry?
  • Where do you prefer to eat your favorite pastry?

Rules: Contest is open until — uh — Wednesday February 17th. Get your comment in by midnight Pacific. If you don’t leave me an email so I can contact you if you win, then please commit to checking back Thursday or Friday (2/18-19) to see if you won. Void where prohibited etc.



Yours Truly on Author Talk!

Friday, August 14th, 2009

At RWA I was interviewed by the wonderful women of AuthorTalk (where Authors talk to other Authors). I had a little trouble at first, but I took care of the problem and after that things went pretty well. What do you think?


Some Fun! Win a Free Book!

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Courtesy of Simon and Schuster (and Twitter!) I have five copies of Jennifer Weiner’s Certain Girls to give away to 5 random commenters on this post. Last day to comment is April 10. Instructions at the end!

Cover of Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls

Touchingly funny and tender, with Weiner’s whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story of love, loss and a daughter’s search for the truth about her family.

Certain Girls is the kind of book that gets under your skin, reminding you what it felt like when you were thirteen and capturing exactly what it feels like now. Laura Zigman, The Washington Post

Hiliarious… Weiner offers her signature snappy observations and spot-on insights into human nature. Publisher’s Weekly

To have a shot at your very own copy to read, leave a comment discussing the role of chocolate in your life. Love it? Hate it? Favorite item made of chocolate? If you don’t have a gmail id you’ll need to leave me an email address otherwise I might be in the unhappy position of being unable to inform you that you are a winner.

Your entry must be at least one word. Carolyn Karma Points (CKP) for honesty and/or humor. I made up the CKP, but I know you’ll want to have some. CKP’s rock. Your life will be better if you have some. Now imagine what it would be like for you to have CKP PLUS a free copy of this book.

Yeah. Pretty awesome.

Leave your comment by midnight Pacific April 10, 2009.

I’ll start with an example.

Dark chocolate. Yeah, baby. I wish I could eat more of it. Well, I could, but if I did, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise off the amount I would like to eat on a daily basis.