BLOG TOUR Q & A FOR VK SYKES
A little about ourselves
Why don’t we start with the fact that V.K. Sykes is actually two people—Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes. Some people might call what we do writing by committee; we prefer to think of it as doubling the horsepower. Either way, it seems to work. So far, so good.
Usually the first question people ask when they find out we’re a writing team is, “Vanessa writes the female POV and Randall the male POV, right?” When we answer, “Uh, no,” the next question invariably is, “Well, how do you work it, then?”
The approach that’s worked so far is that we spend a lot of time throwing out ideas--brainstorming characters and plot basics until something feels right to both of us. Next, Randall develops the story outline and writes a rough first draft. After that, Vanessa takes over, fleshing out characters and scenes, and doing most of the emotional heavy-lifting that separates romance from...well, non-romance.
Like a romance novel, a wife-husband author partnership is bound to be replete with conflict, highs and lows, and maybe even something resembling a black moment from time to time. But, whatever happens in the writing process, Vanessa and Randall always have a real-life HEA.
We live in Ottawa, Canada during most of the year, but are fortunate to be able to spend most of the snow season (we only have two seasons in Ottawa: snow and construction) in northern Florida.
What genre do you write?
As V.K. Sykes, we write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Our Carina Press release, CaddyGirls, is a sexy contemporary set in Las Vegas. Our in-progress romantic suspense novels are set in Florida, where we spend several months every winter.
Vanessa also writes Regency historical romances for Kensington as Vanessa Kelly. Her second novel, Sex and the Single Earl, was released in early May.
First Story Sold? Reaction to becoming a launch author for Carina?
CaddyGirls is the first book we’ve sold as V.K. Sykes. Vanessa has written two Regency historicals for Kensington and is contracted for two more.
When we learned we were going to be launch authors for Carina Press, we immediately headed for the police station. Seriously, we got the wonderful news just before meeting detectives from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office as part of the research for our latest romantic suspense. We met the commander of the Violent Crimes Division, along with six female detectives. We’re sure they thought we’d popped something—we were so high from our agent’s call that let us know Carina bought CaddyGirls.
We’re convinced that Carina is going to be a huge success. It’s a privilege to be one (or two) of their launch authors.
Write to music or prefer silence?
Oh, silence, please. Blessed silence. The more, the better—but usually we’ll settle for ambient din. In Ottawa, we live in a fairly noisy urban setting, so we’re constantly grumpy. Our small Florida town, on the other hand, is laid back and positively perfect for writing. We get a lot done down there.
Favorite band, movie, TV, drink, vacation
Here’s where you’d think you’d get two different answers, right? Not so much. We actually don’t listen to a lot of music, but we both like rock and country. Mark Knopfler is number one for both of us. Vanessa gets new-agey sometimes, and that’s when the ethereal voices of Enya and Loreena McKennett float around the house (Randall tolerates). Emmylou Harris is grand. Rod Stewart’s Great American Songbooks, too. Sarah McLachlan has an angel’s voice.
We watch all kinds of movies, but try to avoid the dark, depressing, and overly cerebral varieties. Vanessa likes any movie that features spaceships and/or aliens, or things that blow up in spectacular fashion. Terminator and Transformers movies are de rigueur in our house, along with Star Treks. Chinese movies like House of Flying Daggers and Hero are wonderfully exotic. Lord of the Rings is the best ever, though, right? Viggo Mortensen...really.
How about TV? Dexter rocks. So do (or did) The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, 24, Burn Notice, Nurse Jackie, House, Lost, The Mentalist, The Good Wife and, for Vanessa, reruns of Buffy and Angel. We can’t believe we’re losing both Lost and 24 this year. Band of Brothers—bought the DVD’s and watched the series three times. Glee is a fun new show.
Drink of choice? Italian and Australian wines, mostly—white for Vanessa, red for Randall. Lotsa coffee. Starbucks, often.
Vacation? Florida—though that’s not really vacation any more since we’re there so much. Loved England, and really want to visit Italy soon. Vanessa’s been, but not Randall. Maybe Japan, too.
What’s unique about your stories?
Unique is tough, isn’t it? Especially when you don’t world-build. “Unusual” or “different” are a little easier.
The fact that our books are co-written, and one of the authors is male, does help make them stand out. We are able to draw on the strengths of both authors, getting inside the heads of the female and male characters with equal facility. That makes for more fully developed characters. In CaddyGirls, for example, four male friends have a number of interesting scenes as a group, doing and saying the kinds of things a bunch of guys do when they’re out for a good time in Vegas. It helps if the author’s “been there”. And we don’t mean Vegas.
We also try for fun settings—hot, steamy places for hot, steamy stories.
You can find us on the web at: www.vksykes.com
Our Carina Press release
Here ’s the blurb for CaddyGirls:
Aspiring pro golfer Torrey Green works for CaddyGirls, an internet-based company that provides sexy female caddies to guys who can afford the stiff fee. But after months of carrying clubs for butt-pinching businessmen, Torrey is ready to pack it in. Her golfing prospects are dimming because she has no time or money to hone her game—she needs a rich sponsor, and fast. When she receives an email from electronics mogul, Julian Grant, asking her to caddy for him for an entire week, she’s desperate to grab her last chance for sponsorship.
Julian is the president of OverTheEdge Games, the wildly successful video game company he founded with three university friends. Although work always comes first for Julian, he and his partners play hard too, competing both on the golf course and in the bedroom. Their latest competition involves a bet: each partner will pick a female rent-a-caddy for a week’s worth of golf in Vegas. The partner who gets his caddy into bed first wins the bet. But there’s one cardinal rule: promises or incentives to the caddies are forbidden.
Read an excerpt here.
Thanks so much for visiting, Vanessa & Randall. I'm so impressed by writing teams. And I love your taste in TV and movies!! Good luck with CaddyGirls, released 5 July from Carina Press.