Friday, July 22, 2011

Guest Author: Kathy Ivan

Who are you and what do you write? 
Hi, I'm Kathy Ivan.  I currently write Romantic Suspense with Paranormal Elements.  I'm published with Carina Press, with my first release, Desperate Choices.  

What’s your favourite place in the world to visit?
I'm pretty much a homebody now, haven't done much traveling in recent years.  The day job (medical transcription) keeps me pretty tied to a desk most days.  But when I was younger I visited Hawaii, and thought that the islands and their culture were just astonishing.  The warm sandy beaches, the crystal blue waters, the warm tropical nights, what could be better than that.  (Although I have to admit, I used to live in Key West, Florida, so I am partial to the tropics.) 

Where do you write?  
I have a dedicated office where I work all day long doing the day job.  In the evenings, it doubles as my writing space.  I've tried writing at other places in the house, even venturing outside to restaurants and things, but I tend to need a quiet space to write.  So I can go into my office, close the door, and the rest of the world just falls away.  

How long have you been published or is this your first sale?
Desperate Choices was my first sale!  I still pinch myself at times, cannot believe that somebody else loved that story as much as I did.  It was published by Carina Press in September 2010.  

How long have you been writing?
I've always had stories and ideas and plots in my head, every since I was a kid.  Snippets of conversations, a place, anything could get my imagination going.  But I seriously started writing again about 6 years ago after a friend invited me to a Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA) meeting.  That got me hooked.

What comes first—characters or the plot? 
Usually it's the plot for me.  I'll get a kernel of an idea for a story, start branching out and the characters quickly follow.  Rarely does the hero or heroine come first, except for Remy.  (Remy is the hero's brother in Desperate Choices—I'm still working on his story.)  

Who’s your favourite hero?
Whoever I'm currently writing at the time.  With each new book I fall head over heels in love with that hero.  

Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors? 
Oh, wow, way to many to name them all.  I love J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Linda Howard, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kim Harrison, Angela Knight, Toni Anderson :) (oh, thank you!).  My reading tastes are very eclectic; I'll read just about any genre if the books are good.

Do you write to music? Do you make soundtracks for you stories? If so, what was on the soundtrack for your latest release?
I'm one of the few people I know that does not write to music.  I've tried but it just doesn't work for me.  I guess that's because I spend all day with headphones on, hearing people talk for my day job.  I like peace and quiet when I write.  That usually means going into the office and closing the door to anybody and everything.  No answering the phone, no internet, no cellphone.  Just me and my keyboard. 

What’s your biggest dream?
Right now, my biggest dream would be able to write full time, making enough money at it that I could give up the day job.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and what I do, but the passionate creative author side of me would love to be able to write whenever the muse strikes, and not have to have a specified time period when I try to squeeze my writing into.

If you were a millionaire would you still write?
Absolutely.  I'd just be writing on a beach somewhere, with cabana boys, ocean breezes, and sparkling beaches right outside my door.  :)

Cat or dog person?
Definitely a dog person.  I love cats, too, but I'm allergic.  I can be around them for a short time, but too long and my chest seizes up and I can't breathe.  I've had dogs for the last 25+ years until just recently.  We lost our Missy in April and right now my house is animal free.  I don't think it'll be that way for too much longer, though.  I miss not having a four-legged friend around.  (I totally understand the need for some space when you lose a beloved pet. So sad. Strangely, I'm also allergic to cats, to my daughter's chagrin.)

Thanks so much, Toni, for having my on your blog today. (You are welcome, Kathy. Desperate Choices is a great book).   
I'd love to leave you with a little excerpt from Desperate Choices, my Carina Press release.  It's available at the links listed here:

Barnes and Noble

Carina Press

Kobo Books

All Romance Ebooks



        Behind the wheel of the car, Max angled his head and watched Theresa. She sat silent and unmoving, just as she had since they’d left her shop. His gaze slid slowly along the length of her, and he definitely liked what he saw. He never paid much attention to her when she and Remy first began hanging out together. She’d been way too young. He’d rarely been home then, staying in Shreveport while attending LSU.
Max didn’t really understand Theresa and Remy’s friendship. They were so diametrically different, yet their friendship endured all these years.
Theresa had spent a lot of time at their house, all the holidays, birthdays, even family reunions. She was practically a member of the family, at least to everybody but him. He’d never had the remotest familial thought about her. When he looked at her, she set him aflame.
Every damn time there was a get-together, she’d been included. Until about a year ago. Things started to change then. He stopped seeing her as Remy’s best friend. Instead he saw a sexy, vibrant, eye-catching woman. A woman he wanted in a primitive, gut-wrenching and wholly masculine way. His body ached with wanting her. He’d been avoiding her like the plague ever since. A relationship was a complication he couldn’t afford in his life right now.
“Pull over here.” Her voice drew his attention back to the road. He angled the car over to the side of the pavement. Coasting to a stop, he swiveled to face the passenger side, watching Theresa closely.
“Why here?” he asked in a deceptively quiet voice, careful to betray nothing. An amazing coincidence. She’d told him to stop at the exact location the police discovered Tommy’s cell phone. Just a lucky guess. Doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Opening the passenger door, Theresa stepped from the car. Max got out and walked around the front to join her where she stood. He watched her take several steps forward and then backtrack. Her eyelids were shuttered, as if by closing them, she could obscure her surroundings.
For a few tense moments, he watched and waited. In a whispered tone, she finally spoke. “Give me the cell phone.”
Quiet resolve and determination filled her face. Reaching through the passenger-side window, he plucked the manila envelope from the front seat and handed it to her. Then he stood back and watched.
            Theresa slowly opened the clasp on the envelope, her movements tentative, a slight trembling in her fingers. She didn’t want to be involved in this case. She had a bad feeling about this, a really bad feeling. Mentally bracing herself as she reached inside, she grasped the cell phone. She lifted it and held it in her right hand, her fingers sliding around the metal and plastic. It felt cool to her touch. Switching her grip to both hands now, the envelope drifted unnoticed to the grass.
Images began to form. Slowly at first, they gained substance as she allowed the psychic energy to wash over her. It happened like that sometimes. Some visions came in a great flash, immediate and precise in detail, crystal clear and sharp. Other things were vague, fuzzy, out of focus.
The closest she’d ever come to describing it was a near-sighted person without their glasses, nearly blind. With tremendous concentration, she could sometimes get images to slowly and steadily come into focus.
Even though it was late afternoon, in her mind’s eye it was twilight. The dusky time between day and night where everything fades to shades of gray, black and white. She extended her extrasensory flow, hearing nothing except the normal sounds of nature. Crickets chirped, mosquitoes buzzed, an occasional bird lifted in flight. The normal sounds of a Louisiana evening.
Things began coalescing into definition. She stood alongside a motorbike. The motor wasn’t running.
She let her psychic senses run free. In the distance, she heard an engine. Its growl grew louder as it approached. A vehicle pulled to the side of the road a short distance ahead of where she stood beside the bike.
“Theresa,” Max interrupted. Never opening her eyes, she raised her finger to her mouth, motioning for quiet.
She concentrated on the vehicle, but as hard as she tried, it wouldn’t come into a clear image. She could only determine it was a light color and large. Focus, she whispered in her mind. Go deeper. Bring it into focus.
A sudden jolt broke her concentration. Her neck snapped back, jarring her from the vision and back into reality. Theresa stared up at Max’s face inches from hers, so close she could feel the warmth of his breath. His grasp on her shoulders felt firm yet insistent.
“Theresa.” A hint of anxiety filled Max’s normally placid voice. “Theresa. Snap out of it.”
“What’s wrong, Max?”
“What’s wrong? You were standing there, barely breathing, shaking like a leaf, and you ask me ‘What’s wrong?’” Max’s hold on her eased and she watched him run a hand across his eyes. “What the hell just happened?”
The vision vanished, faded away like mist evaporating. Nothing left but the daylight surrounding her and Max. She handed him the phone and managed to stagger a couple of steps, resting her hip against the hood of the car.
Her body trembled, exhaustion enveloping her like a heavy cloak. This was one of the reasons she hated this kind of reading. It wiped her out, leaving her emotionally and physically drained.
“There’s not a lot I can tell you, Max. I saw the bike at the side of the road. Right there.” She pointed. “It wasn’t running. I couldn’t tell why not. I didn’t get the impression there was anything mechanically wrong, but…”
She took a few steps away from the car and glanced toward the woods. They were dense, thick and mysterious, yet no sense of danger emanated from them. Sunlight poured through the few leaves, wiping away all trace of the twilight hues from her vision.
“Another vehicle pulled over there.” She gestured toward the road again, indicating an area about twenty feet beyond where his car was parked. “It was large, light in color. Maybe white or a light yellow or tan, I couldn’t tell. It stopped. I sensed a brief moment of fear, but just as quickly it was gone. Tommy felt relief. He didn’t seem afraid. He seemed thankful, maybe even happy.”
Theresa looked up into Max’s eyes for the first time since the vision ended and met his gray-eyed gaze.
“Max, whoever took Tommy wasn’t a stranger. It was somebody he knew.”

Copyright 2010 Kathy Ivan
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.


  1. Hi, Kathy! As always, an excellent interview and excerpt! You are the best!!

  2. Kathy:

    What a great interview - and I SO agree with you about writing to music. I am always intrigued when I read about an author's "playlist" for a book - I much prefer the quiet!!


  3. Thanks Vicki and Addison for dropping by on such short notice. I've been a bit brain fried the last few days with a summer flu, but I DO appreciate your support and friendship. You gals are the best!!!

  4. So sorry to be late. I just saw the notice.

    Thanks for bringing Kathy to us, Toni! I loved the interview, and I'm with Kathy on the peace and quiet when I write!

    Kathy, hope you soon feel better!

    Nancy Haddock

  5. Thanks for visiting, Vicki, Addison and Nancy. I was slow putting the post up yesterday--very bad Toni!
    I do write to music. I think the main reason is I use music as white noise. It has to fit the mood of the book--so setting plays a big role in the music I choose, but it has to be music that rolls over my brain without jangling it.
    Kathy, thanks so much for visiting.