Monday, February 22, 2010

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle: Fallout

Please welcome fellow TWRP author Karlene Blakemore-Mowle, here to talk about her first release, Fallout. She's a ball of fire with a super friendly personality, and I hope you'll check out her work once you get to know her a bit better. From the land down under (lucky thing), here she is!

KC: Tell us a bit about yourself.

KBM: I live in Australia on the Mid North Coast of NSW…for those of you who aren’t familiar with Australian geography, it’s on the east coast half way between Brisbane and Sydney.
I’ve lived all over the place. From the outback, in mining towns, to the coast and on The Great Barrier Reef. I have been incredibly lucky to see so many special places in Australia.
As a child, I moved a lot with my Dad’s work, averaging about three years a town, and remember vowing I would never move once I was married and had my own kids! Ahemmm… Not sure what happened, but I ended up moving about every eighteen months!!! Now I am back living in a small rural town on the river where both my parents were born and bred, and loving that I am a part of a place my own parents grew up in. I’ve always loved history and there’s something about knowing an old building in town was where my parents used to attend Saturday night dances as teenagers, or driving past a house that my Grandparents used to live in, that really intrigues me.

KC: I love that you're so close to your roots there. How long have you been writing? What have you learned along the way?

KBM: I started writing when I found myself newly married and stuck at home. I used to devour Mills and Boons by the shopping bag full and eventually became frustrated by never seeming to get enough of the kind of books I enjoyed—you guessed it, involving military men! So decided to write my own. Unfortunately Mr Mills and Boon didn’t share my opinion of my story being the greatest story ever told (I don’t understand why? I mean, I had absolutely NO clue what I was doing!!) I then decided to do a correspondence writing course before having children, which effectively put an end to my writing… Children apparently need feeding at all times of the night and day and demand your full attention – something that could have been pointed out to me BEFORE I thought it was such a great idea to do!!!!
Turns out, I was much better at being a mum than I was at romance writing and I went on to have three more…I’m a good breeder.

KC: *snort* :)

KBM: I did eventually go back to my writing on and off for a few more years, until about three years ago I got serious just after my fourth child and sat down to produce five manuscripts!
What I have learnt along the way is… NEVER give up- it gets damn depressing when you keep having rejection slips posted back, but I think I reached a point where I knew deep down in my heart, my stories were good. Then I just decided if they made me smile- then that was an achievement. I mean lets face it, we’re all readers first and foremost or we wouldn’t be writing, and if I couldn’t stand reading something I wrote, why on earth would anyone else?! It was icing on the cake that the editor I now have picked up Fallout and agreed with me!

KC: I need to know for my own sanity, because now I feel really lame--how is it possible that you're a wife and working mother of four, and still find time to write books?

KBM: See there’s your problem! Sanity. It helps if your children have sucked all the sanity from your life!!!!
The ability to block the sound of children strangling the life from each other while one is whining that they’re hungry and another is complaining that their mother is ruining their life- is an asset…More often than not, I just take what ever opportunity I’m given- childless-- to write. I can do five minute sprints if I have to, and then wait until everyone else is in bed and write at my leisure…. I usually just get up at 5am and write while it’s nice and peaceful.

KC: How did Fallout come to be written?

KBM: Fallout was one of the newer books I’d written and seemed to just come out of nowhere!
I have a very good friend who is a police officer and he had been telling me of a really close call at work when he walked into a house and found himself, quite literally, staring down the barrel of a gun. This got me thinking. I usually write about military and most of my previous hero’s have been military men and yet here was a police officer who faced almost identical dangers in their daily life…in our own country! This too got me thinking (I sometimes think quite a lot!) What if I had a military man, who meets his equal in a police officer? We’d have two very disciplined people, both very capable and highly trained, who dealt with life and death situations in their careers. How would they react to each other? Who would be the more dominant personality? Would it make the sparks fly if they were forced to depend on each other in order to survive?

KC: Tell us the story about how Fallout became contracted with The Wild Rose Press.

KBM: I sent it to The Wild Rose Press on a last ditch effort to see what happened after it was rejected by a leading romance publisher…AGAIN! And found an email in my inbox from my now editor, who did something amazing- she actually took the time to tell me where this story was going wrong and better yet—what I should look at to fix it! I sat down immediately, took her suggestions and from then on- after a few more emails back and forth she emailed me and announced we had a contract!
I am still overwhelmed by this woman’s generosity, and patience to take a few minutes of her time to make her suggestions, it was all the help I needed to finally make my writing click and it still brings a lump to my throat when ever I think about it.

KC: I loved how edgy and confident Tully was, right from the opening page. How did you develop her as a character?

KBM: She was a very different character for me to write. Usually I have…not sissy heroines, but softer? I guess the opposite to my hero’s in order to bring out the hero’s softer side they may not usually show to anyone else. With Tully it all came back to that original idea of having two strong personalities who did the same demanding, dangerous work together. She developed along the way. I had to go back after I finished the story to give her a bit of history, an explanation of why she is the way she is- otherwise I think she could be received as a little cold, but I hope that I’ve given her enough depth to be likeable even if she is a very strong character.

KC: Jake is a former military man (which I love, but you know that already). Tell us a little about your uh..."unusual" (but totally cool) interest in the military.

KBM: Isn’t it funny how people sometimes question this? I’ve always had a soft spot for the military- I think it was my upbringing. My Dad and one of my brothers have been in the Army and I guess some of my Dad’s most admiral qualities have been things he’s acquired from his Army training. He has a confidence and a discipline- a very solid, dependable quality about him that I naturally relate to military men. Of course having lived in a military town, I’ve also realised they are just men, and there are the good, bad and dickheads in every society!
I have a deep respect for our military, and other armed forces around the world, as well as the police. I’ve been raised to respect and appreciate what these people do for us and how much they sacrifice in doing so.
What’s not to love about them?!

KC: I love that you kept an Aussie flavor in your writing, with the spelling and some of the phrasing. Did your editor ever ask you to change any of it? I kept imagining Jake speaking with that awesome accent that all us North American girls go crazy over.

KBM: LOL I love Accents- and isn’t it funny how no one ever thinks of their native accent as being sexy!
When I realised The Wild Rose Press was an American company, I did expect there would be some changes. I was waiting for it! But I was surprised when it was decided to leave a lot of it in there- surprised and pleased, it’s nice to not have to adapt everything to the US markets! In Australia, we have pretty much everything you guys over that way have- the TV shows the movies, the sitcoms- there’s not a lot we can’t relate socially-wise to North America, but it is surprising that for English speaking countries who share a common ancestry even- there can be so many differences in so many other ways! Australian’s seem to remain a bit of a puzzle, and by leaving a lot of the phrasing and things in there, I hoped it might go a small way to allowing people to become familiar with Australianisms.

KC: Tell us about your newest work, Summer Storm.

KBM: Ahhhh Summer Storm!
This is my favourite book! I’ve had this baby for ten years. It’s undergone more transformations than Michael Jackson’s had plastic surgery! But the core thing that has always stayed true has been the characters, and I just adore them.
Tate Maddox is a Force Recon Marine and he’s on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Summer Sheldon is an Australian ER Nurse and is blackmailing Tate to rescue her sister, a photojournalist who has been kidnapped in Cambodia!
If I never had another thing published ever again- I can rest easy knowing this was the one that I always dreamed of seeing in print. It’s my pride and joy and I just love it.
I’ll fill you in on all the details once I know more- all I received from my editor was- “It’s a contract- go and celebrate!”... So I am!

KC: As you should! So what are you working on right now, and what are your writing plans for the future?

KBM: At the moment, I’m working on a single title Australian rural romance. It’s a little different to what I’ve been writing, this one centring on a family in rural Australia but it has romance and suspense as elements…and a policeman as the love interest (I know, I can’t help it! There’s always a uniform involved.)
In the future, now that Summer Storm is being published I have a linked series connected to this being, Willow Quest— Summer’s sisters story and another hunka-spunk Marine, Peter Delaware. A third book is also started, centring on a third member of Tate’s unit, but I’m not sure if that will eventuate. My editor may have cracked under the pressure of correcting my horrendous punctuation by the time Summer Storm and Willow Quest have landed on her desk and may actually threaten me with physical harm if I try to plonk another book on her desk!

Thank you so much for having me here and letting me ramble on about my writing.

KC: I was glad to have you! Best of luck with this release and I hope we get to see many more works from you in the future :)

To purchase Fallout, click here.
Karly would love to hear from you, so check out her website and drop her a line to say hello.


Katie Reus said...

Love a man in uniform :) Great interview! My hubby and I spent a month traveling across Australia and absolutely loved it.

liana laverentz said...

Love the story of how your story came to be contracted at The Wild Rose Press. The Garden is definately the place to be!

Liana Laverentz

Margaret Tanner said...

Good morning Karly,
Great interview and great novel. Love reading success stories of fellow Aussies.

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle said...

Hi guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to say hi. Katie- I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip down under- I hope you come back some day :)
Liana- the garden is a fantastic place to be :) everyone is so friendly and given me nothing but help and support along the way, thank you :)
Hey Margaret- thanks as usual for always following my progress :)your a champ. :)

Debra St. John said...

Hi Karlene and Kaylea!

Great interview ladies.

I'm loving the cover for "Fallout".

Helene Young said...

Hi Karlene, what a great interview! KC, you asked some excellent questions.

A man in uniform (or a woman!) is a very powerful image for a hero or heroine and I love the idea of you paring up two equally controlled determined players.

And of course your cover's beautiful!

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle said...

Hi Debra and Helene!
I just adore the cover of Fallout- they did such a great job. I really enjoyed having two take charge personalities in my story, most of the time they played nice!
Isn't Kaylea a fantastic interviewer! It was painless and I really enjoyed answering them!!!

Kaylea Cross said...

Thanks gang, for stopping in to say hello. The garden is such a supportive place, because of all the wonderful authors there :)

Anita Joy said...

Hey Karly, great interview :o) So fab to hear how much more you've got lined up. Well done m'dear.

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle said...

Thanks Anita! Lovely to see you over here :)
Thank you so much for the interview Kaylea :D