Today we welcome author Debra Kayn and ask her about Where There’s Smoke, her upcoming contemporary romance release with Etopia Press. Also, her editor Georgia Woods has joined the fun.
Annie: Seeing as how the heroine in your story runs a pet daycare, can you tell us exactly what that is, and do the animals play a part in the story?
Debra Kayn: Sure! Amber Bailey is a glorified pet sitter. She provides constant companionship to pets whose owners have to work during the day. If the animals were left alone to entertain themselves they would become nervous, cause destruction in the home, irritate the neighbors, or become depressed. When left with Amber, they learn obedience and become much happier pets.
The animals play a huge part in the story. Especially Buster. Sometimes it almost seems as if the furry Irish setter can talk! Along with Buster, there is a kitten, a couple more dogs, and a talking parrot that will grab your heart.
Annie: What about the hero? What does he do?
Debra Kayn: He’s a fire chief. This was a very fun character to write. When I was little, my dad was a fire fighter. I have two brothers who are fire fighters. There’s a special pride, responsibility, and code of honor that goes along with someone in this line of work. Plus, I love to write about alpha men, and Gregg is one hot, I’m talking smokin’, alpha male. Not to mention, he looks awesome without a shirt on.
Annie: It sounds as if Amber Bailey has her hands full with so many animal friends. Will she be able to handle Gregg McKee when he shows up in fire fighter gear, looking to rescue someone?
Debra Kayn: Like most women, if a sexy fireman showed up to rescue them, they’d figure out how to handle it real quick! Lol Amber’s a great multi-tasker, and it also helps that her evenings and weekends are free to spend time with Gregg who works different hours depending on the day. Even during times when Gregg is working, and she has all the animals to care for, she figures out ways to stop by the fire station for a quick hello…even if she has to take the animals with her.
Annie: I think your love of animals really shines in this story. So would you ever consider running a pet day care?
Debra Kayn: I love animals, and some days it feels like I do run a pet daycare. Lol. Besides the 3 dogs, 2 cats, and chickens, we have a mini farm where we have geese, rabbits, pigs, goats, and turkeys (depending on the season). I don’t know if I could take care of other people’s animals every day though, because I’d get so attached to them and wouldn’t want them to go home. Animals have a way of loving you unconditionally, and as Amber finds out in the story, you can’t help but love the critters back.
Georgia Woods: Yes, and they are very much secondary characters in this story, with their own personalities, and they certainly help move both the story, and the romance, along.
Annie: Mainstream romance can have a wide variety of storylines, from sweet to come-on-in-the-bedroom-with-us when it comes to covering the love scenes. Can you tell us how steamy the pages will get?
Debra Kayn: Things do get very steamy. I never shut the door when it comes to sex (in my stories, people!). I believe sharing the intimate side of sex is a great way to capture the very essence of my characters. But this isn’t an “erotic romance.”
Annie: Is there anything in particular about contemporary romances that appeals to the writer/reader in you?
Debra Kayn: I love contemporary romances as a reader because I can put myself in the story. It’s all believable. The setting, the characters, the love, is all so real and touchable. It can happen to you or me. As a writer, I like it for the same reasons. The characters come alive, and as I’m writing, I know exactly how the character will react. I hurt when they hurt, I laugh when they laugh, and by the end of the story, I’m ready to let them have their happily ever after. I imagine it’s a lot like how Cupid feels when he brings two people together.
Georgia Woods: I think they also give us a chance to “see how the other half lives” without leaving our living room, and experience places and situations and lifestyles we might never have otherwise. And that’s another reason I really love working with Debra – she has such an imagination– what’s not to love?
Annie: If you had to spend a week away from your computer, what would you do?
Debra Kayn: I’d grab my pink fishing pole that lights up and go fishing. I would also take time to ride the motorcycle or quad through the many trails we have on our property. I’d love to spend a couple of days at the beach, especially this time of year when the winds are high, and the rain is pouring down. I love storms. Most of all, I’d spend time with my family and just have fun outdoors.
Georgia Woods: Umm, I’d go crazy. I’ll freely admit I’m addicted. Either the laptop or the Kindle is with me almost everywhere I go, and if I’m not editing, I’m writing or reading. I do enjoy time away from home with my family, but when things get quiet in the evening, I feel like the day’s not complete without time with a good book. Thank goodness Hot Rod has his own Kindle, and we can curl up together on the couch with munchies and hot decaf, and read.
Thanks again to author Debra Kayn and her editor Georgia Woods for talking a bit about the upcoming book, Where There’s Smoke. Want an excerpt?
Where There’s Smoke
by Debra Kayn
Mainstream Contemporary Romance
A purring roar from outside filtered in. Amber laid her hand on her chest and stepped over to the window. Peering between the closed curtains, she laughed. Mr. Responsible, hero of the fire department, rode a souped-up motorcycle.
She glanced down at her outfit. High heels and a skimpy sundress weren’t exactly riding clothes, but the thrill of riding a bike outweighed her decision to go change. She loved the freedom of riding out in the open with the wind blowing at her face. A bubble of excitement had her grinning. The town fire chief with a touch of bad boy on the side could make today very interesting.
Chief McKee took off his helmet, set it on the seat of the bike, and ran his fingers through his hair. Amber bit down on her bottom lip. The tousled look definitely worked for him. Sexy just got a new name…Gregg.
The form-fitting black T-shirt molded to a flat stomach and showed off a killer chest. She sighed. Yesterday’s glimpse of the man inside the fireman’s outfit didn’t compare to the sight of him today.
Faded Levis hugged his long muscular legs and screamed primo, grade A steak. Her lower stomach fluttered in pure womanly adoration. Oh yeah, having him ask her to the barbeque forced her to accept the idea that moving to Port View had been the right choice.
He strode up the walkway with his shoulders back and his head held high. Amber inhaled a deep breath, held it, smiled, and swung the door open.
Gregg whistled under his breath.
“Wow.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “You look great.” He sniffed. “Smell good too.” Glancing back at his bike, he flashed a one-dimple grin. “I probably should have brought my car, but with the sun shining, I try to find any excuse to pull the bike out of the garage. Are you okay with riding?”
“You bet.” She strolled down the walkway beside him. Her heels clicked against the sidewalk. “I love to ride.”
He placed his hand at the small of her back. “Excellent. I second-guessed myself after seeing you in that pretty little sundress.”
She cocked her head. “Why?”
“You know…first date and all. I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate having to ride on the bike, but I had hoped the woman who scaled a tree to save a cat would be game for messing her hair up and catching some air.”
She stopped alongside the bike. “Is this the first?” Amber smiled, and a pleasing warmth filled her stomach. “I wasn’t sure if this classified as a date or just a friendly neighborhood barbeque.”
Gregg swung his leg over the bike and toed the kickstand up. His lips twitched, fighting a grin, and the skin at the corner of his eyes wrinkled. “It just so happens I forgot to invite the neighbors.”