Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with Katy Evans, Author of Manwhore + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

I'd like to welcome the lovely Katy Evans, to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Manwhore from Gallery Books, the first of a hot new series!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Katy! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning...

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves tomorrow:

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played? The New York Times bestselling author of Real brings you the first in a sexy new series.

This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-a-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Publisher

Describe Manwhore in six words (or less!).

Passionate. Intense. Exhilarating. Steamy. Modern.

How did you arrive at writing romance? Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at, or any you want to stay away from?

I started out as a voracious reader, reading everything I could get my hands on, and ultimately finding my true love in romance. It's the genre I read most, but not the only one. I love thrillers too, and women's fiction and young adult. I'd definitely write anything along the lines of what I like to read! They do say you should write what you love and I think the only way you can truly sit hours on end, writing, is when you're writing something you're truly passionate about.

Although my favorite genre to write in is currently contemporary, I would probably try any genre as long as there was a central romance in the story. I love challenging myself and trying out new things so I definitely see myself testing another genre in the future.

What was the inspiration for the book?

I went to a signing in Chicago, and there, I saw this picture on TV about a very handsome playboy. I didn't catch his name but I was so intrigued I couldn't stop wondering about him, who he was, if he was really such a player, and that's where Malcolm Saint began.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Manwhore. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
I walked into Helen’s office this morning certain she was going to fire me.
Here we have my heroine, Rachel, walking into her boss's office expecting the worst. Her magazine is in dire straights and the cuts have been brutal. But instead of being fired, she gets an assignment. HIM. Malcolm Saint. The most notorious playboy billionaire in Chicago. And that's where things get very, very interesting. And steamy. :)

So intriguing! Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

I've written books all my life. I queried, entered contests, wrote for pleasure and for publication, always with my eyes on the "line" I wanted to write for and the rules which seemed inherent to a romance being published by that line. It wasn't until self-publishing took off that I opened my eyes to the possibilities of sharing my work without limits, rules, anything at all. So with that in mind, Real (my debut in 2013) came to full fruition. With the guidance of my friend Monica Murphy—who walked me through the steps of self-publishing (getting an editor, a cover, etc.)—I finally took that step into the world of self-publishing, a step that has ultimately led me here.

Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

My characters are fiction, but my books are a blend of both fact and fiction. Though I find my characters in my imagination, they generally come to life out of an inspiration that happens in real life, or a song that touches a chord. They give life to real longings, desires, fears, things that I myself or friends of mine have encountered.

Which character from Manwhore was most difficult to write?

They were all a blast, but Malcolm Saint, the hero, is very elusive—deliciously so—and therefore he was hard to peg down. I just let him unfold as he wanted and I'm glad I didn't force him into a box because he turned out to be so much more than I, or Rachel his heroine, expected!

What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

I am not a plotter and sometimes, this gets me into trouble. I start letting the story get away from me sometimes and it takes a lot of time to rein it back to where I want or need it to be.

As for strengths, I seem to have a NEED to write truly powerful connections between the main characters—the kind of connection you wait your whole life for. The kind of love that sweeps you away and marks you deeply. I LOVE reading about these soulmate connections so it's only natural these are the kind of love stories I want to write. Intense and unapologetic, kind of an all-or-nothing kind of love.

Name the top five novels that have made the biggest impact on your life or on your writing.

Oh! I love so many, but let me limit myself to 5:
Tryst by Elswyth Thane
Bared to You by Sylvia Day
Twilight by Stephenie Meyers
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

What’s the greatest thing you ever learned?

That I'm still learning and don't know it all. :)

How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

Oh it hurts! We all want to share things that we love and want them to be loved back. In the beginning, when I debuted, negative reviews hurt so much I couldn't write for days. But now I've grown wiser. After several books, you take whatever helps in a review (the good and the bad ones) and release whatever is hurtful and keeping you from getting back to doing what you love—which is writing. No book is for everyone. Not everyone will connect to the same things. The themes I liked and explored in my story which gave me so much may not do the same for someone else, and that's all right. I'm still grateful to be read.

Such a great outlook! Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Katy's random favorites, what makes her book stand out from every other romance written, as well as the most interesting comment she's received about her books. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Manwhore, so you don't want to miss that either!

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Some randomness...

Favorite kind of chocolate? Dark, milk, white, coffee-flavored, the kind with nuts or berries inside?? Dark chocolate with a little chili pepper or orange peel flavors.

What kind of kid were you in high school?  I was a bit of a teacher's pet because I love learning. It's not a chore; it's a gift.

All-time favorite quote? From Oscar Wilde: Be yourself, everybody else is already taken.
He was a genius, his books are so full of clever lines.

Most romantic thing a guy has ever done for you?  My husband always does sweet things for me. Sometimes it's as simple as getting me the kind of chocolates I like on an unsuspecting day, and sometimes it's something grand like a surprise trip. Sometimes just feeling him watching me with a private little enamored grin while I'm writing is enough to thrill me. :)

Most disastrous date you’ve ever been on? I haven't gone on a truly disastrous one and if I did, I think my brain has promptly vanished it from my memories because I can't think of a single one. But I can think of many great ones with my husband, including long drives we took on his Harley during the summer to this place that sold the coolest, most delicious iced beverages around.

How do you get over heartbreak?  Friends, music, chocolate, pets, and lots of love and acceptance from any source you have on hand: either your siblings, parents, friends, especially yourself.

Agreed ;) Currently wearing? Black sweatpants and a yellow T-shirt with a three-leaf clover on it.

Most visited websites? Google for sure, and Facebook and Twitter.

Favorite vegetable? I love beets.

Biggest celebrity crush? Chris Hemsworth.

That's exactly what Monica said... LOL! Guiltiest pleasure? DARK CHOCOLATE! AAA :)

What did you want to grow up to be when you were little? A veterinarian or a teacher.

Go-to comfort food? DARK CHOCOLATE! YES!!!!!!! :)

Sensing a trend here... Charity or cause of choice? In particular: Mental illness, Cancer, Leukemia, MS, Children's Hospitals.

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Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Manwhore stand out from the rest?

Well, let's see. The title?! The cover?! The blurb?! And also, the story. The story is the BEST part of Manwhore even with the amazing cover, title, and blurb. The love story between Malcolm and Rachel is unique, modern, engaging, thrilling, exciting, addictive, and not something I would have liked to miss. I'm STILL hooked on them! I definitely hope readers will love this story in the same way I do.

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

I wish I'd known that it never gets easier. Not writing, not publishing. Even when you reach one milestone, you continue wanting to stretch out your limbs even higher, so there's really not a moment where you feel like you're on solid ground. The ground is always moving beneath you so you need to keep moving with it and be at peace with that movement, "flow" with it, so to speak.

Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

Be yourself—and not only that, but LIKE yourself; that's sometimes the hardest part.

What are you involved in when you aren’t writing?

I love taking long walks or hiking, baking with nut flours, doing something spontaneous I've never done before, taking photographs, meeting up with friends and family, going out with my husband and kids. I also love catching up on my favorite series and favorite authors.

What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?

You mean a question like, what superpower I'd love to have next week when the superpower truck delivery comes to the neighborhood?

I think for this week, I'll choose to be Cupid and get to pick who falls for whom. I'd love to see the love bloom for the people in my real life.

What would you say are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Staying in touch with your loved ones, your hobbies (aside from writing), staying in touch with yourself as a person. It's so easy to get lost in the world of our characters that when you finally come back to earth and finish the book, you sometimes feel lost. It's important to keep a link that grounds you to reality and helps you make good use of those times when you're not in the writing cave.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?

Forgetting you have an actual life out there, waiting.

What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

I love fan mail. I love hearing from readers. One that stands out is an email from a male who simply said something like: Katy, I just wanted to say that I'm happily married, a straight fifty-year old doctor, and I loved your book.

Is there a message in Manwhore that you want readers to grasp?

That we can't judge someone from afar.

What are your goals as a writer?

To write as many stories as possible, share them in the best ways possible, and share my love for the mysteries and magic in the true connection between a man and a woman.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Every single one. I never thought I'd be where I am today, sharing my 6th story with you. It's a blessing in every way!

What’s next for you?

I'm currently finishing Manwhore +1 which is the sequel to Manwhore and releasing July 7th. Then I'm taking a short break, reading like crazy, talking to the fans, and going back into the cave for my next! :)

Can't wait to see what you have lined up! Where can you be found on the web?

Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Name your favorite characteristics in a hero or heroine.

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Katy! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Thanks SO much for having me and thank you, readers, for stopping by. Your support is invaluable. Thank you all and happy reading! :)


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Manwhore
—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Katy's question:
What are your favorite characteristics in a hero or heroine?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Katy and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Sullivan & Partners!
Giveaway ends  April 6th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!