Please welcome V.K. Sykes to Embracing Romance! V.K. Sykes is the author of contemporary romance, the latest being MEET ME AT THE BEACH. It features a lobster boat captain heroine, a pro baseball player hero, a family feud and an island off the coast of Maine. Think Romeo and Juliet, with beer, lobsters, and a happy ending. What could be better, right?
How does writing a romance novel with your husband work? I don’t have any idea. Mr. Alexander hasn’t even read my books, though he buys them on his Kindle and sends periodic updates to his friends. (Bless him!) So let’s ask V.K. Sykes. Or, ahem, Vanessa and Randy.
Vanessa, here. I think our success as a writing team partly depends on the fact that we never work on the same manuscript at the same time. When Randy is working on one of the joint books, I’m usually writing one of my Vanessa Kelly historicals. When I’m working on a V.K. Sykes book, he’s critiquing my book or forging ahead with a new V.K. Sykes book. We brainstorm together and check in all through the process, but we don’t actually write together at the same time. We’d probably end up in divorce court if we did!!
Alyssa: What is your writing schedule like?
Vanessa: Randy is a morning person, so he’s up early and at his computer, writing away, when I’m still staring at the paper and drinking my first cup of coffee. He often reaches his word count by lunchtime or shortly thereafter. I often don’t start writing until the afternoon. So, I putter around the house, do email, run errands in the morning, and save the afternoon for writing. And we NEVER pull late nights or all-nighters writing. We’re just too old for that sort of thing!
Alyssa: What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do they complement each other?
Vanessa: Randy is really good at plotting and dialogue and he is the grammar and edit king. I’m good at emotion, revisions, and sex scenes. Randy is terrible when it comes to writing sex scenes! Generally, though, I think we’re both pretty solid writers. But he doesn’t like revisions and I don’t like plotting, so it’s nice to have that supporting backup.
Alyssa Why did you decided to undertake this project together?
Vanessa: When I realized Randy was taking early retirement and had nothing planned for all those hours at home! I’d just started writing my first romance manuscript and had actually met a few husband/wife teams at a conference. I asked Randy what he thought about it, and he surprised me by liking the idea very much. He started out with sports romances, since he loves baseball. He’s actually turned into something of a monster—he’s way more productive than I am! I’d say he’s written twice as many words as I have since we started this.
Alyssa: Tell us a little about the book.
Meet Me at the Beach is a second-chance at love story, and is our first book in the Seashell Bay Series set on a small island off the coast of Maine. It’s a lovely, old-fashioned sort of place, and a lot of the young people have moved away. Which is a problem, so there are various shenanigans afoot to bring the young people back home. Aiden Flynn left Seashell Bay years ago, but Lily Doyle remains firmly rooted in Seashell Bay and works as a lobster boat captain, taking over from her father and grandfather. Aiden’s return home reignites a long-standing feud between the Doyle and Flynn clans. This is a problem for Aiden and Lily because they always had a thing for each other. As you said, think Romeo & Juliet but with beer, beaches, and lobster—and an HEA!
Alyssa: Oooo…Give us a little preview then!
When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he’s more handsome than ever. If Aiden’s in town, the rumors must be true about his family’s plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.
Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.
Alyssa: And since we have you trapped, let’s do a little lightning round of fun questions. Ready? Set? Go!
Blue jeans or party clothes? BLUE JEANS
Sushi or steak? STEAK
Cats or dogs? (Or hamsters?) DOGS – ESPECIALLY STANDARD POODLES, CORGIS, AND NORWEGIAN ELKHOUNDS
Beer, wine or water? WINE (AND WATER—OKAY, I KNOW I’M CHEATING!)
Coke or Pepsi? (If you answer Pepsi I hereby disown you. Ask my father.) GULP – COKE!!
Favorite color? YELLOW
Favorite word? IT’S OFF-COLOR, SO I’D BETTER REFRAIN!
Least favorite word? CHUCKLED
Coffee or tea? EQUAL LOVE FOR BOTH
Alyssa: And last but not least…Favorite character trait in the other person? (Mr. Alexander says my most endearing quality is my ability to talk. He also says it’s my most irritating quality).
Vanessa: LOL! I think Randy would say the same thing about me. Favorite character trait for me is generosity of spirit.
Alyssa: Oh, I love that, Vanessa! It’s a good quality, and sometimes seems in short supply. And now…
GIVEAWAY! Why do you think readers love small town romances? One person who comments will win a $10 Amazon gift card.
V.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance. Randy excels at plot and characterization, but tends to fall down on the job when it comes to that pesky old thing called emotion. That’s where Vanessa steps in. She usually writes the sex scenes too, since Randy is a bit uncomfortable when it comes to that sort of stuff. Vanessa also writes award-winning Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra under her own name. You can check out Vanessa’s bestselling historical romances at www.vanessakellyauthor.com.