Welcome Guest Author V.K. Sykes!

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?

vanessa-randy-005But here’s a little secret. Shhhh……V.K. Sykes is the husband-wife team of Randy Sykes and Vanessa Kelly, Regency romance author.

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!

Meet Me at the Beach coverYOU CAN’T STOP A RISING TIDE

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
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
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.

Find V.K. Sykes online!
Website: http://www.vksykes.com/
Excerpt: http://www.vksykes.com/excerpts/excerpt-beach/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VKSykesBooks

Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at alyssa@alyssa-alexander.com.

60 Responses

  1. Maggi Andersen

    Generosity of spirit is an endearing quality in anyone. Lovely to meet you both on Embracing Romance!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I’m not sure Mr. Alexander could work together like that, though I find our strengths and weaknesses tend to complement each other, so who knows? Maybe I’ll ask him and see what he says. 🙂

  2. Kathy Davis

    I’m not sure about other readers, but I can visualize a small town easier. Also, I like reading about quirky, small town personalities to the cast of characters.

    • vanessakelly2013

      Kathy, I have to admit that it’s easier on me as a writer, too. I love writing historical romance, but it’s challenging in that respect!

  3. Barbara Monajem

    As I’m generally NOT a fan of small town romances, I have no answer for your question. Oh, but wait — maybe I do. I love historicals, usually Regencies, which take place in country villages. So maybe it’s just that I don’t usually read contemporaries, especially about small towns, because I can’t suspend my disbelief very well. They don’t feel real to me, while the historicals (and paranormals, whether contemp or not) don’t have to — they’re in a somewhat mythical past or a very imaginary world. Whew, didn’t mean to get all philosophical. It’s 5 am — I should go back to sleep.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      LOL! It’s 8 am and I should probably go back to sleep. 🙂 But I do know exactly what you mean. When you read a historical or paranormal, you’re starting off suspending disbelief and knowing that your someplace else. It’s one of the reasons I love them!

  4. Mary M.

    Love the look into the team writing dynamic. I think people like small town romances because they idealize all the good parts of living in a small town, especially the inclusiveness. They seldom focus on the loneliness and also lack of privacy that can occur.

    • vanessakelly2013

      Mary, I grew up in a small town, so I hear you on both counts. They can be great places to live, but can sometimes feel pretty stifling, too.

  5. Ally Broadfield

    You had me at Romeo & Juliet with beer, lobsters, and a happy ending. I am so impressed by a husband a wife team that can write together. I don’t think I’d last one morning without starting to feel stabby…

  6. Laurice McClung

    I love small town romance because each character’s story is intertwined with other townsfolk.

  7. ginaconkle2013

    Thanks for being here. I smiled when I read about working and writing with your husband. That sounds like a nice collaboration, but no way would that work with my husband.

  8. Bobbie

    Love all your books! Keep writing together as you do a great job!

  9. lori faires

    I live in a small town and I love it. I grew up in a big city and I would never move back. I prefer historical or paranormal romance, but when I do read a contemporary romance I like it to be in a small town. They tend to feel like a big family. That has its pros and cons, but it usually is good. Blessings and Thanks to all.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I live in a small town, but near a biggish city, so it’s the best of both worlds! But I prefer my farm fields and small town.

    • vanessakelly2013

      I spend the winter in a small town and the rest of the year in the city. Both have advantages, but I do really miss the small town living!

  10. Rita Wray

    I love small town romances because the characters seem more real. You feel like you’re a part of the community. I especially like a series because you get to see your favorite people again.

  11. Cathy P

    I love small town romances because everyone knows each other, and you can revisit the characters in a series.

  12. dholcomb1

    small town romances seem to reflect more true-to-life than the flashy big city or european settings.

  13. whistleinthewind74

    I think a small town represents closeness, tight-knit community that people crave. People you grew up with, that you can count on! You know your neighbors and they know you. Usually things are done at a slower pace and you can stop and smell the roses more often.

  14. Cyndi Flores

    For me, I grew up in a small town, now live in a city as a adult, I love them because it brings back that feeling of happiness, I have gotten to where I can not even watch the news any more, ( I am not even joking, when I skim channels, if i even pass it, it will go on mute, and I get past it as fast as possible, it makes me so sad!!) So now days, the city life is all about crime, road rage, grumpy people, how fast can I get where I am going. When I lived it a small town, I made the front of the news paper for having a snake wrapped around me at a parade, I still think back to things we used to write story’s about in school that where in the new’s, things like monkeys that could do sign, or how smart they are. So I think, that small town romance’s for me, are all about that feeling of happiness, friends, love, the world I wish we still lived in!! I read all kinds of genre’s, and like many. And as long as they Can take me out of this world I live in, like Paranormal, or fantasy, or a small town romance!!!! Thank you

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Isn’t it interesting, the difference? My son made the local newspaper at a pancake breakfast. Not the same as a snake (you’re braver that I!!!) But what matters and what’s news is an interesting contrast!

  15. Quinn Fforde

    A fun interview! Small town romances are interesting because of the connections between the people involved. There is much more scope for character revelation and quirkiness.

  16. Danny

    I think it’s the camaraderie and good neighborhood that we reader love so much. It is a close knit community where people help each other

  17. marcyshuler

    I like all the quirky characters that seem to reside in small towns. LOL

    I also really want to know your favorite word now, Vanessa! 😉

  18. Glenda

    For me, small town romances bring back memories of the best parts (usually) of living in a small town: the friends, the families, the caring and support network. 🙂

  19. Rachael Brown

    I love small town romance because of the close-knit communities. I also love when there is a series so that I can keep reading updates about the characters.

  20. Sharlene Wegner

    Everyone knows everyone & there is always an opportunity for humor!

  21. Angela C.

    Small town romances are great, because there always seems to be a sense of family with everyone. Plus, I would love to live in a small town, away from concrete and the big city. Wonderful interview! It’s good that you and your husband can work together, and enjoy it.

  22. amy2read89

    Small town romances to me are great because they remind me of my home town and memories of the matchmakers and busy bodies and how everyone knows your name…just a nice feeling I guess 🙂

  23. angela smith

    i think people like romance books set in small towns because they have alot of quirky characters.community feel.neighbors watch out for you and help you when you need it.more peaceful

  24. jessicajefferson

    I am always fascinated by husband/wife teams. I wonder how the separation of work and home life goes – or is it all blended?

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Isn’t that interesting? I’m not sure it would work at my house. 😉

  25. lsureader

    Characters in small-town romances seem so alive and invested in the people around them. Frequently, It’s like reading about a large family. And the town itself brings a unique feel to the story.

    “Generosity of spirit”–what a great trait to select. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

  26. Jana B

    Small town romances give the reader a chance to escape their every day life. Thanks.

  27. vanessakelly2013

    The winner of the gift card is Cyndi Flores. Congrats, Cyndi! I’ll be in touch. Thanks to all the lovely ladies for hosting me, and to all the readers who stopped by to chat with me. It was great fun!