Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Interview with author Lisa B. Kamps

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, for the basics: I was born and raised--and still live--in Maryland. I'm the oldest of two. My younger brother quickly outgrew me in our teen years and then loved to torment me with that fact (my mother always said it was retaliation for all the times I tormented him when we were growing up, but I swear I would never do that…honest!).

I graduated and went straight into the fire department, where I worked as a Firefighter/HazMat Specialist. I retired from there because of issues resulting from a nasty knee injury and then switched to retail management of a busy non-profit. I now write contemporary romance, including sports romance featuring some hot hockey players! I've been married to my husband for 23 years, and we have two sons of whom we're both very proud--and all three have always been very supportive of me!

I started writing at an early age (I've always heard those voices in my head!), first for myself, and then for some friends. As I got older, I realized this was something I wanted to do all the time, so I took the plunge! And no matter what happens in this crazy world of publishing, I'll still always write. It's not something I just "want" to do, it's something I "have" to do!

Q ~ Are you a dog person, a cat person, or does some other critter strike your fancy?
How about “all of the above”? We have one very spoiled Border Collie, Makenna, who thinks she’s the princess of the palace. We also have two cats who strut around the place showing off their major attitude. Outside of the house, we have 5 head of cattle and way too many chickens to count. Yeah, we have quite a collection going!

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?
Besides my keys, wallet and phone? Probably my Kindle. I usually tuck into my jacket pocket before I walk out the door, even if I’m just running to the store for a quick trip. You never know when you might get stuck waiting somewhere, and I can’t imagine anything more tortuous than not having something to read!

Q ~ What’s one habit that you have that you’d like to break?
Just one?? I’d have to say my tendency to procrastinate. I am so good at that! Honestly, I think it’s because I thrive under pressure, so I know part of it is deliberate!

Q ~ If you were stuck on a deserted island, who and what would you want with you and why?
My e-reader with an unlimited supply of books and never-ending power. A bottomless crate of dark chocolate. And Toby Keith. Why? Just because! Hey, this is my island, right??

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors?
I think there’s this stereotype that we don’t actually work. We just sit there, snap our fingers, and WHAM, there’s a new story. And that we run around, visiting all these exotic locations, with no deadlines, nobody to answer to, no responsibilities. I always laugh when I hear something like that, and then I have to bite my tongue. Sorry, but I just quit my full-time job where I was working 50-60 hours a week and I hate to tell you this but—I work more now than I did then.

The absolute worst thing? When someone doesn’t understand why I can’t go somewhere or do something, and ends up saying “But it’s not like you have a real job!”. Yeah, face palm and head-bang.

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
"It is better to ask forgiveness than permission and be denied." My dad made the mistake of telling me that one when I was growing up, and it pretty much stuck with me. I think he got tired of me always asking permission for silly stuff, and in his own weird way was trying to teach me to trust my gut and not be afraid to make decisions. Boy, did that ever backfire on him!

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
Definitely romance. There are so many different subgenres, so many stories, that satisfy whatever mood you happen to be in. That’s also why I love writing it—I’m not “stuck” to write just one thing. And for those who like to snicker at our beloved genre, I suggest you take some time to actually read a few. Trust me, you’ll change your mind!

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
This is a tough question to answer. I was an avid reader growing up (still am), and read a lot of different books, different authors, different styles and voices. I'm sure every single one has influenced me in some way, and still does. But to narrow it down to just one or even a few? I honestly don't think I can do that. Do I have automatic-buy, go-to authors? Absolutely…at least 2 dozen, if not more! The list is literally too long. Besides, if I try, I’ll know I forget someone and then I’ll have guilt. I hate guilt!

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
Would you believe me if I said I don’t remember? Honestly, I don’t. There was never one single incident. I've always told stories, for as long as I could remember. I mean, I even wrote my own Peanuts/Snoopy stories because I was so impatient and couldn't wait for the Sunday comic strip. And my mom is always telling me how I would make up my own bedtime stories. It's just something I've always done.

Now, if you want to know when I decided to take my writing serious and actually pursue it--that's been happening over the last several years. And especially this year. You know how some people need to be hit over the head with a two by four? Yeah…not me. I pretty much need to be whacked with a steel I-beam. I got that whack this past year, and here I am!

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a pantser—I like being surprised! I’ll flesh out my characters and learn enough about them to get the story moving, and sometimes I’ll have a few scenes in my mind. After that, I just like seeing where they take me!

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
Probably a combination of both. In my hockey series, the team itself is located in a big city. The players have lived both in the city, and outside in the burbs. I even had one set in a farm setting. I’m pretty much a “country” girl myself—I love visiting big cities, but I don’t think I could ever live in one for any length of time.

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
Rituals? I don’t think so. At least, I don’t consider them rituals. I get up, do computer stuff (emails, social media, that kind of thing), then I stat work by 9a. I’ll take a break for lunch, do any running around or errands that need to be done, then work for a few more hours.

And my go-to snack is coffee and chocolate, no doubt about it. I really do need to change that up!

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?
Is it sad that I had to actually go look this up? Okay, in particular order (and always subject to change!): thrust, buck, tease, drive and explode.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, BREAK AWAY, and what inspired you to write it?

BREAK AWAY is the 5th book in The Baltimore Banners series and features a character that has been in all the previous books, Jean-Pierre “JP” Larocque. JP’s story is a second chance romance about love, forgiveness, and overcoming the past.

I fell in love with JP from the very beginning and knew his story had to be special. It wasn’t until writing BODY CHECK (Book 4) that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The inspiration came from a scene where JP is at a nightclub with one of his teammates and makes the comment that the girl he’s with is nobody special and he doesn’t even know her name. That’s when I knew he was running from something in his past!

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing BREAK AWAY?
There are a few scenes that are a little more emotional than what I usually write, so I had to make sure I really did them justice. That involved doing some online research and getting myself into the right frame of mind to capture those emotions in the most honest way possible. You never know if you’re “hitting it” until after the fact, so that really worried me.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
Without giving too much away, there’s a scene where JP and Emily (the heroine) come together to discuss this tragic event that happened to them five years ago. There’s a lot of emotion and turmoil in it and it actually brings them closer together. That scene just poured out of me, and is definitely one of my favorites in BREAK AWAY.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I have lots of things in the works!

DELAY OF GAME, Book 6 in The Baltimore Banners series, will be released soon. I have at least three more titles planned for the series in 2016. What can I say? I love my hockey players!

I’m also starting a new series, featuring hot and heroic firefighters! The series, FIREHOUSE FOURTEEN, will launch late-March or early-April with the first book, ONCE BURNED. I had so much fun writing these, which is kind of funny because I always swore I would never do a series about firefighters. Ha. Never say never, right? And to any of my former crew—NO, none of you are in these!

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Other than just sitting down and getting those words on the page? Don't get so caught up in the rules that you end up hampering your creative flow. Yes, learn the rules, be aware of them, but don't let them rule your writing (or your creative process). There are so many rules out there that "they" say can't be broken. But guess what? They get broken all the time, and it works. Do what works for you, your story, your characters. Don't let the rules silence your unique voice. (Note: I'm not talking about grammar and punctuation--those are important. It's those other pesky rules, like don't write in first person, don't write about a sports hero, etc.)

About the author:

Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the popular series The Baltimore Banners, featuring “hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players”, on and off the ice.

Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons, one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count.

Interested in reaching out to Lisa? She'd love to hear from you, and there are several ways to contact her:

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