Inez Kelley has been writing for both Carina Press and Samhain since 2009, and her contemporary romance books are amongst some of MinnChica’s favorites. (Really, if you haven’t read Sweet as Sin yet, you NEED to!) She has dabbled in both fantasy and contemporary romance, both sexy and sweet. Just this past week she has released her 5th Carina Press title, Turn It Up (review can be found here).
Inez, Welcome to The Book Pushers!
The Book Pushers: Tell us a little bit about Turn It Up.
Inez: It’s a lighter look at sex and a deeper look at forever and infertility. I had a great time writing this, probably the most fun time I’ve ever had writing anything.
Oh, I guess I better share the official blurb huh?
Dr. Bastian Talbot and self-proclaimed sex goddess Charlie Pierce heat up the air waves with their flirty banter as radio hosts Dr. Hot and the Honeypot. Off the air, they’re best friends…but Bastian wants to be so much more. He wants Charlie—in bed, and forever.
Problem is, Charlie doesn’t do commitment. Sure, she’s had X-rated fantasies of Bastian, but he was always just a friend—until he impulsively proposes and unleashes the lust they’ve been denying for years. Charlie’s willing to explore where their wild chemistry leads, but she won’t marry him. And he won’t have sex with her until she accepts his proposal, despite her seductive schemes.
What are Dr. Hot and the Honeypot to do? Ask their listeners for advice on how to tame a sex kitten and turn a perfect gentleman into a shameless lover. The Race to Wed or Bed is on…who will turn up on top?
Inez: Well, that’s a story in itself. Basically, I looked at what I had been reading at the time and the women were mostly the good girls. There were some bad girls but not any who I really felt a connection with. So I created Charlie. It grew from there. I got 2/3 through the book and then it sat, unfinished and incomplete on my computer. I didn’t know how it ended. After writing SWEET AS SIN (which I loved but was draining since it is so dark and emotional) I needed a palate cleanser, something to refresh my creative well. I pulled this out and the ending was in my head immediately.
The Book Pushers: What do you love most about writing romance?
Inez: The HEA (or HFN although in my head it always will be HEA)
The Book Pushers: Which of your characters was the easiest to write? The most difficult?
Inez: Easiest? Charlie, hands down. I never ever had any issues getting into her POV. I adore her. The hardest, John Murphy, no question… although my fantasy hero Bryton from SALOME AT SUNRISE gave him a run for his money.
The Book Pushers: Do you think you will ever write in any other genre?
Inez: Probably. I don’t like boxes. I read across genres and I can’t help what my brain creates.
The Book Pushers: What aspects or attributes make your ideal romantic hero and heroine?
Inez: Every single one of my heroes and heroines have a personal idea of right and wrong, they are faithful and their love is absolute.
The Book Pushers: What upcoming books do you have in the works?
Inez: Oh lord, let’s see… I have a new lighthearted contemporary in submission right now. I’m in the beginning part of a three book novella series I hope to have completed by the end of the year. I have major revisions to do on the third book in my fantasy series. Plus, there are a few surprises up my sleeve.
As an added bonus, I wrote a free short story featuring Caz, Bastian’s brother from TURN IT UP, that will go live on my website on August 1st.
Inez: I can’t answer that. I read so many and love a lot.
The Book Pushers: Do you have a favorite sub-genre of romance to write in? Do you prefer contemporary to fantasy? Why?
Inez: Damn, hard question. I can’t pick. I like both and actually like to combine them (I did it a little in SWEET AS SIN).
The Book Pushers: And last but not least, a fun one!! If you’re heroines all met for coffee one day, what would they talk about? And if you’re heroes sat down for a beer, what about them?
Inez: Oh Chickie… I wrote this once. Let me dig it out, brush it off and share it, okay?
While Inez does that, be sure to leave her a question or comment to be entered for a chance to win an ecopy of Turn It Up. The contest is open internationally and will end on August 15th. Good Luck!
COFFEE WITH CHARACTERS (oh look, there are one or two who you haven’t met yet, geeee how about that?)
The picnic table is long and filled with the remnants of a long and lazy lunch. Livvy brings out a tray overflowing with sugary sweets, fresh from her bakery. Rich yeasty goodness fills the air and everyone inhales deeply.
“Oh, my butt doesn’t need any of those,” Vivi says, snatching a gooey cinnamon bun from the tray.
“Sweetheart, you don’t hear us complaining, do you?” Cade and Grant share a secret look.
“You hush.” Vivi shoos them away and asks about recipes. Carly whips out a steno pad to record every word, terrified she will miss a quarter teaspoon of something. The pen slips and jams into her thumb, leaving a big blue streak surrounded by red. “Ouch!”
Bastian comes over, examines it. He wipes the ink away. “It’s nothing. You’ll live.”
“You making house calls now, Doc?” Charlie teases.
He sends her a heated look. “Why, you have something you need me to look at?”
“Only if you kiss and make it better.”
“Brat.” He goes back to his discussion with Nora about bio-chemical reactors. They are basically speaking their own language and Jesse walks away with a grimace. Who in their right mind would sit around and discuss things like sweat glands? He palms his camera and fades into the background while capturing the moments forever in snapshots.
Charlie looks on with a bored eye, sips her coffee then sneaks the éclair off Bastian’s plate. He won’t care. Jinx attempts to pour salt in Cade’s coffee cup when he’s not looking but Frannie puts the kibosh on that with one firm look. She barrels over to plop baby Lauren in his lap and tells him to behave. He arches his left eyebrow. He says she’s no fun but ends up blowing raspberries on Lauren’s tummy.
Myla cants her head to the left before approaching Bryton. He has a new dagger and the hilt fascinates her. King Taric just shakes his head with an indulgent smile. His Queen is more warrior than royal and he’d never change her. A detailed discussion on weaponry draws the red-headed warrior’s brows low. Myla irritates him because she knows her steel as well as he does yet she barely reaches his sternum. She’s also kicked his ass a few times. Those things are not discussed in public, however.
Cade, Grant and John discuss a new patio the Murphy’s want to install. The blueprint is spread between the mustard and the potato salad. They slip into a full male bitch session about eco-regulations and OSHA rules. Bryton’s dagger thunks into the center of the table and they all jump back.
“’Scuse me,” the Captain mutters, reclaiming his knife. The last piece of coffee cake is skewered on the blade. He walks away, nibbling the sweet.
“Asshole.” John scowls.
Bryton is one huge muthafucker he wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. But a longer looks stirs his muse and he borrows Carly’s note pad. Something about the way Bryton moves blends with Carly’s cartoon doodles on the page take form in his mind. A new tale comes alive in his head.
Livvy grins at the tiger he’s drawn while automatically refilling his coffee cup. “Bram called. He sends their love but they can’t make it. He’s stuck in Texas on a job.”
“A pity but duty must done.” Salome removes a squirming Lauren from her father’s lap and puts her on the blanket with the other children.
The babies drool and coo and Salome delights in each tiny giggle. Her rounding belly makes getting down a lot easier than getting up so she stays on the blanket surrounded by diapers, happy as a meadowlark, while Jesse snaps picture after picture, capturing the best shot before the sun goes down.
Jarod watches the children with a soft gleam in his eye, images things to come and sends a searing look across the deck. Nora and Bastian have moved onto to discussing hormones versus pheromones. How any two people can reduce sex to a bunch of molecules amazes him. Sex talk should be sensual and erotic, not ph levels and temperatures.
“There’s one slice left.” Livvy’s voice breaks into his thoughts. He nods and holds out his plate for a second helping of ‘Triple Cheesecake Climax’.
The dessert name sparks Charlie’s interest. She starts outlining a show topic, sweet and sexy food play, and grills Livvy like a burger about the top rack of delights in her shop. Something she says about frosting penetrates John’s writing haze. He winks at Livvy and she blushes to the roots of her ginger hair.
Charlie’s laugh rings across the deck and Bastian looks up, plucked from medical jargon in time to see her smile. His tender look may have lingered if Carly hadn’t tripped over a duck-shaped rattle. She went sprawling, knocking the table leg and upsetting the coffee carafe. Dark steaming liquid darkened the blue print and note pad. John curses as his story faded to smudged blue and brown.
The loud masculine voice startles a sleeping baby and the cry sets off a domino effect. Four weeping children of various ages are shushed and soothed while Vivi efficiently cleans up the mess.
Cade leans to whisper in Grant’s ear. Grant drains his coffee cup then nods. “Babe, it’s time to go. We’ve got a drive in front of us.”
Vivi sighs but dries her hands on a paper towel. “There’s never enough time.”
“Pictures first.” Jesse calls setting up the timer. “Who knows the next time she’s going to have us all on the same page.”
The group draws together. The children on the blanket are the focal points and Salome never rises, her sparkling gray eyes always watching the babies. Irritation crosses Bryton’s face until she looks back to him. Then and only then does he grin a small bit.
John grumbles but stands with his chin propped on Livvy’s crown, arms around her waist. Taric pulls Myla beside him. She can speak to the blacksmith about the hilt design when she gets home. For now, she is to just look straight ahead and smile.
Charlie peeks around Bastian’s shoulder, her hands buried in his pants pockets. His whispered warning ignites a glimmer in her eyes and she shifts her thumbs. A blush darkens his cheeks. “Behave.”
“Spoilsport,” she giggles.
Jarod tugs Nora to his side, his dark hair brushing her cheek as he whispers. Her eyes dart to the babies and she gives him a smiling shrug. Who knows what the future will hold for the naughty professor and his lady biologist?
Jinx holds two fingers up behind Frannie’s head until she elbows him in the gut. His soft oomph! makes Grant snicker and Vivi turns in Cade’s arms to throw him a questioning look. Grant just takes her hand with a gentle squeeze. With both her men close by, Vivi’s in heaven.
Carly waits until Jesse sits in the deck chair before crawling in his lap, careful to put her weight on his right knee and not his bad left leg. She knocks him in the chin with her elbow but he is used to it by now and just sighs.
“Ready? One. Two. Smile!”
The timer on the camera clicks and everyone packs up, kisses and hugs are handed out and waves are sent. They were all born in the same place, a writer’s mind. All have taken different paths but still, visiting with old friends is always bittersweet.
John and Livvy – SWEET AS SIN
Taric and Myla – MYLA BY MOONLIGHT
Bryton and Salome – SALOME AT SUNRISE
Jinx and Frannie – JINXED
Cade, Grant and Vivi – COMING CLEAN
Jarod and Nora – TALK DIRTY TO ME
Bastian and Charlie – TURN IT UP
Bram – LIPSTICK ON HIS COLLAR
Jesse and Carly – in submission