Interview (there be glorious beard talk) with Kristen Callihan

super hot muscled man wearing a grey t-shirt on a white background. His arms are covered in tattoos.Kristen Callihan’s The Game Plan has been released into the wild! I just finished glomming it and HOLY MOLY was it funfuckingtastic. Her third released in the Game On series, Callihan once again has knocked my socks off with her amazing writing and her talent for creating wonderful characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. And a warning to ye all. I will fight you ALL to the death for my Dex, my new book boyfriend.

Callihan kindly consented to an interview, in which Has and I behaved like super and proper professionals.

• What was your inspiration into writing The Game on series, which is a huge departure from your Darkest London series? Did you find it different immersing yourself in a different world?

Kristen: It started with me writing The Hook Up as kind of a writer’s exercise, a palette cleanser from Darkest London. Because I’d been writing the Darkest London books back to back for three years straight. I was flying home from a RWA conference and read an article about Channing Tatum. Thing is, he really did nothing for me. But when I read about his love for his wife and his dedication to his profession, I got all mushy. I thought, what if there was this guy who wasn’t a girl’s type… Seems so cliché, I know, lol. But it got the juices flowing. And yes, it was VERY different. Different voice, approach, research. The whole thing. Apparently, however, I kept slipping British terms in the first draft, lol.

The reason I made Drew, the hero, a quarterback was that a star quarterback would be the most likely massive celebrity to be on a college campus. And I wanted someone who would feel so out of the heroine Anna’s league that she would be afraid to get close.

• Sports romances have been published for many years, but we believe you’re the first author in creating the template for NA sports romances, which have made it so popular in NA. Is there much difference in writing between NA and adult romance?

Kristen: Ha! I’ll be honest, I didn’t get NA when it first came out. As in I flat out didn’t understand what it really was about. YA with sex? No. Adult with young protags? No. It hit me that NA focused on that huge shift in a person’s life when they realize they’re out of the nest and they really have to figure out what they’re going to do and who they’re going to be in life. This is what I focus on when I write NA.

So, yes, you’re writing a romance. But you’re also writing a personal journey for the characters. Adult romance can focus on that too but the way you approach writing it is slightly different. Because those characters have been living their life as adults for a while and have a different mindset.

I’ll also admit that, while writing The Hook Up, I purposely did not read NA or sports romance because I didn’t want it to influence me. I read those things, now, however. Because I love the genres.

• Your hero, Dex, has a beard. Yes. That there needs to be a statement *grins*. Your opening chapter has one of the hottest kisses we’ve read. Were you inspired to model Dex after a model/actor (no, we’re not really asking for pics of guys with hot beards)

Kristen: Lol. Dex was a total pop up character. I believe we first see him in The Hook Up. Anna likens him as Hagrid’s younger brother. Which is NOT sexy. But then Anna only had eyes for Drew. But for me? I knew he was a virgin, the guy that thinks too much, feels too deeply, and guards his heart by keeping to the shadows.

I don’t have a celebrity image in mind for Dex. But as far as a sense of feeling about him? You know that whole montage in Man Of Steel when buff and bearded Henry Cavil goes from town to town, always on the outside but doing the right thing? I thought, yeah, that would be Dex.

You know like…

I need love and understanding! To…

You’ve woken my inner beast and now it is on! Or something like that. 😀

But truthfully? I LOVE seeing people’s ideas for Dex. I’ve seen so many awesome bearded, tatted hot pics in honor of Dex.

• How many books do you plan for The Game On series and do you have an idea of the next couple?

Kristen: I’m not sure. I have two or three heroes in mind. But I have to sit back and see which one shouts the loudest. Which is, in a nutshell, my series planning process. 😉

• How soon is the next book out after The Game Plan? Yes. We’re greedy, greedy demanding readers.

Kristen: Lolol. I don’t know. It usually takes me a couple of months to write a book. I hate giving out exact dates when I’m not 90% sure of when I’ll be done because I hate the idea of letting readers down if I don’t meet that date. So it’s never a matter of me being coy. It’s more like me covering my butt because I suck at long term estimates. Lol.

• Now that you’ve planted your feet into NA, do you plan to write more NA in the future or contemporary romance?

Kristen: The Game Plan is a bridge book in that it’s at that line between NA and contemp; both characters are out of college and staring their careers. I’d like to explore that area more.

• Any more hot beard link pics?

Kristen: Thanks to this question, I was sucked into a beard tumbler rabbit hole. I blame you two very much indeed! How about this for the pretty?

• (Lou wrote that question above. Someone needs to go and visit Tumblr for their fix…) Now back to serious questions. Can you revive the love of the mustache heroes and will you write a hero with one? Because we have huge debates about whether they’re sexy, and you won us over with the man bun wearing bearded hero. (Lou: They ARE sexy. I want someone to write me a western hero with a moustache. Kristen, any plans for writing a western historical with a sheriff hero with a moustache and a gun-toting heroine who is head over in heels in love with him? And it has to be a friends-to-lovers trope. And unrequited-love trope) (Has: The hero then has to grow a beard because heroine hates his mustache)

Kristen: Ha! Oh, how I hate to let Lou down, but mustaches are so not my bag. The only dudes I think needed the stache were Tom Selleck and Kevin Kline. Although, I used to be anti beard so you never know… Ponders sheriff with twitchy, lush stache o’sin…

• (Has:) I am a huge fan (LOVE) of your Darkest London series. What are your plans for this series, or do you plan to write more paranormal books in a new world?

Kristen: The last book in the series will be Forevermore, which is St. John’s book. It was very sad for me to write that book, like saying goodbye to old friends, you know? I actually have three half finished paranormal manuscripts, a contemporary, a steampunk, and a fantasy. I find myself eyeing them and wanting to finish.

Kristen we would love to thank you for your time (and for tolerating us). The Game Plan is out now. Readers, look out for our review soon!

Kristen: Thanks for inviting me to hang out. You guys have the best snacks. 😉

Note: During the writing of these questions, no alcohol, chocolate or caffeine was involved sadly (Lou: A glorious chip butty was, though).

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