TMD: Your upcoming novel Cats Eyes has us waiting for its release with baited breath. Can you tell us a little about it?
Lynne: It’s the latest in the Department 57 series, and the first from Loose-Id, my new publisher. Department 57 is a kind of James Bond series, with secret agents going on daring assignments, meeting beautiful girls, and men, and generally creating mayhem. Except the agents are Talents – vampires, shape-shifters, anthros and Sorcerers. Anthros are the half and halfs, like mermen and the like, and Sorcerers are a special race of people who have extraordinary psi skills.
I write two kinds of books for the series – full-length novels which are romances between a man and a woman, and shorter, hotter ménage stories. Cats’ Eyes is a ménage. It’s about Silje (pronounced Silya) Nordstrom, a Norwegian Forest Cat shape-shifter, and two male jaguar shifters, who are working undercover in a male strip club. They’re both looking for the dealer of a new kind of drug which is very dangerous to shifters. So when they get together, sparks fly!
TMD: Getting your start in Historical Romance, what turned you toward writing paranormals?
Lynne: I’ve always been interested in paranormals and I wanted to write a contemporary novel, but they never worked for me before. The paranormal element gave me the extra spritz I needed and the first paranormal romance I wrote flew off the keyboard. I loved writing it so much, I had to write another one! And writing in two genres keeps me fresh.
TMD: Each genre has its own pitfalls and requirements. How do you prepare for either genre?
Lynne: For both, I research first, but of course the research is different. For the historicals, a lot of the research is offline. I visit libraries, museums and stately homes to get the atmosphere and the facts that I need. The Internet just isn’t reliable enough to do much historical research with, but it is useful for making contacts at the big museums!
For the contemporaries, the Internet is much more useful. Maps, layouts, hotels, apartments, it’s all there if you know where to look.
After the research, the process is much the same. Planning, then writing, then editing. The good stuff!
TMD: Where does your inspiration come from? Those hot, hot heroes... bet you saw one or two at La Bare in Houston last April, eh? I heard you really, really liked that (bar, hangout, watering hole...searching for right word here) and dropped a few precious pounds there.
Lynne: I didn’t go to La Bare, but I know someone who did! But yes, the cover models at Houston were quite inspirational!
My ideas come from all over the place. I just pick up on something and the author’s motto comes into play – “I can use that!”
TMD: Inspiration is very important, as Morgan O was nice enough to just point out. What were some of the early influences on your writing? And who are the authors currently having an impact on your writing?
Lynne: Early influences, many and varied. I’ve always been a voracious reader. Dickens, Alan Garner, Lewis Carroll, Georgette Heyer and writers like Kathleen Fidler and Nora Lofts were all early influences, especially Dickens who is in many ways the writer’s writer.
Now, I discovered the wonderful books of Laura Kinsale and Robin Schone, both of who have paved the way and shown us that romance doesn’t have to be ghettoized, and that it is worth making the effort to write well.
TMD: Lynne, you’re a long time veteran of epublishing. How has the market changed since your first book was released?
Lynne: Enormously. When I joined, epublishing was the Wild West of publishing. Now, with companies like Ellora’s Cave and Loose-ID, the market has gained respectability and sales that rival the big New York companies. The market has recently been through a shake-up, and I don’t think it’s stopped yet. Smaller companies are finding it more difficult to hold on as barriers to entry rise and the larger companies are consolidating their positions as market leaders.
TMD: A lot of readers say ebooks fill a need that has long been lacking in the print side of the industry. Do you feel that is an accurate statement?
Lynne: Yes, very much so. It gives expression to the writer who doesn’t quite fit in any convenient slot, and for the wilder side of romance. From highly erotic to quirky comedies, the epublishing market can provide them. It can also respond much faster to customer demand, so that when a genre proves popular, the writer can learn about it and write more of the same. If her muse takes her that way!
TMD: Do you feel that Epublishing is geared toward a different type of author than print?
Lynne: In some ways, yes. Epublishing is more international, and I believe is helping to bring all branches of publishing closer. When a book comes out in eformat it is available worldwide. So authors can live anywhere to participate.
TMD: What do we have to look forward to on the horizon? Anything we should be dying to get our grubby little hands on? Hint. Hint. (Note: Jmo's hands are grubby, Morgan O's are clean and well manicured)
Lynne: Lots! I have the new Department 57 story coming out next week at Loose Id. I’ve just sent them the next Dept 57 story, a full-length novel this time, Svetlana’s story. I’ve also sold the Wildfire series to Ellora’s Cave. The first book, now called Sunfire has been rewritten and the second, Icefire, has just been accepted. I’m starting the third one now!
I have several ideas for new series, all set in my paranormal world, which I want to start on next year.
And yes, there are the historicals. I’ve sold the Triple Countess series to Samhain, and the second in the series, A Chance To Dream comes out next month. They have also accepted a new trilogy, also set in the 1750’s, the Secrets trilogy.
TMD: We refuse to let you walk away without one Crazy Morgan Question to end this thing. You had to see it coming. If you could be the assistant to any of the ten Doctor Whos, which Doctor would you pick?
Lynne: Tom Baker because he was such fun! Chris Ecclestone was sexy, the new Doctor, David Tennant is quirky and interesting, but Tom Baker was the one I remember best. And he always had a packet of jelly babies in his pocket!
TMD: Lynne thanks for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed your visit and please don’t steal the Rooney Poster over JMo’s desk. He gets pissy when you touch his stuff. But before you go, would you let our readers know where they can find out more about your books.
Lynne: I think the Beckham poster might be in more danger! Rooney is an amazing footballer, one of the best in the world today, but Beckham has the looks!
Thank you for having me, it’s been fun!
Please welcome Lynne and enjoy an excerpt from her latest release:
Hi, I'm Lynne Connolly, writer of paranormal romance! Welcome to my world!
Lynne Connolly’s Department 57: Cat’s Eyes
Series: Department 57
Series Note: Other titles in this series were originally published by Triskelion Publishing and are not currently available; however, this title stands alone.
Genre: Polyamorous Shape-shifter Paranormal Suspense
New city, new job, new life: Silje Nordstrom, a Norwegian cat shape-shifter, is starting over. Except that she's still working for Department 57, the covert government agency for Talents -- just in New York, with a new identity. And she's still alone, still too sexually inhibited to find the mate she needs. That is, until she meets sexy Brazilian shape-shifters Devante and Aristides.
Sent to a male strip club on an operation to find the dealer for a dangerous new designer drug, Silje is transfixed by two Brazilian strippers. They're so into each other there doesn't seem to be room for anyone else. But things aren't always as they seem.
When booked for a private dance, Devante shows Silje a hot Brazilian samba in the bedroom. And once he's got her where he wants her, he brings in his lover Ari. Together, the men show Silje exactly what she's been missing.
But they still have to find the source of the drugs, and the Talent's enemy, the terrorist organization the PHR is involved. If they don't close this outlet down, New York will be flooded with a dangerous, addictive drug, designed for Talents, but affecting everyone. If Silje's not careful, her new beaus could end up on the body count.
This part is where Silje's friends have booked her a private performance by the Brazilians, so they can search their apartment.
These guys really were sexy. They stood at ease in their ridiculous feather costumes with those killer smiles. Devante bowed to her. “We are a birthday present from Diane and Candy.”
Then Ari turned on the CD player, and those drum rhythms started up.
She backed up, and they followed her, right through the cramped lobby, suddenly even tinier in the hot atmosphere.
“Oh, my goodness. I thought it was my friends at the door!”
So far, it was going as planned.
Ari put the CD player down on the floor, and after Devante drew a chair into the center of the room, Ari took Silje’s hand and sat her in it. Then they began to dance. That hip-swaying motion did its job all over again and warmed her, from the core of her being out. Their feathers touched her as they moved, getting closer, and then backing off. Please don’t strip. Please.
The first feathers fell to the floor.
“I thought you guys didn’t do anything outside the club?”
Their smiles fixed on their faces, they continued dancing. Oh, God, they were good at this. Really, really good. Now her brain caught on the word “really” and wouldn’t let go, chanting it in her mind as they danced and shed their plumage around her.
The music escalated, the beat got faster, and other instruments joined in. Around her, the feathers whirled, falling to the floor like brightly colored rain. The dancers postured and twisted around Silje, but did not touch her.
Muscles gleamed with sweat, beading on the lightly oiled bodies. She wanted to touch, to slide her hands over the sweat-slicked skin, taste them with the tip of her tongue, and join them in whatever hedonistic pleasure they had in mind.
The thought shocked her right down to her soul. Never had she forgotten her job before, never had she lost her cool, but then she’d never been forced to watch two men stripping down to their feathers just for her. Two men with incredibly beautiful bodies at her command. They prostrated themselves before her, going down limbo-style, on their knees, the bulges at their crotches making her mouth water.
They were gay. She’d seen them kiss.
Brazilian, her treacherous mind told her. They have all kinds of variations down there.
Both men were down to their G-strings, or whatever they were called on men, when she felt the first probe to her mind.
She’d been waiting for that.
She let them in. Right in, or at least farther than they’d been before, enough to see her for what she was. In the club, she’d kept her identity carefully hidden, the way she’d been trained, but now, in this controlled environment, she could show them what they were up against.
It had the effect she wanted. Devante, at present in front of her tightly clasped knees, stopped dead. Ari, behind her, ceased in the act of feathering his fingers above her arms. His hands stilled, barely touching her goose-bumped flesh.
She felt rather than saw them lock gazes over the top of her head. The music pounded on, but they lost the rhythm and remained still.
Ari’s hands gripped her arms. “You’re a Talent.”