Friday, January 2, 2009

Interview: Adriana Kraft

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Talk about your split personalities. Today we welcome into our offices Adriana Kraft, two people trapped in the same author. This duo has been dealing sizzling hot stories all over the place, and we are honored to have them with us today. It's like the best twofer in the history of Blogs.

TMD: Adriana welcome to the diaries. Kraft welcome to the diaries. Well, it's not like we know which is which, and it'd be impolite to only say hello to one of them.

AK: Actually, a long time ago (it seems), TwoLips dubbed us “Adri” (him) and “Ana” (her) - that works! Mostly on line it’s just been “Ana” with my hot legs logo created by Cassidy McKay - but in January we’re rolling out a new signature logo for “Adri” and he’ll actually start participating in chats, too - watch for us together at Midnight Seductions on January 4th!

TMD: Before we get into your fantastic books, we just got to ask. How many fist fights have broken out during the course of a story? And who usually takes lead in the writing?

AK: Nope, no fist fights. Don’t believe in violence. Some tough disagreements, sometimes - we just have to wait it out and see what the characters tell us. We plot together, then one of us puts the “don’t look down” draft on the page, and we read each day’s production out loud and process it before moving ahead to the next segment. Then when it’s done we both edit madly. Over and over.

TMD: Has writing together strengthened your relationship as a couple or given you any narsty ideas that we'll never see in print?

AK: Yes, to both! We’ve worked together lots across our professional careers - co-facilitated groups, taught classes, conducted social science research projects together, stuff like that - but co-writing has really made us dig deep and figure out how to handle conflict better. We have to be respectful but clear about what we think doesn’t work and why and it’s brought us lots closer. Narsty ideas? Sure, lots of fun and naughty ones! But will you see them in print??? Hmm, the line between fantasy and reality is always a thin one...

TMD: Every author experiences writer's block. Do you find it easier to deal with since you're two brains sharing the same page?

AK: Absolutely! Every step of our writing process involves both of us, so when the plot gets stuck, we talk it out and generate ideas (or let the characters in both our heads set us straight). Even so, there are times in everyone’s life when writing has to take a back seat. A member of our family went into hospice care this past August and died in November, and we had to ask our publisher to readjust some release dates because we needed a break from writing and meeting deadlines.

TMD: Now that we've got our curiosities satisfied, tell us about your newest release?

AK: Mistress of Purgatory Point is available from Extasy as of yesterday. It features an older heroine who finds the fabulous love she deserves and has a lot of fun along the way. Like nearly all our heroines, she discovers she’s easy playing with either gender, so there are some hot f/f scenes as well as m/f and f/m/f. Not to mention the two ghosts...Here’s the blurb:

Not quite fifty, recently widowed Martha Richards has just purchased the old sturdy house at the tip of Purgatory Point overlooking Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. She and her pastor husband often dreamed of retiring there on their summer canoe trips. Now, she welcomes the solitude and time to hone her jewelry making craft.

Forest Ranger Dan Ford, her reticent neighbor to the south, thinks the aloof newcomer has no clue what it takes to survive North Woods winters. Reluctantly, he volunteers to help her prepare the place for the inevitable blizzards.

Martha is shocked when local shop owner Natalie Bjorg says her jewelry exudes erotic passion. Natalie doesn’t stop there, but explains that as the new Mistress of Purgatory Point, Martha now holds the key to release its two ghosts: Ben and Stella have been trapped between worlds for nearly a century, waiting for an owner of their home to discover a love that matches their own and set them free.

One man, two women and two ghosts keep love’s fires burning through the deep chill of a North Woods winter—but which love will hold the key?

We set this story in one of our longtime favorite summer haunts - the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota; and there’s one character left out of the book’s happy ending, so the sequel Return to Purgatory Point is due out in March. Not gonna say which one, though!

TMD: Who comes up with the basic plots, or do you have long plotting sessions over small tables with coffee and perfectly sculpted petit fours?

AK: No petit fours at our house! Hot coffee and bagels, more likely! And yes, long plotting sessions, at every stage of production. Ideas get started with either of us - something we’ve seen, an image that’s surfaced, a place we’ve travelled. We keep lists of potential plots and characters. Then once we’ve figured out which one to write next we spend long hours developing the background of the characters, identifying what they care about, devising obstacles to throw in their way, doing on-line research (like gypsy history, for our Holiday special Santa’s Boss), stuff like that. It can take weeks of work at this level before a word even goes on the page. Lots of this back-story never appears in front of the reader, but it shapes our characters and drives their reactions. We think it knits the stories together and helps make them real.

TMD: What inspired your first book, the one where you decided you could do this and needed to launch it out into the world?

AK: Oh my! I think we toyed with the idea for a long time before deciding to take the plunge, taking workshops, writing a range of types of stories and getting feedback from writers groups and contests, starting in 2000. Lots of submissions to NY agents and print publishers, lots of nibbles and close calls but no sales. None of those books were erotic romance, but we got consistent feedback that we wrote great sex and handled sexual tension well. That’s about when erotic romance really burst onto the scene in the e-pub world, and that seemed a natural place for us to try to land. We haven’t looked back!

Our very first erotic romance sale was almost three years ago, a love story called Colors of the Night, to one of many now-defunct e-pubs. It debuted to a perfect score from TwoLips, not bad for our first outing! We’re thrilled that Extasy has contracted with us to re-release it now that our rights have reverted to us. It’s scheduled for July, 2009.

TMD: Many writers called their books, their babies. How large a family do you plan to grace us with?

AK: There’s no limit! We love doing this and plan to keep doing it as long as we’re able and the stories flow. We have nine books contracted for 2009, lots still on the back burner to polish and pitch, and we hope to keep writing long into the future.

TMD: Okay, we got to throw you guys for a loop. If you were the stars of a romance novel, who'd be the swashbuckling pirate and who would be the damsel, or damsmale, in distress? And who looks better in the pirate costume? We know you got one handy

AK: That’s a funny question. Me, I love pirates (Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp) and I promise Adri loves wenches and damsels in distress - but we never write heroines who actually need to be rescued. We like strong women who have resources to save themselves, and men who are strong enough to deserve them. Costumes? Not gonna say, but there’s lots of inspiration in our closet for the fantasy scenes we create in our fiction...

TMD: This doesn’t have anything to do with writing but inquiring minds—Morgan O’s—want to know. Who controls the remote?

AK: Adri. ‘Nuff said.

TMD: if you had the chance to write another genre, what would you like to try your hands at the most?

AK: We’d love to do more historical erotic romance - even in our contemporary books, we do lots of historical research and sometimes send characters back in time-travel mode. We just finished a short story set in Wales about 400 a.d. that’s now contracted at Extasy. Adri’s part Welsh so that’s been some very interesting research!

TMD: As long as we got you firmly entrenched in the romance genre, what new bits of hotness do you have coming up?

AK: So glad you asked! Our quintessential Bi heroine Meghan Keenan is coming out with her five book series at Whiskey Creek Torrid starting in April. The series is called “Meghan’s Playhouse” and will be available in both print and e-book form. Here’s more about that series:

We like to think we’re the ones who create our characters, but sometimes we wonder! When the two of us began writing our erotic romance novella Seducing Cat we envisioned a lighthearted sexy romp, so we invented Meghan Keenan: a young, energetic and playful small town actress with Broadway dreams. Turns out she’s a modern day Aphrodite - sharing love in the most up close and personal way, and bringing other couples together in the process.

Because both of us are academics who somehow never learned how to be stuffy, we love creating characters who are college professors and throwing challenges at them. One of us comes from four generations of academicians, and the other from a longer string of farmers and blue collar workers, so we thought it would fun to make a pair of characters struggle with such differences. On top of that we added an age difference, so thirty-four year old English Professor Caitlin Shanahan has to overcome a double set of prejudices to fall in love with her brawny mid-twenties carpenter, Kurt Davis - actually Meg’s carpenter, when the book opens. Not that he doesn’t have some biases too, especially against stuffy professors!

What we didn’t foresee was that once launched, Meg has a trajectory all her own. The world is her apple, and she’s going to taste every bit of it and maybe spread some pleasure on the way. We’re grateful she’s willing to share her adventures with us so we can get them on the page - we think readers will be grateful, too!

TMD: Thanks for putting up with our silliness today. Didn’t know what you let yourself in for, did you? But before you run screaming out the door, let our readers know where they can find you on the web? I’m sure after this, they’ll be dying to know. If for nothing else to give you the numbers of some great therapists.

AK: LOL! Here’s the scoop:
Yahoo Newsletter Group:
Midnight Seductions Authors:


Anonymous said...

Great interview, just read the whole lot. And you certainly deserve a medal after surviving the madness of the Morgan'!!!

I can see, that writing as a couple, you overcome many obstacles that lone writers may have to endure. You always have someone to bounce ideas from, get good, constructive do...right? And the writer's block thingie is practically non-existant.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us, it's been a lot of fun.

Hope to be around the Midnight Seductions loop and chat with you there!


Daun Ann said...

Great interview and what a way to start the year off.

Morgan2x said...

Here at The Morgan Diaries we like to believe we ask the unique questions.

Whether or not that is the truth, it is what we believe. Good thing we like to laugh at ourselves!

Adri and Ana played along quite nicely. Good sports make our days.

Adriana said...

Just got home from work (well, and supper)

thanks, Valerie - yes, definitely constructive criticism, that was the part that helped us most. As in, how to give it constructively and how to receive it graciously. Hope to see you over at MSA - don't forget Sunday's party, a free download of Mistress of Purgatory Point!

And thanks to you, Daun Ann, good to see you here all week!

Thanks, Morgan - it was a lot of fun!