An Interview & a Milkshake With Laura Kaye

Laura-Kaye-croppedHard To Hold On To cover 

Putting it simply, Laura Kaye is one of my favorite authors.  Her writing is accessible ( meaning I can relate to her stories and characters) and she is just really nice. So, I had the opportunity to send her a few questions as part of her current cyber-tour for her new novella in the Hard Ink series HARD TO HOLD ON TO. I am sure you will be as impressed with Laura as I have been.

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Hi Laura,
Hello! And thanks for having me back to your awesome blog, Steph!

Laura, thanks for stopping into my virtual library. I know you’re getting into fitness lately — can I whip up a smoothie for you? What’s your favorite? Or would you prefer something else – my blender also makes less healthy concoctions?
LOL! Oh, dude, since we’re talking VIRTUAL here, let’s make it as unhealthy as possible. Maybe a super thick chocolate milkshake?! Because it’ll be a long while before I let myself indulge in one of those for real!

Love the book. I adore how beautifully Jenna and Easy complement each other.
Yay! I’m so excited to hear this! Because I’m really proud of this book!

1. So in this book you talk about PTSD and our wounded warriors, but, you also make the story about an interracial relationship. We know the couple notices the beauty of the contrast of their skin and hair colors.

When I was growing up movies were made about interracial relationships and they were very controversial.

On top of the PTSD did you have a reason to add this potential complication, is it something you don’t see as having any impact on the couple?

In Hard to Hold On To, their skin color is part of who and what they are without forming part of the conflict between them. Interracial relationships are no longer uncommon or controversial (for the most part), though they remain less common in romance novels. Still, even there, you can find them more and more. I didn’t want to write a race-as-conflict or race-as-exotic story. Easy is a black man, without question. He’s described in the books as having dark brown, nearly black skin, and he’s depicted on the cover that way, too (something I’m very proud of). But, to me, Easy is first and foremost a man. Secondarily, a very strong but also very tormented man. Will the fact that he’s black and she’s white ever cause issues for them in their relationship? Or in the way others perceive or interact with them as a couple? I imagine that’s true for many interracial couples, but it’s not the central issue for them in these stories, which all take place in a pretty compressed timeline. (Three books in and I think we’re just under two weeks into the overarching series timeline)

2. About the PTSD, Jenna recently suffered a traumatic episode like Sara had as well. But Jenna turns to Easy who has entered an often terminal phase of the illness. Please tell us a little about how they help each other through their issues with the events in their pasts. Why does she turn to Easy rather than Sarah as her anchor in this instance?

Jenna is motivated largely by her belief that she has been a burden to her sister. In Hard As You Can, Jenna learns that Sara endured a number of horrible situations to keep Jenna safe and provide for her medical needs. The thing Jenna wants most at the beginning of Hard to Hold On To is to never be a burden to Sara again. That’s why she turns to and confides in Easy. Also, she remembered him saving her from the Church Gang, so she associates him with safety for very tangible reasons. Their specific traumas are different, but the fact that both Easy and Jenna are suffering from different forms of PTSD allows them to relate to each other in a way others can’t.

Hard Ink Men3. There are quite a few more characters in the team: Marz, and Beckett, and Jeremy and Charlie (not members of the original team). Marz is the character in the next book: HARD TO COME BY. Who else will get a book?

The remaining books in the series include:
Hard to Come By (Marz, 11/25/14)
Hard to Be Good (Jeremy, 3/10/15)
Untitled Hard Ink #4 (Beckett, 7/28/15)

4. Tell us about Marz and Beckett, please? What challenges do these two original team members each face as a result of their military service and the cover up that saw them wrongfully discharged?

I’m going to save all the juicy details on these two for when Marz’s book releases in November *winks*, but Marz’s wounds in general include the physical loss of a limb (he’s a below-the-knee amputee) and the fact that the team that he lost (both through deaths and the dispersal of the survivors to their various homes after they were discharged) represented the only family he ever knew. I really loved writing Marz’s book!
5. You hint at a relationship between Jeremy and Charlie. Will that be part of a book or novella?

Jeremy’s book will be called Hard to Be Good and will be a novella (both e-book and print). Release date: 3/10/15. Though, like Easy’s, it will be a longer-than-typical novella, so everyone will be getting lots of Jeremy! 😉 I’ll save his romantic interest for the release of his cover and blurb!!! Can NOT wait, though!
HTHOT teaser 2

6. You chose to place this story in Baltimore – please tell us why and what about the city you feel is conducive to the story line?

I live about 30 minutes from downtown Baltimore, and most of my stories take place somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic, mostly around DC or Baltimore (places I’ve lived or know well). But Baltimore is also the perfect place to set a story full of crime and grittiness. It consistently ranks among the worst cities in the country in terms of the murder and other violent crime rates. And it is known as the heroin capital of the U.S. Perfect for this series.

7. And you have chosen to feature military heroes in two series now and you have two paranormal series. Which do you prefer and personally what challenges do you face in writing each kind of fiction? Do you like having to develop your own world better than working within the framework of our reality?

I don’t necessarily prefer one genre or series to another. I mostly connect to the characters more than the genre. I enjoy writing both contemporary and paranormal, though of everything I’ve written, romantic suspense is the hardest because it requires more plotting than I normally do. But whether contemporary or paranormal, you still have to build the world and make it come to life for the reader—and fill it with characters the reader will love and want to know more about.

8. You’re donating part of the profit from this book to the Wounded Warriors organization. Please tell us about project: how do they help veterans and what kind of problems do they help with?

The organization I’m donating all of my part of the sales from the first two weeks (so, through 9/1) provides one-on-one services to wounded veterans. If it involves transitioning back to civilian life, they offer services and mentorship related to it. A lot of men and women who go through their programs then turn around and serve as mentors. It’s really fantastic, and just a small way to do more for people I adore writing about.

9. What’s next for you Laura? Do you still write at the coffee shop, and do you prefer it to a home office?

Yes, I write at Panera almost every week day. And in my home office at night! I’m finishing the last full-length Hard Ink book right now and then will be moving back to the Heroes series. I’ve got several proposals for new series out, so stay tuned for more on that!

Thank you so much for coming by and chatting with me today! I can’t wait for the next book.

Thank you so much!


Did you know Laura is donating all of her proceeds of the sales from the first two weeks to a national non-profit that helps wounded veterans?

About Hard to Hold On To:
Edward “Easy” Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna’s the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can’t describe how he makes her feel–and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

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Hard to Hold On To on Goodreads

Other Books in the Hard Ink Series:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can

Hard to Come By (11/25/14)
Hard to Be Good (3/10/15)
Untitled (7/28/15)

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:
“TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!” ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

“Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!” ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:
“Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!” ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

“Sizzling romance… The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna.” ~Publishers Weekly Review

“Kaye’s depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks’ KGI and Julia Ann Walker’s Black Knight’s series.” ~Booklist

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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