Welcome to Week Thirteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
Please excuse the silly title – it just occurred to me when I was titling the post and well… I can’t help myself! Anyway… It is interview week and — lucky me! — I got to exchange interviews with the dynamic duo responsible for “What She Knew”, a what-if novel that follows an alternate history while answering the question: what if Marilyn Monroe had lived? TL Burns & KR Hughes are my very first interview EVER and I am so honored that they appear here on the pages of my humble blog!
PP: Alright ladies, first off, let me thank you deeply for gracing the pages of PP.net with your presence! I am tickled pink to be hosting you this week AND to be conducting my first author interview with you.
Yes, it’s my first time! Please be gentle.
So, to kick this off, give me a little bit of basic background. Where are you two from, individually, and how did you come to know each other?
Both: Thank you so much for having us here. You’ll do great we just know it.
KRH:I’m an English major from Amarillo, Texas and now reside near Atlanta, Georgia. I enjoy writing with my co-author T. We are currently working on the sequel to “What She Knew,” the fast paced novel that continues telling the story.
I enjoy working with budding writers and tutoring English. I have a passion for at-risk teens. I have two grown children, Justin and Kayti, and two four legged girls, May-Zee and Ruthie (they bark at me occasionally but don’t bite like the children did).
You can find my other works in the Historical Romance section, my pen name is Kymber Lee. “Treasured Love” is a fun romp written in Regency England in 1811. I wrote this novel for my grandmother as she is my biggest supporter.
TLB: As my co-author puts it “She is the foremost researcher and historical guru” for our novel “What She Knew.” The novel was just released March of 2012 and we are busily working on the sequel, “What She Knew Too, the saga continues.” You can learn more about them at our website www.WhatSheKnew.com.
I’m originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in the Panhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains) and now reside near Atlanta, Georgia. In my own words “Trees and flowers everywhere!! Even the weeds are green and lush! I feel like I’m living in a postcard!! And, no wind! The desert regions are sooooo windy.”
My true passion is for at-risk families. I volunteer my time to help the needy, not with a hand-out but with a hand-up. I’m married and have two grown sons (best sons in the whole world) and one 4 legged son, Binford!
Kim and I have been best friends for years and are really more like sisters. Our friendship started with our boys becoming friends during middle school.
PP: That’s cool! I’m from a desert-y mountainous region too. Love it! I really admire your passion for helping at-risk families, Tamy. It takes a special kind of person to give that much.
Sorry – I diverged from the topic at hand. So tell me… What inspired you to write “What She Knew”? I mean, how did it go from a conversation about Marilyn to a whole book based on this what-if/alternative history timeline?
TLB: Kim has always loved writing and journalism. She has written five historical novels set in the Regency Era of 1811. One has been published and is currently available on Amazon (mentioned above.) I was drug into the business after Kim had taken a class with a well-known published author. The assignment was to write about something that has never been written about. So, after brainstorming ‘what if’ ideas, we came upon the premise of “What if Marilyn had lived and saved JFK from assassination?” She and I wrote the first chapter together with me researching (which I have always loved) and her doing the actual writing. The teacher loved it and persuaded us to write the full novel.
PP: Well, I for one am so glad that the instructor stepped in and coaxed you guys into writing the whole thing! This interview reminds me that I have a review to write and publish! Eek!
You know, I love that there is going to be a sequel. Tell me how it’s coming along – is there a release date yet? Some of us are simply salivating!
TLB: Thank you so much for your support. That is awesome.
Kim and I have finished what we thought was going to be the sequel of a two part series, but has turned into a trilogy. LOL! We are hoping to be done with the edits soon and that the book will be out this fall.
PP: Don’t you just love it when a well-planned story takes on a life of its own? My current WIP was a stand-alone that got out of hand. Its now got a sequel underway.
You know, Jack and I sometimes write together. It sort of comes naturally since we live together and, you know, sit side-by-side in our office.
How does that work for you two? What’s your process for writing? Does one of you write a section and send it to the other? Do you write in rounds or just sit down together and compose?
KRH: We simply sit down together. Tamy does the lion’s share of the research and we talk it over. We then plot out how things will progress for the next several chapters and I go to it! We are both flexible and have no problem with reworking any section to make sure we have a story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. We like that element of writing – keep the reader turning the pages and guessing what is going to happen next.
PP: Team-work for the win! I dig that you guys have it down to an art! But do either of you write solo? If so, how difficult is it to switch between co-authoring and solo-authoring?
KRH: No, we primarily write together now. I do have the other books but has not written any more of those at present. So, “What She Knew” is taking up all of our time at the moment. Interesting side note, we’ve written the screenplay for this novel but Tamy did the writing for it. It’s hard for an author to go from third person to the here and now.
PP: Tell me about it, sheesh! I don’t even know how you manage it. Tell me then ladies, what’s next on the horizon? You mentioned a third Marilyn novel, but is there something fresh and new?
TLB: Yes, as we were approaching the finish of book two, we both realized that there was still too much ground to cover and there would have to be a third book. So, after we get book two out, we will get to it. There has also been some talk of writing book two (then book three) into a screenplay like we did for book one. Our manager wants to offer this as a packaged set and is shopping movie companies as we speak.
PP: Sweet. I am so in awe of this – I am interviewing published authors who are shopping movie treatments of their novel! Pardon me if I SQUEE a little bit.
Okay, back on track! “What She Knew” is a period piece, really, as it takes place in the past. Do you find it difficult to write ‘authentically’ to the period? Is it hard to omit the convenience that we deal with in our daily lives – no cell phones, no internet, no celebrity blogs – while putting fresh eyes on the past?
KRH: You would think so, but no, it’s not hard for us. We have immersed ourselves completely into Marilyn’s time (1960’s) that we find ourselves in everyday life referring to her as though she were an old friend. It’s very fun writing in a different time and easier life style, we love seeking out what was popular back then and what kind of conveniences they did have. One thing that we have had some grief over was the Peter Lawford ‘scar phone. This was actually true and the Kennedys’ had them as well. We research things thoroughly to make the story as true to life as possible.
PP: Its funny you mention that car phone. I didn’t blink an eye when I read about it – because I’ve read a bunch of other books that take place in the 60s and several of them have instances of phones in car. Including a Jackie Collins novel or two, I think. Ahem.
ANYway…. Let’s try a fun question. If you could hand-pick the cast of the movie version (which — bonus question, is it true that there are talks in progress?!) who would you place in the roles?
TLB: Oh, yes, there are movie talks. For Marilyn, we would love for Cameron Diaz or Drew Barrymore to play her. For John F. Kennedy it would be Greg Kinnear or Matt Damon or even Matthew Perry. Frank Sinatra we would love Harry Connick Jr. We have some other main characters that we have already made a wish list for as well.
PP: I am a fan of Drew and I can totally imagine that she could capture the hard-boiled innocence (er… that’s a heckuva oxymoron isn’t it?) of Marilyn, especially as she appears in “What She Knew”. You guys definitely have a good eye for talent with that list.
Here’s another fun question. What is your one weirdest writing quirk?
KRH: We have this awesome office but we can’t write in it. So we usually end up leaving to work at a restaurant with wi-fi. There are too many distractions at our home office. The dogs want our attention or the dishes need doing or the doorbell rings. We find that if we go out to a busy place the background noise helps us work and it sort of sets the rhythm. We can get our groove on…lol!
PP: Haha! I totally know that feeling. With the exception of when I had a dedicated “red room” office a few years ago, I have had zero luck writing in my actual writing area! I tend to end up on the porch, on the bed, at a table at Sheetz or the library… and so on!
Hmm. What else? Oh! I know. Are you reading anything right now? If so, what and by whom?
TLB: Other than research books for the series, we are both reading books from the Master Koda group. Kim has read “Bertha Size Your Life” by Jane Carroll and I’ve read “Armed and Outrageous” by Madison Johns. We are both going to get our reviews for these two ladies by the end of the week!!
PP: I picked up “Bertha Size Your Life” recently and I can’t wait to read it. I’m working on a review for “Cedar Woman” right now, too, by another MasterKoda member – Debra Shiveley Welch. Blogging is taking a backseat to other stuff right now though. Ugh!
I guess I should wrap this up, eh? How about sharing with us – what is the biggest piece of advice you have for other writers, especially those of us just starting out?
Both: Write, write, and oh yes, write some more! It doesn’t matter what you write just WRITE! Then blog, journal, write short stories, and WRITE. Yes, and read all you can too!
PP: Damn tootin’! Good answer!
I have a bonus question. Hope its okay to ask, but where did you commission those great bookmarks and other swag from for the “What She Knew” book tour and book launch party?
KRH: We ordered our book marks and business cards from Overnight Prints. They offer really great quality for a very low price. And, they are easy to work with. The custom book bags we made ourselves, and what fun we had. We bought the bags and either ironed on ‘What She Knew’ or put our business cards on the front. Then, we adorned them with all sorts of girlie ribbons, flowers, etc. We have such a fun time when we make them too! We also made the table cover we use for book signings and other fun black and pink items to really make our table or booth stand out. Many book store managers have commented that they wish all authors who come in to do a signing would take as much care with presentation as we do.
PP: Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely remember that advice for when I do some signings and what not. Thanks so much, ladies!
Both: Thank you so much for having us. We really loved being with you today!
K.R. Hughes: Hughes is an English majorfrom Amarillo, Texas. She now resides near Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys writing with her co-author T.L. Burns. They are currently working on the sequel to”What She Knew,” the fast paced novel that finishes telling the story.
Hughes enjoys working withbudding writers and tutoring English. Her passion is for at-risk teens. She volunteers to help teens realize their potential and find their passion. Hugheshas two grown children, Justin and Kayti, and two four legged girls, MayZee andRuthie.
Find other works by thisauthor in the Historical Romance section, pen name is Kymber Lee,”Treasured Love” is a fun romp written in Regency England in 1811.Lee (Hughes) wrote this novel for her grandmother who is a huge supporter ofher work.
T.L. Burns: As Burns’ co-author puts it”She is the foremost researcher and historical guru for our novel”What She Knew.” The novel was just released March of 2012 and theyare busily working on the sequel, “What She Knew Too, The saga continues.” You can learn more about them at their website www.whatsheknew.com.
Burns is originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in thepanhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains) and nowresides near Atlanta, Georgia. In her words “Trees and flowers everywhere!! Even the weeds are green and lush! I feel like I’m living in apostcard!! And, no wind! The desert regions are sooooo windy.”
Burns passion is for at-risk families. She volunteers her time to help the needy, not wih a hand-outbut with a hand-up. She is married andhas two grown sons (best sons in the whole world) and one 4 legged son, Binford!
You can find the ladies online at:
Another big THANK YOU to the WhatSheKnew crew for this amazing interview experience. I can’t wait to link you to my own interview on their blog. Do you have any questions for the ladies? Let ’em know in the comments below!
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post will be over at the ladies’ blog this week. As soon as I have the link, you’ll find it here!]