Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Grey Francis’ character on June 16th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I meant to interview a character a bit earlier, but I got pretty busy with a new release that is not romance-related. Anyway, I had the pleasure of meeting Carole McKee, the author of Testosterone Poisoning, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Kyla Stanford, from the book. You can check out a past interview with Carole McKee here. We’ll get a chance to talk to Carole in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Kyla!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Kyla. Please have a seat.
Character Kyla Stanford: Hello. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Marie: It’s good to have you visit. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Kyla: Of course.
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Kyla: I am a professional freelance photographer. Yes, I’m good at it. I’ve been called a superb photographer. I love my work. I have the freedom to come and go as I please, I make my own hours, and choose what jobs I want to do. And I really enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get when I complete a project. I photograph anything from models to nature and wildlife. I have a darkroom in my home, and I love creating and perfecting photographs in there.
Marie: That’s impressive!
So, what is your family like?
Kyla: I’m the only child of wealthy, dynamic parents, who jet-set all over the world. I love them dearly. They are lots of fun. But if the truth be told, I was raised by the house staff. My parents were loving and indulgent with me when they were home, but they traveled almost all the time. I did get to go with them a few times, when schooling didn’t interfere.
Marie: I see. What did your childhood home look like?
Kyla: It is a monstrosity! I grew up on an estate. There are 26 acres of manicured and well-cared for lawns and shrubs, and the house itself has 62 rooms, I believe. That doesn’t include all the bathrooms. There’s an Olympic-sized pool, a cabana, sauna, and hot tub there as well. We were always fully staffed with at least one cook, three kitchen helpers, four housekeepers, a chauffeur, and three grounds keepers.
So, do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Kyla: I’ve been told by someone, who will remain unnamed at this point, that my photography is a hobby. Well, I guess it would be, if I didn’t make money with it. When I’m not working, I love being with my best friend, Zippy. We’ve been best friends since the seventh grade. We also enjoy hanging out with our new friends.
Marie: Okay. So, what is your greatest dream, Kyla?
Kyla: My greatest dream? Most people’s greatest dreams are to have what I have–to grow up like I did. Don’t get me wrong–it was a terrific life; but my dream has always been to have a normal family, including a loving husband and a few kids, a dog and a cat. Do you know what I mean? I always wanted the life like in those old TV shows like ‘Father Knows Best’ or ‘Leave it to Beaver’.
Marie: That’s a perfectly understandable dream.
So, what kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Kyla: I believe I am exactly the person I wished to be. I’m independent and strong, but I’m also caring and loving. I have a strong sense of good values, and those who are my true friends know this, and they love and respect me for it. But I’m also a free spirit. Only those who love and understand me can appreciate that. There was one, who shall still remain nameless, who did not appreciate it, but he’s not in my life any more.
Marie: All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Kyla: I believe my first and only love is Storm Galloway. I never fell in love easily. Being home-schooled and then sent to a private girls’ boarding school didn’t expose me to a lot of the opposite sex. I dated in college, but nothing really serious. Then I met Storm, and WHAM! That was it.
Marie: I know know you mean. (Sighs.) I love romance.
Let’s try a different question, okay?
So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Kyla: Oh, wow. I still have nightmares, even after all this time. It’s when he, who shall remain nameless, abducted me to carry out revenge for breaking up with him and finding Storm. He did terrible things to me while he held me captive. He said things that still give me goose bumps. Even when he was being nice, there was something off about him. I get chills just thinking about it. I almost lost my life. It was that bad.
I’m so sorry to hear that. 😦
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter, okay?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Kyla: I am so lucky. All my dreams came true. I wanted a lovely home, a loving man, great friends, a lucrative career, and wonderful children. I got it all. It’s everything I ever wanted, and it’s better than I expected.
Marie: That’s great! 🙂
So, who is your role model, Kyla?
Kyla: My mom. She’s elegant, attractive, and she loves to have fun. Mostly, she’s a joy to be around, so I try to imitate her ways. No matter how miserable someone is, they don’t stay that way for long when my mother is around. She is like sunshine that makes even the most wilted flower unfold. It’s a good way to be. But to be fair, both of my parents are wonderful people. They give a lot to a lot of people.
Marie: I can certainly admire that! 😉
Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Kyla: Yeah. Polo Pony Peter. Sorry, that’s the name we had for him–behind his back, of course. He was always such a pompous little shit when we were growing up. His parents and my parents, along with other rich parents, belonged to the same country club. He played polo so we nicknamed him. Now he’s grown, and I saw him when I spent some time at home after…after the abduction. He seems less asinine now, and while I was totally polite to him, I just don’t like him.
Marie: Yeah, I think we all have certain people that rub us the wrong way…
Let’s try something else.
So, what is your deepest desire, Kyla?
Kyla: Dare I say this? I want at least six children. I was an only child. I want my children to have lots of company. Storm has two brothers and a sister. I see how they interact with each other, and I know I missed that. I don’t want my kids to miss that.
Other than that, well…I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been lucky enough to have everything I’ve ever wanted.
Marie: Six? (Gulps loudly.) But, it’s great that you’re so content! 🙂
Let’s switch to another question. What is your greatest fear?
Kyla: Losing Storm. It almost happened once, and I was really in emotional pain. I don’t ever want it to happen again. Just remembering how I felt brings tears to my eyes. My world depends on Storm still breathing.
The other fear I have is if and when he-who-shall-be-nameless gets out of prison.
Marie: I see.
Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Kyla. It was so interesting getting to know you! (Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have Carole McKee on the stage today. Hi, Carole!
Author Carole McKee: Hi. Thank you for having me here.
Marie: My pleasure! We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Kyla. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Carole: Kyla is a down-to-earth girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She comes from quite a wealthy background, but you would never know it when you meet her. She’s pretty, with a trim athletic build, very talented and very nice. She has good values, too.
Marie: Okay. So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Carole: Her independence, for one thing. She’s very self-reliant. She’s a free spirit, too. I wish I had her confidence.
Marie: I know what you mean…
Now let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are her greatest weaknesses?
Carole: Sometimes she can just be too nice to the wrong people. Like Derek, for example. She should not have given him the time of day, but she did, and it almost cost her life. And she loves hard. That’s a good thing, but it can also be painful.
Marie: All right. What are some of her favorite foods?
Carole: Burgers. With French fries. Steaks on the grill. If the truth be told, Kyla loves food. She manages to stay slim because of what she refers to as Nikon-aerobics. All the different positions she finds herself in when photographing is like an exercise routine. Genetics are also in her favor as well.
Marie: Okay. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Carole: Her beauty. She does not see herself as beautiful. Actually, she’s relatively unaware of herself. That’s one thing that makes her so special.
Marie: That is certainly admirable.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Carole: Oh. Well, they should be intrigued by the fact that she is free-spirited. Most readers should appreciate how down to earth she is, in spite of having the means to buy California, if she so desired. She’s a good friend to Zippy and she’s great with Storm’s dog. She becomes a wonderful mother later on.
Marie: Great! Well, now that we have a real taste of Kyla Stanford, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for Testosterone Poisoning?
Carole: I don’t know where the idea came from. Just like with all my writing, the idea just appeared. The only exception to that is my first book, Perfect. That’s based on a true story. By the way, I’ve recently just republished that one as a new edition.
So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Carole: My books are all based on characters and emotions. Because of my psychology background, there is usually a psychological twist where the villains are concerned. Believe it or not, most of those characters are built from people I’ve dealt with in real life.
Marie: Wow! You must have led quite an interesting life, Carole.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Testosterone Poisoning or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Carole: I really didn’t run across any problems. I don’t ever have a problem writing, and I used CreateSpace for publishing. I would recommend CreateSpace to anybody. I’ve been very satisfied with them.
Marie: Thank you! Yes, they are a good book printer.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog. And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Testosterone Poisoning appears to be. Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Carole McKee, a very talented author! 🙂
Here is the blurb for Testosterone Poisoning:
Complete Trilogy! Who has Testosterone Poisoning?
Book 1 – “It’s What you Do”: After ending an unpleasant relationship with Derek, Kyla meets Storm Galloway, the man of her dreams; and they could not be happier. When Derek sees them together, he becomes enraged. He must have his revenge. Kyla must pay! He devises a plan and abducts her. Will Storm find her before it’s too late?
Book 2 – “Come Back to Me, Love”: Storm and Kyla Galloway are happily married with two adorable, bright children–a son and a daughter. Soon there will be a third. Kyla continues her work as a photographer and Storm remains an undercover narcotics detective with the County Special Forces. For more than five years he and his partner, Donnie have been lucky. With lots of drug busts under their belt, they have remained healthy and safe…UNTIL NOW. Could this be the end? Will Kyla ever see Storm again? But Kyla and the unborn baby are in danger. Who will save them?
Book 3 – “As Long as You Still Breathe“: Storm and Kyla’s new baby, David, is introduced to his two older siblings when they return from their long vacation in Florida. It is a fun trip, planned and carried out by their grandparents, but they can’t wait to get home to meet their little brother. But Storm’s past comes back to taunt the happy family with another disaster. Is there a happily-ever-after for Storm and Kyla?
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00XS8HC1G
About Carole McKee
Carole McKee is originally from Pittsburgh, but has resided in Florida since 2002. Most of her contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels take place in the Western Pennsylvania area, the place she will always call home. Carole is a passionate writer, making readers feel the emotions of her characters. One reader exclaimed, “Carole McKee’s books help cleanse the tear ducts!” Her first novel, Perfect, brought out so much emotion that she got phone calls from people who were in tears when they finished the book. Another reader says that she laughs and then she cries with every one of McKee’s books.
Carole’s writing career actually began in 1995 when she wrote a tribute to her beloved black Labrador Retriever when he passed away. The tribute was published in a veterinary magazine a few months after it was written. Although the stories were in her head, she didn’t begin writing seriously until 2006 with her first novel, Perfect. It was published in 2007. She entered Perfect into a contest and the book won an award, which was just the encouragement she needed to seriously pursue a career as a writer. Perfect has since been republished in 2015 with a new cover and an affordable price. Her second novel was Choices. Readers loved the characters in the book, so, using the same characters, she wrote The Bushes are Red, and then The Full Nelson. She finished the series with Consequences. “Choices” lead to “Consequences,” eventually. In addition to these books, which are available in paperback and eBook formats, Carole also published these four eBooks:
Kisses from the Heart, Second Chances, Maddie’s Garden and Going Home.
And now the trilogy Testosterone Poisoning, available in paperback and eBook format.
Another book, Angelface, is in the works. More on that later.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Carole McKee, here are some of her author links:
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-McKee/e/B0082D3810/
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Kyla Stanford, the female main character of Testosterone Poisoning, and Carole McKee, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂