Interview with Opal Carew

Jen: Please help me welcome Opal Carew to Romancing the Book. Opal, will you please share a short bio with us?
Opal: Sure. I write erotic romance for St. Martin’s Press. My first book with St. Martin’s was released in July 2007, called Twin Fantasies. I now write three books per year for them. Before that, I had about a dozen books out with ePubs, including Loose Id. Now, in addition to St. Martin’s, I have stories with Red Sage Presents, Sinful Moments Press, and Samhain (the latter starting in Apr 2011), These other stories tend to be fantasy or futuristic rather than the contemporary I do for St. Martin’s.

Jen: Tell us about Pleasure Bound and where it’s available.
Opal: Pleasure Bound is about a bad-boy turned Mr. Nice Guy who falls for the girl next door. Ty has left his tough ways behind, including his Dominant-submissive sexual lifestyle. As the story opens, we find he is in love with Marie, the woman who lives in the apartment across the hall. She’s recently broken up with her boyfriend and Ty is giving her a little space before he makes his move. Unfortunately, his old rival, Zeke, makes a move before he does.

I love this book because the guys are hunky and tattooed, with a couple of piercings thrown in for good measure. Also, as the story progresses we see Ty recover his bad boy edge (in a good way!) and Zeke show his sensitive side. And the sex is even more smoking than usual, IMO! But maybe I’m saying that because I particularly loved the threesome on the Harley. And the one where Ty masters both Marie and Zeke in a dungeon. But that’s just me! 😉

The book is available from any bookstore (on-line or physical) in print or ebook (on Dec 7th, or available for pre-order now.)

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Opal: I didn’t start writing until after I had my kids. My second son was about a year old when I started writing so I was in my mid-thirties. My very first published story actually happened about six months after I started writing, but it was a fantasy novelette with a small publisher and they went under within a couple of months. I published a few short stories along the way, then started publishing with an ePub in 2004. But my big call story is when I sold to St. Martin’s.

I was actually away at a conference on the day I received The Call, but let me back up a week. On the morning of my 24th wedding anniversary, I received a phone call from an agent, Emily Sylvan Kim who owns Prospect Agency in New York, and she told me she would like to represent me. That day, she emailed my manuscript to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin’s Press. Emily called me a couple of hours later to tell me the book was on Rose’s desk and that she was reading it. I didn’t think too much about that, thinking she just meant she’d sent it off and gotten an acknowledgment… until she called me later that afternoon to say Rose had read it and loved it! At that point, it still had to go by the senior editor.

The next day, Emily called to say the senior editor loved it! But now it had to go by marketing. Okay, I had actually had interest in the book by another NY publisher, but got stopped at the marketing step, so I sighed, assuming that was the end of the line. I headed off to Daytona Beach for the Romantic Times conference, and on the first day of the conference, I got The Call. Emily told me St. Martin’s was offering a three-book deal!!!

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Opal: Edgy, sizzling, fun.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Opal: The only thing routine about my writing is that it’s not routine. I’ve tried to work to a routine, thinking that might make things easier to get things done, but it never sticks. I’m too much of a free spirit, keeping my own hours, often staying up late writing into the wee hours, varying my sleep time. Sometimes when I write, I meditate for a few minutes beforehand, or light candles as a focus/mood kind of thing. Sometimes I play music. I write different lengths of time each day, whatever works for me that day. One day I might write 1000 words, another day 5000, and sometimes none at all. I do work to a deadline, though, so I keep a careful eye on my progress compared to my upcoming deadline, plus any other activities I have on my plate (like copyedits, promotion, etc.), and adjust my writing time as necessary. My world seems somewhat chaotic to many, but that’s what works for me.

Jen: Have you noticed your writer’s voice has changed over the years due to your experience? If so, how?
Opal: I would say it has changed from early on. When I first started writing, I targeted Harlequin Presents with a highly emotional, dramatic edge to my writing. Since then, my voice has become lighter and more fun.

Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Opal: I love the emotion. I love sharing in the characters’ journey to find love. And I love the happy ending.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Opal: I would say Isaac Asimov. I loved to read his work, and I was very impressed by how prolific he was, and how exceptionally good.

Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Opal: I wouldn’t go back in time, I’d go to the future. I want to see all the advancements and changes in society. I want to take a shuttle to another planet in the solar system or, better yet, a transport to another star. The only things I would take with me are my husband and two sons, though I would invest some cash that should grow in amount so I have money to live on. I’m not sure how I’d convince the bank to give me the money, though, since no one would believe my birth certificate. 😉

Jen: If Pleasure Bound was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Opal: Hmm. That’s way too hard a question for me. I’d love Kate Hudson for the heroine (even though in the book, Marie has dark straight hair.) As for two gorgeous hunks that would have the right chemistry to play Ty and Zeke, I just can’t decide.

Jen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?
Opal: Right now, I’d say winning the Golden Leaf Award for Forbidden Heat in the Single Title category. It was thrilling receiving the award in front of an audience of my peers, and I also love the fact I won in a category not specific to erotic romance, which shows that my books can hold their own against others outside the erotic subgenre.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Opal: Next year is a busy year for me. I have books and novellas coming out from three different publishers. In January, Sinful Moments Press (www.sinfulmomentspress.com) will be releasing Spell Bound, which is a re-release of my older book Darkest Nyte, a magical tale of wizards set in today’s world. It’s not my usual erotic romance, but it is a romance and very steamy (and explicit, so if you’re looking for hot, this will still fit the bill.)

In April, I have another re-release, but it’s the first in a series of five novellas and the subsequent four have never been published. The series is called Celestial Soul-mates and the April release is THE KING AND I. In August, the second will be published and it’s called THE COMMANDER’S WOMAN.

Next from St. Martin’s Press will be Total Abandon in April. It’s a scorching hot tale of a woman who celebrates the one year anniversary of her divorce—a year during which she decided to have no sex—by making a list of what she wants in a man. After a few drinks and encouragement by her friends the list turns into a menu of sizzling fantasies that her friends help her fulfill.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Opal: www.OpalCarew.com, Facebook, and Twitter

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Opal: Sure. I write so many books, each with so many characters, I’m always looking for good names for my heroes. I’d love to hear from readers about what some of their favourite hero names are.

Jen: Readers, Opal is giving away a copy of Pleasure Bound to one lucky winner. Due to the content of the book, the winner must be over the age of 18. To enter the contest, you first must leave a question or comment for Opal. Then to finish your entry, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to contests.bookblog@gmail.com. The winner will be chosen around Thursday, November 18.