Join author Coleen Kwan on her Virtual Book Tour for Baiting the Boss, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, from 10/31/13-12/19/13. Please leave a comment or question for Coleen to let her know you stopped by. Coleen will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can follow all of her tour stops here.
The Challenge Between Writing Contemporary Romance and Steampunk by Coleen KwanI didn’t set out to write both contemporary romance and steampunk. In fact, when I started out writing, I didn’t have any plans except to finish a book and hopefully sell it. I wrote many contemporary romances, received many rejections and some encouraging feedback, and eventually sold my first book—a contemporary romance. Celebrations ensued. Naively, I thought I’d made it, that I’d cracked the secret code of writing romance. Reality set in when my next submissions were promptly rejected by my editor.A little despondent, I decided to take a break from contemporary romance and write something out of my comfort zone. I’d read a few steampunk books and loved their weird and wonderful world-building, so I decided to write a short steampunk novella. I had tremendous fun creating my steampunk world, and when my editor bought my story, I was totally surprised. So I’m a steampunk romance author, I thought!Fast forward a couple of years, and now I am primarily a contemporary romance author who occasionally dabbles in steampunk and historical. I’d say the main difference between the two genres is setting or world-building. Steampunk readers expect gadgetry, alternate histories, a touch of the paranormal, or all three combined. These aspects have to be woven seamlessly into the story, not dropped in like awkward blocks of concrete. I like my steampunk inventions to not be too fantastical, to have some vague connection to science or mythology so that they sound plausible. I rely heavily on the internet to research these inventions, and that’s where I’m so often led astray. A quick lookup on carriages can easily extend into an in depth investigation into the differences between a brougham and a landau!Another difference is characters. Steampunk characters, especially villains, can be over the top, wacky even. They are, however, constrained by their time period. My steampunk characters live in an era ruled by Victorian mores and values, and that affects their behaviour. The clash between society’s rules and a character’s desires is a good source of conflict in my stories. Contemporary romances don’t have to deal with so many social taboos, so in a way it’s harder to come up with believable, sustainable conflicts.My steampunk romances are set in Victorian England, whereas my contemporary romances are all set in Australia. I feel comfortable using Victorian England as a setting because I’ve read many books and watched many movies set in that era, and my readers have read the same books and watched the same movies. By contrast, I feel very hesitant to set a contemporary romance in a place I’m not so familiar with, because I’m bound to make errors in either description or speech, and these mistakes can seriously jar a reader.I recently wrote a story where the hero was a New Yorker who was holidaying in Australia. Now, I’ve watched plenty of American movies and TV shows and read lots of America authors, but even so my editors picked up a number of things in his dialogue that an American just wouldn’t say. So when it comes to setting a contemporary romance, I would say it’s very important to make it authentic.Each genre has its challenges, but I enjoy writing both. Swapping genres exercises different parts of my imagination and gives me a chance to write in different styles. I have lots of ideas jotted down for both steampunk and contemporary romances, but I don’t always know which one will grab my attention and demand to be written. That’s one of the beauties—and frustrations—of being a writer.Thanks for having me on your blog today!
Baiting the Boss
By Coleen Kwan
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Release Date: October 14, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 137 Pages
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About the book:
For years Grace Owens harbored a secret crush on her boss, Jack Macintyre, the heir to the Macintyre Corporation. But after tragedy upends his life, Jack relocates to a remote tropical island, cutting off all contact with his past. Now Grace’s new boss issues an ultimatum: return Jack to the family fold or pack her briefcase and move on.
When Grace turns up at Jack's bungalow, he can’t deny his attraction to the fiery woman determined to lure him out of his tropical paradise. He lets her bait him with temptation, but little does she know that returning to his old life is not an option—he’s nobody’s boss, and he likes it that way. Grace is playing a game she can’t win.
Or can she? Will Jack give up his island paradise to help Grace keep her job? If he stays, she'll lose her job. But if he goes, she'll lose her heart.
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ExcerptAs she turned to float on her back, she spied Jack at the water’s edge and almost went under. He’d taken off his T-shirt, and the sight of his bare, toned abdomen took her breath away. Desire spiraled in her as she drank in his burnished chest with its flecking of hairs pointing straight down into the waistband of his board shorts. His shoulders flexed as he smoothed back his hair, the heat haze bathing him in a sultry, golden aura. He was a demigod, with the power to make her forget who she was.She’d never experienced such a visceral reaction to a man before, and it scared her. What would happen if they got too close? If he kissed her again, she wouldn’t be able to resist. Swiveling away, she dived underwater and kicked her way through the crystal-clear water.But why should she resist? They were both single, unattached. Why shouldn’t they kiss as much as they wanted? The idea sent her corkscrewing to the surface. She popped up and refilled her lungs, treading water. Jack shot up with a splash not far from her.“You took off like a tadpole.” He flicked the hair away from his eyes. “Where are you going?”Away from temptation. “Uh, nowhere in particular.” She felt for the bottom of the pool, but found only more water.In a couple of strokes he was right in front of her. “I can stand here. Hold onto me.” As she glanced nervously at the bulk of his shoulder, his eyes twinkled. “I don’t bite, you know.”Oh, it wasn’t his bite she was afraid of. She placed a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks.”“On the other hand…” His eyes sparkled even brighter. “The eels in this pool have been known to nibble.”“Eels!” She grabbed onto him with both hands, casting a jittery look at the still waters around them.A low chuckle rumbled in his chest. “Just kidding. They don’t bite.”“But there are eels?”“Small ones only, and they’re shy.”She couldn’t suppress a shudder. “I don’t know whether to believe you or not.”“Would I lie to you?”“Probably. You’re a man, aren’t you?”His teeth gleamed white. “Glad you noticed.”How could she not notice? Then she realized that Jack’s arm was around her waist, and she was clinging to his shoulders. Eels weren’t the only danger here. Far more dangerous was the way their chests were stuck together, her breasts pushing up against the water-dappled wall of his chest.She swallowed and noticed he was breathing heavily, too. Up close in the brilliant sunshine, she could see every detail of him, from the fascinating specks of violet in his gray irises, to the black stubble peppering his chin, to the faint quirk in his lips. A tiny muscle pumped in his jaw, an indication that her proximity was affecting him, too.“I told myself I wouldn’t do this again,” he muttered, almost talking to himself.“Do what? Joke about eels?”“Yeah, that too.” Using his free hand, he traced a finger down the curve of her cheek. The unexpected tenderness in his gesture made her senses leap. “You’re going home tomorrow.”She nodded, unable to speak.“And I won’t see you again. At least, not in the foreseeable future.” He smoothed back her hair, tucking a wet tendril behind her ear. “It wouldn’t be fair to take advantage of you.”He was talking as if she were still a naive young graduate. “Maybe I’m the one taking advantage of you.”His eyebrows shot up. His hand stilled on her cheek. “But you’re…”
“A grown woman able to make my own decisions.” When it came to men she’d always been too shy to make the first move, but Jack made her feel so different, so sensual and wanton. She wanted him, right here and now, and she couldn’t think of a single reason to hold back. “Also, a very horny woman right now.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.
Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.
Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Coleen to let her know you stopped by. Coleen will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can follow all of her tour stops here.