Feel the heat
Kelsey McKnight and Sarah Fischer join me this week to talk about heat hoping! (Yes, it’s a twofer!) Separately, they write steamy. But when they write together, they keep it sweet. We talk about writing with your BFF, penning Grammy-approved romance, and how an emotional connection can bring intimacy but maybe not the heat. (And that’s okay!) And I read excerpts from Sarah’s book Third Wheel and Kelsey’s book What Happens in the Ruins.
Grab a copy of their book Operation Valentine, Sarah’s book Third Wheel, and Kelsey’s book What Happens in the Ruins.
Connect with them online:
Twitter (Kelsey): https://twitter.com/kelseymmck
Goodreads (Kelsey): https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16607432.Kelsey_McKnight
BookBub (Kelsey): https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelsey-mcknight
Twitter (Sarah): https://twitter.com/SarhAlexander7
Goodreads (Sarah): https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3315970.Sarah_Fischer
BookBub (Sarah): https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sarah-fischer
istleners are in for a treat today because we've got a twofer. That's right. We have a dynamic duo on Steam Scenes and it's Kelsey McKnight and Sarah Fisher. They're joining us today. It's a first for the podcast so I'm a little bit nervous. From Scottish lards Lauren's never say that right to billionaire businessmen Kelsey McKnight will ignite your soul no matter what century it lives in. Kelsey is a university educated historian from Southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history and literature to create her own tales of dashing heroes sultry bad boys and lovable heroines who have their own stories to tell. They will take you through the ballrooms of Victorian London, hills of the Scottish Highlands, New York City penthouses and into small towns with big hearts all at the flip of the page. When she's not writing, Kelsey can be found reading drinking too much coffee spending time with her family and working for a nonprofit organization. Sarah Fisher graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and began a career in personal security. I'm sorry, personnel security. A little slight difference there. Shortly after she married the calm to her crazy and settled down. Then the other shoe - a stiletto to be precise - dropped. The doctor's found a mass wrapped around Sarah's heart and had to perform surgery to remove at the recovery finally gave her an excuse to slow down and start writing the stories that always floated around in her mind. To bring her tales of sweeping romance to life. She draws inspiration from her college days, and from her family stories of growing up in Lebanon Uruguay and a farm in North Dakota. She just published a steamy New Adult romance series to bring back what you loved about that first college crush. In her spare time you'll find her spending time with her family, reading yet another novel or watching just one more episode of reality TV. Together. Kelsey and Sarah real life best friends have published for small town romances filled with magic love, second chances and a puppy or two. They have a new romantic comedy series Hazel oaks resort in the works. Operation Valentine Book One is Evette available now. Kelsey, and Sarah, welcome to steam scenes. Thank you so much for being here.
Sarah & Kelsey 2:08
Well, thank you for having us. Yeah, so
this is so cool. It's two people. Two interviews at once. It's pretty exciting. So I guess we'll kind of start with Sarah. Hello. Hi. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer.
I didn't know I wanted to be a writer. Until I had that health scare. Really it did. I had too much time on my hands. And I couldn't sleep at night because it hurt. And so I just started writing as something to do. I've always been a huge bookworm. And I Loki told Kelsey like, hey, look what I'm doing under wraps. And she was like, Oh my gosh, I'm doing the same thing.
Oh, wait, okay. So Kelsey, this was like an like, when did you decide you wanted to do the writing thing?
Um, again, like Sarah, I didn't plan on being an author or pursuing anything of that sort. After my first child was born about seven years ago, I started kind of dabbling in it. And it was a way to keep my mind a little more alive, less filled with Peppa Pig and more, you know, things that I was interested in. And I've always been interested in romance novels. And it just turned out that, you know, I was home all the time. Sarah was obviously home all the time recuperating. We were talking a ton, and it just sort of came out like she said, and it just had to stop since.
So how did you two meet?
Were sorority sisters.
So you both went to the same college? Yes. Okay. So, while you're going through college, never had a conversation about hey, wouldn't it be cool if we or you know, if, if you were a writer, or did you guys like trade books so that you could read? Or was this something completely like, wait, what a complete surprise for both of you.
I want to say it was pretty much a surprise, we would say, Oh, I read this book or like Sarah actually introduced me to Outlander, which inspired my first romance series. Yes, I think she saw the show or something. And again, this was seven years ago, maybe? And said, Oh, I think you would really like this. And then it was, oh, yeah, I do like this. And so we had that sort of thing going on. But this was really just a completely new facet to our relationship.
So at what point did you decide that you wanted to write together?
So we have always been each other's book, buddy. If I write a scene or something, I'll send it to Kelsey and sometimes I need a little help with my descriptions because Kelsey writes these beautiful sweeping and descriptions. And I'm like, Oh, look, it's a house. And so I was like, you know, could you help me spruce the scene up a little bit? This is what I'm looking for. And so she would help or she'll message me and say, I can't get out of a conversation help me. And I love dialogue. So we said, you know, wouldn't it be interesting if we wrote something together? Because you already write my dialogue, or you already write my description sometimes. And I sometimes have your dialogue. So what happens if we put it together? And we thought, sweet romance might be fun, because it's something that we don't write individually. So it would be a whole new world for the two of us.
Okay, so Okay, so I want to just back up a little bit before we get into the whole sweet romance versus the steamy romance. You're writing your own books at this point separately? Hmm. Did you always know that you were going to write a certain heat level? Sarah, was it important to you, for example, to like write the sex on the page.
I did like sex on the page. That's what I like to read most of the time. So it wasn't I have to write sex on the page. It's, this is what I enjoy reading. So this is what I'm going to write. So there was never, maybe I should tone it down. Or maybe I should tone it up. I was writing about college. And, you know, I had just graduated college, there's sex in college, anyone who says there's not is pretending. So why not put the sex in college? You know?
So Kelsey, what about you?
Generally the same thing as people that know us can say we think very similarly, we read a lot of the same thing, but also have a lot of different reading interest, but we both enjoy generally the same heat level, both of us will read sweet, both of us will read straight up erotica. Um, but I think we were both sort of when we write steamy, it's in the middle. And just like Sarah said, it's basically what I read as well. I don't write anything that I feel is outside of my personal interest level as far as heat goes. Um, yeah. And it's hard to just gone from there, up or down, depending on my mood, I guess.
So. So deciding to write together right sweet romance together in particular, like that was that was done because you were both writing on a higher heat level on your own and you just wanted to do something different and, or, or did you? Or was it like, hey, yeah, let's try sweet. Why not?
I think it was very much hey, let's try sweet. Why not? I know. We both wanted to write a castle/Prince type story. that was current because I'm Kelsey writes historical. And I love reading historical, but I can't I can't write historical, it just doesn't come out of me naturally and so I said, Hey, like it would have to be current. And she said, Yeah, sure. And as we were writing it, Kelsey and I are a bit of pantsers, we don't plan a whole lot.
And welcome to the club.
Nothing writing approach, sometimes.
Our characters decided it was sweet. And so we listen to them. And we say why not? Let's try it. We haven't done it before. Let's see how it goes.
Was it weird?
Kelsey, Was it weird for you?
It was different when you're writing scenes, with between couples that are intimate finding that sweet spot on the agenda between them ending up in the bedroom versus them ending up with a very lovely kiss at the door. It's it's a, it's a fine medium, to try to create that intimacy in that moment without it becoming on the page intimacy. So it was definitely a challenge. And sometimes, we'll be writing and I like to think of things. Are they Grammy safe. My husband has a wonderful grandmother who loves to read our sweet romances. She has her little Kindle, she wants to paperback. And if I can't give it to Grammy, then it's too hot to see me gotta tone it down.
I mean, while you're writing it, did you ever go too far, and you'd have to like go, Okay, I gotta delete this hole. Because you've just gone you know, like, like, you've just kind of like lost yourself in the moment and you're like, oh, wait, what I just do.
So the way that I have tried to write sweet romances in that intimacy is let's write it without the sex like what would happen before sex. And so the way I'm writing it up to it is in a steamy book, they would be falling into bed and the next scene so Sometimes, I've had to pull back and be like that was a little bit too much of almost sex. Let's go on calm down.
Right because with like with the sweet you basically are a lot I mean the rules of thumb Okay, well you know what, let me let me let me ask what are the rules of sweet
Oh, that's a side hug. No, I'm just kidding I
Handshake, fist bump.
Yeah, it's not too much description. It's very it's it's such a spectrum. Not physical. Everyone keeps their clothes on unless they're swimming swimming.
Right but is it like the kisses are chased or can you use a little tongue action?
I don't think we've ever used tongue.
No, I think we've maybe hinted that perhaps someone has flipped the other person the tongue maybe if you use your imagination. But it's it's very Hallmark-eque
you're not so much deserving. I'm talking over here you're not so much describing the kiss. You're describing how the kisses making you feel. Right. And so it's not so much he slipped through the tongue and it was great and hot. And it's, it's more like, oh my gosh, I'm kissing him. This is the way it's making my body warm up inside and it's making you believe in love. And it's making me want to take a chance on him. It's all those mental thoughts and inner monologue verses and then his hand slipped down her back and on her ass and all that stuff. It's just a little different.
I don't know if I could do it. I was like, I'm fascinated by the sweet, like writing a sweet romance but I don't know that I could do it. Because I think like like it just like it doesn't like my I would just automatically go to the hand sliding down the back and grabbing the ass.
The way that also we find it's a little bit easier to work with sweet romances is generally we always have our own projects on the side that are steamy. So when we write and say Sarah has the book to do her edits and her additions. On the side, I'll be working on one of my own projects that has that heat level that I'm used to writing solo. So that way I can you know, we get our our sexual frustrations out and another book and then we can come back to the sweet romance and not feel as if we are lacking somehow. And we can focus more like Sarah said, on the feelings and how the characters are interacting without the sex.
Okay. So I mean, I guess this is going to be like a two part question is is what makes a sex scene good. But I want to say like what makes it a sex scene good for the steamy to you but then also what makes it I guess not sexy, but an intimate scene, intimate scene good. In a sweet, like what? Like, I'm guessing it's going to be it has to touch the heart. That would be like in my head. That's what I'm imagining. But maybe I'm wrong.
Kelsey, you wanna take steam? I'll do sweet
I'm sure. So, go ahead. Oh, no, you go first. Okay.
I think with this suite, what makes the scene is you're touching on feelings that people have in real life. So it's not super cheesy or unbelievable. You know, in some of our books, we had one character who lost his job and was being blackballed. And he thought his career was over. And he was trying to find out what he even wanted to do, which are very real things that people experience. Right. So what makes that scene intimate is him realizing what he can do because of the faith she has in him because of the man he wants to be because of her. It's that character building character development, you find yourself through somebody that makes it an intimate scene. And so instead of, she makes me feel so safe when I'm in her embrace, because I can feel the heat between us. It's she makes me want to be this other person. I had no idea I could even be,
oh, that's a really great way to think about that. I really love that. That's very cool. So Kelsey, what about for you for the steamy bit?
So Sara and I have both written steamy scenes that are between characters that don't have an emotional connection, whether it be a one night stand, or just beginning of a relationship, things like that. And also scenes between characters that have established relationships and emotional connections. So it's actually Only a spectrum of this is hot, dirty, fast, two strangers in a bar go up to the hotel room versus two characters, they're coming to the end of a, a lot of my books take place in vacation locations or overseas. So generally one of the characters is there for a certain amount of time, and then you know is going to leave. So there's also the emotional sexiness of this is the final goodbye, this is the final time we're going to be together. So when you're writing fast, hot, dirty, it's a lot more I feel physical descriptions, maybe a little bit racier, then when the characters are having both a steamy moment, but also, that emotional moment of this might be the last time we see one another. Um, so it's definitely interesting to write that version of intimacy and then go into straight emotional intimacy. Of a sweet romance.
Yeah, well, kind of like really look, I mean, we're probably going to look at it way more in depth when I go through the scenes, because especially with like when you're putting them, the scenes that you gave me when putting on like, right next to each other, it was super cool to look at how different the writing was. But at the same time, it elicits they all were You were all you were able to elicit these, you know, the romance and the feelings and the intimacy from the scenes that you sent. Even though they were done in vastly different ways. You know,
I have an interesting rule not to touch on steamy and steal it from Kelsey, but my characters won't have sex in a bed until they've said The L Word.
Oh, that's a fun rule for yourself.
Yeah. Because I always I like to have that as like your sacred place. So I've made a joke to Kelsey. Like, where else can I have them have sex?
So like they can have like sex on the on the couch. And that doesn't count or they could have sex on the I don't know, pool table. And that doesn't know, right?
The scene I sent you they're having sex in the car.
Okay, I think you did accidental. And one day, she was working on something. And she's like, I know it's weird. Didn't know what type sex in a bed. They're on a desk. They're in the shower. They're on the floor. They're on the stairs. And it's, it's like you said you're picking locations. And it was it was really interesting that that became now her her hallmark of when she writes a steamy book. It's always fun to where they kind of hook up first was the first step of this relationship.
So So Sarah, you stumbled on that idea accidentally, it was just something that I guess I don't know, unconsciously you were writing. And then all of a sudden, you're like, wait, wait, wait, oh, I see what I'm doing here.
Yeah, let me figure out why I'm doing this. Because the first steamy book I wrote, literally, it's in a lot of places that maybe shouldn't be. And then all of a sudden, they were in bed. And that's when the scene turned from being more descriptive to intimate and I was like, Oh, that might make sense.
Oh, that's so cool. I absolutely love that.
My subconscious is smarter than me. Yeah.
That's always the case, isn't it, though? So of all the things that you could have been writing, I mean, Sarah, you know, you were recovering from your surgery. And Kelsey, you were just trying to keep your, you know, keep your brain occupied from you know, in a way from children's books and all that. You could have written thrillers, you could have written detective novels. What was it about romance?
I think for me, it was the escapism, I like to build a fantasy. And although I like to read larger scale fantasies, like the Lord of the Rings and Things like that, personally, I didn't think that that was where my strengths. My strengths lie. I like to write as Sarah can say, I do. I do him bows, they are rich, they are attractive, they will worship the ground you walk on, and the fantasy of and they also have an estate home, obviously, or a castle. And I just liked to build the fantasy of it. And I liked the happy ending at the end. And Center is a lot better at the in depth thriller the in depth plots, and I'll let her go into that. Whereas I really enjoyed the world building of a romantic location and then the chemistry between two characters and how it played out on the page.
What about you, Sarah?
Unknown Speaker 19:50
My first book was I when I was in college, I didn't find a lot of new adult books mind you, I didn't really know knew it all was a genre. And I was really bummed. I didn't find a lot of romance novels that I wanted to read about the age that I was it kind of like skipped college from what I was seeing. Right. And so I wanted to write what I wanted to read. Okay, so it was a lot of that. And, you know, I'm happily married. I've been with my husband since I was 19, 20 years old. Wow. I, Kelsey has been with hers longer. So I think it's, I wanted to write that type of romance. Because I am happily married. I go to the movies with my husband, you know, I want the drama, the heat of it. Because I'm not going to go on a first date, ever again. That's okay. I'm very happy with what I have. Right. But I think it's kind of fun to experience that first date jitters through my character. I think it's fun when she's picking between guys because I didn't pick twin guys. I found the one I wanted and called dibs. And the world agreed, you know? So I think it's a lot of that I wanted to have that excitement again. Yeah. While I'm, you know, making dinner for my husband, and I'm asking him to take out the garbage and I'm living that life that happens after happily ever after.
Yeah, you know, it's really cool because I love the rush of first romance, that sort of adrenaline rush and that, you know, borderline obsessive, like constantly thinking about the person and the excitement of the very first time or even the excitement of the second time, you know, um, and, and we, and we do get to live that over and over again, as Romance Writers, which is so cool. Totally agree. You know, while we have our, our own, like real life heroes, you know, but we still get to experience that that rush of the the first blush of romance. When you were writing your very first steamy scene? What was it? Like? Were you all in? Or were you like, Okay, this is a little bit weird. I'm writing about sex. Sarah,
I had fun with it. My family is not shy about sex. Not like we're doing in front of each other. That's weird. But like we, you can talk about it. My mom was always very open about like, if you want to have sex, just talk to me, I'll make sure you're covered and stuff. So I guess it hasn't really been taboo in my world as much. So I just was like, Oh, this is fine. Here we go. I think the worst part was when my mom asked to read the book, and I was like, Oh, God,
What about for you, Kelsey.
Um, I grew up raised Catholic, Catholic. Um, so sex wasn't really a topic of conversation, except for Catholicism views. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a talk about it when you get married eventually, and then you figure it out. But as I got older, and my mom and I, you know, reached an adult relationship, you know, while I was in college and things like that, um, then, you know, it became less awkward for me to be like, oh, yeah, I'm gonna read, you know, one of your 5 million romance paperbacks that you own that I used to sneak in middle school in high school. So I've always been reading romance novels, so writing the sex scenes weren't, wasn't strange. And even after I started publishing, like Sarah said, and both of our mothers have read all of our books together, proudly and loudly, which has been quite interesting. It's, it's, you know, because I'm almost say, oh, yeah, my daughter has a book coming out and she'll tell her co workers and then one of her co workers will, you know, message me on Facebook. I'm like, just read your book. Like, wow, my mom's co worker, just, you know, read a blowjob scene that's fantastic. like growing up reading it, and things like that, and then later, kind of building off other people's excitement about reading scenes that I wrote, and Sarah wrote, you know, makes me a little less shy about writing those scenes and talking about them,
right. I mean, do you have a preference in terms of what you're writing? That's, I know that seems kind of fair to you know, but because you are writing and all these like different heat levels. Is there one that you prefer?
I prefer personally to write steamy scenes by myself. They come just a lot more naturally. I feel then doing a sweet scene would come. I really don't believe that I would be able to finish In a sweet romance novel, if Sarah wasn't my co author on these, on these jobs and these, these works,
so does that, do you? Okay, so maybe the question for you Sarah would be, is it harder? Do you think to write the sweet than it is the steam?
Yes, it is, it is a lot harder because I feel like not that as steamy writers, you can rely on this sexual position that you're in or the you know, if you're doing a blowjob or anal or whatever you're doing, it's a different level of intimacy just based on the action you're doing, right. Whereas when you're writing sweet, you can't rely on that so much, your characters have to be a bit more open with themselves, which is something that I think we tend to struggle with Kelsey and I, when we're writing these days, we're like, okay, here we go. What, what, what's their internal monologue? Like? How do we hold off this kiss a little bit longer? Why are we holding off this kiss longer, you know, we've had them kiss at the beginning, we've had them kiss at the end, we've had them kissing, you know, right smack in the middle. You know, we make jokes about oh, look, they're holding hands without gloves. So it becomes more of character development, how is holding off on the sexual aspects going to help these characters, right. And that is a lot harder. I think it's a lot harder in real life to You know, you can go have a one night stand, but there are a lot of people afraid to tell somebody exactly how they feel, and be vulnerable in front of them. So I think that vulnerability is what makes the sweet romance more difficult for us. Maybe other people are good at it or whatever, but it struggles with me.
I guess I always thought about the vulnerability in terms of the physical nakedness, right? And like, like, like stripping away, like the stripping away your physical clothes, but this is a little bit more of like stripping away or your emotional barriers to really expose yourself but more of your inner self, to, to the person that you're with. And I imagine I mean, I struggled with the steamy stuff, but I think not the choreography it is actually that internal. Um, you know, those internal emotions that go on while writing through the choreography if that you know what I mean? Yes. So, so I in a way, yeah, maybe I maybe I'm using the choreography as a crutch.
And I wouldn't even say you are other people, or I would say, because I don't I don't wanna speak for anybody else. That's for us. You know, maybe you are, you know, maybe that'll be something you figure out the next senior, right. But I know that, for me, at least. And I think I can speak for Kelsey, in this aspect. It is easier to write a sex scene than it is to write a I guess you could say, communicative intimacy scene? Yeah.
You said it perfectly.
Well, I guess I'm curious, actually, because you both said, your pants. So what is your process of writing together?
Um, well, usually, one of us comes up with a general idea. I'll use Cuba clause as an example. Because that was one of the projects that Sarah and I were most excited about. I remember I was in the car one day, and she called me. And she said, and she just said, you know, what would you think about Mrs. Claus in a red convertible city, excuse me? And was that Mrs. Claus with Mrs. Claus doing a red convertible. And it's sort of it was a very strange starting point. But as we started to go back and forth about these ideas of Mrs. Claus as a modern woman in the world, and she became a sassy, Dolly Parton esque character, and she's going to meddle in her son's relationship, and we kind of bat ideas back and forth. And sometimes they get a little ridiculous, and we told them back down. But we'll usually come up with a theme. What the problem between the two romantic characters is, like, for example, in that book, the two main characters, um, you know, they're each they each have these emotional barriers that they can't find love and Mrs. Claus wants her son to settle down and get married. So she wants to use her Christmas magic to push them together. And what we usually end up doing is one of us will take the beginning and just kind of write down whatever we feel is a good beginning for the book. Whether it be 100 words or 1000 words or sometimes Sarah will push out 5000 words and she's throw them back. Yes. Yeah. So just sit down one afternoon to be like I just said you 7000 words like okay, now I have to compete. Without, and I'll edit. She is a marathoner. So I'll start at the beginning of what she sent me and edit it as I go change little things, add descriptions, things like that, and then add my own part. And then I send it back to Sarah. And then you know, she does the same thing. And we sort of just volley the work back and forth. Okay, um, and
then when we have a comment for each other, we'll write it in all caps like Kelsey, fix this description, witty dialogue, and we kind of like just quit on like that part. Like she'll fix it.
Oh, that's actually. Because sometimes I'm working. And I'm like, I just want somebody else to write this for me.
Yeah, that's, that's a definite plus of working together is sometimes, you know, when you get two characters in a situation, and then you just kind of don't know how to get them out of the room. Right? Just doesn't seem to be a natural stopping point. Sometimes I'll just be like, Sarah, and the conversation, I don't have to worry about it. I can just keep moving. If I get stuck somewhere, I'll just be like, Sarah. Words, enter them, please. And then, you know, go on to describing a field of flowers or whatever it is. It works out really well.
That's, that's really cool. So you can play on each other's strengths, you know, to get the book done. But you're doing this without an outline with no, absolutely no plan, and you're just able to sort of wind your way through the story. Together and publisher
likes a plan, we have a loose outline that we send to them for them to approve the story. What happens between that loose outline and the ending? Different conversation?
Oh, well, yeah, we're going to talk about it because I was very, very curious if you're, if you tend to pants, because I've done the loose outline, and, and then I don't refer to it. And then all of a sudden, like I started at point A, and I'm over at point F, and I'm like, Oh, God, I've got to get back over to B and whoops. And suddenly, I'm like, Oh, this is a whole different book. That's okay. But you know, I haven't, I don't have a publisher that signed off on, you know, signed off on the first idea is
the big plot, we got a big plot. And we know the big plot, when we start, how they get to that big plot is where we pan set a lot, okay.
And they're used to that from us by now, we've been working with the same editor. And she's great because she knows how we function and that our plots and our pitches are generally pretty different. We'll have we'll have to holiday down probably from first names and the big points, like Sarah said, but now they kind of understand our process or lack of process. So we're lucky in that aspect that we have a lot of flexibility. And no one's been very mad at us yet.
Knock on wood, you put that Juju out there like that?
You know, they know us well. Right.
So okay, so you've got this. The the inspiration struck as you know, Mrs. Claus in a convertible, which is brilliant. And by the way, has Hallmark come knocking up for the story? Oh, have they? I'm not supposed to say
perhaps. Oh, okay. We would love some good.
Okay, we're giving you guys because this is like screaming, like screaming Hallmark Christmas movie,
musical scenes to like, learn Dolly Parton as a metal some other and that's what you have.
Oh, come on. This is so Hamasaki. Okay, so how did that like, we're okay, so that was Sarah, you were the one that came up with that right?
I did. Yes.
What were you doing? What was going on that you just weren't it just like boom was there?
I have to thinking zones, I think in the car and I think in the shower. And I'm pretty sure I was on my commute home from work. And I drew I try on the ride from my from my work to my house, to plot books sort of think of ideas just to decompress. It doesn't sound like it's decompressing. But it calms me from the work day. And sometimes the ideas are great. Sometimes they're nonsense, but I'll message Kelsey and be like, I just got out of the shower. So this is what I was thinking. And I need like something I can write in there. But I was just driving home one day and I was like, Wouldn't it be hysterical? If you got Mrs. Claus with platinum blonde hair driving a convertible in a snowy little town with her magic making the wheels go and she's just meddling and everybody's love life and everybody's business because Mrs. Claus doesn't really have a job. Right now. To get all feminist on the world, but like what does Mrs. Claus do other than bake cookies? Well, in our book, The elves bake cookies, so she really doesn't have anything to do. So it kind of became this. What does Mrs. Claus do? Throughout the year? Is she making toys? I mean, if she is cool, good for her. But I kind of that's part of Cuba Claus. It's kind of a dual story. It's, you know, the the young end story. And then the mom who's done raising her kids, what does she do with her life? She's trying to find her new passion. And that's why she's meddling because she doesn't know what it is yet. And he's bored. That's so cool.
I absolutely love that concept. Absolutely love it. I, I'm sort of the same way where I'm always in the worst place when I get an idea. So you know, whether it's in the shower or driving, or it's always somewhere where I can't write it down. So do you just rely on remembering it and that's how you know, it's a really good idea because you remember it, or like you have Kelsey, so you can call her and say, Hey, write this down.
I literally call Kelsey and be like, please write this down.
Generally, I know when she gets off work, so I'm like, Okay, it's, you know, whatever time it is, like Sarah is probably gonna call and then he'll call and be like, okay, to jewel thieves, like in a bank. And then one is actually an undercover cop, and I just have a pen. And a little, I keep notebooks, you know, on my nightstand, and I'll just, you know, jot some stuff down or whatever, whatever she's thinking. That's always great sounding board for both of us.
I mean, do you end up throwing away more than you use? Or do you feel like every idea you're trying to shape and work with at some point?
I feel like I throw away more than I use, okay. But I have to get excited. Kelsey said I over plot, I like to write romantic suspense on my own. Okay, and I've walked myself into multiple potholes before, thanks to being a pastor. So I tend to try and sit on the idea for a little while and see how I feel about it and see what characters would fit into that world. And if it excites me, I'll write it. If it doesn't. I'll leave it for another time. I end up, Kelsey sends the ideas to me and I end up like writing them down on the computer. So if I really want inspiration straight, like I have something to look at,
what about you, Kelsey, create your inspiration.
Um, I really just go based on what I wish would happen in my life or my friends lives. As far as romance goes, like what I would wish for like my best friends, you know, as far as they go on finding love, and I find a lot of inspiration as well when it comes to locations. I love nothing more than some castles and large estates and big cities and places that have a lot of dynamic settings. Like Sarah said, before I write a lot of historical a lot of my books take place in Scotland, I find the country fascinating and beautiful. And I love the juxtaposition of contemporary modern cities. And then 20 minutes down the road is are these great ancient ruins. So to me that's very romantic. And I really like to build off of those locations when I write romance because there's just built in places that people I feel could easily fall in love.
Very cool. Yeah, I I also write urban fantasy and I find the location inspires that more than my romance I've I I find I actually find my characters first for romance, and then I and then I sort of write them through the situation although right now all my books are set in Los Angeles. So there's your setting you know, but But you know, I do love you know, a good setting can really make you know, really get my my wheels turning in my head, you know, in terms of story. So that's super cool. Um, I want to start reading some scenes here because this is going to be a little bit different. I'm trying to sort of decide if I want to do it like the the sweet in the middle. I think I'm gonna start with the sweet you guys have a preference? Not particularly. Okay. Let me see. So this is from Okay, so this is a Sweet Christmas romance is from royally abandoned. So I'm just gonna start reading and here we go. Oh, God.
It's always crazy to hear your own stuff being sent back to you.
That was out loud. What I meant to say was I'm so excited. Please begin.
I'm not making you Rita. That's always
I always find it so much more awkward when I have to read my own stuff but okay, so, alright, book royally abandoned. This is a Sweet Christmas romance biting her lip, she slowly took the reins in her gloved hands. He could feel her intensely, instantly tense. Although the horse was just walking at that point to comfort her. He threw one arm over her shoulder and pulled her close. She seemed to relax even beginning to smile again as they made their way through the gardens. He couldn't believe he had set up something special for her. That went even better than he had dreamed sleigh rides through the snow, being pulled by a purebred stallion from an ancient bloodline wearing a fantastic gown. That was what Scarlet deserved. She made him want to give her the world and then some with his arm around her there mingling laughter, filling the air, the promise of a few more days together was enough to make him want to pull the horse to a stop, kiss her soundly and confess his love. There was love. You knew it to be true in his heart for the first time he had felt the initial spark when he'd set his eyes when he'd set eyes upon her on the side of the road. Never before had he had someone in his life who seemed to be as perfect companion in every way. He just wished he had the guts to put his feelings into words. He had taken the reins back and turn them towards the toward the main gates when it began to snow again, that flicks settled on them. And they filled the air with more of the winter magic he longed to show Scarlet. She seemed just as entranced at the sight of the castle as she gazed up at it are headlining upon his shoulder, grace and hoped it would always be like that between them, no matter what country he was in, or who he was, because it seemed as if she was content with him, no matter who he chose to be. My God, this was so wholesome, wholesome.
She's like, I just, I just died slowly inside now.
It was so much more. I mean, it was, you know, in their heads, it was in his head were in his head at this moment, you know, it was so much more in his head, his feelings, his emotions, right then their actions. Um, which I thought was so beautiful. And I like, Okay, first of all, as I was reading through this, I was super after talking to you both, I suddenly got very curious, do you know which parts you each wrote?
Not a clue.
No, which is cool. But they don't, they can't tell us for my two people, which is very flattering.
Yeah, like, that's really cool. I was I'm kind of like, I wonder if they can tell because I can't. Um,
we have sometimes we have a general idea of who wrote what part. But if you just gave us a couple lines, we probably couldn't figure it out.
That's awesome. Now, that's really awesome. I'm kind of curious, do you feel like that? Do you worry that you might be giving away too much? With the feelings with the feelings? Yeah.
No, I don't think so. A lot of his story, that's Grayson, who is who is just talking, is that he wants to give up the throne and be a normal person, because he's been wounded before by women who just wanted him for his crown. And he found this woman similar to like Crazy Rich Asians in the fact that he did not tell her who he was, or that he was a prince, or loaded or whatever. And him realizing like, she could love me for just who I am. That's one of his big moments. And it's very important for the plot. Because if you were to relate or something were to happen that would make him think otherwise. And so it's important that he makes that realization, because then when he's hurt later, you feel it in your gut, and it makes you want to just curl up in a ball and die.
Oh, was this dual point of view? Yes. Yeah. Okay. All right. I was just kind of curious about that. That's so cool. Okay, I want to jump. Oh, who wants to go first? Kelsey does
if you're following
only because she's a fabulous writer and everyone should hear what she has to say.
So we'll see this this is from what happens in the ruins which is Book Two of the what happens series Oh, this is a romantic comedy set in the Scottish Highlands. It no is this is this a period? Is this a historical or no, this is contemporary.
This is contemporary. I have a historical series that is that you know, historically set in Scotland and then this is the romantic, contemporary series.
Okay, cool. So um, my Scottish accent may or may not be on point today. We'll see how I do. Oh, no. I worked with a bunch of Scots at one point so it became like second nature and I was able to do it really well. But now I'm I'm very rusty, so I don't think I don't think I'm gonna get it but I might try. I might try if I'm feeling brave, okay. I was walking past the main door when a hand grabbed my arm. As I was pulled outside, I stifled a shriek, a shriek and blinked in the dim light trying to adjust so I could see, but I knew his fingers through the velvet on my hips and the smell of his cologne. You've been dodging me last, he said against my neck. I shivered and held on to his shoulders. What are you going to do about it? He didn't answer me with words but moved us to the edge of the wall where no one could see and pressed my back against the cold stone. Then he reached down slipping his hand up the hem of my dress and lifting it. His fingers were warm, teasing me as he pressed his lips to mine. I felt almost guilty about skipping out of my cousin's engagement bash, but Danny was an expert kisser and my knees went weak as he lately bit my lower lip. He continued his exploration at the juncture of my thighs, slipping a finger inside me. I melted at once my breathing growing heavy. Didn't tell you how beautiful you look. Tonight. He whispered in my ear. I've been thinking about you all week, open my mouth to answer but he chose that moment to start gently rubbing my clit and tonight ignore me. No, I said in a faint sighing voice almost didn't recognize I did. There were two fingers than both pressing inside me bringing me closer and closer to the brink of pleasure. And I can't have that what sort of friend would I be? He paused my breast, his thumb circling my nipple. I held on to a suit jacket for support, barely feeling the air around my bare legs are the ruins behind me. There was only Danny and me and Casten carnal desire that was all our own. I tried to touch him to drag up his kilt. But he moved away from my breast and took my wrist and his hand, pinning them above my head. He kissed me again, deepening it as the beginnings of an orgasm began to flood my body. It started in my core and shot through my chest, my arms and legs, leaving me a raw breathless bundle of nerves that craved more, a smile playing on his lips, he sorted my dress for me and fix the hair must by the stone. By the time I scatterbrain collective itself, he held out an arm for me to take playing the part of a perfect gentleman that didn't just have his hand up my skirt. I took it and allowed him to lead me back into the ruins. Right? Didn't think our absence had been missed. He dropped me beside Katie and Rose. But before he left, he leaned down and whispered, I'll see you later. Oh, by the air. So reading this right after the sweet scene was kind of wild.
Because the feelings that were going on in the sweet scene, the emotions that were stirring, were actually being conveyed a little, you know, through through the steam action. So there wasn't, it still felt intimate. It felt intimate in both moments, but in very different ways. Wow. Which was really cool. Um, were we in the book with this? What at what point were they?
Um, so for this particular book, they were childhood friends that reconnected as adults, they both have a shared trauma in their youth that sort of shaped them. And their, you know, future current relationship. So at this point, they had already had sex entered into this sort of Friends with Benefits relationship. And when he's, he's saying what sort of friend would I be, um, he doesn't want to just be friends with her. He wants a deeper, better connection with her something real and romantic, whereas she isn't ready to make that sort of commitment to him. And so he's just really enjoying teasing her in these inopportune moments to be like, Okay, you want more of this? Okay, well, bye. Have fun at the party. Like go ahead, be, you know, entertain others and whatever. I'll just, I'll just be over here. I'll see you later. Just giving her these little taste of physical intimacy as he sort of in the book fights for the deeper emotional connection as well.
That's really that's really cool. I really love the scene. It was foof was super steamy.
Love Yeti. He's one of my faves.
Series Sarah just terror attacks me. She was like, Yeah, sorta my favorite.
Okay, sorry, you're up. Okay. All right. So this is from the I'm Carrie. Did you guys pick each other scenes?
No, I didn't know what scene she was picking. But I was at work and didn't have my scenes on me. And so when she said she needs a scene, I kind of sent her like, here are two ideas. And I picked from those two so she knew which one I was picking. I didn't realize she was sending up a Sorcha and Danny.
Okay, cool, cool. So okay, so this is from third wheel, which is book three in the Elton Hall Chronicles. Sara, can you set this up for us? What's going on here?
I can. So Christie is a good girl. She's always done what she's been told. She's got a fiance, who's perfect sort of fiance, I guess I should say, boyfriend at this point. And her whole life is mapped ahead of her. She's going to follow him around to whichever military base he said on she's going to have babies, she's going to raise them. Her whole life is set. And she kind of has a full blown panic attack. I was like, this isn't what I want. No, thank you. And she starts dating Shane, and her boyfriend who's not ready to listen to the fact that she's done is like it's okay. You go have fun. When you're done. I'll be here because you know, I'm your your final choice here. He's nothing and she's like, Okay, I'm gonna have fun, but we're really done. And so she goes, and she's trying to date the bad boy and get that out of our system. She thinks and try and experience something else then a cookie cutter life that's been planned for her. It's actually based off one of my friends who was going through something very similar. Oh, wow. And I told her I was like, Okay, well, I'm gonna write you this epic romance to remind you about the choice that you made. Because she left the perfect guy.
Oh, what did she say? What did she think after she read it?
She loves it. Do you think?
Wow, that's Oh my god. That's so
I might be biased. But um, the the male character you'll see a little bit of him in the scene, obviously. But he is literally when I read a romance novel. I always connect it to Is he as good as Shane is he is witty Is he as charming as he is cheeky. And Sarah must be sick of hearing it.
Oh, that's fantastic. I love it. So he's sort of like, at least for Kelsey, the quintessential, quintessential romantic hero.
I call him he's a he's a bad boy class clown. You know, he always always got a comment but he illegally street races on the weekend. And he's got money so he'll buy you whatever you want. But there's gonna be a string attached when he buys it. You know? He's just he's kind of fun that way.
Very cool. Okay, good. I'm a racecar driver car sex is always on my mind. He set up a bit reaching for the center console, there was an unopened box sitting there. Good to know that even though it's on your mind you haven't gotten any before now I teased and kissed him again running my fingers through his hair, pulling it until Shane let out a grown. I slid down shades Shane's body a little and pulled off his belt, frantically undoing the button and zipper but as boxers were still in the way, Shane lifted his hips pushing me up in the process and slid his boxers and pants off. I laughed and gap and grasped a hold of him feeling how hard he was enjoying the effect I had on him. He reached up under my skirt and tried to slip my panties off. But I was in the wrong position for this. I couldn't get them off and I was a little embarrassed. See this is why I normally don't wear them they get in the way Shane kiss me again and and then pulled away to reach into the center console again. His hand came out with a knife. Shane I started to say a little nervous and maybe more excited than I should be relaxing insisted and slid my dress up revealing the LaCie tan thong I was wearing. He pulled the band away from my skin and quickly caught it with two different swipes. The panties fell down and I quickly ripped into the condom box covering Shan as fast as I could. He closed the knife and tossed it back in the center center console. We haven't had sex since the time in the field and I was craving it like a drug. As he slid inside me I felt a flow through my system that was quickly followed by a flowing sensation as my muscles tensed with pleasure. I started writing Shane hold is holding his arms down so he could do nothing but watch as I ground against him tilting my hips forward to reach my deepest spot. gasped began to form their way out of my mouth as I felt impulsing inside me getting ready to find his release. Shane quickly swallowed my moans as he fought my hold and grabbed my head pulling to a fearsome and passionate kiss. But I couldn't hold on I broke away as the climax hit me hard feeling shame following me over the edge. He screamed a lot louder than me. As we both enjoyed the After Effects bursting through us holy hotness.
A little different than really abandoned.
Oh, just a little bit. I mean it's pretty wild. How different How really different when you read these all together? How really different the sweet is from the steamy it is totally wild that you're able to jump between both?
Yeah, I wish I had words.
I'm impressed. I'm like, Oh, I'm totally impressed. Because I'm just like, yeah, no, I don't know that I could do this.
You have to be in the mindset. You know, there are days when I can't write sweet romance. It's just not that day. There are days when I need to write something, see me. And I think it goes to my mindset when I'm writing. I'm not one of those people who's like, I have a book too. I'm going to sit down and write this. I have to be in in the mood, which I guess I should work on. But I always call it My fingers are itching, like my fingers at night. Which I guess is why I marathon it. Because if I'm in the mood to write, I'm gonna write 5000 10,000 words and ago, and then I won't write for a week.
Wow. Wow, see, I can't I can't do that I need to I kind of write in like, shorter bursts. Like I can't sit down and just do five or 7000 words. It's really amazing that you can. Kelsey, what's your process like that? Or are you a little bit more? I don't know, Lee? Or a little bit more consistent? Or do you just like write a whole lot and then stop for a little bit?
Well, I have a six year old on a seven year old and a three month old at home. Wow.
Oh, wow. Okay.
I write whenever I have time to write, um, before this new baby was born, it was a lot easier. And you know, when my when my older daughter started school, then I could just write whenever I felt like writing during the day, whenever I felt like writing. And then you know, COVID happened and she was home all the time. So that it sort of slimmed down my writing time a little bit more, and then the baby was born, it will go down a little bit more. So um, I do a lot of writing at night when my husband gets home from work. And sometimes during nap time. And sometimes my older daughter will come and sit with me and she has her notebooks and her, you know, her little toolbox of crayons and pencils and whatnot. And she'll write a book too. So it's kind of how I find some pockets of time to I wish I could marathon but I I'm jealous. That's how I'm surviving now.
Wow. Oh, wow, this was awesome. You too. Thank you so much for sharing, like all of your work and being like my very first duo. I Minaj. I guess my first three songs. Yes. Thank you so much for that because this is was like really, he said it was so cool. Just reading everything all together.
And I hope Hallmark hearing it out loud, like that is very different. We've never really had anybody read them back to that like that.
Just stalking them is so cool. And honestly, it sounds like you know it the what was really kind of amazing to me is how different the voices themselves were. So it's clear that you have these very different voices in these books, which is really cool, because your books are never going to sound the same. Yeah. Which I think is awesome. So what is next for you? What is next for the pair together and also separately.
We got love at first spark which is Book Two in the operation Valentine Hazel oaks resort series, which basically, in your head, you can imagine killer mins from Dirty Dancing, but updated. Perfect. And it's about a woman who created a dating app and a guy who believes dating apps are garbage, and how they fight with each other to see if science is real or if feelings are real, or can you find signs and feelings and that kind of stuff. I like it a lot. Main Character basing off of Jason Momoa no shame.
It's helped our inspiration a lot to picture Jason Momoa doing all of these little romantic and sometimes very mundane daily chores.
Oh, no, this is gonna be sweet. Yes. So it's not Jason Momoa stripped down.
I mean, you know
Jason Mm hmm. Not as stripped down as we would like.
more clothes than than we would like and then and then what about separately? Do you have projects coming up?
I don't have anything official. I'm working on a another college series that covers a secret society and There's an order and they had to figure out who did it. And, oh, it's a whole lot of you know, there's a virgin auction there. So it's very similar to Hazel oaks. Yeah. And I like suspense. So it's going to be a very romantic suspense book. So we'll see what happens with it when I finish it.
Cool. And Kelsey, what do you have separately? Um,
I also don't have anything contracted at the moment. I've been playing with a dark romance. Mafia. Yeah. So it's, again, different. I've been doing a lot of romantic comedies, and, you know, standard contemporary romance. So this is a little bit of a departure from my usual thing. A lot more cursing, a lot dirtier. Not quite erotica. But, you know, bumping the heat level up a notch or two, too. I don't know, get a little bit of danger going in there. You just kind of, yeah, what made you decide to go dark? I think I've, the last couple of series that I've written. There really isn't a lot of dark elements. It's a lot, the issues are a lot more emotional and less outside of the couple and their personal relationship. If somebody does die, it's in a historical book, where you know, having a sword fight is not that crazy. It's pretty standard, you know, when you're fighting over a lady's hand. But then you have the mafia enforcer with a gun. I thought that level of danger would be interesting. I really wanted to try to get out of my himbo contemporary comedy realm and then really branch off into something that was a little more challenging.
Oh, really, really cool. Do you is as far as like readers, like, Do you have a preference within the sub genres of romance to read that you find you're always picking up something?
I love romantic suspense. It has got a murder. I'm very excited. I studied criminal justice in college. So I just kind of like that. Police, FBI involved. Let's figure it out for the cops do type thing.
That's a great degree to have as a writer, like I'm always kicking myself, that I don't have like a psych degree or a criminal justice degree or something like that. I'm like, I could do so much more if I had a degree like
I have fun with it. Yeah, I recommend it.
Do you have do you have a preference in terms of like a sub genre that you read?
Well, I went to college for history, and then I have a minor in genocidal studies, which does not translate well into romance. But I enjoy a lot of historical romance. Philippa Gregory, that sort of thing. Outlander, obviously. Right. And then I also really like romantic comedies. You know, Bridget Jones diary, Shopaholic series, like a lot of lighter things.
Okay. But now that you're reading darker, are you starting to read, like read more dark books?
When I write something, I try to stay away from reading in that realm. Like I'm working on a historical book. I try to not move historical romances because I don't want to accidentally overstep into somebody else's world. Yeah,
I'm the same way.
I don't want to do it. I obviously don't do it on purpose, but just something might stick and I went, I realize it's tech, so I'm just completely paranoid. By that for some reason. Yeah. Somehow I'm going to regurgitate somebody else's great idea, and then not even put it together until later and I just so I'm actually reading like, historical romances now, while I'm working on both the sweet romance with Sarah and then the dark romance by myself. So there's literally no overlap there.
So cool. Okay, best place to find you on the internet. Where do you like to hang out?
We hang out everywhere we have. We're on. We're both on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. We do a lot of our profiles together. Like we love Instagram, and our tag is a Kiss at Midnight. And we run that together. We run our Facebook together. We also have tic toc. But if you go to our Instagram, we have a link tree that has all of our links to look up Twitter, Facebook, everything everywhere. You can find us you can find general entry, or Instagram a Kiss at Midnight.
That's perfect. And that's great. That's so cool that you have sort of like one place to go even and this is even your individual books you're promoting on there. too, I'm guessing.
Yeah, we have we have a codependent problems.
We're both married basically,
I think that's really great because sometimes like your, because sometimes it just sucks when you're going it alone. It's really nice to have a partner.
Oh, it's fantastic. Yeah, we both really work on our strengths, like Sarah is really good at analyzing trends and finding out what works and doesn't work, you know, on Instagram, for example. Whereas I really enjoy graphic design, I do it, you know, personally publicly, I just really like manipulating images and things like that. So she'll say, okay, so this is what gets the most views last week and percentages here. And like most of our viewers are the United States, between these ages, whatever, wow. And then she'll tell me kind of what she thinks we need and then so I'll be able to build the graphics or build the teasers or things like that. So we have a really nice balance of using both of our strengths to kind of make one cohesive author.
That is so cool. I absolutely love that. That's awesome. Well, all of these links to all of the places will be in the show notes. So listeners can just pop over there and, and check it out as well. But if you know you're driving or something, it's a Kiss at Midnight on Instagram. There you will find a link tree. Sara Kelsey, thank you so much for joining me, it was really great to have you.
Thanks for having us.
We have a lot of fun. It was fun. It was kind of crazy hearing really abandoned up against our steamier that's the first time I've ever had them. I don't wanna say competing because that's not right. You know, books aren't competing with each other, but kind of have them back to back and go whoa, wow.
from panties. Versus Asli. Right.
So different so different.
Tactically in vehicle.
Yeah. Oh, good point. Good point.
What do you do what the days were given.
Thank you both so much.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:13
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