"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
I was born and raised in Mariposa, a rural enclave of Yosemite National Park. I’ve lived in Yosemite, California’s Bay Area, the Portuguese Azores, and currently reside in the Red Carpet Country of northern Oklahoma where I work as a Patient Safety Manager for the Department of Defense.
As TL Schaefer I write contemporary romantic mysteries with a witchy theme and paranormals.
As Keira Ramsay, I write the hot stuff *g*.
An Interview with Keira Ramsay
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Keira R.: I've been writing since I was a little girl...stories about the things I saw going on around me, letters to the editor, that kind of thing. I wrote my first book at sixteen, and it's now hidden in a not-to-be-disclosed location...ever! It was BAD, folks. After high school I did the "life" thing, which included being a volunteer firefighter, a front desk manager, a waitperson, a store manager and a shoe salesperson (yeah, been there, done that). I got married, got to see a bit of the world (my hubby recently retired from the Air Force), and then, when we returned to the US, I got a story idea as we were driving home for a family reunion. I played with it in my head the entire time we were home visiting the relatives, and when we got back to Oklahoma, I thought, why not? My husband totally supported me in this new venture, and from that, The Summerland (my first mainstream) was born. That was in 1999/2000, and since then I've written five full-length books as TL Schaefer, one full-length as Keira, and five novellas as Keira. I can't see myself ever not writing again...there are too many people living in my head!! Seems like as soon as I get one story out, there are two more jockeying for position *g*. Right now I've got two more TL books in progress, as well as two Keira novellas. It's obviously seriously crowded up in the ole noggin! LOL
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Keira R.: I try to write between 500 and 1,000 words a day (usually pump out more on weekends), and that actually works for me. I enjoy my day job as a patient safety manager very much, and can’t imagine staying home and writing full-time, simply because I thrive on the challenges and personal interaction I get day-to-day. As for off time, I love reading (of course), watching the Discovery Channel and decorating the 100-year old house we just purchased.
PNR: You also write under the name T.L. Schaefer; what influenced your decision to use a pseudonym?
Keira R.: Actually, TL Schaefer came first…I write paranormal mysteries/romantic suspense under that name, and when I started writing the hotter stuff, I didn’t want my readers picking up an erotic work and not getting what they’d paid for. Conversely, a person expecting an erotic book would be disappointed by the heat level in my TL Schaefer books.
PNR: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Keira R.: A lifetime of falling in love with the written word has always been my biggest influence. When it comes to support, my husband is my number one cheerleader…even if he doesn’t read fiction! My critique partners and RWA chapter have also been huge in pushing me forward where I might have stumbled, and helping me break through any blocks I might have encountered.
PNR: Most authors are avid readers; what is your favorite genre to read? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Keira R.: I’m in love with romantic suspense and paranormal romance. When it comes to erotic romance, those are my favorites as well. My TBR pile currently has names like Nora (of course), Karen Rose, Jennifer Skully, Gena Showalter, Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent and Kresley Cole. I also read a ton of e-books, and autobuys for me on that front are Leigh Wyndfield, PG Forte and Violet Summers.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Keira R.: Emotional impact is huge for me. Plot and characterization are obviously the bones, but you can have a great plot and fabulous characterization which falls flat if there’s no emotional impact for the reader. As a reader, I want to absolutely buy into what’s happening to the hero and heroine.
PNR: Congratulations, readers and reviewers are excited about the May 2008 release of BREATH OF HEAVEN from Liquid Silver Books; the fourth book in your RuneQuest series. Could you tell us what inspired this magical fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Keira R.: Actually, BREATH is the last book in the novella series. When I started writing the RuneQuest series, it was actually meant to be a straight-up paranormal, written under my TL Schaefer pseudonym, but Baptism by Fire (the first novella) just screamed that it could be hotter, so I finished it up as an erotic romance and pitched the series to my publisher Liquid Silver and they bought it on concept. When it comes to inspiration as a whole, I started Baptism off a writing exercise my local RWA chapter (OKRWA) and it just flew from there.
PNR: Could you tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and stories? How much research is involved?
Keira R.: Because I write paranormals almost exclusively (both as TL and Keira), I’ve got lots of research on hand when it comes to woo-woo stuff. Most of my characters also involve a character in “authority”, be they a cop, soldier or firefighter, so I have information on those career fields as well. It doesn’t hurt that I was a firefighter, and my husband retired from the military a few years ago.
Research and first-hand knowledge are intrinsic to world building, if you’re going to make your mythos believable.
I even used some of the research I’d done at the beginning of the series to write the first Terran Realm book, REDEMPTION.
PNR: Could you give us some insight into the mythology of your Fae that is the thread to connect your stories?
Keira R.: You’re going to laugh, but a lot of the initial mythology and inspiration for me on this series started with a picture book, James Froud’s THE RUNES OF ELFLAND. I already knew I was writing about the Fae, and his pictures and mythology inspired me even further. From there I devoured several more research books, and decided I wanted to thread an internal war between the pixies and the fae into the whole series, making it the backbone of each book.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Keira R.: Definitely character driven. I always have a picture of a character in my head before the plot comes into play. As a seat-of-your-pants writer, I sometimes hit a dead end or two and have to backtrack, but every time I’ve tried to plot a book out, it fails miserably.
PNR: You write wonderfully appealing character that readers really connect to; could you tell us about her development? Who has been your favorite character to write?
Keira R.: Rhiannon is another thread that runs through the entire series. As the leader of the Fae, her first person narrative begins each novella, giving a bit of backstory, so if a reader picks up a story out of order, they won’t be thoroughly confused. Because of that, she’s my favorite, because I got to watch her evolve as I wrote. To be honest, I love all of the characters in this series. Each are strong in their own way, with frailties that make them more human, and make their choices that much easier to understand.
PNR: The folklore of the Fae has long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel it is such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre? What is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Keira R.: I love the concept of the Fae in general, whether they be beings of light and love, or dark predators of uncommon beauty. I’m reading Karen Moning’s DarkFever right now and absolutely adoring her spin on the mythos. For me, part of it is the concept of being steeped in history…taking something that’s tried and true and putting your own signature on it. When I wrote this series, I dove as deeply into the runes as much as I did the fae.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level in your books? Do you find it difficult to write love scenes?
Keira R.: My TL Schaefer books tend to have more of a relationship arc, and when the hero and heroine do end up in the sack, it’s because that’s how the relationship has progressed naturally. With Keira, the whole concept is eroticism, so the sensuality level is higher. At Liquid Silver we describe our lines as Liquid and Molten, with Molten obviously being the hotter, more titillating stories to include bondage, alternative lifestyles, etc. Mine definitely fall into the Liquid category.
As for love scenes, that first one, in BLINK OF AN EYE, was definitely hard, but now I think I’ve got the hang of it…I’ll leave readers to decide that.
PNR: You have written in the contemporary, urban fantasy and paranormal genres; is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Keira R.: I’m working on a futuristic set in a post-apocalyptic world right now, and it’s a blast!
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Keira R.: Right now I’m shopping around a paranormal romantic suspense as TL, and I actually dreamed a vampire story last week (first time for that!), so I’m outlining that a bit right now. Next year I’ll be putting out a fireman novella as Keira, as well as the futuristic.
PNR: Thank you, Keira, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Keira R.: Thank you!! I have excerpts, links to ongoing contests, and some fun links at my website www.tlschaefer.com or www.keiraramsay.com I also blog on pretty regular basis, and love to see what other folks are saying, so come on out and play!!
Liquid Silver Books
May 5, 2008
RuneQuest: Book 4
The final battle in the war between the fae and the pixies is at hand. Each faction will stop at nothing to reclaim the remaining two runes, and cement their position of power within the Realm.
Rhiannon, Moira to the fae, and Liam, pixie troubadour, have faced each other across such a battlefield before, and neither came away the winner. Now they must join forces to defeat a foe two centuries in the making. But they must confront more than an ancient enemy bent on world domination, they must fight their attraction for one another, and the treasonous implications of a desire that could join their worlds together, or rip them apart forever.
Don't miss the first three titles in the RuneQuest SeriesBuy it Now! Buy it Now! Buy it Now!
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