Tuesday, February 12, 2019

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: KRISTINA LUCKEY







Detailed to a fault, screenwriter turned author, Kristina Luckey, was an animation writer and story editor on a number of popular series such as The Pink Panther, Pup Scooby Doo, and The Smurfs. Look her up in Wikipedia and her name surfaces among a few elite writers for Disney, Hanna-Barbara, MGM and more.

Author Luckey, a Californian through and through, managed to switch hats effortlessly, delving full force into contemporary romance with her debut novel, Pleasure Cove.
This self-proclaimed foodie who has tangled with well-known and obscure eateries from a laid-back Jungle Cry drink to Japanese cuisine, (kimchi, buta shumai toko-ten, tempura, pistachio puree) has applied that same delicious, mouth-watering flair to her writing.
Steamy scenes practically drip off the pages of her multi-layered and well-plotted stories. They would easily make Papa Smurf shift from blue to bright red. There’s no doubt, Luckey’s characters, most of whom are world-traveled and often indulge in the finer aspects of life, are for the adult, savvy reader.
Pleasure Cove centers on Keely Mack, a past professional surfer and her former, yet painful, romance with Brett Garrett. Together, these two ride a tumultuous wave, gliding in and out of old wounds, leaving readers on an emotional edge as to the turnout for the heroine and hero.

I was able to draw a bit more from author Luckey in this eye-opening interview:

How did the story for Pleasure Cove come about?

All my life I’ve spent a lot of time on the coast either in, on, or above the water and love anything to do with the ocean. My family and I go to the Vans US Open of Surfing every summer in Huntington Beach. I was mulling a trope in my head and watching the pros surfing when I started asking myself questions about this lifestyle. There is a real athleticism, beauty, and strength to both the rider and the environment that led to Pleasure Cove. The idea grew like a small swell that turns into a large wave I had to ride. Instead of grabbing a surfboard, I grabbed my keyboard and turned the idea into a second-chance romance. I didn’t want the hero to be the surfer and my heroine some surf bunny. I needed her to be as strong as the hero. Keely, a professional surfer, was born and she’d need a conflict to conquer. I thought about loss fear and what it takes to overcome them, then I decided Keely would be a young widow who lost her husband in a surfing accident. Now, what she once loved is the source of her pain and she’ll leave that world to raise her daughter. Brett, her first love, who blew it the first go around seeks another chance at being her hero. He knows he can’t approach her directly and sets up a surf team to woo her back onto the water and him. I had my story.


What process did you apply to create memorable characters?

I always start with setting and careers for my hero and heroine. Once I have that, I focus on my heroine, who will always be strong, smart, and independent. With a strong heroine, you need an equally strong hero to create the conflict and friction needed for a great romance. Good conflict comes from within the characters. Each will need something personal to overcome and a goal they must complete. Usually, these goals are opposing and add to the conflict between the hero and heroine. In Pleasure Cove, Keely’s internal struggle is about being true to herself and weighing the risk involved in surfing and being safe and present for her daughter. Brett must overcome his playboy past and prove he’s a changed man who can be trusted by Keely. Then I add the layers to my hero and heroine. I ask myself questions like what is their background? Ethnicity? Education? Social status? Finances? What do they look like? Do they have a quirk? And on and on…once I have all the ingredients, I drop the characters into the setting and career I started with and let the sparks fly.

What are some of the pitfalls in this industry?

I think there are different issues depending on the route to publishing you take. Traditional publishing requires the writer to seek an agent or query smaller publishing houses. The pitfalls start with querying. Agents and publishers are receiving thousands of queries a week. The writer is lucky if they get a response. Many agents and publishers will state on their submission forms that a time period without a response is a no. Those times vary from 2 weeks to 3 months. If you get a response, then there is the waiting time for them to read your partial or full. That read can take 3 to 6 months before you’re either accepted, rejected or asked to rewrite and resubmit, and at this point, the writer is nine months into the query process.

Time is the big pitfall. If the writer has all the time in the world then this is the route for them. I’ve found that the traditional publishing world likes to ask for certain tropes and genres. Say paranormal is selling big or chick lit. If the writer bends themselves to these requests before they’re done with a manuscript or the querying process the fad may be dead and publishers are now looking for something else.

A pitfall of Indie publishing is that it requires the writer to be a businessperson. The indie writer does everything a publisher would do for the traditionally published writer.

The indie writer must provide their own funds to produce the book. If the indie wants success then they must have professional looking covers, formatting, and editing. That costs money. The indie needs to master marketing, which means understanding how to advertise, which also means money out of the writer’s wallet. The indie takes all the risk on themselves but when successful, the writer keeps more income produced by the book than they would have if they were traditionally published. Another pitfall is that many readers have been trained by indie writers to expect books for 99 cents or less. So, a writer’s ninety thousand word work of art is now worth less than a latte that will be drunk in ten minutes. This is a writer’s livelihood, not a hobby, and writers should value themselves, their work, and charge a fair price.

What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

After you’ve discovered what genre stokes your fire, find writers who have a similar style to you. Study their structure, description, voice and then use that as a jumping off point to create your world. Be open to criticism. Learn story structure and the rules of your genre and then know when and how to break those rules. Read, read, read. Also, if you’re seeing dollar signs and someone else’s success as motivation to become a writer, then it is a disservice to the readers. I like to remind myself that the next big thing isn’t being written by those emulating the last bestseller, it’s being written by a writer who is creating their own world.

To contact this author and/or purchase her book, check out these websites:

Other sites include: IMDb