Happy new week to you all. I hope wherever you are you've been safe and warm. Much of the US has been dealing with some rocky weather. Here in Northern Florida the wind is riding the tail of the storm and let me tell you it's whistling outside. Up home in NJ the temps have reached sub zero. Pete even told me there was a tornado down near Ft. Meyers. Well, it may be chilly, but we are going to heat things up a bit Around The Fire with today's guest, uhm, guests. Here we go...
Welcome to my fire Adreana Kraft. I hear you’ll bring some heat to spice it up. And it’s been cold for quite a bit now. Before we get started, I’d like to give a heads up to those joining us today.
So, to my other guests, if you can’t stand the heat yada yada yada—today’s blog is PG, but my author guest’s book is rated “R.” I read all sorts of genres, and most are welcome here. So, if you like your stories like I like my chili, check out the book. And even if the book is not for you, Adriana Kraft is someone you want to read about.
Grab a warm cuppa and pull your chair a bit closer to the fire. It’s time to dig in.
Adriana, there seems to be more than one person here. This is already a more intriguing visit. Everyone has their own story, one for the cover and then the one we share as friends. Tell us who you are other than your official bio?
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a pair of former academics. A couple decades ago – before we left our day jobs – we decided we might have more fun writing romance together than the dry academic publications on which we sometimes collaborated. Knowing almost nothing, we penned our first manuscript together and started submitting. This was before e-pubs had hit the market, so it meant we printed and shipped multiple first chapters and synopses off to agents and publishers. No one took us up (we quickly learned how flawed our manuscript was), but one agent took the time to send us the comment that we wrote sexual tension well. That sounded like even more fun…
A writing duo. How great that you have each other to bounce things off. And thank goodness for the one person who gave you direction. What interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
First, let me say how much we love the title of your “Around the Campfire” blog – we’ve always loved the outdoors, and we were both avid tent campers before we met. We took my husband’s three boys along on our honeymoon camping trip to the Rockies, and when we later lived in the west, often took advantage of the nearby forested mountains. I’ve attached a photo from one of those trips to the high Uintas.
When we lived in northern Minnesota, we tramped down a mile-long cross-country ski trail with our snowshoes and even skied it by moonlight one frosty night (as in twenty below…). Here in Arizona, we still love hiking, and we especially love exploring the many historic native sites across the state.
It goes without saying we’re both avid readers in a wide range of genres, not just romance. Probably because we both have many UK ancestors (Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland), we’ve recently been reading marvelous UK bios and historical fiction from the fall of Rome through the Tudor era, all the time wondering how and where ours lived at the time.
I used to live in Brainerd, MN. Much of my family history is out of the UK. We have much in common. Knowing now that you write as a duo, you have a built-in support system, but who else do you turn to?
Since there are two of us, we’re each other’s primary writing support network, along with our publisher’s editing team. When we first got started and lived in the Midwest, we joined some author groups and took lots of workshops to hone our skills. I’ve also stayed in close touch with two circles of women, one from my undergraduate years and one from grad school. These women are always an important sounding board for me.
Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
That answer is probably different for each of us. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and have succeeded in converting Mr. Kraft through some excellent movies, especially the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly. Mr. Kraft grew up reading Zane Grey and Willa Cather. Not long after those early rejections started pouring in, we were fortunate to take a two-day workshop with Jennifer Cruise, whose books we both admire greatly.
Jane Austen to Zane Grey, I see how you each bring something different to the table. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I suppose our most outrageous talent is that all our lives, we’ve been unafraid to try out new and different talents. I’m classically trained in piano and organ, play guitar and recorder, and attempted the hammered dulcimer until carpal tunnel interfered. I’m a contralto and have sung all my life, sometimes in choirs, sometimes in community choruses. Mr. Kraft has recently taken up the native flute and is quite natural and lovely with it. I’m known (sometimes) as a lethal ping pong player, and I once won a limbo contest. I took up golf four years ago and can sometimes make a par; Mr. Kraft, having golfed at a much younger age, resumed at about the same time and is quite respectable. He has recently taken up drawing. The important thing about all these endeavors is that we enjoy them, and we’re good enough for it to be satisfying (well, golf is sometimes an exception…)
Lol! My DH keeps saying he’ll teach me to golf. He used to be on a team and later enjoyed playing with his family. I, however, am exceptional at Wii Golf. You mentioned living in Minnesota and Arizona more recently; can you tell us what your neighborhood is like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them unique?
We live in a 55+ community in a small town between Phoenix and Tucson. Our immediate community has all the organized activities and opportunities typically found in such places. We get great bands in for our frequent dances, and we learned country/western dance through classes here so we could join in. Our small town may not be much to look at, but it has a few lovely touches – a nice golf course, a couple intriguing restaurants, and a newly opened espresso café that reminds us of our favorite cafés back in the Midwest, featuring local artists on the walls and hosting music events and other community gatherings. We based our most recent release, I Am Not For Sale, on these cafés.
Sounds like a great place to live, work, and play. I have a few short random questions for us to get to know you better. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Bette Midler’s “The Rose.” It captures so much about each of us. When we married, we each wrote our own wedding vows, and I quoted from “The Rose” in mine, the stanza that begins with “It’s the heart, afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.”
Did you ever win something?
The first thing I ever won was a brownie camera, at about age 11 or 12. I’d entered a contest from a TV science show and got the correct answer. My parents made me give it to my younger sister since I already had a camera.
For several years, Mr. Kraft and I raised boxers and participated in dog shows with them. Nothing Westminster-worthy, but we did finish a champion and bred her for two litters. Our Boxer Club always held raffles at our shows to benefit the Boxer Rescue, and two different years we won the largest prize. One was a hand-crafted mosaic garden stone with a beautiful brindle boxer who looked just like our girl. The other was a sitting and free photo with a glamour dog photographer – not something that was ever on my bucket list, but now that she’s gone, we’re glad we have it.
What was your first job?
My very first job was day camp counselor for 8-year-old girls – plus, all counselors drove VW busses on a route to pick up campers. I had to pass the county School Bus Driver’s test to take that job! Mr. Kraft’s first job was stocking shelves at a Wisconsin Piggly-Wiggly—that is, if you don’t count the fact that he started working on the family dairy farm at age 8, driving a tractor.
What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
I was all set to tell you about witnessing a strange cloudy phenomenon and explosion near the Pleiades one evening that turned out to be a SpaceX booster firing, but then I re-read the question and realized you said “natural” occurrence. So I’ll talk instead about standing on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in August of 2015 and watching an intense thunderstorm come towards us. If you’ve never been to the North Rim, you may not realize that its Visitor Center is built on a promontory that juts out into the canyon – with its floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, you feel you are in the canyon itself. We were mesmerized for over an hour, standing safe inside in the middle of the storm. The next morning, we had to take a 100-mile detour because the storm had washed out our major exit route with a giant mudslide.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
We always read our reviews. We’re happy for good news (which most of them are!) and use quotations from them in our social media promos. Bad news? Rare, but of course, it smarts at first. We do take it seriously enough to examine whether we think the criticism is accurate and worth paying attention to or whether it’s merely from someone who prefers a different kind of romance.
I have a couple pet peeves – one is when a reviewer docks us because the book was too short, and we’ve created it as a short story or novella on purpose. The other is when one of our characters gets slut-shamed. We write erotic romance, and we write women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go get it. Readers who dislike such women will probably never like our work.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
This would be a tie between the Jennifer Cruise workshop I mentioned earlier, and the purchase of a $20 book we continue to use as a reference: The Magic of Fiction, by Beth Hill. I highly recommend that book for anyone who’s just getting started or who wants to become more proficient at editing their own work.
It’s been so much fun getting to know you both. The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list. Thank you for stopping by the fire. Before you head off to dancing, golfing, or one of your other activities, would you leave us a bit about where to find you and your books?
I Am Not for Sale
It’s nothing personal…
It all seems simple enough—Ukrainian immigrant Nadja Petrov is determined to hold on to her thriving new coffee shop, Nadja’s Literary Cappuccino, and Java Beans District Rep Kevin Langley is equally determined to move into her North Iowa town with a franchise and run her out of business.
He scopes her out, she keeps a watchful eye on him, and the sparring begins. But there are other players involved, and the web of intrigue soon threatens Nadja, her shop, and her aunt as well as Kevin, his potential franchise, and his son. Within this cauldron simmers a sexual attraction between Nadja and Kevin that catapults them to overcome their fears of intimacy and commitment. Their lovemaking is tender and raw. Their love is nearly lost in tragedy—can it survive doubts, fire, and even a death?
*****Five Stars from N. N. Light: “The romance is so hot, you may have to call the fire department. But it’s the character development throughout I am Not for Sale which makes this such an incredible story.
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1140503297
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing sizzling romantic suspense and erotic romance. The award-winning pair has published over forty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews.
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Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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