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September 27, 2010

Kathy Ivan Says Write What You Love

My special guest today is fellow Carina Press author, Kathy Ivan. Her romantic suspense Desperate Choices is out today! Congrats on your release, Kathy. I’m off shopping at Carina Press…

A good friend once told me write what you love and love what you write. I firmly believe that. She said unless you love your story and what you have written, how can you expect the reader to love it? I sometimes forget that’s my job as a storyteller. It’s the reason I love to write. I want to tell people a story, with a compelling beginning, middle, and an emotionally satisfying ending that they will remember and think about after they have “put down the book.”

TDesperate Choiceshat’s the case with Desperate Choices. I loved the story as I outlined it, figuring out who each of the characters was, what motivated them to make the choices they make throughout the book. If I was in the same situation, would I make the same choices?

Back cover: When psychic Theresa Crawford’s former beau walks into her New Orleans New Age shop, she senses trouble. Big trouble. Max Lamoreaux hasn’t come to discuss their relationship—the private investigator is on a case, and he needs Theresa’s help.

Max’s godson is missing. The police have declared Tommy a runaway, but Max’s gut tells him otherwise. While he’s highly skeptical of Theresa’s abilities, her visions provide the only clue as to who’s taken Tommy. The longer Max works with Theresa, the harder it is to resist his desire for the sexy woman.

As they inch closer to finding Tommy, Max and Theresa also discover that time hasn’t diminished their powerful attraction. But Theresa harbors her own dark secrets from her past. Secrets that broke them up before—and could drive them apart again, unless Theresa can learn to trust Max with everything….

Purchase Desperate Choices from Carina Press

For those of you who are readers, there is an excerpt from Desperate Choices on my website. There’s also a book trailer there for the book.

For those of you who are writers (or interested in writing), here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.


1. Never give up. I know everybody says that, but it’s the truth. I decided it was time to retire Desperate Choices. After making a deal with one of my critique partners that I’d send it out one last time (to Carina Press), I gave it one final shot. That was on March 6, 2010. I got the call on May 11, 2010.

2. Get good critique partners. Have people read your manuscript who will give you honest constructive feedback. It’s easy to find people who will read your work and gush and say how wonderful it is, but that won’t get you one step closer to publication; it’ll just make you feel good for the moment. Having people who aren’t afraid of yielding the dreaded red pen and slashing and hacking at your baby may hurt, but it will ultimately make you a better writer.

3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; be true to what you write and write what you love. If you don’t believe and love the story you’re writing, trust me, the reader will be able to tell that in a minute.

CONTEST: Win a download of Desperate Choices by Kathy Ivan! Ask Kathy a question about her book or tell us what your favorite crime/romantic suspense television show is or about a favorite romantic suspense book you’ve read this year.

BIO: Kathy can’t remember a time when books and reading weren’t a part of her daily life. She was blessed with a mother who instilled in her a love of reading at a young age. This progressed into a passion for the written word in all forms, which led to her writing. Every day new stories and new ideas roam through her head, the characters chomping at the bit for their turn to be front and center and have their stories told. That love of storytelling translates into her desire to write and share her stories with others.

Her day job is about as uncreative as it gets. She does medical transcription, spending numerous hours each day trying to decipher the mumbled, garbled, often unrecognizable words physicians are dictating in an effort to make a complete and comprehensive patient record. It’s almost as bad as trying to read their handwriting!

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, she’s lived in various places, from California to Hawaii and back to Florida before finally settling in Texas. Kathy makes her home outside Dallas, Texas. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA).

Visit Kathy’s website


  1. Kathy Ivan

    Shelley, Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s the BIG DAY and I’m so excited to talk about Desperate Choices and meet your followers. Again, thanks for having me here.

    Kathy :grin:

  2. RKCharron

    Hi Kathy!
    Thank you for an excellent article. DESPERATE CHOICES sounds intriguing & I’ve put it on my “Get” list. Thanks to Shelley for introducing me to you.
    My favorite crime/romantic show is CASTLE. Even better than Bones (plus it features a writer in the lead!)
    All the best,

  3. Kathy Ivan

    Thanks, RK.

    What’s not to love about Castle (one of my favorite shows). Nathan Fillion aka Captain Tightpants as a writer. Yum! Although Bones isn’t bad either.

    Thanks for putting me on your get list. I appreciate it. :wink:

  4. Liz Fichera

    Agree with you completely on write what you love! My question: Have you ever started writing a book or outlining a novel that you ultimately did not finish because you fell out of love with it?

  5. Kathy Ivan

    Hey Liz,

    I don’t think that it’s that I’ve fallen out of love with a story–more of it taking another direction. For instance, Desperate Choices was supposed to be Remy’s story, but as I outlined the plot arc Max basically took over the entire book. So, still loved the story but the focus changed. (I am slowly plodding along with Remy’s story though).

    At other times, the story that I absolutely love isn’t right for the market at that moment. I’ll still outline it and write up the first few chapters and then it will be set aside for another time.

    Hope that answers your question. :grin:

  6. Suzanne

    Hi Kathy,

    Where did you get the idea for the story? And when was it written?

    I love your tips and couldn’t agree more.

    Congratulatons on your success with Carina Press.

    Suzanne :)

  7. Kathy Ivan

    The idea for Desperate Choices came about when I was watching the news and saw a story on a kidnapping of a small child. My first thought, of course, was how awful for the parents of that little boy.

    I then thought, what if it wasn’t a little boy, but a teenager . . . people would most likely think at that age he had run away. And so the story was born.

    Then, of course, I had to ask myself, why? Why would somebody take a teenage boy, and an older teen, at that? The rest is my interpretation entitled Desperate Choices.

    Thanks for the question, Suzanne.

  8. Toni Anderson

    Congrats on your release, Kathy!!! Sounds fab :)

  9. Sarah M

    Congrats on the new book, Kathy! “Castle” is my favorite crime show – I just love the chemistry between Beckett and Castle :-)

  10. Ilona

    Desperate Choices sounds like a wonderful book. I am adding it to my wishlist as I want to know more :D

    Was the use of New Orleans as the setting a considered choice or pure chance?

  11. Liz Lipperman

    Karthy, it is so much fun following you around on your blog tour. As one who read a small excerpt of DC, I can say it rocks. I love that you get your ideas from the TV or news then ask “what if”.

    Congrats, Girlfriend. You deserve this.

    Oh, my favorite TV cop show is Closer.

  12. Kathy Ivan

    Hey Toni, Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

    Sarah M–Love Castle and Becket, they play that chemistry and sexual tension to perfection. Plus it doesn’t nurt that he’s a writer. (And not to hard on the eyes, either).

    Ms. Liz, thanks doll. I really do appreciate all your support. The Closer, hmm, I haven’t seen a single episode. I’ll have to check it out. (Missed you on Saturday.)

    Ilona–what a great name by the way–the use of New Orleans came to me during plotting a different book and I wanted to set a story there. I’ve only been there once on business and didn’t get to see much of the city, but what I did see was terrific. Then Katrina happened, and I just knew I had to set my story there. It felt “right”.

    Thanks for all the great questions so far, I’m loving answering them.

    Kathy :wink:

  13. Tia Nevitt

    Hey there, release buddy! Great article. I always like to write the kind of book I want to read. It really helps you see it through until the end.

  14. Shelley Munro

    Hi Kathy – you’re very welcome! I’m a huge Castle fan too. Medium is good, and quite similar in that there’s a cop paired with an amateur.

    Tell us a little about your writing space. Are you organized or do you have piles of paper everywhere like me? Are you a morning or an evening writer?

  15. Janni Nell

    Happy release day! I’ll be stopping by Carina later to buy some books.

  16. Kathy Ivan

    Hey Tia–Congrats on your release, too (Tia and I are both releasing our book today at Carina).

    Janni–Thanks. Carina has been putting together some really terrific stories, you won’t be disappointed in anything you get from them.

    Shelley–Thanks again. I’m pretty much a late evening type writer by necessity. I have a day job (medical tanscription) which keeps me busy 8 to 10 hours a day. By the time I go work out and have dinner, its usually after 8 p.m. before I even get started. I tend to write at my desktop computer, since I do have a dedicated office space. Right now its fairly clean but usually there are stacks and piles everywhere.
    Plus notebooks, can’t forget the notebooks, filled with partially completed stories, synopses, ideas, etc.

  17. Jenny Schwartz

    A favourite romantic suspense novel? Mary Stewart was my intro to the genre. Wildfire at Midnight is perhaps my favourite, but as soon as I type that, I think of Rough Magic. She wrote lovely rom suspense. Most recently I’ve stumbled over Jayne Ann Krentz and her phenomenal backlist, so that’s keeping me occupied. But I keep my eye out for new joys — like Desperate Choices. Congrats on the release, Kathy!

  18. Kathy Ivan

    Thanks Jenny

    I love Jayne Ann Krentz’s stuff, I’m sure you will took. And thanks for the kind words. :blush:

  19. Kathy Ivan

    See, I can’t even type right at this point. I meant you will TOO.

    Kathy :blush:

  20. Kathy Ivan

    I had such a good time visiting here and the interesting questions that were asked…now for the winner of a copy of Desperate Choices


    Please contact me at [email protected] and I’ll get an e-copy of Desperate Choices to you (Please let me know if you want the PDF file or the ePUB version).

    Thanks again, Shelley for having me here.


  21. Caroline Clemmons

    Castle is one of my favorites, too. Not just for the sizzle between Castle and Beckett, but also for his family dynamics. He’s a good son and a good father, and that makes me like him even better.

    Good luck with your launch. I’d love to win a copy of Desperate Choices.

  22. Tracy Garrett

    Hi Kathy!!!
    Desperate Choices is on my Kindle, waving at me to hurry up and read it.

    My favorite crime/romance show? I love Castle, but probably the unrequited relationships in the original CSI (set in Las Vegas). Of course it helps that William Petersen (Grissom) is Chicago born and bred. :)

  23. Marlene Breakfield

    My favorite crime/ romantic suspense show is Bones. I love all the characters, and the chemistry between them is great.

  24. Vicki Batman

    I’m so happy for your success. You are wonderful.

    My favorite crime show was Homicide. Long gone, but excellent