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    Interview with Beth Kery Author of Wicked Burn
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  • Published: Dec 23rd, 2008

kery_wickedreview.jpgIt’s my pleasure to have Beth Kery  as our guest author today on Romance Novel TV. As you know Beth’s latest release WICKED BURN knocked me off my feet. It was one of those books that kept me turning pages long into the night.  Both Stacy and I reviewed this book and it’s one of our Top Picks for 2008. With over 19 books published, Beth has a tremendous back list for you to read – I for one suggest you get started immediately. I had the opportunity to interview Beth – and she’ll also be stopping by to answer your questions as well. One lucky poster will receive a copy of her latest release WICKED BURN.

He wanted all of her…
Vic Savian knows what he wants when he sees it. And what he wants is his sexy neighbor, Niall Chandler. So when he sees her in the hallway of their building being harassed by an aggressive suitor, Vic makes his move—and finds himself greatly rewarded…
And did she ever let him have it…
Sleeping with her gorgeous neighbor—when she didn’t even know his last name—was the craziest thing Niall’s ever done. Now, she can’t seem to get enough of Vic—or the uninhibited passion he stirs in her. Suddenly, with his help, she’s opening to sensual pleasures she’s never known before. But when Niall’s past comes back to haunt her, will she and Vic let themselves venture beyond the bedroom and explore the possibility of love that’s in their hearts?

RNTV: Hi Beth, thanks so much for stopping by to visit with us today. WICKED BURN has an amazing opening scene – your hero Vic and your heroine Niall are immediately attracted to each other.  Do you believe in instant attraction?

Beth: I appreciate you asking me by to chat, Marisa. Thanks.

I do believe in instant attraction.  I’ve seen in it before…experienced it. Who knows if it’s the animal brain in all of us dictating who would be an ideal sexual mate or something bigger, like destiny. Maybe it’s both. I put that scorching hot love scene between Vic and Niall right up front in the story for several reasons, but one of the crucial ones was that Niall, my heroine, had to make a choice…keep going on like one of the walking dead or let Vic’s passion burn her back to life again. The original title for WICKED BURN was OUT OF THE ASHES, which I think describes that opening scene for Niall pretty well. That title had been used several times before, though, so we had to change it.

RNTV:Your hero, Vic Savian is a man who has been hurt by love and consequently he’s very guarded and protective of his heart. He’s also hot, talented, determined and an alpha in every sense of the word. I thought I’d be turned off by such a possessive alpha male – but you make us fall in love with him.  Is there a fine line you walk as an author in establishing your heroes as flawed, somewhat arrogant men who are not only sensuous and domineering, but yet ultimately likeable?

Beth: It’s a fine line at best…a tricky precipice at worst. I have to admit, though, that Vic wasn’t hard for me to write. Like a few other of my heroes—Christian Lasher from GATEWAY TO HEAVEN comes to mind—he sprung pretty much full fledged into my overactive imagination. One of the ways I try to lend some humanity to my alpha—and yes, sometimes arrogant—heroes is I write in their point of view fairly regularly. I’ve never done the breakdown in one of my books, but it might be 50/50 as far as hero/heroine POV. It’s easier to build empathy for a character when you know what’s going on in their flawed, yet very appealing inner world. Strangely, though, the scene in WICKED BURN where I experience Vic’s humanity the most is a scene in Niall’s POV, where she finds him in the middle of the night editing on the couch. He expresses his anxiety over his play opening with a sort of irritable impatience, which Niall refuses to kowtow to. Her reaction helps him see how he’s behaving, and he has to shake his head ruefully at himself. There’s something very special about that scene to me for its quiet poignancy and the deepening of their feelings beyond the purely sexual.

RNTV: Your heroine Niall is the woman on the brink of a new life. The rug has been pulled from under her and she still has a lot of unresolved issues in her life. At her very core she is a strong and determined woman. When you were writing Wicked Burn – did you feel that Niall balanced Vic’s strong alpha tendencies?  What did you feel Niall really needed to have to match wits with Vic?

Beth: When I wrote Niall’s character, I was very aware I was writing a heroine that was contrary to what a lot of woman love in romance novels today, which is the sassy, take-no-prisoners, kick-ass heroine. I really enjoy reading heroine’s like that at times, but strength can show itself in so many ways. Someone writing about Wicked Burn—I believe you know her, Stacy—called Niall ‘contained’ and I loved that description of her. She has endured a severe trauma and still suffers unbearable grief, her inner core of strength being the only thing that makes her put one foot in front of the other and continue with her life on a moment to moment basis. She’s living in survival mode. People who are traumatized in that way often fear even speaking of it, because they are afraid the psychic barriers they’ve erected in order to survive will crash down with the rush of emotion they might experience in the process. The intense sex she shares with Vic—the fact that she allows herself to feel for the first time in years—signals her need to participate in life again, to unthaw, and sex is a relatively safe outlet for that. In order to match up to Vic, I had to have a character that was intelligent—someone who could not only understand the depth of his plays, for instance, but truly appreciate his accomplishment. She had to be strong if not stronger emotionally than Vic and also possess the quality of gentleness. There is a calming, soothing quality to Niall which counteracts Vic’s passionate, creative nature—and occasional rough spots.

RNTV: Vic and Niall couldn’t be more opposite in upbringing and lifestyle.  Was it fun writing these two opposites and watching the ‘sparks’ fly?  (And the sparks do fly – they have such amazing chemistry both emotionally and sexually).

Beth: This couple was very fun to write. Although they had different backgrounds (city girl/country boy; affluent upbringing vs. struggling divorced mother) they really have a lot in common, as well. For instance, someone who first met them might call them both quiet. For Niall, it’s her nature, while Vic just despises idle words…but still, neither one would be considered a chatterbox. They’re both artists, and have the capability to appreciate the others’ work. The ‘sparks’ for them come from a very primal sexual attraction—an attraction which is perhaps the most measurable, tangible consequence of something much deeper and more inexplicable.

RNTV: I found Wicked Burn intriguing, your characters 3 dimensional and provocative.  What comes first for you, the plot or the characters? Who drives the train?

Beth: Oh, hard question—sometimes it’s a runaway train. When I plot a story, I do it very loosely…a beginning, and end and a couple key scenes in between. It’s not until I begin to write that the characters really flesh out, and as they do, they start to drive the plot. So for me, it’s a very organic process. Since getting the Berkley contracts at Sensation and Heat, I have to write a synopsis for approval of the story before I begin, so I’ve been doing more plotting up front. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. It’s nice to have a vague outline for the whole story, but it always feels a little false to me, too, because it seems like a pretty emotionless portrait, if that makes sense, like a skeleton with no flesh on it.

RNTV: In addition to contemporary romance you also write paranormals – your Subtle Lovers Series comes to mind. Do you find a lot of freedom in creating your own mythology, a world where you can make up all the rules – does anything go?

Beth: I do enjoy writing paranormals. World-building is incredibly complicated and requires a lot of research. For me, whether it’s a paranormal, historical or contemporary, it’s the characters that have to make the reader feel ‘at home’ in that world. The characters have to be the reader’s diplomats in that strange place, and if the reader can’t connect with the character, they are usually left cold.

RNTV: I know you do a lot of research for you books. What aspect of writing brings you the most joy – research, writing, editing?

Beth: Writing definitely, with research being a close second. I like to read and take notes for research, but I also love to do it in vivo. I had the most fun researching DARING TIME, my next Berkley book which is a time travel. I got to tour most of the remaining Prairie Avenue mansions and walk the streets my heroine Hope would have walked as she bustled about the proud, industrious city of Chicago, circa 1906. (Prairie Avenue is the grand avenue where the giants of industry and retail lived in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s—people like Marshall Field, Joseph Sears and George Pullman to name a few.) I love writing so much, though, that I often start doing it before my research is really done, and I have to go back and change things because I was so impatient to get going.

RNTV: I read on your web site that there will be a sequel to WICKED BURN – can you give us just a little hint about it?

Beth: DARING TIME is my follow-up novel to WICKED BURN, but it’s not a sequel. It’s a time travel—part crime story, part historical, part contemporary with a ‘paranormal light.’ I love Chicago history, and I had such a blast writing this book. I hope some of my enthusiasm comes through to the reader.

RNTV: Beth, thanks so much for visiting with us today – now I’m opening it up for reader’s questions.

38 Responses to “Interview with Beth Kery Author of Wicked Burn”

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  1. orannia
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:07 am

    HI Beth *waves*

    When I wrote Niall’s character, I was very aware I was writing a heroine that was contrary to what a lot of woman love in romance novels today, which is the sassy, take-no-prisoners, kick-ass heroine.

    That sentence has me very intrigued. I’m probably in a minority of one in that (at the moment) I don’t like to read about sassy, take-no-prisoners, kick-ass heroines. It’s just the place I’m in. I really like heroines with that inner strength who perhaps aren’t outwardly as confident as they should be. How difficult was it to write Niall’s emotional growth? Thank you…and Merry Christmas 🙂

  2. kh
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:24 am

    great interview. sexy cover. great reviews fror iyour book

    who do ulike to read, does yoru family ready your book

  3. cyclops8
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 3:13 am

    Hi Beth,
    Congrats on the release. What are your favorite genres?

  4. Marisa
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 5:51 am

    Hi Beth – I’m so glad you could visit with us today! I forgot to ask you one question – your hero Vic is a playwright – did you ever want to write a stage play or screen play? And did you do any actual hands on research about the theaters in Chicago?

    AND – I’m really looking forward to Daring Time – Maria – did you hear that? She’s writing a time travel… Oh yes!

  5. Stacy ~
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 6:32 am

    Hi Beth! I was thrilled when I saw you were going to be with RNTV today, because as Marisa mentioned, “Wicked Burn” was one of my top picks of 2008. I credit Marisa with introducing me to your work, and I’m very appreciative of her for that.

    I think part of the strength of this book is the fact Niall is not a kick-ass heroine. She’s just a normal person with a job and needs and dreams and fears who has gone through a devastating loss, and she’s trying to make it through each day, but she’s closed herself off in order to do that. She’s wrapped in a protective cocoon and it isn’t until she encounters Vic and experience such an intense connection that she begins to live again. I think she needed someone with such a forceful personality – and I mean in the sense that he’s very upfront, direct, in-your-face and brutally honest – to shatter her from her protective casing. Beth I think you handled Niall’s transition beautifully, and wrote a truly wonderful love story, not to mention a super hot ‘n sexy one. It was just amazing.

    I know I’m gushing but I just can’t say enough about this wonderful book, and as Kati mentioned, for those who’ve been hesitant to try erotic romance, this would be the perfect book to read, because there’s a strong emotional connection that is very appealing and one that you don’t find in many erotic romances. That’s definitely what made the book special to me.

    Can’t wait for more! And living in the Chicago area, I love reading stories set here, too. An added bonus 🙂

  6. Kati
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 9:13 am

    Hi Beth! Welcome! Like Stacy, I’m absolutely thrilled that you’re visiting. Stacy and I happened to have dinner last week and she couldn’t stop gushing about Wicked Burn. I ran out the next day and bought it and was blown out of the water. I was all set to pick a different book as my favorite erotic romance of the year, but I found Wicked Burn to be head and shoulders above anything else I’ve read. I *loved* Niall. Mostly because she’s quite self aware. She knows that she’s damaged and hurt, and there’s a good reason for it. And we can really see how much Vic cares about her. And when she hurts him, he’s SUCH a guy about it. LOL!.

    What a terrific book! I enjoyed every moment of it!

  7. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 9:33 am

    Wow. I’m just overwhelmed by those kind words about Wicked Burn. Really.

    After Stacy reviewed Wicked Burn on her blog, I told her how much it meant to me that she focused so much on Niall. Most readers had focused on Vic up to that point–not that he’s not easy to focus on. lol. But I really appreciated and was grateful for her comments about Niall, and those here as well.

    Kati–thanks for having a look at it…and changing your pick, too! Always nice to have a friend who you can rely on for a book recommendation, isn’t it? And yeah about Vic…total go into guy-mode when he was hurt.

  8. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 9:41 am

    (Orannia said) That sentence has me very intrigued. I’m probably in a minority of one in that (at the moment) I don’t like to read about sassy, take-no-prisoners, kick-ass heroines. It’s just the place I’m in. I really like heroines with that inner strength

    Hi Orannia. Nice to meet you. I have to be in the right mood for a sassy, kick-ass heroine. I agree with you; I often want a heroine that’s real emotionally, that has vulnerabilities and wounds. One way to show strength is ‘Buffy-style’ but there’s also the more poignant strength of survival, the ability to endure…and to take chances and finally live again.

  9. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 9:47 am

    Hi kh! I read the full spectrum…straight up fiction, romance, fantasy/sci-fi, classics, paranormal. A random pick of my favorite authors might include Neil Gaiman, Sandra Brown, Mary Stewart, Shiloh Walker and Jane Austen.

    Several of my family members have Wicked Burn. I think they’ve read it. lol.

  10. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:03 am


    I have never wanted to write a play or screenplay. It seems too intimidating. What a playwright actually writes is like shorthand for the final product, whereas a fiction author has to paint the entire stage with their words. There’s so much genius to envisioning a play or movie. I think I’m too 2 dimensional. lol. As far as research goes, I did research on playwrights and various artists’ experience with doing plays. I love to go to the theater and read plays (Arthur Miller, who got a nod in Wicked Burn is a favorite) but I’m an outsider as far as that world goes.

    Thanks for another terrific question, Marisa.

  11. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:21 am

    Hi Cyclops! In the category of romance/erotic romance, I used to always say paranormal was my favorite. Over the past two years, I’ve grown fonder of contemporary. But I also love historical and time travels. I want to do a steampunk, and will if my proposal ever goes through. lol. Dont’ mean to be wishy washy in my answer, but I have a lot of different moods.

    What about you? Any faves?

  12. Stacy ~
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:49 am

    Beth, I know I’ve asked you this before, but any plans to do any booksignings? You mentioned RT, but how about RWA this year? I think some of us here will be attending, and would love to meet you in person 🙂

    And what’s your writing schedule like? Are you a disciplined, butt-in-chair from 7am to 5pm, or do you have a different process?

  13. Natalie
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:52 am

    Hi Beth,

    I also loved Wicked Burn and for so many of the reasons already stated.

    When you’re working on a book do you already know before hand if it will be part of a series?

  14. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:58 am


    I don’t think I’ll make RWA this year, just because of money constraints as far as already doing RT. However, after hearing your feedback, along with so many other people’s, I am considering going to Lori Foster’s event. I can drive there, so that would be great.

    Once I go into writing mode, I do discipline myself to writing so many words per day, with the goal of finishing novel by X date. However, it takes some motivation (and deadlines) to get me into writing mode, unfortunately. Ever since I turned in my second Heat book to Berkley in November, I’ve been having trouble focusing. Er…need to get back in writing mode, methinks.

  15. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 11:03 am

    Hi Natalie! I’m really glad you enjoyed Wicked Burn!

    As far as a series, the answer is ‘yes.’ My only established series so far (the Subtle Lovers series) was planned out way in advance. It can be a little constraining to do that, but I do love to develop little hints that were made in book one, for instance, in book three or four. Things that seem unimportant suddenly become pivotal in a planned series, and that’s rewarding. I know as a reader, I love when authors do that, and you get to go back and say…aw, cool. She knew about that even back then. lol.

  16. katiebabs
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 11:50 am

    Congrats on your print release Beth! I have read almost every single one of your electronic books. 😀

  17. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 12:14 pm

    Hi Katie! I know you do. Thanks for the congrats and support!

  18. Buffie
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 12:29 pm

    Hey Beth! Welcome to RNTV!

    I have heard some much about you and this book (and not only from the other reviewers here). I have it on my list to buy after the holidays. Naill seems like a wonderful heroine, and one that I would enjoy reading about. Looking forward to it!

    Congrats on all the success!

    And Happy Holidays!

  19. April Pace
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 12:34 pm

    Congrats Beth! What a great interview!

  20. Jeannie
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 12:55 pm

    Great interview Beth.
    I read your Subtle Lover Series and loved it. I’m excited about reading your contemporary Wicked Burn. I asked for it for Christmas, let’s hope its under the tree. And, I hope this isn’t a silly question, but what’s steam punk? Where have I been?

  21. Holly
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 1:20 pm

    After reading Stacy and Marissa’s review I ran out and got Wicked Burn. I sat down after dinner and didn’t stop reading until THE END. OMG, this is one of my favorite books of the year. You really hit a chord with me. That inability to tell some one how you feel or the struggle to communicate really hit home. One of my favorite scenes is the one you mention, where Vic is writing and Niall walks in. He came to life for me in that scene. I also really enjoyed the opening night of Vic’s play, with his mom and sister and Niall. You got it spot on. I work as a stage manager so I really got the sense of it. I also have to say, having seen my fair share of plays, your writing is very 3 dimensional and I think would translate well on the screen at any rate.

    I really enjoyed reading your interview and your comments. I find it fascinating to see how an author begins her work and what kind of ideas go into writing a book. I’m not a writer, but reading is my passion. When I read a book that speaks to me I’m always interested in the story behind the story, so to speak.

    Thanks for giving me hours of reading pleasure. I’m looking forward to the next one.

  22. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:15 pm

    Thanks April! Glad you stopped by!

    Buffie, I truly hope you enjoy the book.

    Jeannie, I’m glad you enjoyed the Subtle Lovers series. And my fingers are crossed for Wicked Burn being under your tree. *grin*

  23. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:23 pm

    I really appreciate all of the kind words, especially since you have experience as a stage manager. Sierra Dafoe–who is an author friend–has written plays and acted, and she was convinced I had stage experience in some capacity. Very nice, coming from her, and you as well. I was probably a script girl or the person who swept up the stage in another life–somebody who fantasizes about that world even if I never was in it.

    I’m really happy to hear you liked that scene where Niall wakes up and Vic is working on his play. It’s not a big, flashy scene, but it holds a special place in my heart.

    Thanks again, Holly!

  24. Tabatha Basham
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:35 pm

    I love your books though I haven’t read as many as I would like. My question is what made you want to become a writer and who do you think inspired you the most.


  25. Maureen
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 2:37 pm

    I haven’t read any of Beth’s books but this looks like a great story. I really enjoy stories where the focus is all on the couple and their relationship and this sounds like one of those.

  26. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 3:26 pm


    Hi, and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    I suppose the easy answer about what made me become a writer is that I’m such an avid reader. I think that’s true for all authors. The mind just ‘goes’ while you’re reading, and then you start to conjure up your own stories. As a result, favorite writers like Jane Austen really inspired me. I mentioned Jane because I admire her work so much. Knowing she wrote it at a time when women writers were almost non-existent really inspired me. I visited the Jane Austen museum in Bath years back, and remember being so struck by this young, courageous woman who dared to do what other young ladies would never consider.

    And she’s still inspiring stories, plays and movies almost two hundred years later!

  27. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 4:09 pm


    Sorry, I didn’t answer your steampunk question! Steampunk is a name loosely used for a genre that often includes alternate realities or time lines where technology is used differently. It often has elements of paranormal, time travel, etc. It’s called steampunk because the original ones all used alternate technologies derived from the Victorian era–where steam power ruled, but the meaning has been stretched to include a wide variety of books/movies, etc. Think of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Golden Compass…even the Wild, Wild West.

    Hope this helps. It’s my definition, and if I ever get a steampunk through, you’ll know it’s a very loose )possibly totally off-base) one. lol.

  28. Maria Lokken
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 6:10 pm

    Hi Beth! Thanks for visiting – sorry I’m sooooo late. Okay – I’m dying to know about your time travel. Me and time travel is like cookies and milk. We go together very well. So of course, I’m anxious for this release.

  29. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 6:58 pm

    Hi Maria! Thanks for having me here. So glad to meet someone else who loves time travels!

    Daring Time is the story of a Chicago detective who ends up unexpectedly owning a historic Prairie Avenue mansion, and starts seeing this beautiful woman in his house. He discovers photographs of her as well…some pretty puzzling and very erotic images given the fact that his investigations also uncover she’s a minister’s daughter who was murdered in 1906. Their intense connection and powerful attraction for one another allow him to do the impossible, and cross the border of time to save her.

    I’m a real Chicago history buff, so this was tons of fun for me to write. As I told Marisa, I toured almost all the Prairie Street mansions and prowled around where the Levee District–Chicago’s old red light district–used to be. Hope Stillwater, my heroine is this vibrant, uncrushable spirit, a suffragette and determined champion for women’s and children’s rights, the kind of female who would have hung around Jane Addams and Hull House. It’s part adventure, part crime story with a paranormal light..very romantic and erotic.

    What are some of your favorite time travels, Maria?

  30. Amy S.
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 8:40 pm

    Great interview! Wicked Burn sounds great!

  31. Gannon
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:23 pm

    Hi Beth! I’ve heard so many fabulous things about WICKED BURN. It’s definitely on my list of TBB! Hope your holidays are filled with lots of love and laughter.

  32. Beth Kery
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 10:43 pm

    Amy and Gannon, thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays!

  33. Marisa
    on Dec 23rd, 2008
    @ 11:22 pm

    Beth – It’s getting close to midnight here on the east coast and the sand man is calling my name. First let me say thank you so much for spending the day with us and for thoughtful and insightful comments. It was a pleasure getting to know you. We wish you much luck with WICKED BURN! We know it’s going to be a huge success. Please come back and visit with us soon. Until then have a happy and joyous holiday season.

    We’re going to be announcing the winner of Beth’s book – WICKED BURN – tomorrow – so check back.

  34. orannia
    on Dec 24th, 2008
    @ 5:23 pm

    I’ve just read through all of the posts and I’m sold on this book. I’ve been planning for ages and ages to place an Amazon order (the postage from the US to here costs almost as much as the books!) so I’m going to sneak Wicked Burn in 🙂

  35. Fedora
    on Dec 24th, 2008
    @ 10:25 pm

    Beth, I’m so sorry to have missed your day here–thanks for the terrific interview and taking the time to answer questions! I’ve heard so much good buzz for Wicked Burn, and will definitely be looking for my own copy (hopefully there’ll be some bookstore gift cards under the tree ;)) Congrats again!

  36. Marisa O'Neill
    on Dec 25th, 2008
    @ 7:28 am

    Congratulations Natalie – you are our lucky random poster and will be receiving a copy of Wicked Burn. Just send your snail mail addy to us at

  37. orannia
    on Dec 25th, 2008
    @ 6:23 pm

    Congratulations Natalie 🙂

  38. kh
    on Dec 27th, 2008
    @ 1:37 am

    wtg winner

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