Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Joyathon: Interview + Giveaway with Kieran Kramer

Meet Kieran:
She's worked for the CIA (international woman of mystery?), won a chunk of change on Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud, started a feud between John Rosemond (family psychologist and parenting expert) and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (renowned pediatrician) over the topic of potty training, spent her junior year of college at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, pulled pints of ale in a university pub, dated a man in a kilt (how's that for inspiration?), kissed Richard Dawson of Family Feud fame, is one of seven kids, a certified English teacher and married 21 years to Chuck, a Commander in the US Navy Reserves, has 3 musically inclined kids and a Beatles fan.

Where To Find Kieran: Twitter | Facebook | Author Site | Blog

Kati R: Who is Kieran during the holidays? (author, gift giver, last minute shopper, baker)
Kieran K: Definitely last-minute gift shopper…if you call last-minute starting in December. The way technology moves now, sometimes the "good stuff" doesn't come out until late in the year anyway, and my kids' lists can change at the last minute. So anyway, through trial and error, I've found that if I buy too early, sometimes the gift is no longer "cool" by Christmas. Also, I like the adrenaline rush of really shopping around Christmastime, the way people did in the old days before commercialism intruded on the spirit of the holidays.

click to read an excerpt
I also love to bake cookies for the neighbors and teachers. I can make a great gingerbread house all from scratch--those kits you can buy now are missing the best part of gingerbread house making…the wonderful smell of the baking gingerbread! My favorite cookie to make, besides my family's sugar cookie recipe, is caramel-filled chocolate pecan cookies.

I'm not a big party goer at Christmas. I prefer to celebrate at home with the family with board games and cocoa, watching Christmas movies, and going to see the Christmas lights at a nearby park. I don't do a big rush of open houses every weekend. My sister does, and I know she loves it, but I generally don't go unless it's a really close friend or family member hosting. So one or two parties at the most for me, and usually with family, the neighbors, or close friends.

Oh, and I always go see the Holiday Festival of Lights one night, where you drive around a county park and look at a gazillion light displays. I also love to go to a local hotel for a Christmas tea with my daughter and my sisters and mom…those two things are ALWAYS on my schedule!
KR: What is you favorite thing about the holidays?
Oh, this is hard. I love everything! But if I have to choose one thing, my favorite thing about the holidays is the music. I love Christmas music.

click to read an excerpt
KR: Do you write more or less during the holidays?
I wish I could write less, but generally, I'm writing as much as I need to in order to meet my deadline, which means that sometimes I'm writing like crazy during the holidays!!! Not on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, though.

KR: If you’ve written a holiday themed/titled book, what is it about? If you have not, would you write a holiday themed/titled book in the future?
KK: One of my big dreams is to have a Christmas-themed Regency out on the shelves. Before I was published, that was my sweet treat from my husband…he'd run out, starting in November, and buy up all the Christmas-themed novellas for me, and I'd read them through the month of December. Now I don't have time to read them all! I've been so busy writing that I have to save up and read just a few. Meanwhile, I'm going to start looking into getting my own Christmas stories out there. (Oh! I love Christmas-themed books.)

KR: Which of your heroes would you go on a sleigh ride with? (with permission from the heroine of course)
KR: I would definitely go on a sleigh ride with Duncan Lattimore, the Earl of Chadwick. He's my latest hero and the first hero in my new series, The House of Brady, which premiers in 2012. I love Duncan for a lot of reasons. One big reason is the fact that he's a family man. But another is that he is SO cute and he's a great kisser. He's dark and reserved--until you get to know him. The real Duncan isn't reserved at all!! And Marcia, my heroine, gets to know him well--really well, LOL!! (Oh what a tease! I look forward to this series.)

KR: What was the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
KK: When my husband was in Afghanistan for a year with the military, he managed to send a box of presents back home to my sister-in-law's house, where my kids and I went for Christmas. It was such a surprise! We couldn't have him for Christmas, but these special gifts that he'd bought for us in Afghanistan were very cool…I was really touched by how his family had kept the box a secret and how thoughtful my husband was. Then we got to talk to him on Skype that day for a whole hour. So that was also part of the best Christmas gift I've ever received.

KR: Real tree or fake tree?
click to read an excerpt
KK: Both. We have a real tree you see when you walk into the house, usually 8 to 10 feet tall. But in the den, we have a cute fake tree that we pop up like an umbrella. And then I have tiny fake ones in each bedroom. They sit on the bureaus, sort of like nightlights. I like to keep things festive in every room.

KR: Specific gifts or gift cards?
I give specific gifts 95% of the time. Occasionally, there will be a person in the family impossible to shop for, so I might get them a gift card if that's what they really want. As for what *I* like, I love any cards to my favorite stores, surprise gifts, anything!! Honestly, I like the whole process better than the outcome. I care more that someone thought of me than I do about what they got me.

KR: Fruit cake or gingerbread?
Gingerbread!! The smell of baking gingerbread can't be beat. I have a cute little trick for making gingerbread people…use your garlic press to make them some hair from some dough. I learned this from a neighbor a long time ago. Kids LOVE making gingerbread hair!! (I shall have to try that. *note to self: get garlic press*)

KR: Just enough decorations or “every tree lighted, blow up snowglobe, snow man in the yard” decorations?
KK: Aww, I love when people go all out! I think we're a "medium" family in that we always have outdoor lighting, but on the bushes, not the roofline. And inside, I used to go crazy when the kids were younger with decorations everywhere, but now that they're older, we have a more "thoughtful" Christmas scheme inside…the tree, some pretty candles, an Advent wreath, little Christmas decorations here and there, and um, a big plastic Santa that we used to put outside but now keep inside by the front door. I plug him in for a soft red glow every morning when we wake up. He's "ironic" in the coziest sense, LOL!
click to read an excerpt

KR: Home for the holidays or visiting relatives?
We alternate…every other year, we go to my husband's family's house. But otherwise, we stay home. My parents live nearby, so we get to see them the years we stay home. The one exception I made to this rule was the year my husband went to Afghanistan. That was a year we were supposed to stay home, but I told my parents that I wanted to be with my husband's family that year. I know it made my husband really happy to know we were all together, and it made me so happy, too, to share Christmas with his mom and dad and the whole family…as I mentioned earlier, we got to talk to him on Skype, and it really bolstered his spirits to see us together.

KR: What are you looking forward to in the new year?
I'm really looking forward to seeing our economy improve, quite frankly, not only ours in the USA but all over the world. That might sound kind of cold unless you're a person who's been affected by the downturn. Then you know what I'm talking about, LOL!!! A little more money in everyone's pockets will go a long way to getting us out of the doldrums. (more money for romance books!)

I miss the upbeat, hopeful spirit of Americans…we all seem pretty cynical these days, and that's a downer in a subtle way, every day. So I honestly look forward to 2012 as the year that everything turns around and we get the old "vibe" back.

KR: Author’s choice.
What's YOUR favorite holiday tradition?

Thanks for participating in the Joyathon Kieran!

Get ready for a holiday season you'll never forget with three of today's most sensational writers who know what every woman wants for the holidays. You'll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories from:
JENNIFER CRUSIE- Hot Toy Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game--in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . .
LORI FOSTER- Christmas Bonus Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side--and discover a love worth celebrating--in this steamy office romance.
CARLY PHILLIPS- Naughty Under the Mistletoe A "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .
Where To Buy: Powell's | Amazon | B&N

Kieran is giving away a copy of the SANTA, BABY anthology to one(1) lucky reader. Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment with your answer to Kieran's question along with your email addy, ninja style: yourname at gmail dot com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must answer Kieran's question. All other entries are optional. 
Easy peasy right? Don't forget to enter for the awesome super secret prize here.

A huge thank you to Kieran for participating in the Joyathon and for giving away a copy of SANTA, BABY.

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