Everyone join me in welcoming the lovely Kait Ballenger to Little Read Riding Hood. Kait is the paranormal romance author of the EXECUTION UNDERGROUND series–book one, TWILIGHT HUNTER, releases in Aug 2013 (HQN Books) and a prequel to the series, SHADOW HUNTER, releases in an anthology titled AFTER DARK alongside a novella by NYT Bestselling Author Gena Showalter in June 2013.
Let’s kick off this shindig with a brief intro – tell us a little about yourself, whatever you want us to know.
My name is Kait Ballenger and I’m a paranormal romance author of the Execution Underground series. I’m 22, a full time writer, wife, MFA graduate student, future professor, and mother to three four-legged fur babies. When I’m not writing, you can find me either spending time with my family, bellydancing (both for fun and professionally), and occasionally I find the time to do what every writer did before they became a published author, be a reader. I also write YA urban fantasy under my maiden name, Kaitlyn Schulz.
Since we both live in Central FL, I am sure you love this time of year nearly as much as I do. Other than the weather, what is your favorite thing about living in Florida?
I like the laid back feeling of the southern lifestyle. Compared to where I grew up (Detroit, Michigan), Floridians are so relaxed and easy-going. I’m a very type-A personality, so being around people like that is good for me. It forces me to unwind a bit.
I see in your “About Me” section of your blog that you have pretty much done art in all its forms. Do you have a favorite or does it vary with your mood?
That’s correct. I’ve done a LOT of different art forms, and not just casually, most of these I practiced, at some point in my life, for at least three years or more underneath professional guidance. Aside from writing fiction and screenplays, I dance (mainly Egyptian Cabaret bellydance, also known as Raqs Sharqi, but I’ve also done tap and Polynesian), I’ve played marimba (and an array of other percussive instruments), I’ve played guitar, I’ve sang, I’m a black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, I’ve been in theatre, and the list goes on and on. Basically, I’m really creative, really dedicated, and crazy focused. I have tunnel vision. When I want to learn something, I learn it and I throw myself into it entirely. Writing, dance and martial arts are definitely my favorites though. Writing is my absolute favorite, because I get to use my imagination endlessly, and dance and martial arts are close seconds, because I’m a kinetic learner. I love physical movement.
At what point did you decide/realize you wanted to be a writer? Was there a moment of realization or is it something you’ve always thought about doing?
There was definitely a moment of realization. I used to write picture book stories with my mom when I was a kid and that morphed into me writing short stories as I got older. Writing was always kind of a hobby for me, even when I started really getting into it seriously and wanted to get published. It wasn’t until I was already in college and I had spent a year as a Spanish major that I realized I wanted writing to be my main career goal. I’d been picked by my undergrad university to go to Ecuador on scholarship to improve my Spanish—at the time I wanted to be a foreign language professor. I was sitting at a little table outside a tiny café in Vilcabamba, a small town out in the middle of nowhere in Ecuador when I found myself really wishing I had a pen and paper because a story idea had popped into my head. That’s when it hit me. There I was, sitting in Ecuador of all places, a once in a lifetime experience and I was wanting to write because something I saw there in a hike up into the cloud forests inspired me. I thought, “Really? I’m really thinking about writing right now?” Once I returned to the U.S, I dropped Spanish down to my minor and became an English major with a creative writing double minor.
Can you talk about being a professional bellydancer? I find that fantastic!
Haha! Bellydancing was at one point a profession for me—I worked as a regular performer at an Arabic restaurant near Orlando—but I’m not longer working there now, and at the moment, bellydance is just “for fun”. The type of bellydance I do is Egyptian Cabaret, or Raqs Sharqi. I was a student for three years before I started teaching beginner’s technique classes at the dance studio I was attending at the time. Then, by way of luck, a few years after I began teaching I eventually fell into my job performing at different restaurants. I love bellydance and everything about it—the movements, the costumes, the jewelry and props, and so much more. It just makes me happy and makes me feel good. Not to mention, it’s a great way to stay in shape. Shimmies = happiness.
If you became independently wealthy, what would you do with your time? Would you still write?
Absolutely! I would definitely still write. To become a published author to begin with, you have to be willing to write with no guarantee of getting paid. There are loads and loads of writers and authors out there who’ve written manuscripts that have never sold. But if you want to be an author badly enough and that drive to create and weave stories is within you, then you’ll keep writing regardless of whether or not you’re making money. Once you reach the stage in your writing career where you’re actually starting to have your books published, it takes up so much time that, whether you like it or not, it becomes a full time job. That’s why it’s so important that readers continue to buy books from authors, no matter whether it be paperback, e-book, or even audio-book. If authors are losing sales because of their books being pirated, then we get smaller advances from our publishers, and clearly, if we’re making smaller advances and are forced to take on more work at our day jobs (since most of us still don’t make enough not to quit working regularly), then that means less books produced. And really, what reader wants that?
What are your favorite:
- Authors – J.K Rowling, Charlaine Harris, Lisa See, Laurel K Hamilton, Suzanne Collins, and JR Ward
- Book genres to read –paranormal romance, urban fantasy, young adult (generally paranormal or UF, but I do read some contemporary YA), and multi-cultural women’s fiction
- Band/song – Linkin Park / “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
- Desserts—I love hot brownies with cold vanilla ice cream on top. Yuuuummmm
What do you do in your spare time?
I mostly like to spend time with my husband Jon, my dog, and my mother (who along with my husband is one of my closest friends). Jon and I love to watch T.V and movies together. Our favorite T.V shows to watch are Supernatural (I could stare at Jensen Ackles as Dean all day long and never be tired of it lol) and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (our cats are named after the original main characters, Elliot and Olivia). We also love to take my dog, Sookie (yes, named after Sookie Stackhouse, and yes, she’s golden blonde colored) to the park, and we love to chill out at my mom’s house and play board games. And of course, when I can sneak time in, I love to read. Jon and I also travel a lot.
Tell me about your best (or worst!) vacation.
My husband and I just recently returned from a 35 day backpacking trip through Europe. We went to Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland. It was an amazing trip. We both really love to travel and that’s something we decided to treat ourselves to after I sold the Execution Underground series to Harlequin. After all, I’ll never make another “first book sale” now that I’m a published author.
This or that:
- Vampires or werewolves? Both! I could never choose lol.
- TV or Movies? TV
- Beach or Mountains? Beach. Though I’m so fair skinned I sunburn after only 20 minutes.
- Cat or Dog? Dog (but I own and love both cats and dogs)
- Beer or Wine? Neither lol. My husband would cry if he saw that. He’s a beer connoisseur and is a bartender at a beer and wine bar.
- Spiders or Snakes? Snakes. I’m slightly allergic to spider bites.
What is something we may not know about you?
You may not know that I’m married to another writer. My husband, aside from working as a bartender, is a screenwriter. Two writers in one household can be a creative overload sometimes, especially when we’re both trying to work on something at once. As a writing professor and friend once said (and I’m paraphrasing here), ‘The life of a writer is an emotional rollercoaster. Two writers married to one another? I don’t even want to think about that.
- If one of your characters could suddenly become real for a limited amount of time, say 48 hours, who would it be, why would you pick that one, and what would you do?
Oh, wow! That is such a difficult question. I love all my characters in so many different ways, so it’s really difficult to choose. My first immediate reaction was to say Demetrius Fall, who is the hero in my YA urban fantasy series, which is about to go out on submission to the big publishing houses. He’s an incubus demon, has a sexy British accent, drives my dream car (a Ford Shelby GR-1), and is a badass assassin to boot. But since we’re focusing on my adult writing, I’d probably have to pick Damon Brock, the hero of Shadow Hunter, whose full-length book is the finale to the six book series. He’s my favorite of all the Execution Underground men, even though I really put him through the ringer emotionally. I like my men tortured lol.
A timeless seduction A unique temptation And a whole world of dark desires…
From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
The Darkest Angel
Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he’s never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long….
And from debut author Kait Ballenger
Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound hearts.
Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, professional bellydancer, and graduate student living in Central Florida. SHADOW HUNTER, the debut prequel of her sexy paranormal romance series, the Execution Underground, about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity alongside the powerful women they seduce, releases in an anthology titled AFTER DARK along with NYT Bestselling author Gena Showalter’s novella THE DARKEST ANGEL in July 2013. TWILIGHT HUNTER, book one of the EU series, debuts Sept 2013.
Connect with Ballenger: