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A rising voice on the romance beat, Shelley Bradley, who has written 10 books, is winning high praise for her new release, Bound and Determined. RT caught up with this busy author to find out a little more about what went into the writing of this book and what's ahead for her later this year. -- Faygie Levy
RT: Your website mentions that Bound and Determined is part of a series. Does the series have a title, and how are the books connected?
BRADLEY: I didn't intend to start
a series, but it quickly evolved after I finished about half of Bound and Determined.
As for a series title, I really don't have one. I've jokingly called it "Mafia Mayhem," because all the adventure/suspense plots relate to characters tangled up with the Mafia. The next title in the series, Strip Search, picks up with a character you meet in Bound and Determined. (I can't say who because
it would give away part of the mystery
in Bound and Determined.)
I've just proposed to Berkley two more books in the series based also
on connected characters, so I've got my fingers crossed.
RT: Like many contemporary romance authors, you started out writing historical romances. What made you tackle contemporaries?
BRADLEY: The voices in my head. Honestly, I've said for years that being an author is the only profession you can have and admit to having voices in your head without someone in the mental health field trying to carry you away.
Rafe and Kerry, the leads in Bound and Determined, just insisted that I listen to them. At first it was arguing, then they each started telling me about themselves. I was intrigued by their individual stories and their interaction. And above all, the language! I could use my slightly sarcastic, ironic, Gen-X vocabulary to my heart's content. I could put pieces of me and my dude-happy, twentysomething cousins and other friends in there. From the first words I put down, it just felt good.
RT: Why Kerry with a "K"?
BRADLEY: Because she told me that's how she spelled her name. I think it may have been somewhat subconscious since I'm active in step aerobics and one of my instructors spells her name that way. I didn't actually think about it until much later.
When I sold this book, we were beginning the last presidential election. My (then) editor wanted me to change her name because she was afraid everyone would think of John Kerry. I resisted, and we made a deal: If John Kerry won, I'd change Kerry's name. Politics aside, I was glad not to have to change her name because it was integral to who she was in my mind.
RT: What is it about hot romances that you think is so attractive to readers?
BRADLEY: I've always been attracted to steamier books. I just can't imagine not wanting a book that provides you with relationship, depth, plot, suspense and lots of steam, with a happily ever after. I enjoy pushing boundaries, so I gravitate to books that do the same. What's life without a few risks?
RT: What is your next book called, and when will it be out?
BRADLEY: It's called Strip Search, and it's the next in this series. Last I heard, it's due out June 30. I can't say more without giving away secrets, but I can say, of all the heroes I've written, he is one of my favorites!
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