This week Beth Kery released the print version of the second installment in her Because You Are Mine series, When I'm With You. This book marks Kery's second serialized novel and follows an aristocrat heroine who falls for a self-exiled heir hero. With an intriguing premise and a guaranteed steamy romance, we went to the author to learn more about the story, what she's learned from publishing serialized novels and what readers can expect next.
When I'm With You is the second serialized novel in your Because You Are Mine series. Has anything changed for you in the serialization process since book 1? Have you learned anything new about this process?
I’ve definitely been on a gigantic learning curve. Not a lot of people were doing serialized fiction before Because You Are Mine came out in July of 2012, so the publisher and I were treading an unfamiliar path. We did get some kind of map during the exciting, intense Because You Are Mine publication, so we were a little better prepared for When I’m With You. For instance, I did Because You Are Mine in three large chunks, turning in the installments I had when they were completed, then getting to work on the next installment while my editor got down to work on her part. For When I’m With You, we divided the manuscript into halves. For a serial I have coming out next year called The Affair—a whole new venture—I will be turning in all the installments at once. The process is still very different than a regularly published book, however, both on the writing and publishing end. For the most part, the entire publishing process is faster, so it goes from my brain to the readers’ hands much quicker. The feeling of immediacy and vibrancy remains, which is what I loved about the serial from the first.
Unlike many recent contemporary erotic romances, this story features a wealthy heroine, Elise, who comes from an aristocratic family. Was this a significant decision you made when planning her character?
Yes, it was definitely intentional. I hope that readers don’t want the exact same thing over and over, although this genre of work does have certain hallmarks. Elise’s character has been forged in this paradoxical world of privilege and neglect. She had parents who’s net worth was that of a small country, but Elise never had shoes that fit growing up, as an example. I wanted there to be a discrepancy between what people thought they saw when they looked on her and what she was on the inside, a gulf that only Lucien could help her bridge. I often wonder if plot comes first for me or the characters. In the case of When I’m With You, it follows an overall story arc that began in Because You Are Mine, so a general plot was in place. I knew how it would end. Elise’s background and character, however, were a concerted effort to match up her strength and weaknesses with Lucien’s.
But your hero, Lucien, isn't exactly poor. Although he's a self-exiled heir, he's a successful restaurateur. How does Lucien's family problems affect his relationship with Elise?
Both Lucien and Elise were raised in a sort of gilded cage. Lucien has escaped that cage, however, something Elise longs to, but worries she’s not strong enough to accomplish. They knew one another growing up, and both have grimly accepted the limitations of their families. It’s secrets that have been keeping Lucien from true intimacy and commitment, a longing for something he’s never had. He wants Elise more than anything, but she’s a threat to something he longs for almost as much, so there’s this inherent conflict. She could ruin things for him in this new world he’s created for himself, and most importantly, damage his hopes and plans in regard to Ian Noble.
Elise is also a bit of a firecracker. How does this come into play in regards to her sexual relationship with Lucien?
Lucien is a sexual dominant and Elise is pretty much used to having men fall over her to give her everything she wants in the romance/sex arena. It’s not that she wants that necessarily from a man, it’s what she came to expect from experience. At the same time, she’s paradoxically more guarded and innocent in regard to sex than a casual observer would think, a natural result of the calculating world of power from where she comes. She’s completely befuddled by Lucien’s refusal to cater to her every whim. At times it’s pretty amusing to see both her and Lucien deal with the puzzle of each other. What I found interesting about Elise is that she uses her strength—which is considerable—to accept the challenge. She knows deep down the wild child/lost girl has to find a way to control herself and her life. Trusting Lucien to help her do that is a giant, life-changing step for her.
Can you tell us what readers can expect from book 3, Because We Belong?
I am very excited about Because We Belong! As the readers know, Ian and Francesca ended up together at the end of Because You Are Mine, but shadows remained in regard to Ian’s dark past and his ability to feel his rightful place in a happy, loving relationship. It’s not that he doesn’t love Francesca—he worships her. It’s self-doubts that plague him. In the second book, When I’m With You, the reader follows along with what’s happening in Ian and Francesca’s romance. They see Ian doing battle with his doubts and putting faith in Francesca, proposing
What do you think of serialized novels? Let us know in the comments. You can pick up a copy of When I'm With You, available now. For more genre news and coverage head over to our Everything Erotica page.