Our interview today is with Emma Calin author of Knockout! A Passionate Police Romance (rated 4.0 stars on 40 reviews). Before we get to the interview, here is a book description: A #1 Kindle Best Seller in Romantic Suspense, Romantic Adventure and Women Sleuths. Interpol cop, Anna Leyton, spirals down into a hopeless vortex of sexual and emotional passion as she fights to keep her professional cool. Who is deceiving who in this fast moving ride across continents? What motivates her art loving prize-bull of a lover Freddie La Salle? The power of love and trust stands against greed and crime as conflicting forces grapple for that knockout punch. Knockout! A romance novel with a twist of suspense that will take you on a roller coaster ride of passion, deception and love.
Interview with Emma Calin
1. What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
My romance/suspense novel KNOCKOUT! has an international setting, taking in London, Paris, a champagne vineyard, the French Riviera, the Californian coast around Monterey and New York. The psychological setting is more unique in that it is a wild Romance, set in the context of a disciplined service, the Metropolitan Police and Interpol. As a detective Anna Leyton has to follow the rule book concerning impartiality and personal involvement with a suspect. A good deal of the tension in the book revolves around the conflicts arising from her passionate need and the requirements of her job.
2. What specific themes did you emphasize throughout the novel?
The most specific theme is that of sexual love. Quickly both characters abandon their roles and start to play it for real. Anna has had a long period of turmoil, self-doubt and fear before the action commences. She opens like a parched flower to unexpected rain when she meets Freddie. The second specific theme is of the meaning of honesty in a relationship. Both characters long to tell the truth but neither can. Another important theme is that of physical courage. Muscular, even fatal conflict lies ahead yet they focus on their love in the belief that they will come through. The writer is trying to stress the overwhelming character of pure love, the beauty of physical sex its inseparability from the true love story.
3. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
The characters are believable, but of course, slightly larger than life. I can relate to a woman in love more than I can to a professional boxer but his predicament is clear. As a Romance writer I can only relate to sex and passion because to be frank it is my own response to love. There is no love scene in the book where I have not been in my own life and that I did not re-live whilst writing the book. As a South London kid I was at school with boys from boxing families and that physical courage of the warrior formed part of my earliest fantasies.
4. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
Anna enters the story in the aftermath of a traumatic incident and a broken relationship. She has dried up within, become cynical and sexually inert. Her meeting with a dangerous stranger awakes her into a new joy. In order to fulfil her job and express her passion she knows she has to manipulate the police system and even flaunt herself a little to a lesbian boss who can swing things her way. Her full sexuality allows her to enjoy this power slightly and it surprises her a little. As her work unfolds she has to deceive her lover and yet she does it out of loyalty to the service and to colleagues. She discovers new complexities in her nature. For Freddie, meeting Anna de-rails his cynical plans and he grows into a lover and worshipper of a woman. He rejoices in her soft love and her need for his masculinity. At the same time, her intelligence allows him to reveal more and more of his love for Art and philosophy, something which he has to hid in the brutal macho world of boxing.
5. In what ways do the events in the book reveal evidence of your own world view?
The book is unashamed on the side of the poor guy. Many kids try to climb out of the gutter by prize fighting and it is against that tragic backdrop that Freddie’s motivations find expression. As a professional detective Anna knows only too well the tragedy and sorrow of poor lives. In the prologue of the book her life path crosses with a group of troubled kids from a care home and her life is never the same again.
6. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
One scene was uncomfortable. Anna needs to carry out a particular mission and is under pressure to get results. She knowingly tricks her lover and distracts him with sex so that her own pleasure is a means of deception. I guess I thought it was a bad thing to do – and I think that in her shoes, I would have done the same. Deep down she never felt good about it and as the writer I was a little saddened by her ruthlessness.The basis of the story was my awareness of corruption in the sport of boxing and indeed all manner of sport. Internet gambling allows huge sums of cash to slosh around the globe and the potential for crime is enormous.
7. Was there a basis for your story? A previous experience? Something else?
As for research, I have to be honest here. An ex lover was a Metropolitan police and Interpol detective. We had a wonderful yet forbidden affair. A lot of KNOCKOUT! was researched on my pillow and blended with my own knowledge of boxing. I sure came to respect cops. They can never get it right. They live day-to-day on junk food and adrenalin and it is hard to hold a sane life together if you are dedicated to the job.
8. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?
I write by hand in exercise books. I prefer to write early and think late when I have had a glass of wine. I write the book twice by hand and then type two drafts before final edit. I am slow! I work from the characters and their context. Once I have kissed the guy in my imagination and longed for him then I can set the character free to live out a story. The male is built from my dreams and fantasies. When I’m writing I am with him somehow.
9. How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?
If I get writers block I think of some passionate moment I have lived – a favourite is a sexy summer picnic with wine and a guy lifting my hand to kiss when I was not sure how to start things. Sometimes I write a haiku or send a long e mail to my kids.
10. Favorite book from childhood?
My favourite book from childhood was Black Beauty.
11. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk? Describe what you see when you look around.
On my desk is a huge mug of tea, a radio for classical music and obviously my laptop. From my window in the UK I can see a green lawn and trees which house dozens of noisy crows. When I am in France I see a bare wall and to be frank, it is there that I work better or perhaps have better fantasies.
Facebook page for book: http://www.facebook.com/Knockout.Romance.Novel
Twitter handle: @EmmaCalin