Interview with Kendall Grey
Welcome back once again to another guest blog. Today is the turn of Kendall Grey, author of the A Just Breathe trilogy, to go in the hot seat.
Here’s the blurb for the second book, EXHALE:
Her dreams brought them together, but reality could tear them apart…
The man of Zoe Morgan’s dreams isn’t only real, he’s interested. In her. But her boss wants her too, and is leveraging his unsolicited advances with the threat of blocking the huge promotion she’s after. When he places a spy on her research team, the intense stranger discovers more than he should, and Zoe fears hiding a relationship with Gavin Cassidy from her boss is the least of her worries. The whale she must protect has been marked for death, and Zoe’s old enemy Scarlet is eager to deliver the killing blow. To both of them.
Australia’s Sentinels must find and lock the door into the Dreaming before Fyre Elementals launch another attack on innocent dreamers. But corruption and distrust abound, and Gavin believes someone on the Sentinel council is in league with the Fyres. As he reluctantly embraces his new role as council leader, Gavin must not only keep Zoe safe from Scarlet’s vengeful clutches, but organize a Sentinel defense strong enough to prevent a full-blown Elemental war—with a traitor fighting by his side.
*This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
**The author will donate all profits from the sale of the JUST BREATHE trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face.
That is a fantastic cover. And the excerpt;
The suite had a modern décor done up in cool tones: thick-napped emerald carpet, wispy eggshell-white curtains tied back to reveal a stunning cityscape beyond the Brisbane River, and vertically striped white and navy wall paper.
A bucket of iced champagne sweated on a low-slung glass coffee table in front of a long, blue-upholstered couch. Zoe’s overnight bag sat on the floor beside a small black duffel at the foot of a king-sized bed. Dainty chocolates adorned monster pillows at the headboard, and the corners of the sheets were folded back. Matching ‘His and Hers’ robes draped across the thick, royal blue comforter.
Seeking refuge against the now-closed door, Zoe swept a hand across her forehead, brushing some windblown wisps of hair out of her eyes. Gavin dropped the key and his sunglasses next to a bulbous green lamp on a dresser and turned to her, his colorful, tattooed arms swinging with the spin.
He closed the distance between them, then reached around her head, loosened the rubber band, and tugged it free. Hair tumbled down her back. Heat prickled her skin as a whiff of his woodsy cologne set her belly alight. The loud clack of a lock snapping into place rang out from somewhere near her right arm.
Trapped with Mr. Perfect.
Zoe’s heart raced. Dropping her gaze to the floor, she inhaled a sharp breath. He peeled open the jacket still hanging on her shoulders and slid it off. The leather fell into a heap behind her. What was he—
Thumbs wriggled through the belt loops on either side of her hips and pushed her flush against the door. One black boot appeared between her feet. The other planted itself in the carpet to the left of her right shoe. She looked up to protest. His lips landed on hers, gentle as a falling feather. Breath shuddered out through her nose, and her eyes drifted closed as he staked his claim on her mouth.
Jitterbugs swarmed her stomach. She reveled in the rhythm of each tiny movement of his mouth as if they’d done this a thousand times before. Which, they sort of had. In her dreams. But dreams weren’t real, and this…so…was.
Her cheeks and ears flushed with fast-pumping blood. His pierced bottom lip, which she’d been dying to taste again, hypnotized her into performing a precarious balancing act between girlish retreat and slut-worthy acceptance of any- and everything he might put up for auction tonight.
A moan vibrated between their mouths, and she realized with embarrassment, it came out of her. She opened her eyes and pulled away, wiping her lips with the back of a hand.
Thanks, Modesty, for the interruption. Your late arrival was poorly timed, but much appreciated.
If the kiss had gone on much longer, she would have straight-up jumped his ass.
He looked down at her, his thumbs still holding her hips by the belt loops, a steady couple of inches away from his steaming hot body.
Breathless, she focused on the lip ring. Big mistake. He licked it.
Thank you, sir. May I have another?
“What was that for?” It took a few seconds, but her senses returned and reminded her of his distance only moments before. Was he buttering her up for sex? Rock stars were notorious users. Maybe he was grooming her to be his next victim.
She couldn’t take much more of the mixed signal shit.
He stepped closer, eyes rippling blue. At five foot eleven, Zoe wasn’t short, but he had a good five or six inches on her. And if his physical stature didn’t dwarf her, his epic hotness was the perfect stand-in. “It’s eleven fifty-two.”
Did she imagine desire hanging thick in his voice, or was that husky tone the result of scream-singing on stage for an hour? Had to be the singing.
“You gonna turn into a pumpkin at midnight or something?” Look away, damn it. Be strong. She stuffed both hands in her front pockets, but he didn’t let her go. Instead, he leaned in even further, heat rising off his sweat-drenched shirt in the cool, air-conditioned room.
“When I woke up this morning, I promised myself I’d kiss you before this day ended.” He tugged her hips to his with a jerk. Holy freaking hell. “Eleven fifty-two.”
And now for the Interview:
1. Who’s your favourite character in the book?
I have a lot of favourite characters in the JUST BREATHE series, but if I have to narrow it down to just one, right now I’d say it’s Sinnder. He’s actually a villain in the series, but you get the feeling there’s a tiny slice of good hiding somewhere under all the apathy. I love the mystery surrounding him too. He’s a bad boy with questionable motives, which is why I think he’s so appealing.
2. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
Right now I’m in limbo while I wait for edits on the final book in my trilogy, so I’m working on some short stories that will accompany the books. It’s fun because I’m able to give readers more insight into the characters without having to write another whole book. Eventually, there will be a spin-off book for at least one of the JUST BREATHE characters. I’m also planning something completely different from my urban fantasy stuff—a religious satire. Can’t wait to dig into that. The life of a writer is never dull!
3. Which character from your book would you most like to meet?
I’d love to meet Sinnder, whom I mentioned above. He’s gorgeous, sexy, and leaves a lasting impression, thanks to the sex pheromones he naturally exudes. 😉 Fyre Elementals are hot in many ways!
4. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Pretty much every criticism I get is tough. I have very thin skin, which is why I quit reading reviews. The stress isn’t worth it.
A lot of readers have said that the world-building in the beginning of INHALE (book 1 in the JUST BREATHE trilogy) is hard to understand. They’re probably right. There are many new terms and concepts to learn at the beginning, and I drop the reader right in the middle of the action without a safety net. However, I couldn’t make the opening all back-story because I would’ve been slammed for info dumping. It’s a lose-lose situation. I handled it the best way I could. My goal is to “show” the reader what’s going on through story revelations, not “tell” them everything they need to know in two pages or less. The world building in the trilogy is pretty complex. I included a glossary of terms in the back of the book, but I believe sometimes the reader has to trust the author and go with the flow. My friend Dennis Sharpe called INHALE “intelligent smut.” I couldn’t agree with that label more. 🙂 Bottom line: If you want to be spoon-fed a bland, easy-to-digest story, don’t read this series.
5. Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you’re self-publishing, hire a professional editor and cover designer. Don’t skimp on those two items. If you want people to take you seriously, you MUST be professional. Also, avoid reading reviews of your books. If I get ten fantastic reviews and one terrible one, all I focus on is the bad. It makes me question myself as a writer, and I lose my confidence. It will eat you alive if you let it. Best not to put yourself in that situation. Keep writing and ignore people’s opinions.
6. Tell us about your cover. Where did the idea come from?
The cover for EXHALE was the hardest one of the three in the trilogy. I’d spent months looking through stock photos for the perfect guy to be Gavin, the hero. When I finally stumbled upon the photo I ended up using, I knew this was the guy. Not only did he look like Gavin, but the pose matched perfectly with Gavin’s state of mind at the end of EXHALE. The book does not have a happy ending, and I think this image fits the mood perfectly.
7. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Anyone who writes is a writer. Not everyone is an author though. I refused to call myself an author until I was published and actually sold some books. Even now, I have a hard time thinking of myself as a professional author. Seems too big of a title for me.
8. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?
Absolutely none. I’d be the first one down and eaten. And if I got turned into a zombie, I’d suck at that too. I have zero physical skills, zero strength, and zero sense. I’m hopeless!
9. Someone wrongs you. Do you get revenge or allow Karma to do it for you?
If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I’d have said “revenge,” all the way. I’m a very giving and trusting person. I try to help people out any way I can, but DO NOT screw me over. I will hold a grudge for a lifetime, and I NEVER forget a slight. My rebellious nature has never had a problem with taking action against those who do me wrong. However, I recently discovered that when someone slams me or writes a crappy review of my books, karma is pretty good at exacting revenge for me. Most of the time, the sheer idiocy of the person shines through in their review or comment. It saves me the trouble of getting involved. Or giving a crap.
10. You get turned into a werewolf, who do you pee on first?
There’s a long list of people I’d love to pee on. Most of them have some connection to publishing and books, including certain agents, editors, other authors, reviewers, bloggers…I’d better shut up before I get myself into trouble. Karma, remember? 🙂
11. What is your favourite band?
Chevelle. I based my hero’s band from the JUST BREATHE trilogy off Chevelle. Every time they come through Atlanta for a concert, I’m there. LOVE that band! “Family System” may be my favorite song ever.
Thanks to Kendell for taking part in the interview and I hope you all enjoyed it. If you want to read more about Kendell and her incredible work, you can click on the links below.