What is your most recent book?
After a Wiccan ritual opens her eyes to her old friend, Maddie’s first week together with Ryan, goes by in a blur of knots and ropes. Creative in their endeavors, they tie each other to everything from the coffee table to the kitchen cabinets while also implementing various positions. Neither the sash of her silk robe nor the curly ribbon on a present is left unused as a device of sensual torture.
Together, they find the freedom they seek in bondage. But, when Maddie’s controlling ex-husband returns hell-bent on taking her back, will Ryan and Maddie be bound by the past or become tied to each other?
Tell us something about yourself.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Kent State University, and began a Master’s specializing in creative writing until two high risk pregnancies took me away from that life. After taking about a ten year break from writing to raise my two little miracles, I just knew I had to write again. It was hard to get back into it, so I was doing some writing exercises. One said to write in a genre you were not comfortable with to get the creative juices flowing, and at the time I had just read my first erotic book after looking at different publishers. Inspired by a call for submissions, I wrote two short paranormal erotic romances when my husband was away on a trip. When he got back and read them, he encouraged me to submit them to see what they would have to say. I got a contract for both in late 2007!
What inspired you to write this book?
A combination of factors, actually. I like to read non-fiction books on Wicca. I have always found the strength and belief systems of the women who practice it inspiring. A ritual caught my eye, and a story formed in my head. This is often the case, my mind takes a spell or something else I read and runs away with it into some paranormal world. Only this time, I wanted to write the story in the genre of Magic Realism, keeping it to Wiccan practices as they happen in the real world. Another factor was a sad story I heard that kept bumping around in my head, so a similar situation became the back story which called for the spell to be down. I was able to write out, I guess, what was bothering me by giving hope and a better life to my character. Although I write paranormal stories, I find things weighing on me often find a resolution in my stories.
How did you publish this book? How did you decide on your publisher?
I submitted the story to the publisher, eXcessica because they had already published my first story to start to fall into the genre of Magic Realism called, The Healing Spell. The publisher was great to work with, and I have met a great number of wonderful authors through them. They have an author’s loop which works as a constant support system for all of us published with them. The owner, Selena Kitt, is wonderful, understanding – so nice and real. It shows in how the company has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 2 years, too.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I can remember, I have been a reader. Always happy to be lost in a book. I found myself at a young age rewriting stories in my head as I wished they would have gone, or creating stories with the same types of characters, etc. In high school and college, I started to write myself thinking I would teach English and write books. Life had other plans, but I could not be more grateful for where it has lead me.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Of course, all of the submission business! The editing and formatting of the story to meet the intended publishers submission guidelines, writing the dreaded synopsis especially. I understand the need for it, but it doesn’t make it fun or less nerve-wracking! Then, there is the waiting…
What did you learn from writing this book?
To just write the story in your heart! I was most nervous about this one given the odd mixing of genres and situations in the story, but it has been my best received, getting me wonderful reviews and praise. You just never know! I think we can easily hamper ourselves when we over-think our stories, trying to see it as a publisher would. It is all so subjective, that you just have to be you and see what they say.
What are you reading now?
I am currently stuck in Annettee Blair mode, reading through a few of her series. I finished the first two of the Vintage magic series last week, loving them and now anxiously awaiting the third to release. A few days ago, I started the Triplet witch one.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I read mostly paranormal romance, but I have been moving into writing historical/regency romances. So, I have found a few where this time period also has paranormal elements. My favorite author to do this by far is Teresa Medieros!
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am in the process, plot line completed, of starting to write my first mainstream historical, paranormal romance novel. I recently completed and submitted my first full length novel which actually combines historical, paranormal and erotic romance elements. It is called Torn Asunder, and places star-crossed lovers in 1820 England and includes battles of white verses black magic along with the scandals of the upper ten thousand! Given the mix of many genres, I wrote and released as a free read a novella written with the same mix (only vampires) to get some feedback from readers. If interested, you can find links to read the ebook, Bloodlust & Redemption many places on the web on my website, or even purchase it in print on Amazon. http://www.kikihowell.com/2009/10/free-novella-bloodlust-redemption-click.html Of course, although I think regency is very true to my voice, I find the books taxing to write, so I wrote a couple of erotic, paranormal romances in contemporary setting in between for the release. I am subbing them now.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
As I said before, be true to YOUR story. Don’t over analyse it. At the same time, experiment with different types of writing until you find your true voice.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I just did my first blog radio interview. I have typically done a lot of guest blogging and chats. I run my own blog as well called Authors By Authors where you will find authors reviewing books they read or interviewing each other. I spend some time each day on Facebook and Twitter, as well. Probably, the most unique thing I do though is have a shop on Etsy where you can purchase signed copies of my books along with items I have made that are inspired by them like book thongs and knitted book sweaters.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
What They Are Saying About Rituals…
“Maddie is a sweet woman, taking back control of her life. Ryan is a good guy who gets a second chance with the woman he loves. They’re both great characters and Ms. Howell wonderfully brings them to life. Ms. Howell tells a good story with a strong plot that keeps the reader interested.” ~Dark Diva Reviews, 4Divas!
“Rituals is a really sweet and touching love story. The subject matter is racy (the sex is wild!) and the romance is wonderful… The plot builds nicely to a tense climax and the resolution is very satisfying. I highly recommend Rituals to those who like romantic fiction with spice!” ~Manic Readers, 4Stars