I met Kristen in an awesome Facebook group, Come Wine With Tami Lund (join us!), and we bonded quickly over our shared love of working for bands. I reviewed her newest paranormal romance release, WANTED, yesterday (read my review) and can’t wait to dive into the rest of her collection!

About Kristen Strassel

Kristen is in the running for the title of the hardest working girl in show business. When she’s not writing books, you can find her doing makeup for film and television. And no, she can’t share any juicy celebrity gossip. But many of her books have famous people in them, so maybe some of her characters have been based on real people. Names changed to protect the innocent, of course. Kristen also enjoys football, hairbands, and road trips to the middle of nowhere.

ABOUT Kristen AS AN AUTHOR

What inspired you to write your first book?

Back when I had a job I hated (retail management), I couldn’t sleep because I would think about all the things I had to do the next day at work. To get my brain to stop thinking about work, I started making up stories to get myself to relax enough to get some zzz! That story became Because the Night.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

I write in two genres, paranormal and contemporary romance. The more books I write, the steamier they get.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I always write first person, past tense. My goal is to make you feel like you’re listening to your best friend tell you what happened to her (or him, when it’s the guy talking).

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I always loved to read. Not to date myself or anything (ahem), but when I was a teenager there was no such thing as the internet (okay, there probably was, but mere mortals had no access to it), my best friend and I would pass a notebook back and forth and take turns writing stories. I tried and failed to write books many times, but the same friend said she was working on a book, and we decided to work together to finish our stories. We did it! Hers is Running Home by Julie Hutchings.

What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?

I hate choosing a favorite among my characters, because they’re all special to me. But if I have to pick one…the photo shoot scene in No Strings Attached. If you’ve read it you’ll know why I picked that one. If you haven’t read it—a successful woman hired a male escort for her twentieth high school reunion. Her intention is to have a guy play the part of her boyfriend and never see him again, but their chemistry is insane. He’s also a photographer, and they do a boudoir-style shoot in the hotel room that is smoking hot.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you’re new and unpublished, send your book to an editor. Not a beta reader—an actual editor. I learned so much by getting unbiased, professional feedback on my books. Otherwise, I would’ve kept perfecting bad habits.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Basically that I love their faces. Haha. Seriously, I love hearing from readers, and I’m glad my characters have touched you in some way.

How do you beat writer’s block?

The best ways for me to get my characters talking to me is to take a shower or to go to bed.

Are any of your characters are based on you?

All of my heroines have a little piece of me in them.

ABOUT Kristen’s Recent Release, WANTED

How did you come up with the title?

WANTED is part of the Blood Courtesans collection. It’s based on Michelle Fox’s Blood Courtesan world. I had to figure out why a young woman would need to sell her blood to vampires. So I put her on the run from the law. So “Wanted” has a double meaning. Not only is she actually wanted by the police, but the most powerful vampire in the coven thinks her power could save the coven.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Even when things look really bad, don’t give up.

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, it’s set in New York City, so that’s real. The catalyst that sends Corynne on the run is that she’d been bullied her entire life. She cares very much about the people who are good to her. The rest is pure fantasy.

ABOUT Kristen AS A READER

What books have most influenced your life most?

Hmmm. Great question. So many. I started reading Stephen King and Jackie Collins (if that tells you anything about what I chose to write!) because that’s what I could get my hands on in my house. I love to read autobiographies of musicians, especially from the 60s and 70s. If you haven’t read Just Kids by Patti Smith, go read it right now. When I had that retail management job that I didn’t like so much, I loved that everyone I worked with was an avid reader. We spent entire shifts talking about the Anita Blake and Sookie Stackhouse books.

What are you reading right now?

Cherry Pop by Sotia Lazu.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I love Sotia’s stuff. I enjoyed the other books I’ve read in the Blood Courtesans series, too. I love Kendal Grey’s Hard Rock Harlots series so hard. I love Karina Halle, especially Love, In English. I also loved Kit Rocha’s Beyond Shame, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

BECAUSE KARAN IS RANDOM…

Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

None of them. I’m always happy to talk shop.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Hmmm. This is always the hardest question. I’m great at talking about everything but myself.

BUY Kristen’s BOOKS ON AMAZON

If you’ve made it down this far, go like, follow, and stalk Kristen everywhere. Share the love and tell her I sent you!