Recently, Harlequin Desire authors Naima Simone and Karen Booth sat down to discuss the ins and outs of writing a multi-author series for Harlequin Desire. Karen Booth has several of these adventures under her belt but this was Naima Simone’s first rodeo. Since they are both incredibly talented and prolific authors, their interview was filled with lots of fun hot takes and interesting asides. I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the funnier, lighter side of writing from their points of view. You can read the first part of their interview here.
A little birdie told me both Naima and Karen share a deep and meaningful love of all things 80s. It was easy to get them carried away when asked about their favorite parts of the 1980s. I hope you enjoy their funny discussion in these outtakes! They are two women after my own 80s music and movie loving heart!
ON WITH THE FUNNY!
Naima Simone: The music and the movies!! Hands down! Big hair bands. Pop music. Five words: New Kids on the Block. 🙂 And then movies like Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing, Sixteen Candles, Mystic Pizza. I mean, they were all classics! And I mean, I dare anyone to say they don’t start dancing and singing at the top of their lungs when Pour Some Sugar on Me comes on the radio! Or The Right Stuff! Or Total Eclipse of the Heart! Lawd, I can go on and on…
And oooh! Can we talk about the TV shows? The soapy classics? Dynasty. The Colbys. Dallas. Knots Landing. Falcon Crest. And the sitcoms like Diff’rent Strokes, Punky Brewster and Facts of Life? I swear, Punky Brewster dictated my personal style for a little while. Much to my mother and father’s dismay. LMAO! The fashion thoooo… Eh. Can’t have it all. LOL!!
Karen Booth: Rob Sheffield talked about this in his book Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, and I think he nailed it. I’m paraphrasing, but he said that the ‘80s kids have so much nostalgia because everything great in that decade was for teenagers. And I think that’s so true–the music, the movies, the fashion, the fads, the TV shows. Very little of it was geared toward adults! So, as messed up a time as the ‘80s were, I feel very lucky to have grown up in that era. Music is the most important part of it for me–it was the common bond I shared with my friends. And it’s still music I return to all the time…Duran Duran is at the very top of my list, but U2, REM, Tears for Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen, INXS, New Order, and countless other bands all played a role. And if I hadn’t gotten into music to that obsessive degree, I might not have ended up working in the music industry years later, and that’s how I met my husband. So it’s brought me nothing but amazing things. And my kids love ‘80s music–bonus!
NS: Echo and the Bunnymen and Tears for Fears! How could I forget them? I STILL buy Tears for Fears CDs and Echo and the Bunnymen never fail to remind me of The Lost Boys. Sigh. Which never fails to remind me of my Corey Feldman crush. Gawd, I’m so embarrassed about that considering how he turned out… *shudder*
But before all this, I couldn’t wait to go pick my kids up from their after school activities so I could drive by their friends reeeeeaaaally slow, roll down my windows and blast Total Eclipse of the Heart or Bohemian Rhapsody while singing it reeeeeaaaaally loudly. LOLOL! Highlights of my life! Of course, they love those songs–just not their mother singing them in front of their friends.
KB: I was obsessed with The Lost Boys! I was a total Kiefer girl, which is weird because I don’t usually dig blond dudes. I won’t judge you for having a crush on a Corey. We all have our weak moments! I still have them when it comes to John Taylor.
NS: I just watched this great documentary on Duran Duran last week! It was awesome! I’d still do John Taylor or Simon LeBon. Can I say that here? *snicker*
KB: Well, I think you just did! I will always be a JT girl. I was never a Simon girl, but I see the appeal. Funnily enough, my editor at Harlequin and I “fight” over John Taylor all the time. HE was doing an Instagram Live the other day and I messaged her to let her know. I heard back two seconds later. “Girl, you know I keep track of everything he’s doing.”
If the two of you were stranded on a deserted island, how would you survive? What essentials would you miss most, how would you work together, any “chores” you’d like to pass off to the other person, anything you’ll gladly do for the team?
NS: I think I would survive by cozying up to the most capable person and becoming their best friend or booty call. LOL! You think I’m kidding… *snicker* Seriously, I suck at survival anything! When I was a camp counselor in college, we had to camp out at least once a week and I HATED it!! Once, I heard a crack in the woods, and I literally jumped OVER a camper and ran back toward the cabin! Not my finest hour, I admit. LOL! I would work well together with others just as long as my fellow stranded survivors didn’t make me have to gather wood or go in the forest or cook. I don’t do spiders, and those mofos are ALWAYS in the woods! And I don’t even like to cook now, soooo… But I’ll gladly be the emotional support and cheerleader! Oh yeah, I’m going to be the first person roasting on a spit when the food source runs low… Hahahahah!!
KB: Oh, man. I’m with Naima. Surviving is not my strong suit. Is there a decent hotel nearby? Because I don’t do well if I don’t get a good night’s sleep. With a nice pillow. And some blackout curtains and a ceiling fan. I don’t even do glamping. All of that being said, I am a pretty good problem-solver, so I think I would figure out a way to make it work. I mean, the alternative is pretty scary. I would probably become a vegetarian, I would learn how to bake pies with no oven like MaryAnn on Gilligan’s Island, and I would make Naima a coconut bra because I’m crafty.
NS: They gon’ need to be some big coconuts, girl…
KB: I’m up for the challenge. What else do I have to do? We’re stuck on an island!
WE’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!
NS: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned since being published is this is a business. And while I think it’s the best in the world, it still has its disappointments and stumbling blocks. My skin has had to thicken, and I’ve had to learn and accept that this is not a success only journey. But it’s the best journey. And I don’t think my definition of success has changed as much as evolved. At first, it was sell as many books as possible and become widely known. Now that I’ve been writing for a while and I’m older, I’m reminded of what my father always told me when I was younger. He told me, “Find something that makes you wake up every morning happy to do it.” That’s part of the meaning of success. Of course it’s earning a living doing this and gaining more and more readers and signing more and more contracts. But if I’m happy–even in spite of the disappointments–then I’m doing the damn thing!
KB: Naima’s right on the money with everything she said. It is a business, and that makes it difficult because your creativity will always come from a deeply personal and vulnerable place, but you aren’t supposed to take business personally. You’re not supposed to take rejection to heart or let it slow you down, but it does. It just does. I guess the question is, do you let it bother you for a few hours or do you think about it for days or weeks? I’ve learned to let it roll off my back quicker, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Rejection is a huge part of publishing and we all get rejected, even after you’ve had some success.
As far as my definition of success, I’ve realized that chasing achievements just doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean you don’t have goals, but I keep those in the realm of things I actually control, like my own creative output. And like Naima, I’m over the moon at being able to be a full-time writer. There just aren’t a lot of people who are able to do that. I feel very fortunate to be on this ride and will stay on it as long as humanly possible! Especially if Naima’s around.
NS: Aaaw, Karen, right back at you! I’m blowing kisses your way, but don’t worry! I’m wearing a mask! Like I said, I was–am!–a total fan-girl. And it was so awesome to find out that not only are you an amazing writer, but you were super welcoming, kind and giving. For a newbie to Harlequin and for a long-time reader, it was just wonderful. So I’m adding to my answer. Success is also finding true friends in this business who are true beautiful spirits. *sniff* Don’t mind us. We’re just bonding over here…
KB: I’m all about building friendships and lifting each other up. I don’t see the point in being any other way. Also, did you notice how we managed to turn this interview into a Harlequin book! Here we are, saying I love you and crying!
About the Authors:
USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights— writing sizzling romances with a touch of humor and snark.
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.
Karen Booth is a midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on ’80s music and repeated readings of Forever by Judy Blume. She writes steamy contemporary romance, almost always about the dreamy guy you never thought you’d get. Case in point, her husband: she crushed on him for two years before he got a clue. Twenty-five years later, they have two college-age kids and one bratty cat.
Karen is co-founder of the 3500+ member Seasoned Romance Facebook group, devoted to the promotion of romance with characters 35+. She has been a finalist for RT Magazine’s Series Romance of the Year, RT Magazine’s Gold Seal of Excellence, the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA), the Booksellers’ Best Award, and the Holt Medallion.
Ruthless Pride by Naima Simone, out now!
Millionaire CEO Joshua Lowell earned his icy reserve and arrogant pride through painful experience. He refuses to allow gorgeous but determined reporter Sophie Armstrong to dredge up his family’s dark past—or circulate rumors of his secret child. But Joshua’s fierce pride is at war with his heated desire for Sophie, the only woman who could ruin him…or save him from himself.
Forbidden Lust by Karen Booth, out June 1!
Allison Randall’s older brother’s best friend, Zane, has always been off-limits…and Zane is determined to keep it that way. But when a storm strands them together, neither can hold back. Everything Allison dreamed of is finally in reach…but there are secrets between them that could ruin everything.