Building a professional writing career in the marketing and media worlds didn't always allow Chris time to explore her own creative pursuits. When she went to work for herself as a freelance writer and editor, she began to look at words differently, and old dreams sparked again. Since she could remember, Chris wanted to write books but never felt a pull in any specific genre. In summer 2012, all of that changed. She discovered contemporary romance and new adult fiction, swooning over the work of such authors as Sylvain Reynard and Colleen Hoover. Inspired and determined to add a new voice to the mix, she took the leap and began telling what she hoped would be a different kind of love story. She has since openly admitted to having dreams about her characters, something she considers the mark of a bonafide author (and quite possibly, of clinical schizophrenia).
Chris is married and lives in the suburbs of Tampa Bay, Fla. When she is not writing or drooling over book boyfriends, she loves listening to music, going to movies, discovering new Thai restaurants and golfing (badly). If she could write her next book from a golf course while indulging in a Kevin Spacey marathon over tofu panang curry, she would.
HCO: Chris, I really enjoyed your story. It was very real and to some people it could be relatable… not everyone has the perfect marriage and you were able to capture that lonely aspect so well. Cate is an every woman, with an awesome job. Tell our readers a little about you.
CK: I appreciate that description of Cate. Yes, she is every woman! Even though she may have a cooler job than most of us, she has the same challenges about herself and her relationships as everyone else. As for me…I am a 44-year-old kid, at least I feel that way sometimes, like others tell me they do, too. I’m married and live in Florida, and have for most of my life. I am a writer and reader. I’ve been a lifelong fan of the written word, always a scribe in some part of my life. I love movies, music, TV, art, literature and I really try to blend all of that adoration into the characters of my story. So if a reader has an appreciation for one or more of these, I hope they will be swept up in that pop culture affection woven into the book, too.
HCO: Some writers are introverted, they tend to want to be on the page only and not out on social media meeting the readers and we’ve noticed you open up to your fans by inviting to follow you on twitter or email. Have you had a positive experience by being so close to the readers? And have you enjoyed it?
CK: Interacting with readers online has been fantastic! I get to hear directly from them what their reading experience was like. I have been blown away with the stories I’ve read from my fans, especially about how what was intended to be a pleasure-read is actually helping people connect with themselves or their lovers or spouses better, emotionally and sexually. I’m overjoyed to hear things like that!
I immersed myself into social media when I was the main editor and writer for a women’s magazine. It was a great way to not only market the magazine but connect with readers. By being honest and sharing our victories, our losses, our joyful moments and our sad ones, we can connect with people on a real, human level. I continued to stay engaged on Twitter and Facebook when I moved into my work as a blogger and freelance writer. I wanted to be me out here and honestly, I’m not all rosy-cheeked and upbeat every day. LOL. But I try to be myself and people seem to appreciate seeing all facets and interacting with me. And I love being able to do that!
HCO: Let’s get into the book. Have you ever worked in the movie industry like Cate? If not, your research was excellent, tell us a bit about how you researched Hollywood so accurately? And was it fun?
CK: I have never worked in the movie industry, but I have been a movie fan since I could talk. Maybe before then. LOL. I can’t remember a time when movies were not a part of my life. They are as much a part of my DNA as my brown eyes, light brown hair and dimples! I did as much research as I could about screenwriting and the movie-making process as possible, including an appeal to a successful Hollywood film and TV screenwriter who was kind enough to answer my multitudes of questions. I also did extensive research on the places that I would be depicting in the book to capture an appropriate setting. I wanted my readers to feel like he or she could hop on a plane and go there. I’ve had a fan already tell me she’s visited a place in my book and that she was mesmerized because of that existing connection. I love hearing that! I also researched the field of hypnotherapy by working closely with a professional hypnotherapist to ensure that client relationship was depicted accurately within the book. I loved doing all of the research. I consider myself a life student so learning is always fun and if it makes the story richer for taking those extra steps, then it was completely worth the time invested!
HCO: One thing I did like so much in your book was how strong you made your female lead. Did you base Cate on anyone in particular or on any specific situation in your life?
CK: Cate is an amalgam of so many women I’ve come across over the years, both friends and people I’ve met in my line of work. I’ve interviewed some fabulous women during my time as a writer of magazine profiles, so I’m sure they entered my subconscious. I also went through my own challenges as a young woman admitting she might have gotten married too young the first go-round and going through divorce by age 23. I think perhaps Cate is the woman I wish I could be sometimes. She is definitely stronger and tougher in some areas of her life than history has shown me to be. She has a fighter spirit even though there may be some readers who early on might not see this spirit. In the right company, Cate is encouraged to embrace that bravery of hers and lose her inhibitions. I don’t know exactly how my readers felt this way, but I want to grow up to be like Cate!
HCO: Even though you mentioned that Henry Cavill didn’t cross your mind when creating Oliver, I can see why some would picture him as the character. Oliver is very sweet, kind, sexy as all get out and has a similar career to Henry’s. Who did you think about, in particular, when you were writing? And how do you feel about people envisioning Henry as your Oliver?
CK: I, too, can see what might inspire some Henry Cavill fans to see him in the role of Oliver. He is similar in age and coming into his own as an actor similar to Henry in the past few years. He also made his name in TV first much like Oliver. Honestly, I envisioned a different actor as I was writing the book but I have vowed that I won’t reveal who because I think it is so important for the reader to be able to insert whomever they see in the roles of Cate and Oliver. So I wouldn’t dream of taking away that very powerful role the reader’s imagination plays. I have absolutely no problem with Henry Cavill fans fantasizing about him as they read THE MUSE UNLOCKED. I am quite the fan of the actor myself, so I think he certainly qualifies as dashing, charming and talented enough to fit the role of Oliver Sand. And if THE MUSE UNLOCKED should ever be adapted into a movie and Mr. Cavill were cast or expressed an interest, I would be honored to have him bring the character to life.
HCO: What’s next for you?
CK: I’m working on the follow-up to the book, THE MUSE UNGUARDED. I don’t want to say too much to give anything away for any of your followers who have not yet read my first book, but I felt there was more story to tell and readers shared with me that they agreed. So there will be more to learn about the characters in THE MUSE UNLOCKED to help paint the rest of the story. After that, we shall see what I dig into next. I can tell you that I already have experienced a moment similar to when I first “found” my Oliver. I’ve had a dream about another actor who I am convinced will be my next book’s leading man, just haven’t yet worked out the details of where or what that story will be. I love it when that happens! But I can’t wait to keep telling stories and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
The Muse Unlocked
All women want to feel desired and see themselves through someone else’s eyes as desirable. Cate knew this better than most and had spent her life honing her craft to tell stories that reminded every woman of any age, any size or temperament that she deserved to feel this way.
To others, 38-year-old screenwriter and author Cate Mullen appears the consummate professional and at the top of her game. But a sharp, biting wit and tough, confident persona mask something else. Each night, when she returns home, the frequent storyteller of passion and romance is reminded that, while the house is occupied by another – a husband of 12 years – she is in fact living alone.
As Cate confronts feelings of rejection and inadequacy that plague her self-esteem and threaten to block her creativity, she begins production on her latest scripted film. There she meets 28-year-old, promising actor, Oliver Sand. As one relationship ends, a new intimacy begins that offers hope of crushing past fears and insecurities though it brings its own set of unique challenges. Would getting involved with a cast member jeopardize Cate’s career or be used against her? Could they be using each other or was true love really possible, as the writer had always touted but never quite believed?
A mixture of quick wit, sexy banter and slow-churning romance, The Muse Unlocked is a tale of one woman’s journey to release herself from the constraints of her past and open her heart to the future.
To connect with Chris please visit the following:
CONNECT WITH CHRIS AT…
- Website/blog: www.chriskuhnauthor.com
- Facebook: http://on.fb.me/10GzFJ1
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/chriskuhnauthor
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/chriskuhnauthor
- GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/chriskuhnauthor
PURCHASE LINKS FOR THE MUSE UNLOCKED
- Amazon U.S. (print and e-book)
- Amazon Canada (print and e-book)
- Amazon U.K. (print and e-book)
- Amazon France (print and e-book, English)
- Amazon Germany (print and e-book, English)
- Amazon Spain (print and e-book, English)
- Amazon Italy (print and e-book, English)
- Barnes and Noble online (print book only)
- Books a Million online (print book only)