Once again, I welcome back HK Carlton, for a little Q&A about Always Holly. I love that you gave Holly a happy ending. I know from previous answers that it wasn't always supposed to go this way, but the characters insisted this was where it was to go. So, which character was the biggest pushing for this ending? Holly so she could experience happiness with both her men? Victor so he could be rewarded for his selfless act? Or Randy so Holly could truly be happy?
HK: Definitely Victor. As much as Holly couldn’t resist him, neither could I.
When I first started this story (the first time), it was supposed to be a girl who loved one boy her entire life. Holly and Randy. Period. One of those love stories. There was no affair with her FBI liaison, Alex. He just helped her shut down the two mob families. Randy came back into her life. Holly and Randy entered Witness Protection together. He was never a cop/detective, he was just a man searching for his woman, a bodyguard trying to protect his charge.
But Victor changed everything. Holly and Randy may have been the Genesis of Always Cambridge but Victor was the driving force that turned this story into a saga. [I am so glad this happened. While the initial story you described sounds like a fun read, where you ended up with this was just so much more.]
I think the real turning point was when the scene from the mall came to me. I never intended it to be part of the story. I wrote it down because, as I said, Victor took up residence in my head and he dictated. This was when I was still writing everything long hand. And I hadn’t had a book published yet. I was just writing for me. And to that point, I wrote things down to get them out of my head. It seemed once I’d put it to paper, I could move on.
But once I finished that scene, I realized, oh boy, this could be big. Victor was so charismatic, but so vulnerable at the same time. And he and Holly got each other on a level that even Randy didn’t. And I came to the conclusion that Victor had just thrown a wrench into my one boy for a lifetime theory.
But I was still hesitant, because in my mind this was Holly and Randy’s happily-ever-after. I kept trying to give them their happy ending as the story continued to evolve but every time I thought I had, Victor was still there, insistent that we were not finished. And he was right. We definitely were not done. [I'm so glad he insisted and you listened!]
MW: I absolutely love the interactions between Maur and Victor and Ty and Holly. And of course those between Ty and Maur. Do you have any plans to give them a book? Maybe a novella or something?? I know I"d love to see the entire gang back for a wedding :-)
I really loved Tyler and Victor’s relationship. I was happy with how that turned out and changed as Ty (and Victor) matured. (But I also really enjoyed Randy and Maura’s interaction as well.) [Oh, they were great, too. They really understood each other and loved each other.] At the moment there are no plans for a Tyler / Maura spin off or novella. :-( For now, I’m about Cambridged out.
MW: I totally understand that. But, I might keep nudging you on this one. Inquiring minds and all that :-) From a writing standpoint, what was the hardest part of this series?
HK: The hardest part was knowing when to end it and also each installment, I think. I was also worried about how the novels concluded with to be continued. So I tried to make sure that was prevalent in all my promos. Once the saga was complete, I knew there was no way that the books could be stand alones. But I wasn’t sure how much of say Always Cambridge, to rehash in Running, so that the reader wasn’t sick of the repetition or why I was trying to show that Holly was still in love with Randy so often. But that thread was a big part of the past and also future plot. That’s partly why Running is from Alex’s POV. Because as Holly’s FBI liaison, he could dig into her history and her psyche and I hoped it wouldn’t be boring for the reader. I could retell Holly and Randy’s history to that point, through Alex’s observations. And then Alex got a little action too.
But then at the end of Running, I was worried about where to begin Misfortune of Birth. What if someone bought MOB just because they like the cover? (and let’s face it, the depiction of Victor on that third cover, well, let’s just say, as a reader I would have bought it just for him) [Mm hm. What a cover!] LOL But as a reader, I would have been none too pleased to find out there were two books before this one and I’d picked up a book that was in the middle of a story. Definitely, working out the installments was the hardest.
MW: What was the best part?
HK: The best part of writing this series, was that the ideas just kept coming. And with all that creativity going on came a real excitement that this might be something really special. (at the same time, I was also knee deep in a little story entitled The Devil Take You) [Wow! I had no idea this was at the same time. And if you haven't read The Devil Take You, you really should. Amazing piece of historical romance.] And to me AC and TDTY are my best work to date. My real fear, is I won’t ever create anything as good. I have tons of ideas and I am writing all the time, but none of my WIPs have the same ‘feeling’ as those two did. I also wrote Lost Time [another great read with time travel] around the same time as well. It was a real creative streak, that I’m sure I’ll never recreate.
MW: I think you need to harness that fear and shove it in a corner and write. I'm amazed at not only the variety of works you write, but the depth of the characters in them. You create these amazingly flawed people in terrible situations and tug on our heartstrings as we watch them fight for the love they so desperately want. It's one of the reasons I find myself drawn back to these tales time and time again.
Now, having gone through all the ups and downs of releasing a series one book a month, would you do it again?
HK: I would do it again. The best part about having the release dates so close together was that, I’d already finished the series. I wouldn’t do it if it was not complete and I had deadlines. There are too many things that could go wrong on the publishing side of things, let alone plot problems or inconsistencies. That would have just sent me into a tale spin (see what I did there) :D with all the other things that were going on as well. The key to consecutive release dates like that, in my opinion, is to have the work complete before hand.
This series was with me so long and had so many different versions, I think that’s why I was able to submit it as a whole and not contingent on further installments to be written. I’d already worked out the bugs myself. (I hope) The problems I had, didn’t stem from the close release dates. Yeah, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if I’m ever lucky enough to have such a creative burst again.
MW: Would you do anything differently?
HK: What I would do differently, would be promo. I had every intention of setting up some kind of blog tour but the first release date was moved up an entire month SURPRISE, ahead of schedule, so I was kind of scrambling and had other releases for a different publisher and edits to contend with as well during that time. I feel like that could have been handled better. I’m also not great at picking out interest catching tag lines or the best excerpts. I don’t have big banners or ads. Nor am I good at that kind of thing to make my own.
But I have to thank my author friends for helping me get the word out. Like you Mary. I can’t thank you enough for these wonderful segments that you’ve run on your blog and the shout outs on social media. I’ve had a blast answering your questions. It’s been such fun. Not to mention the amazing reviews and the wonderful meme’s you’ve created for my Cambridge Gang. I am truly grateful.
MW: It has been my pleasure to help with that. The memes let me have a creative break of a different kind :-) Thanks so much, HK, and best of luck!!
Follow the saga from the beginning… Always Cambridge
The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years, into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.
Misfortune of Birth
Law and Order : Crime and Chaos
About the Author
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and its varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.
I enjoy writing in many different genres. I write where the muse takes me and make no apologies for it. By now, it’s quite safe to say I will never pick just one genre and stick to it. There are just too many possibilities and stories left to tell. Today time-travel, tomorrow sweet historical romance—the next release might be, down and dirty erotica or ménage. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.
Variety is creativity’s playground—It’s where you’ll find me.
H K's Blog Pick a Genre Already