Name: Gracie C. McKeever (aka Gigi Moore)
Where are you from?
I’m originally from New York where I still live, play and work.
A little about yourself (ie your education, family life, etc.):
I’ve been writing from an early age and had two younger brothers who were among my earliest, captive audience. I never quite appreciated their less-than rave reviews and critiques though J I didn’t start writing with an eye towards publication until decades later.
I’ve been kicking around the internet and indie and e-publishing since 1998 when I signed on with, at that time, new alternative romance e-publisher, Dreams Unlimited. DU published my first paranormal romance NEW LIFE INCOGNITA (http://www.amazon.com/New-Life-Incognita-Gracie-McKeever-ebook/dp/B00BO7JQJ4)
My claim to fame by association while at DU? During the same time, the publisher had Diana Gabaldon, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Joey W. Hill among their early, select stable of authors. What a lineup, huh? At the time, I didn’t even realize the great talent I was in the company of!
In 2001 I caught the erotic romance bug when, which spawned my own erotic romance title a few years later, BENEATH THE SURFACE (http://www.bookstrand.com/beneath-the-surface)
Despite the hot and sexy books I write about romance, relationships, and HEAs, I am currently single and couldn’t be happier. I’m pretty set in my ways, and I like my own company (can you say antisocial and introvert?) so single works pretty well for me. When I do deign to allow the outside world into my bubble, I love spending time with my family and a few friends.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Gracie: I’m very excited about the series I’m currently working on as before I dove into it, I hadn’t been particularly productive with my writing the last, wow, four years! So far I have six books planned and have even sketched out ideas for a three-book spinoff. I just put the finishing touches on a stand-alone prequel, an erotic BDSM short story entitled BUTTERFLY that introduces two sub-plot characters who will play roles (not sure how minor or major) in at least one other book later in the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Gracie: Wow, I can’t remember a time when I haven’t written as I’ve been writing as far back as, at least, the second grade, and probably further back than that. I write because I love the escapism. I love immersing myself in the process—the creating, the shaping ideas into universal stories, being in control, playing God, learning about my characters…all of the process (even the editing and research, bleh!). And let’s face it, I get a big kick out of living vicariously through my characters; they’re so much more accomplished, daring and interesting than I am (especially since I have the power to make them anything I want them to be J). They have these wild adventures and lead such exciting lives that I can only dream about. I think most of my bucket list is made up of things (sky diving and bungee jumping for instance) that my characters either do, have done or plan to do, LOL
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Gracie: Not until I signed a contract for my first novel and started receiving royalty checks. Before that I had placed in several writing contests, published some poems and a few short stories (most by small publishers who either paid a nominal fee or in complimentary copies…those were the days!). I also had a handful of articles published in a local newspaper that paid quite a bit more and boosted my confidence enough for me to feel like I could make a go of this writing thing. My passion and focus, however, had always been novel writing, so I didn’t feel like I had “arrived” until I published a novel.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Gracie: I decided to finally write what I loved reading. If you ask what inspired me to write my first published book, the response is a little more specific. I had recently read a paranormal romance (one of my favorite genres since watching Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie as a child) involving reincarnation. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and the story. I wanted to write something that an audience would enjoy as much as I had enjoyed this author’s book. I took several liberties with the characters and the plot in writing NEW LIFE INCOGNITA, however, namely changing the race of the hero, and adding a sex-switch and several occult elements in addition to the reincarnation.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Gracie: I’m a mix of a pantser (flying by the seat of my pants with an idea and just diving into the writing) and an outliner. Most of my work is character-driven, so I tend to focus on my characters, building the plot around whatever I discover about them while laying down the foundation for their backgrounds.
Fiona: How do you come up with your titles?
Gracie: I use a mix of methods—from including the characters’ names, profession, to mining the story itself and my The Pocket Book of Quotes…For example, the first book in my current WIP, a BDSM, the title came before the story or characters and eventually became a play on the hero’s name (ON THE EDGE). Book two, another BDSM, I decided to use a name I had heard in passing and filed away for future reference, for my heroine, Iceland and titled this book COLD AS ICE. From here I just decided to follow the pattern and make all the books in this series a play on either the hero and/or heroine’s given or surname. I’m calling the series PLAY ON (leaving “Words” unspoken, or unwritten, as it were J); I think it works, especially since a majority of the books in the series involve BDSM themes and relationships.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Gracie: I like the idea of second chances, so the general themes or “messages” in most of my books are those of redemption and healing. I believe in the (healing) power of forgiveness and love and that it’s never too late to change, to achieve one’s goals (be it a relationship, a career, a family) and never too late to try something new.
Fiona: How much of your books are realistic and are the characters’ experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Gracie: I try to inject verisimilitude into all of my books and make my stories and characters as true-to-life, relatable as possible. I draw from my own life experiences, yes, and my hopes and dreams. I also imbue my characters with recognizable, universal personality traits, mostly composites of family members, friends and/or myself. Sometimes I create a character with a specific person I know in mind, then I add on as I go and learn more about the character and the story’s needs. Basically, most of my characters (especially the females and heroines) are pieces of me or the me I want to be.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? Do you have a mentor?
Gracie: In the 80’s, Stephen King and Danielle Steel’s work were big influences on me and for a long time both were auto-buys; this changed as my tastes changed and matured. However, most of my early work as a teen and in my twenties, was probably inspired by these two authors. More recently my influences have been books in the paranormal and erotic romance genre, and specifically books by the late Octavia E. Butler. As for mentor, I don’t think I have any one specific person I can point to that fills that role.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
Gracie: Actually, I just finished reading the McCauley Brothers series by Marie Harte. I’ve had the four books on my Kindle for a couple of years but finally got around to reading them recently and I loved all four books! I am definitely looking forward to the spinoff series, BODY SHOP BAD BOYS. I’ve read several new authors lately in different genres (STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John-Mandels, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll, PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey, THE PERFECT MOTHER by Nina Darnton, NIGHTWHERE by John Everson) and what all of these books—from scifi to suspense/thriller, to romance, to erotic horror—share are unique premises, gripping plots, skillful execution and memorable characters that take on a life of their own long after the last page has been turned. It’s difficult to pick a favorite as I have a long list of auto-buy authors (Marie Harte now among them): Tracy Brogan, Lauren Christopher, Tracey Garvis Graves, Larissa Ione, Julie James, Shelly Laurenston, Shannon McKenna, J.J. Murray, Rainbow Rowell.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Gracie: Street News, the Homeless Newspaper was one of my earliest and most staunch supporters outside of family.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Gracie: I’d love to, but so far, I don’t see being able to give up my day job any time soon.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Gracie: I wrote the initial premise for the current WIP and a couple of chapters back in 2012. It’s hard to say what I would change since I’m still in the midst of writing it. I do wish that I had pushed myself harder, especially through the “blocks” and lulls and started digging in to write it earlier. Although, I don’t think it would have been the same book back then as it is turning out to be now. I think it needed time to percolate and I needed time to fill up my creative well.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Gracie: I’ve always been an avid reader; the more I read, the more interested in writing my own stories I became, and the more I wanted to emulate all the great authors whose work I loved.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Excerpt from BUTTERFLY by Gracie C. McKeever:
It took everything in Trudy to act like their destination didn’t shock her, to act like she didn’t feel betrayed. Then to play it cool like she wasn’t a total rube and follow Remedy through the entrance of the BDSM club she had read and heard so much about had almost taken the rest.
What was she doing? How could she possibly fit in and look like she belonged? And what gave Remedy the impression that she’d be at home here? Did he care or was he just bringing her along for the ride, to make fun of her?
So many questions, but what else could she think? Why else would Remedy bring her to a club like this unless…he knew about her! Then the question still remained. Was he making fun of her and her kink and how the hell had he found out?
It wasn’t like she went around broadcasting her proclivities. Sure, she acknowledged her kinky nature. It had been difficult not to once she realized what turned her on. Then came the reading, online research and even some practice behind the closed door of her apartment, because she was a curious and thorough kind of girl that way. She had yet, however, to take the final leap out of the closet and plunge into the BDSM community to commit to her kink. At least not before now.
She didn’t know whether to be pissed off at Remedy for his presumption, or herself for being gullible enough to let him lead her into a trap like this.
Tears of remembered helplessness stung her eyes as she followed Remedy down the steep, plush-carpeted steps to the dimly-lit chamber below. Her heart pounded to the music, D’Angelo’s How Does It Feel, piping from two overhead speakers like a ghost from her past.
No matter how many times she reminded herself of his kindness and affection, no matter how many times she reminded herself to trust him, she couldn’t get rid of the image of the artistic, geeky tomboy with flat chest and glasses who had been teased all through high school for being different.
She was still more than a little geeky, but geeky was in now. She still wore glasses, still a bit of a tomboy, but she had more than filled out in all the right places, if she did say so herself. Yet, she hated to think how much more she would have been teased as a teen had her peers known just how “different” she was.
Much as Remedy had done to her earlier, Trudy told herself she could do this. Whatever Remedy dished out, she could take it. Or maybe she would do the dishing.
Remedy glanced back at her over his shoulder and grinned, squeezing her hand as he drew her to his side as if reading her mind. “You okay?”
He seemed totally oblivious to her inner turmoil, and maybe he was. Trudy had become adept at hiding her anxieties, except on special occasions like earlier when she’d needed that extra push from her reliable, sexy co-worker.
She realized though that her reliable, sexy co-worker was pretty adept at pushing her, at least he had been these last few weeks. He seemed to know exactly what she needed, when she needed it and how to provide it.
Had this trip been his end game all along?
“How did you know?” she whispered.
Remedy didn’t even pretend to play dumb, just said, “I didn’t know, not for sure. I suspected and hoped I recognized a kindred spirit.”
“You’re not making fun of me?”
He raised her hand to his chest and held it there, close to his heart. She felt the thrum of it vibrating straight to the core of her, making her pussy pulse in concert. “I wouldn’t do that. Besides, I take this side of my life very seriously.”
“How long have you suspected?”
He shrugged as if her life didn’t depend on his answer. “Maybe since we first met.”
Her face heated with a blush. She felt exposed, much worse than when she woke from one of her famous getting-on-the-bus-naked dreams and only realized she was in a dream when she reached for change and realized she didn’t have any pockets because she didn’t have on any clothes. “Must be nice being so smart.” She smirked. “Or was I that obvious?”
“Not at all. So you don’t have to worry about anyone else knowing.”
“Sure you’re not projecting?”
He chuckled and squeezed her hand again. “That’s the spirit. Keep that.”
Before she knew it he was dragging her to the podium where a humongous bald man dressed in a sleeveless black t-shirt and matching jeans stood at the entrance of the club proper with his arms folded across his massive, muscled chest.
A real live one from what Trudy could glimpse passed the man’s wide shoulders.
Her heart sped with fight-or-flight adrenaline and to calm herself she admired the sleeves decorating both of the man’s arms, red and green vibrant against his pale skin, the artwork faintly reminiscent.
Remedy walked up to the man, and despite his being a good half a foot taller than Remedy’s 6”2 and at least fifty pounds heavier than the 180lbs she thought Remedy weighed, her co-worker didn’t seem at all intimidated by the giant which led Trudy to wonder if Remedy was a member or regular at the club and knew the man, or maybe Remedy was just as cool and tough a rebel as she had always pegged him to be.
Could she tame someone like him if given the chance?
Don’t ask permission. Take the chance.
“I see it’s healing nicely,” Remedy said and the giant smiled, turning his right arm this way then that way to show off one of the sleeves.
“Get a lot of compliments from the ladies.” He winked at Trudy and she realized why the tattoo seemed familiar. She’d instinctively recognized Remedy’s handiwork.
The giant suddenly turned serious again, straightening and clearing his throat. “Private room or the main floor?”
Trudy stared as Remedy looked at her and grinned.
She let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.
What would she have said had he told the giant the main floor?
What kind of Domme was she supposed to be if she didn’t take charge, she wondered,
then realized this was the first time she had ever thought of herself in a Dominant capacity outside of her own bedroom.
Was it the atmosphere of the club rubbing off on her already or, again, Remedy’s presumption rubbing her the wrong way?
How dare he bring her here without warning and just assume she’d be okay with it.
Just as she was beginning to work up a healthy head of steam, Remedy finished off some transaction with the giant, exchanging signature for electronic keycard before he turned and took her hand again.
Manhandling her without her permission, just taking things for granted.
Somewhere in the middle of the floor, pausing amidst the circus-like environment where several spanking benches were strategically placed throughout the room and subs were receiving their just desserts from their Doms, Trudy took a stand.
Gently, but firmly she slid her hand out of Remedy’s and refused to move another step.
“Not at all. I’m finally seeing things clearly and know exactly where I want this to go.”
Remedy arched a brow. “Do tell.”
Trudy took a deep breath.
Here goes nothing.
“You will lead the way to the private room, without touching me. For the rest of the evening, you may not touch me without my permission.” She paused, noticing him quickly close his mouth on a gape before he nodded and lowered his gaze.
“Is there anything else, Mistress?”
She shuddered at his raspy voice as he addressed her, but tried to play it off as if the title
was her due, as if she had earned the title. She knew she hadn’t yet, but she decided that tonight, if nothing else, she would.
“That’s it for the moment. I’ll decide what to do with you once we reach the room.”
In the dim light of the main floor, surrounded by all the erotic sights and sounds, she heard his rough breathing.
Trudy stepped closer, testing their boundaries, testing her control. She reached for him, taking care and time to cup his expected erection and heard his breath hitch in his chest. She curled her fingers around him, chest filling at the feel of him growing harder in her hand.
She felt a surge of feminine power wash over and warm her. She trembled as she took in Remedy’s lowered gaze, the pleasing blush creeping up his neck from beneath his navy t-shirt to suffuse his sculpted cheeks.
God he was beautiful like this. She liked him pushing her and mentoring her when she needed, loved his intelligence, keen instincts and strength. This side of him, however, so still and expectant, him breathlessly waiting for her next words, her next command, was a revelation, a work of art deserving admiration and exhibition.
The latter could wait, she decided, at least any sort of public exhibition.
This first time, their first time, she wanted him all to herself. She needed to teach him a lesson about who she really was, not who he thought she was. She had a feeling, despite his bringing her here, despite his deference to her just now, that Remedy had mentally put her up on some cold, lifeless pedestal deserving care with kid gloves. She had a feeling he didn’t see her as a warm-blooded passionate and carnal woman who would actually make demands. She’d seen his slight surprise when she’d asserted herself, as if he’d created a monster over which he no longer had control.
Well, she wasn’t that abandoned ten-year-old her parents used to use as a pawn when they decided to pay any attention to her at all. That was almost two decades ago. She was a grown woman, grown-woman sexy and she was going to own it. She was going to own Remedy.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Gracie: Finding the time to write with a full-time 9 to 5; synopsizing a 300-400 page book in just a few paragraphs; and letting go of the work once it’s “done” instead of revising and nipping and tucking it to death.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Gracie: Not so far. Most of my stories are set in New York where I live. When they are set in other cities, states and/or countries, I rely on researching and the trusty old internet for descriptions, facts and pictures.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Gracie: The majority of my covers have been done by cover artists Jinger Bruton Heaston, Rickey R. Mallory and Rae Monet.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Gracie: Getting started with the story. Sometimes I get so caught up laying down the foundation and research, that I never get started with actually writing the story and putting all the background and research to use.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Gracie: Patience and persistence pay off. Writer’s block is not terminal.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Gracie: I modeled Melania Noble, the heroine in ON THE EDGE after the late singer/actress Aliyah Dana Haughton. Paula Patton is my model for Iceland Taylor in COLD AS ICE. I visualized Brad Pitt playing the genie, Kane Chambers when I was writing DESERT DREAMS (http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Dreams-Gracie-C-McKeever-ebook/dp/B00BACDL7Q).
I had the main three characters mapped out for NEW LIFE INCOGNITA with Heather Locklear as Dagny Diaz, Boris Kodjoe as Kelly Butler and Andy Garcia as Tyler Diaz. I’ve had several readers tell me that they can easily see my books on the big screen, especially, NEW LIFE INCOGNITA.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Gracie: Grow a thick skin. Take criticism with a grain of salt; use what you need and throw the rest away. Write what you love, not necessarily what’s selling (though sometimes the twains will eventually meet for a perfect storm and you’ll be the next E.L. James. Just don’t count on it). And on that note: run, don’t walk, if you think you’re going to get rich quick, if at all, writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Gracie: Please support your favorite authors and support indie publishing. If you love a book, give it a little review. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or long. Just a line or two about what you thought on Amazon. Every little bit helps.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Gracie: I’m usually reading at least two books at a time. Right now I’m reading: THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica; HOSTILE TAKEOVER by E.M. Lynley; and ACTIVE DUTY: GAY MILITARY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Gracie: Not in the least. I barely remember what I had for dinner last night, LOL
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Gracie: Since I’m at that age where my hormones are so out of whack, almost anything from a Geico commercial to a re-watch of BRIAN’S SONG or SOMETHING FOR JOEY can make me cry. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL can still make me laugh and especially cry, thirty years later when I re-watch. Shh, don’t tell anyone!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Gracie: Octavia E. Butler just to get into her head and chat about our WIPs.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
Gracie: “I’ll be back”. Just because and in keeping with the reincarnation and second chances themes of many of my books J
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Gracie: Handball, Kickboxing. I love getting tattoos (more like having tattoos); I don’t know if this can be considered a hobby, though, even if I do have a lot of them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Gracie: Wow, the list is endless! TV shows: SHAMELESS, MASTERS OF SEX, THE AFFAIR, BILLIONS, REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, LAST WEEK TONIGHT, REAL SPORTS, THE VOICE, GREY’S ANATOMY, SCANDAL, VIKINGS, ORPHAN BLACK, CHICAGO MED, CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, LAW & ORDER: SVU, ROSEWOOD, BLINDSPOT, EMPIRE, OUTLANDER, POWER, SECOND CHANCE, SHARK TANK, HOUSE OF CARDS, DAREDEVIL, SENSE 8, THE RED ROAD, MARCO POLO, PUBLIC MORALS, IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG, THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA…I know, it’s a wonder I get any writing done at all. Or sleep! As for movies, I’m a fangirl for superheroes (partial to the Marvel Universe), fantasy, futuristic, paranormal, scifi, dystopian, romance, action/adventure, mystery, suspense/thriller—pretty much all the things I love to read, I love watching the same genres in film…And any James Cameron movie; those are re-re-re-watches.
Fiona: Favorite Foods / Colors/ Music
Gracie: Carbs (I LOVE bread), chicken (any style, especially and of course, fried), CHEESE and junk (is sugar a “food”?).
Blue and Purple.
I love all kinds of music from R&B, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Alternative, Hip Hop…the list goes on and depends on my mood.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Gracie: Be a lawyer.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Gracie-C.-McKeever/e/B0033RQOUM
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