A treat for you today! One of my very favorite authors, Eden Baylee, is here to open up to us about her 2014 release — her first full-length novel — Stranger At Sunset. Many of you already know I am a devoted Eden Baylee reader. Her erotica is smart, clever, and sexy. Eden understands that the mind is one hell of an erogenous zone. Ms. Baylee is, however, a Jill of Many Genres: Stranger at Sunset, a psychological thriller set in Jamaica, is a slow-burning study of murder, loyalty, and the bonds formed between strangers in paradise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Eden Baylee…
Hi Cam! Thanks so much for having me on your great blog. Always great to visit with you and your readers.
CDG: Stranger at Sunset is a departure, both in genre and in scope, from your previous work. Were there unexpected challenges during your process?
e.b.: Yes, Stranger at Sunset was a huge departure for me. I had never written a full length novel before. Given that, the biggest challenge was in the planning, which is not my strong suit. I love to just ‘pants’ it, but that wasn’t possible with this book, especially since it is the first of a trilogy, and there are threads of it that must carry forward to the next two books.
Aside from this, it was challenging to have many more characters in a story than I’m used to writing. I seem to have problems assigning names to characters. The name of my protagonist, Dr. Kate Hampton, was not an issue, but some of the minor characters gave me more trouble. Names resonate differently for me, so it was important that I got them right. At one point, I changed a character’s name halfway through the book, but in some places, she still went by her old name. Thank goodness for my editor who caught these errors!
CDG: On the flip side of the first question, What was an unexpected pleasure found during the writing of your first novel?
e.b.: Well, it was such a pleasure and a relief to get over the 25K-word hurdle. Previously, that was about the longest novella I had written. Short stories and novellas in the erotic romance genre came easily to me, probably because I saw the entire story in front of me. For the most part, those stories did not contain intricate plot lines veering in different directions.
I’m not a wordy writer who goes into huge descriptions about settings, characters’ appearances, and so on. I certainly didn’t want to do that for the sake of meeting a word count. As my first novel, it was important for me to use word count as a guide only. Ultimately, I had to ensure that all the words were integral to the story, not just fillers.
CDG: The heroine, Kate Hampton, is a strong woman — smart and cool — but with a lot of her own internal damage to bring to the events of the novel. You always write strong women who know their own mind, what sets Kate apart from some of the other heroines you’ve written?
e.b.: You are so right about Kate Hampton, Cam. She is smart and cool, and yet, she is not invincible. I think that makes her relatable to readers, though she is more damaged than other heroines I’ve written. Part of it has to do with the genre. Stranger at Sunset is a mystery/suspense novel with an element of romance. The focus is different than writing about a woman whose goal is to be in a romantic relationship, and all the angst that goes along with that.
The mystery of the novel unravels slowly, and the mystery of Kate even slower. She is an enigma, whom some readers have loved and others have not. Regardless, she is someone who has deep passions and strong convictions. You may agree or disagree with what she does, but I don’t believe readers will be bored by her. More of her history surfaces in the upcoming books, which will provide clues to why she is who she is.
CDG: The workings of the mind, the conflict between desire and rationality, what drives human behavior, all of that can be found in your previous novellas and stories as well, but in Stranger at Sunset, those things come to the forefront. Have you always been interested in psychology?
e.b.: Yes, absolutely. Psychology is something I studied and would have loved to pursue professionally, but I didn’t have the temperament for it. I became too attached to the subject, and it was impossible to help someone unless I remained objective. It was good to learn this about myself at an early age, as although I may have made a great therapist because I was empathetic, I would’ve been a train wreck in my own life.
The motivation of people and their duality, which I perceive exists in all of us continue to fascinate me. Psychology texts and study papers are fun reading, and my outlet for this interest is in my writing.
CDG: I was pleased to see a teaser chapter for another Kate Hampton book. What other projects are you working on these days?
e.b.: I’m working on several projects. I have an anthology currently available called Triptychs written with many other authors. It’s an interesting concept based on short stories inspired by photographs. I am also writing a novella that will be announced shortly, but not by me, so there is a bit of mystery with that one!
Well, I’m intrigued! Want more? Pick up your copy of Stranger at Sunset now and find Eden everywhere:
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