My Guest, Mr. Kramer!

Mr. DiPasqua:  Today it’s my pleasure to have Mr. Kramer join me at A Midnight Dance Blog Party.  Can you tell us who you’re married to and what she writes?

Mr. Kramer:  I am married to Kieran Kramer. She writes historical romances (specifically the Regency England period). She currently has a series of books called the Impossible Bachelors out now; three of four are on the bookshelves.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Your wife’s fans would like to know the RH (Romance Husband) behind the author better. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Scholar? Athlete? Businessman? Artist?

Mr. Kramer:  How about none of the above! I was an English major in college, which at the Naval Academy essentially means I was a general engineer with an English minor. I was in the Navy for seven years, left for nine years, then reentered as a Navy Reservist. I spent a year in Afghanistan in 2008 working with the US Army, NATO, and the Afghan government. We live in Charleston SC where I am the Emergency Manager for a Navy command, the Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR). My job is to make sure we continue to support the Navy ships in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. Wow, that paragraph put me to sleep! I am left handed; I have run in one marathon. My friends say I have a face made for radio. I follow sports a bit but no fantasy leagues, gambling, etc. I do not ask for autographs; if I meet a celebrity, I just say hello. Three kids: two in college and one in eighth grade. I have fought in three wars for our country. I am an early riser but would rather be a night owl. I swam for twelve years growing up. I wish I read more but can never seem to find the time. I am bald and once trained to be a Weight Watchers meeting supervisor. I do not ask for help nearly as much as I should. Through the Navy I have been on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. I’m the guy in the family who can find anything (keys, iPods, homework, etc.). And I always know what time it is.

Mr. DiPasqua:  I know I speak for all of us when I thank you for the wonderful job you do protecting all of us!  Our hats are off to you!  Where did you and your wife meet? What convinced you that she was “the one”?

Mr. Kramer:  My wife’s younger sister and I were high school classmates at Bishop England High School in Charleston, South Carolina. My wife, Kieran, just left a job in Washington, DC and was moving back home to South Carolina. My first ship in the Navy was in South Carolina and just came back from a deployment in the Mediterranean Sea. Kieran’s sister hosted a welcome home party for both of us.

In the days of my youth, I used to tell others that I could write a poem about anything. Kieran, at our welcome home party, challenged me to write a poem about candle wax. The poem centered on the wax that dripped off the candle at the top; how it was destiny to do so, leaving home, but at the base of the candle, it was home again. My wife thought I wrote it about her. She knew then that I was the one. For me, she was wearing a strapless dress that she filled in beautifully. I am a sailor, after all.
What convinced me that she was the one was how we had such similar values while being so different, and how I knew she would be a wonderful mother. In a strapless dress.

Mr. DiPasqua:  A poet and a sucker for a strapless dress…What a great story!  Where were you when she got THE CALL from her agent/editor? What was your reaction when she told you she’d sold her first book?

Mr. Kramer:  We were at home. The agent was the big call; that was the breakthrough. Kieran got a good one whom we knew would get her a good contract, which she did.

Just elation. All that hard work, time spent on the computer or at the library, rejection letters through the years, so many people telling her she was “this close” to getting published, the contests; it was a wonderful feeling (with a little relief sprinkled in) when she made it. And that has not subsided. We are still both a little giggly that there are books at Target with her name on them.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Is the hero in your wife’s last book:

a) Just like you;
b) The opposite of you;
c) You wish it were you;
d) More like Mr. May in the NYC Firefighter calendar.

Mr. Kramer:  For her current book, probably a) (See below). For the other books, probably more b) than anything else. I am a guy, but I was never fervent about my bachelorhood or about trolling for chicks, whereas the heroes in Kieran’s books have that history. They are Impossible Bachelors, after all. But they are respectful, as am I (hopefully!).

Mr. DiPasqua:  On your first date with your wife, were you most like:

a) Prince Charming;
b) Prince (bad boy) Harry;
c) The Artist formally known as Prince;
d) Prince, the family pet.

Mr. Kramer:  I would say e) none of the above. We dug each other, but I was very shy, so I ignored her on our first date, which was at a party hosted by the sailors I worked with on my first ship for having passed a rigorous inspection. That lasted about five hours. In hindsight I am not sure why she agreed to stay in contact. In subsequent dates, I was more like a) than any other choice. I did not date anyone else when she and I started going out. I would open doors for her; stand up when she entered the room; Officer-and-Gentleman type stuff. I still try to do that but am too sporadic. Luckily, she keeps me on my toes.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Nowadays when you hear the word “ball” do you immediately think:

a) Baseball
b) Basketball
c) An uncontrollable weeping reaction of fans upon meeting your wife in person?
d) A gathering of lords and ladies.

Mr. Kramer:  More the sports choices than any other choice. In high school and college, none of the dances were called “balls;” just dances, like the Homecoming Dance, or Sadie Hawkins Dance. They should go back to using “ball;” it would be more romantic for the ladies and the guys would feel more chivalrous. Or perhaps not.

Mr. DiPasqua:  How long have you been a RH? (Romance Husband). What advice would you give new RH’s about what you’ve learned being married to a romance author? What should a new RH do or not do when his wife is under deadline?

Mr. Kramer:  I have been a RH for about fifteen years; the last two published.

Getting advice from me is a recipe for disaster! I can tell you a few things I have learned through experience (experience is what you get right after you need it): Be supportive and embrace the changes that will come if/when your author gets published. For us, her time spent writing (pre-published) was more at her pace, which was good and bad. Once published, time became more critical: deadlines, advertising, conferences, speaking engagements, book signings; they all play into her work. One change we did not anticipate was that some friends would not read the books because of their personal/religious beliefs. (No, seriously). That and other professionals in her community treated her differently. It’s funny what happens when you land a contract.

Be honest when she asks you about a guy’s point of view: “Honey, a dude would never say/do/think that, in any century.”

Try not to read reviews, both good and bad. Good reviews put pressure on to replicate the same achievements over and over and tend to box in your thoughts. Bad reviews, especially in the anonymous internet age, can be destructive. No matter how successful, not everyone will like her books; so be it.

In my view, a good RH should remove as many obstacles as possible that might prevent her from writing. Laundry, cooking, errands, kids, etc. Run the household while she writes, and listen to her rants when the pressure is on. Don’t take things personally when the deadline gets closer. (It’s not personal, it’s business!)

Mr. DiPasqua:  Okay, you know I have to go there . . . What’s your response when asked, “So where does your wife get the inspiration for her love scenes?” (Usually by a guy smirking.)

Mr. Kramer:  I don’t know, but when I find the guy that inspires her I’m gonna knock his teeth out! Seriously, we joke about that all the time. Even though we have been married for twenty-two years, there are still some sparks. Also, she is a voracious reader, and as a woman, she has an idea of what other women want. So, she takes that knowledge and incorporates that into her scenes. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Which character in your wife’s books would she say most resembles you and/or your personality?

Mr. Kramer:  Captain Stephen Arrow from the book “Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage”. He’s a Navy man with a dry sense of humor and an easygoing demeanor. Good looking, of course. Well, he’s a Navy man at least.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Tell me something about your wife her fans would be surprised to learn.

Mr. Kramer:  This question could have me on the couch for months! Let’s see, I do almost all the laundry and clean the bathrooms. I don’t know how surprising that is; I already mentioned that above. She is much more embarrassed to know her parents and in-laws are reading some of the racier scenes than they are reading them (She gave her parents her last book with the naughty scenes ripped out). She would dump me for Paul McCartney right now if he asked.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Thanks so much for participating in the A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog Party. You’ve been a great sport! One last question: What would you like us to know about your wife’s latest or upcoming release? 

Mr. Kramer:  Here is a nice teaser for her latest book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MARRIAGE:

Her heart’s been under the weather.

Every woman dreams of saying “I do.” Jilly Jones did–and years of a deeply imperfect marriage followed. Now living in London and working in a charming bookshop, the free-spirited Jilly is perfectly content with her newfound independence…until she meets a dashing naval officer who sparks her longing for a real happily ever after.

Is new love in the forecast?

Captain Stephen Arrow is just home after years of service, and he’s in no hurry to give up his hard-won freedom. The meddlesome bluestocking Jilly Jones is exactly the kind of woman he doesn’t need…but something about her keeps drawing Stephen back to the bookshop. But will a scandalous chapter in Jilly’s past stand in the way of their heated attraction? For this bachelor, nothing is impossible….

And here are some nice reviews for her latest book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MARRIAGE:

“Quirky, fresh, and filled with brilliant dialog and whimsy, this sexy confection from the talented Kramer is pure sunshine.” —Library Journal Starred Review

“Wonderfully quirky characters, a devilishly clever plot, and writing that is both laugh-out-loud funny and sweetly romantic all add up to a completely captivating Regency historical from one of the romance genre’s most dazzling new authors.” —John Charles, Booklist Starred Review

There are many wonderful tidbits to find at Kieran’s website, including Facebook and Twitter links. Cloudy, and the other Impossible Bachelors books, When Harry Met Molly and Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right are available at various booksellers.

Giveaway book: Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage (signed copy along with a set of trading cards). Giveaway open WORLDWIDE.

To win you must:

1. Ask a question or leave a comment below—We’re men. We can take it. :) Remember: the more you comment, the greater your chances at winning the GRAND PRIZE.

2. You MUST be a follower/subscriber of Lila DiPasqua’s blog (through Google Friend Connect).

3. Must be at least 18 years of age.

4. Winner will be selected at random on SUNDAY.

Ways to increase your odds at winning are found at the very bottom of this blog.

Mr. DiPasqua: It was a lot fun talking to you, Mr. Kramer!  Okay, everyone, let’s hear your responses!  :)