Interview with Co-Authors K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns
K.R. Hughes Hughes is an English major from Amarillo, Texas. She now resides near Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys writing with her co-author T.L. Burns. They are currently working on the sequel to “What She Knew,” the fast paced novel that finishes telling the story. Hughes enjoys working with budding writers and tutoring English. Her passion is for at-risk teens. She volunteers to help teens realize their potential and find their passion. Hughes has two grown children, Justin and Kayti, and two four legged girls, MayZee and Ruthie. Find other works by this author in the Historical Romance section, pen name is Kymber Lee, “Treasured Love” is a fun romp written in Regency England in 1811. Lee (Hughes) wrote this novel for her grandmother who is a huge supporter of her work.
T.L. Burns As Burns’ co-author puts it “She is the foremost researcher and historical guru for our novel “What She Knew.” The novel was just released March of 2012 and they are busily working on the sequel, “What She Knew Too, The saga continues.” You can learn more about them at their website. Burns is originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in the panhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains) and now resides near Atlanta, Georgia. In her words “Trees and flowers everywhere!! Even the weeds are green and lush! I feel like I’m living in a postcard!! And, no wind! The desert regions are sooooo windy.” Burns passion is for at-risk families. She volunteers her time to help the needy, not wih a hand-out but with a hand-up. She is married and has two grown sons (best sons in the whole world) and one 4 legged son, Binford!
When did you first realize you wanted to be an Author?
K.R.– I’ve always loved writing and journalism. I’ve written five historical novels set in the Regency Era of 1811. One has been published and is currently available on Amazon. Its title is “Treasured Love” by Kymber Lee. My next one will be published early November of this year and is titled “Lord Tristen’s True Love.” T.L. was drug into the business after I had taken a class with a well-known published author. That is where we came up with the idea for “What She Knew” and we wrote the first chapter. The teacher loved it and persuaded us to write the full novel.
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing?
T.L. – We both love to be in a coffee shop or restaurant. We both concentrate much better on the actual writing of the books when we have background noise. If we have music, we tend to get distracted and sing along. So, we much prefer the idle chit chat of complete strangers to be in the background.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?
We learned lots about the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe as a person and the mob. We also realized a truth we’d instinctively known for a long time. Not only are we best friends – ying-yang- but also an excellent writing duo. We absolutely love spending time together and we have a rhythm that is natural and easy to our writing.
Where did you get ideas for your books?
K.R. – My grandmother has always been my biggest fan and she’s the one who thought I could write the Regency Romances as well as some of the other published authors. As for T.L. she was brought in as chief researcher and has done a terrific job with all of the scripts that have been done from the novel version. The idea for “What She Knew” came from a writing class for published authors that I was taking. At that time, the death of Anna Nicole Smith was compared to Marilyn Monroe. So when the class had the assignment to write about something that had never been written about, T.L. and I brainstormed ‘what if’ ideas. The one we loves was what if Marilyn Monroe had been saved, and what she knew saved JFK from assassination?
Out of all the books you have written which is your favorite and why?
K.R. and T.L. – Hands down “What She Knew” is our favorite! We love the premise, the history, the mystery, and the looks on peoples faces when we tell them about it!
Who is your target audience?
K.R. and T.L. – Our target would have to be baby boomers and fans of the Kennedy’s. However, we have found that young people from the ages of 14 – 30 are very much in love with Marilyn Monroe. They have rooms decorated with her pictures. It’s really funny, they love the romance and tragedy of her life. However, most of them have never seen even one movie of hers.
What do you think makes a good story?
Our novels are sparse in detail and rich in action and speech; and our characters are fully developed. We believe everyone knows what an Italian restaurant looks like or the White House lawn. People don’t always need a lot of flowery details to get the image in their heads. For us, it makes it more personal if we as the reader decide what the place around the character looks like.
Who are some of your favorite Authors?
T.L. – We both love Agatha Christie, Sir Aurthor Conan Doyle, and Janette Oke.
What song best describes your book and Why?
We actually have a song that was written by a good friend of ours for the movie version of “What She Knew.” As soon as we are able to share it, it will be on our website!!
Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing?
K.R. – My grandmother has been my biggest supporter. She has always believed in me, even when I was unsure.
T.L. – My part of the this writing duo is the research. I love it! My husband Ken has been our biggest supporter as a writing team, hands down.
What kind of TV shows do you like and do you find that as a Suspense/Mystery Writer that you gravitate toward the shows such as Law and Order or Perry Mason?
We both love The Mentalist, Bones, and Castle! T.L. – I loved Perry Mason and Murder She Wrote and any disaster movie!! K.R. – I liked those shows too, and have always been a fan of old movies. They have the best dresses!
What other genres do you write?
K.R. – Historical Christian Romance.
If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring Author what would it be?
K.R. – Write, write, write! Write something every day. Give yourself a goal of one page or ten pages but WRITE! Why do you think we’re called writers? It’s because we WRITE. Don’t give up on writing, all right? LOL T.L. – Read, read, read! You never stop learning and growing!
What would you like to say to friends and family of Authors (not just your own)?
Always be supportive! Never, ever say “when are you going to stop pretending and get a real life?” It seems to us that close friends and families of authors have the hardest time seeing them as just that, an author.
What projects do you have up and coming?
We have just finished writing book two to “What She Knew” and are getting ready to start book three. Book two is supposed to be out by the end of this year. K.R. has a second novel in her Christian Historical Romance genre coming out in Nov of this year. Master Koda is her publisher. She hopes to have a third come out early next year.
Is there anything else you want to share with your readers?
It’s FICTION – she died. Please don’t contact us and ask us where we’ve hidden her and what she’s doing now. Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 – really. Some of you are shocked by us saying this, but we get mail all the time asking us this very question!! LOL!!
Excerpt from What She Knew
August 4, 1962 With an almighty kick the door crashed open and Peter ran into the bedroom. “My God, oh kid.” Kneeling beside the bed the stench of vomit assailed his nostrils even before he saw it staining the sheets and pillow around the woman. “Marilyn, please wake up.” He shook her hard enough to force her to stir. Picking her up, he carried her across the room and out of the house still unconscious in his arms. He pushed her into the backseat of his sedan and sped away. “Hang in there kiddo, we’re almost there. You can’t die on me now.” Dr. Ralph Greenson finished his book, set it aside and looked at the clock. Getting up from the couch, he went into the kitchen to prepare coffee. The phone rang, picking up the receiver Dr. Greenson smiled. “Yes?” “It’s done.” A deep male voice informed him. “Good. I’ll let the boss know.” Dr. Greenson hung up the phone and waited for the pot to finish brewing. “Hey, Dr. Bunner, dead?” an orderly nodded at the covered body as they wheeled her past him in the hallway. “Yes, she is. We’re taking her to the morgue.” After the orderly passed, Peter grabbed the doctor’s arm, “We can’t let what’s happened get out. It will ruin her if we don’t protect her. Next time they’ll kill her.” Frank smiled as he walked into the restaurant with Lady Beatty. The sleek beauty glided across the floor to their table. “Here you are madam,” the waiter handed her a menu, then turned to Frank, “Mr. Sinatra.” “We already know what we want.” Frank ordered steak, green beans and salad for both along with a vintage wine. Several moments passed in silence between the couple before Lady Beatty placed her napkin on the table, “I didn’t fly across the pond to be with you to get ignored. What’s wrong with you tonight?” she pushed out her lower lip. “I’m sorry Adele, I’m just jittery. I’ll make it up to you later.” “Well, I hope so.” “Don’t pout. I’m just a little concerned about a friend of mine.” Frank took her hand and stroked it with his thumb. “You know how much I like you.” “Yes, because I’m not looking for a career and just want to be you’re trophy woman.” “Well, that too.” Frank ran his fingers along her forearm. “Let’s get out of here.” Peter helped Dr. Bunner get Marilyn’s bed pushed into place in the deserted wing at the hospital. “I’ll be right back.” Dr. Bunner left the room. “Kid, wake up.” Peter pleaded with Marilyn but she didn’t move. Behind Peter the door opened, turning he saw a nurse. “We need you to answer a few questions for us.” She came into the room with a clipboard and pen. “Patient’s name?” “Norma Jean.” “Age?” she questioned without looking up. “36.” “Ailment?” “Well, ask the doctor. How should I know?” He turned from the inert form on the bed and asked, “Where’s the doctor?” Peter paced the room, “I,” he ran his fingers through his hair, “found her like this.” “All right. We’ll fill this out later.” Dr. Greenson paced the room. The coffee pot was empty after two hours of endless waiting. “Why the hell hasn’t someone called me by now? What’s going on? We need to get this over with. Damn!” Dr. Greenson paced over to the window and stared out at the moonless night. “Damn it Kennedy call me!”