Monday, July 5, 2010

Who is V.K. Sykes?

V.K. Sykes is actually two people—Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes. We’re one of a handful of couples, married or otherwise, who write romance fiction together. Some people might call what we do writing by committee; we prefer to think of it as doubling the horsepower.

Usually the first question people ask when they find out we’re a writing team is, “How do you work together?” This is often followed up immediately by “Vanessa writes the female POV and Randall the male POV, right?” That’s a totally understandable guess, and that method seems to work for some writing partnerships. But we’ve taken a different approach.

We start by spending a lot of time just throwing out ideas—brainstorming concepts, characters and plot basics—until something feels right to both of us. Then Randy takes over and fleshes out a story outline. This leads to more discussion, brainstorming and fine-tuning, after which Randy writes a full first draft. He then exhales a sigh of relief, as it’s time for Vanessa to roll up her sleeves and get out her big red pen. She massages the draft, fleshing out characters and scenes, and does most of the emotional heavy-lifting that separates romance from...well, non-romance.

As V.K. Sykes, we write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Our Carina Press release, CaddyGirls, is a sexy contemporary set in Las Vegas. Our works in progress include another Vegas-set contemporary, as well as two romantic suspense novels. The latter are set in Florida, where we spend part of the winter.

We’re convinced that writing as a partnership, especially when one of the partners is a guy, creates some advantages for us. We’re able to draw on the strengths of both authors, getting deep inside the heads of the female and male characters with equal facility. That makes for more fully developed and believable characters. In CaddyGirls, for example, four male friends have a number of interesting scenes as a group, doing and saying the kinds of things a bunch of guys do when they’re out for a good time in Vegas. It helps if the author’s “been there.” And we don’t mean Vegas!

Here’s the blurb for CaddyGirls:

Torrey Green once had a promising golf career, now she's stuck caddying for butt-pinching businessmen. She doesn't mind playing dumb while hauling clubs if it means she can get her golf career back on track, and she's going to need an influx of cash to focus on the pro circuit. A booking from video game mogul Julian Grant could be Torrey's cash-flow solution.

In town for a business deal, Julian's partners plan for a little action on the greens. They're looking for some fun with their rent-a-caddy girls and have a lot riding on who can score, on the course and off. This type of gamble isn't Julian's style, but he'll do whatever it takes to keep his partners happy—even if that includes breaking a few hearts along the way.

Julian soon discovers that Torrey is more than just a caddy girl, and they spark an intriguing attraction—but if Torrey discovers the truth behind his foolish wager, all bets are off...

For more information about V.K. and to read an excerpt, you can visit them on the web at . Vanessa also writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra. You can visit her at

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