Immy lives on the East Coast with her husband and child. It was a long road to writing. College brought a passion for literary analysis and art history. So many papers written in those four years. An MFA in design, and a brief career in Interior Design, followed by the hard decision to be a stay-at-home mom resulted in a lady who didn’t enjoy sitting idle, a long-napping baby, and a lot of time on her hands. The result was a series of experiments with a variety of hobbies – cooking, baking, painting, gardening, DIY, knitting, filmography, obsessive reading, yoga, you name it until finally, one day she just sat down at her computer – and voila her fantasies we’re on paper.
Bren: Do you remember the first story you ever read? And the impact it had on you?
Immy: Hmmm… Not really, I mean, the first story I ever read was probably a children’s book. But I definitely have a few favorites. Tam Lin, East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon, The Canary Prince stand out. I loved fairytales as a child. The first non-picture book I really remember reading would probably be a Nancy Drew or Baby Sitter’s Club, I tore through those. Every single one like an addict. And I loved a fantasy series called Alana about a girl who pretended to be her twin brother so she could train as a squire and learn to sword fight. I was an avid reader, even as a child. I used to sneak away and hide in the back corner of the Solarium – a room in my house that no one ever used. I’d spend hours there just devouring books. I’ve always been struck by books’ ability to transport us. It’s more than just sheer escapism, it’s like living a whole other life. A truly good book is like magic to me. Always has been. Always will be – I hope.
Bren: How does your family feel about your writing?
Immy: Honestly, most of them don’t know I write. My husband does, and he’s super supportive. But the rest of my family… well, I come from a long line of academics. All four of my grandparents had their doctorates – which is really impressive if you consider that my grandmothers were women born in the twenties. They fought tooth and nail for their educations. My grandmother on my dad’s side even walked six miles in each direction to attend college at one point. I had a professor of English Literature, a pediatric physician, a physicist, and a professor of biology for my grandparents, plus a step-grandmother who was a psychologist. My parents as well both have their MBAs, so I guess it would be fair to say that I come from a long line of academic snobs – we discussed artists, and politics, culture and books around the dinner table. Romance novels are generally considered to be pretty lowbrow. My mom knows I write, and she does her best to keep any judgement from her expression, but I know she would be more comfortable if I wrote cozy murder mysteries instead, at least it would seem less shamefully smutty.
Bren: Dark, gritty Romances are becoming more popular. How do you feel about them?
Immy: Personally, I’m on board. I believe in a balance of good and bad. We need contrast to see clearly. Most contemporaries are either suspenseful or comedic. Historicals hold a special appeal because they allow for plot elements that we really can’t have in a modern novel like kidnapping, forced marriage, mistaken identity, but the character can be a duke who did it all for altruistic reasons so it’s okay. We can’t always forgive a contemporary character for those same actions. The biggest challenge I’ve seen with Dark Romances is that they head into such dark territory, usually at the hands of the hero, that for me it’s very hard to forgive him.
Speculative fiction allows for some of those plot elements to be reclaimed or borrowed, which is why I choose to write in those genres. But dark romances frequently involve some pretty brutal harsh plot turns that are unfortunately the norm in other parts of the world. I enjoy reading them and can suspend my own values and ideals, but I can understand that some women may have triggers that would make them too hard to read.
Bren: What have you written?
Immy: What have I written that I’d let anyone see? Or what have I written in general? I’ve probably written and deleted ten times what I’ve written that I’m actively working on. But I’ve completed one novel, The Bonding. It was just published and released on August 12, 2016. It’s a sci-fi romance about a woman trying to save her planet who comes across an alien race of mostly-male warriors. The characters were so much fun to spend time with, especially my hero, Tam. He’s super gruff and rough around the edges and so sexy. I miss them. Currently, I’m working on the second novel in the series and hope to have it finished soon and ready for release.
Bren: What is the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Immy: Oh, that’s a toughie. Each story that I’ve worked on seems to come with its own trials. With this one, I’ve struggled to keep up with the characters. The story I’m working on now features a strong heroine who’s determined to overcome every speedbump I throw at her, but she’s had a rough past. So maintaining her confidence and natural optimism with the seriousness of her past is one thing, but the timing is tough. She never has any time to relax and deal with her emotions, because they’re constantly on the run. Seriously bad men are chasing them – bounty hunters, a whole planet of police, a powerful senator and all his henchmen, so she never really has a minute to process. And the hero, well he’s sweet and dreamy and sexy and pretty badass, so he’s been really fun, but finding time for them to connect despite the constant action has taken a bit of muscle.
You can find more of her work at https://imogenkeeper.wordpress.com
or follow her on Twitter @imogen_keeper