Is it ever okay…? A question with Kary Rader

Amber: A while back I beta read a story for Kary Rader, the kind of story that sticks with you. So when I saw she’d published it and it was getting rave reviews, I asked her to stop by Wonkomance and tell us about it. Because she really embraced the wonk here, oh yes.

Kary: Fellow resident rule breaker here, so thank you Wonk-o-mancers for having me. I have a question for you today:

Is it okay to write a story with a 17-yr-old heroine and a 25-yr-old hero?

What if he was her mentor…?

What if she was a virgin and he a wealthy business owner… and she was terminally-ill, looking for a sexual experience before she died…

What if he was also dying and a genius who started college at age 14, a little geeky and under socialized…

What if she was mature for her age because of what she’d endured through her illness…

What if… they were meant for each other?

taylor-web-copyThat’s the crux of my newest release, A Taylor-Made Life.

Five years ago while I was pregnant with my youngest child, my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma cancer. It was a difficult and emotional time in our lives. He’s now well and cancer free, but in October 2011 when a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer, all those emotions came flooding back. A Taylor-Made Life is the result of those emotions.

But aside from a story dealing with the emotional and life-changing effects of cancer, I also knew I wanted to push the limits of conformity. I wanted to ask a question that started with “Is it ever okay…?” Not surprisingly, many publishers and agents had plenty of problems with it. Despite rave reviews, contest wins and a general appreciation for the story, I heard the words “unmarketable” “unsalable” over and over again. My favorite rejection letter from a NY publisher is quoted as this: “Although I think this work is well-written, engaging, and compelling, I’m afraid it’s not quite the right fit for our line.” I thought to myself, “Huh? They don’t publish well-written, engaging and compelling? Odd, that.”

And with that letter the proverbial straw broke the camel’s back. I gave up the ghost and self-published in July with gratifying results. The story has already reached many, and I’ve received email from people as far away as Nigeria telling me how it’s touched them. Letters with person stories of loss and renewed hope are finding their way to my inbox.

So, I think I’ll keep writing, and I think I’ll keep asking my questions. Thanks again for having me on and allowing me to share!

They lived the life they were given; they loved the life they made.

Cheerleader Taylor Smith doesn’t want to die a virgin. Unfortunately, if the terminally-ill leukemia patient doesn’t find a lover or a stem-cell match within months, her fear will become reality. When her cancer mentor is revealed to be a hottie entrepreneur from California, it seems fate might finally be on her side.

Tech-geek Gavin Taylor has everything he ever wanted, except someone to grieve for him when he’s gone. With his melanoma cancer beyond the help of his riches, he agrees to participate in a cancer patient mentoring program where he’s matched with a dying teen from Texas. Despite his immediate attraction, the Silicon Valley whiz intends only to provide friendship and happy memories to the beautiful, young woman who is determined to win his love.
When it’s discovered that his frozen sperm and her harvested eggs could lead to a cure, Taylor’s mother offers to be a surrogate. And Gavin must decide if he can risk the heart he has never given and a child he’ll never know to a girl he just met.

Find a Taylor-Made Life on:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Amber: Thanks, Kary! Also, to everyone else, if you picked up of the Mary Ann branded tissue packs at RWA, you’ll probably need it to read this book :)

About Amber Lin

Amber Lin writes sexy romance about messed up people, because everyone deserves a happy ending. Find her books or sign up for the newsletter at her website
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17 Responses to Is it ever okay…? A question with Kary Rader

  1. Ruthie says:

    Having recently published a post about my love for incest books, I am not the one who’s going to say “No, it’s never okay” here. I’m intrigued! Scampering off to check out the book…

  2. Kary Rader says:

    Yay, Ruthie! I hope you read it and please let me know what you think, if you do.

    Thanks, Amber, for having me on today! I am a lover of the Wonk.

  3. Jenna Jaxon says:

    Since I write historicals, where young girls traditionally married much older men, I have no problem at all with this kind of age difference. I didn’t even have a problem with my own daughter dating a guy 4 years older than her–when she was 15. It’s about how the people involved feel about and treat each other. Kary’s is a fabulous love story. The last thing that should be in anyone’s mind is that the ages make it wrong. Love you, Kary!

    • Kary Rader says:

      Jenna – it does seem like historical authors and even Panormal authors can take a little bit of license with ages — contemporary readers seems less…accepting or at the very least more alerted to the age gap.

  4. This is a wonderful novel and great writing!

  5. Ella Quinn says:

    I have heroes that are 10 years older than my heroines. One of my very good friends has a husband more than 20 years older then she is. It’s the people not the age that matters. I’m so glad your book is doing so well!!

  6. Nikki Lynn Barrett says:

    I love this about today’s publishing world….there are so many “Rule breaking” going on that tests the boundaries, and readers are finding they are more comfortable with things than they ever imagined they would be. I love ruler breakers and give them so many kudos.

    I of course loved this book and it’s going down as the best book I’ve read this year. Love A Taylor Made Life!!

  7. D'Ann says:

    Great story!!!

  8. Bobbi Romans says:

    I’m going out on a limb. Again. Anyone remember our teens? The eighties perhaps?

    Who did we want to date? For most girls, the ‘older’ guy. The one just graduated or even better…the college guy.

    Admit it. We did. Or at least, many of us did.

    The eighties was a transitional time when though ratings were issued (movies) it was rarely enforced. When local pubs also, were quite lax in checking IDs.

    While I will admit as a mother, I would freak if my daughter had brought home some 24/25 year old at 17, my mother didn’t. My husband continually, ignored my flirts.

    He was the older guy next door. The hunky one who raked the yard without his shirt one.

    The one I peeped through the blinds to watch.

    So, I didn’t give up. Finally, when my mother verbalized she approved and consented to the dating, we began.

    That was over 27 years ago. We’re still together. The laws don’t need to be changed. I think for most it’s taboo.

    But all kids are different. Some more advanced than others, some (as mine were) far more shelter and not ready for adult dating.

    In the beautiful story above, it shows that sometimes, we don’t have tomorrow. We must make our tomorrow, now.

    The story sounds breathtakingly beautiful.

  9. Brenda D says:

    ALWAYS keep asking questions. ALWAYS keep pushing the boundaries. ALWAYS keep writing and giving us your awesome stories, Kary.
    You rock. I’m a huge fan.
    I started TML and Kary, Kary, Kary. You, my friend are bloody brilliant. This story is beyond amazing!

    • Kary Rader says:

      Thanks Brenda and Nikki!

      Holy cow, I think I’m going to have to pay some of you guys for your compliments! Way to boost the ego for sure.

  10. Since Wonkomance selects my TBR pile, of course I’m buying this. :)

  11. Gina Danna says:

    The age thing – yeah, can prove difficult. I write historicals & a 19th c piece, she was 15 & he 19 and the scene made a couple of my cps squirm but in that era, its a different thought. Though, I did re-do the scene.

    Kary – I love this story. Soooo good!! You should’ve put a warning: Need Kleenex :)