Keren Hughes is one of the Black Velvet Seduction authors. I met her through their group. Like the other authors in that group, I’ve enjoyed getting to know her.
I live in the UK and am an avid bookworm. My first real memory of reading something I fell in love with was The Hobbit. In my teenage years, I became addicted to Point Horror books like RL Stine’s The Boyfriend, but also enjoyed lighter reads like What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next.
Over the years I have come to realise that I am a bit of an OCD freak about books. They have to be in perfect condition without the slightest bit of damage.
I have been a book reviewer for the last few years and a book hoarder for a LOT longer. You can NEVER have too many books! My shelves are bulging and overflowing but I always want “just one more book”.
I am an author of contemporary romance and MM romance and had my first book published in 2013. My PA has claimed ‘dibs’ on all the men I write and refuses to share.
Tell us about yourself.
Oooh, what to say?! Well, I am nearly 37 years old, I have been disabled for the last few years (since 2012), I am a mom of one – that teen is my world.
I’m an introvert with social anxiety, but I like to try and push my own boundaries and conquer that anxiety.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Honestly, not properly until 2012.
When I was 15/16 years old, I wrote for fun, but never thought anything would come of it, as much as I wished it would.
Then in 2011 I became a blogger and that opened new doors for me. In 2012, I had an operation on my spine, so that left me with time on my hands and not much to fill it with. So, that’s when I wrote my first book that would go on to be published.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I read a lot of genres, but primarily write in contemporary romance and MM.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
The first book I ever wrote is a YA paranormal romance and is due to be republished soon (I have the rights back from my first publisher and it’s now due out with my other publisher).
The rest are definitely for over 18’s.
What is your current release or project?
My upcoming release is called More Than Words. It was co-written with my bestie and is her debut book. It’s about a woman who flees a domestically violent situation and a man who fell through the cracks in foster care. He was beaten, neglected, abused
Tell us about the key characters
Evie is pregnant when she flees her abuser. She is stronger than she believes, but her world threatens to cave in on itself when he sends people after her. She’s now a single mom to a young daughter, Maya and wants a better life for her than she has for herself.
Trey is a solicitor. He fell through the cracks of the foster system repeatedly, along with his younger sister Leah. Unfortunately Leah is no longer around to see him make a better life for himself than they had growing up. He helps women who are in DV relationships, and makes it his mission to open a shelter in his sister’s name one day.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
Taking my daughter with me, I moved far away from my hometown. I wanted to leave my past behind. I was not looking for a relationship. Love had got me nowhere, just pain and darkness, heartbreak and disappointment.
Suddenly a shard of light brightened my world. Trey showed me compassion, love, and had broken down the walls I had tried so hard to build. My worry is, will the darkness I have been trying to hide from come back to haunt us?
Abused, neglected, broken and rejected; this was my life in foster care with my younger sister, Leah. I had been trying to protect her all my teenage years, but she took her own life. I was devastated by the loss and determined to make something of myself. After school, I studied law, and as a solicitor I helped survivors of domestic abuse.
I never thought I’d find love and then I met Evie. Her strength amazed me; she juggled her life as a single mum and a business owner. We were drawn together, but Evie had her secrets and I had mine. Together we are strong. But are we strong enough?
Share an excerpt
Having only known that I’m pregnant for an hour, the protectiveness that I feel for this unborn baby shouldn’t be natural. I’m not the maternal type, after being with Greg for the last four and a half years, I knew I didn’t want to bring a baby into this type of life. I’d done everything I could to prevent it, I secretly had the contraceptive injection so I wouldn’t fall pregnant. But he found out and decided to get his payback, trying everything to get me pregnant. Even if it was against my will. Looks like he succeeded, I thought. I shake my head, wanting to get rid of that thought before it fully festers in my mind. I won’t allow my child to grow up and think he or she was a mistake or not wanted.
The drivers side door opening startles me, I jump and turn, ready to kick and scream before I realise it’s my father. As I visibly relax, my father’s sharp eyes take in everything; I notice his eyes narrow, then soften. He reaches in and gently grabs me in his arms, cradling me to his chest as if I were a child. The full force of what has happened makes my body shake as I sob into his chest. He whispers soothing words into my ear as he helps me from the car and guides me into the house. I notice my mother standing in the foyer with a hand over her mouth, unshed tears brimming in her eyes.
How I managed to pull into my parents’ driveway without realising makes me feel unnerved, having not been completely aware of my surroundings like I usually am.
As my dad turns into the living room, I see my uncle sat there in his police uniform. I start to shake and try to get away, but my father’s arms clamp tighter around me.
“You need to finally make him suffer for what he’s done to you, no more hiding,” he whispers in my ear.
Reporting Greg to the police had never been an option. He warned me that if I ever did, he would hurt me so much worse than he ever had before—and that pain didn’t have to come in physical beatings or mental abuse, it could mean hurting my parents. So, I never went to hospital with my injuries in case they saw signs of abuse and reported it to the police—because they are duty-bound to do so. I never dialled 999. I always dressed covering myself from head to toe, sometimes using makeup to cover bruises—something I became an expert at doing.
I instantly feel overwhelmed. Do I really want to report him? What if it goes to court and I don’t have any physical evidence of what he did to me? He’d get off and then come after me ten times as hard as before.
My heart races in my chest, feeling like it’s trying to burst free of its constraints. I try to swallow past a lump in my throat as I feel tears sting the backs of my eyes.
I can do this. I will do this. I have to do this. For myself, but more importantly for the innocent life inside me. My child deserves the best start in life and that can’t happen with Greg walking free. He has to pay for what he’s done.
I can’t live my life constantly looking over my shoulder, in fear of every street corner, every dark alley…
The blows he dealt me over the years made me feel weak. But I know now that I’m not weak. I am strong. I am willing to fight back. For my life and for my child to grow up without him.
If he isn’t behind bars when my baby comes into this world, I dread to think what he would do if he found out. He’s not a real man, so he could never be a real father. But he’d want access and he’d fight me for it. It would go to court and if they found in his favour, I’d have to allow my child to see that piece of shit on a regular basis.
Over my dead body.
I sit on the sofa and am instantly squashed with my mother and father on either side of me. My mother’s hand reaches into my lap and takes hold of my hand. Looking up at her, she gives me a reassuring smile.
I can do this. I know it will hurt my parents to hear my story, but they need to know the truth. I need to stop lying and covering up for that bastard. He’s the one to blame in all of this and it’s about time I stopped blaming myself for making him hurt me.
That’s one thing he always said, “You know I’m only giving you what you deserve. You brought this on yourself. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but you give me no choice. You make me hurt you.”
I’m sick of being petrified of my own shadow and I won’t let my child—my innocent, pure child—be tainted by a life with that man in it.
Do you have a favorite scene?
Gosh, that’s a hard question as I love it all. But my favourite is probably where Trey asks Evie if they can be a proper couple. He’s so nervous to ask, scared of rejection. He doesn’t do relationships, so it’s all new to him. He’s a real sweetheart. Although Bobby wouldn’t say he is. (To see who she is and why, you’ll have to read the book).
What advice would you give a beginner?
My advice would be to just write. If you have a story, then write it. Whether you think you’ll end up publishing it or not is a question for after it’s written.
If you do want to publish, then you need to be prepared to market your work, dedicate time for social media to talk to your fans/readers, make connections with other authors, bloggers and readers. The book community is a hugely supportive place.
Just remember that you need to be authentic. Having a ‘persona’ when your online isn’t helpful. You don’t need to tell everyone every little detail about your life, but what you do tell them and how you interact with them, that has to be 100% the real you.
Social media links:
Blog link: https://authorkerentshughes.wordpress.com
Purchasing links: More Than Words can be found here: myBook.to/MoreThanWords
My other books can be found here:
My Best Friend’s Fiancé: myBook.to/MyBestFriendsFiance
Safe (Jagged Scars duet 1): myBook.to/SafeKerenHughes
Home (Jagged Scars Duet 2): myBook.to/HomeKerenHughes
Out of The Ashes: myBook.to/OutofTheAshes
Secret Santa: myBook.to/SecretSantaKerenHughes
Husband Material: myBook.to/HusbandMaterialKHughes
Paper Hearts: myBook.to/PaperHeartsKerenHughes
More Than Words: myBook.to/MoreThanWords