We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
Kelly: My first and (for now) only publication credit is my debut novel, THREE DAYS TO DEAD, which will be followed by the second in the series in Spring 2010. I suppose I’m proof that you don’t have to build up a resume of short story sales, or have some sort of industry recognition in order to sign with a good agent and be published by one of the big houses. The closest thing I had to a credit before this novel was an article in my sixth-grade newspaper (ah, memories).
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
Kelly: My first novel, THREE DAYS TO DEAD, releases October 27 from Dell. It’s the first in an urban fantasy series that has a little bit of everything–vampires, shape-shifters, trolls, goblins, gargoyles, gremlins, and assorted fey. My heroine, Evangeline Stone, was one of best paranormal bounty hunters in the city, until she wakes up in a morgue, in someone else’s body, with no idea how she died or why she was brought back. She discovers she only has three days to solve her own murder and recover her lost memories–memories that hold the key to stopping a devastating alliance between vampires and goblins.
So far, it’s received some fantastic buzz, as well as positive (and humbling) advance blurbs from some of the best authors writing in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genres today, including Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Gena Showalter, and Jackie Kessler.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who else do you feel has contributed to your success?
Kelly: It may sound a bit cliche, but my parents have been a huge factor. They always encouraged my sister and me to follow our dreams, and to do what we truly wanted with our lives. I know they worried, as parents do, but they always supported me. I also need to give props to a screenwriter named Kris Young. He taught one of my college screenwriting courses eight years ago, and he was the first professional writer who came to me and told me I had talent. I took the praise to heart and it has definitely fueled me on this long, strange journey toward publication.
And it’s impossible to not give some amount of credit to the AbsoluteWrite WaterCooler. I found a wealth of information on those forums, and being a member has certainly helped me be a better, more disciplined writer.
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
Kelly: Usually any time after noon. I can rarely get my brain up and working before then, no matter how much coffee I consume. So mornings are spent piddling around the internet. I used to be a big night owl and do the bulk of my writing after nine o’clock and into the wee hours. Lately I can’t stay up much past 11:30, so I write earlier. I think working in retail the last seven years, with its ever-changing schedule, has prevented me from setting an actual writing schedule–which works perfectly for me. It allows me to fit in blocks of writing time whenever I can, so I don’t fall into what I call “routine traps”–traps that can turn into excuses and procrastination techniques, if circumstances don’t allow the routine to be kept.
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
Kelly: My advice is threefold. First, if you’re writing toward professional publication, don’t treat your books like they are your children. Books are not children. We don’t buy and sell children, but we do buy and sell product. The moment you decide you want to sell your book, you have to think of it as a product. And in order to put the best possible product out there, you have to recognize that revisions will be necessary. Your words are never perfect; always strive to improve.
Second, not all novels will sell. Especially not all first novels. Don’t hang all of your hopes and dreams on one novel. While you’re editing and querying your first, start writing your second. And then your third. It took me seven novels before I made my first sale, and every single novel I trunked made me a better writer.
And third, don’t write to the current trends. What’s hot now isn’t what’s going to be hot next year, or the year after that. Write the kind of book you’d want to read, instead of what you think will sell best. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this manuscript if it sells, so make sure it’s something you really enjoy.
Three Days to Dead is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com.