What made you decide to be an author?
That’s actually an interesting story. I’ve always enjoyed writing and have since I was a teen. I was the editor for our high school literary magazine, so I’ve always loved the written word. As an adult I strayed away from writing until a little over 15 years ago. I had an employee, who was equally creative, and I was telling him about wanting to write a book. I mentioned a book I wanted to get from Barnes and Noble entitled The Weekend Novelist that I thought might help me. The next day he brought in a B&N gift card and implored me to get that book and write that novel. The rest, as they say, is history. My first novel was published in 2007 and dedicated to Chuck, my employee.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? I love the way being a writer changes my view of the world. Everywhere I travel, everyone I meet, news stories, anything I’m exposed to becomes potential novel fodder. So watch out. LOL You may become a character or somewhere we’ve traveled together may be used in a scene or the entire setting for a book. The part I like least about writing is editing. UGH! It is a necessary evil, but definitely not one of my favorite things to suffer through.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? As I mentioned above, all that I’ve come into contact I use. I view the world through a writer’s eyes and that makes life so much more interesting. I’m also a fan of “write what you know”. I think that adds authenticity to any written work.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? That’s an interesting question. I don’t think I’ve quite experienced what you describe, but I have had sudden inspirations that will take the book in a different direction from where I planned. My characters have occasionally hijacked the bus and driven the story in direction I hadn’t planned. That’s always a delightful surprise.
You've written 13 published works, some novels, novellas, and short stories, and are working on a 14th novel. It will be a historical adventure set during the Civil War. I’m very excited about this new venture.
What ís your favorite time management tip? I think all writers should set a word count per day. Whether you are working on a new project or between projects writing every day is a must. If you set that goal, however big or small, it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an ìorganicî writer? I’m a plotter. I usually write a few sentence outline by chapter to get me started. But that doesn’t mean I always follow it. Many times things change and I find that thrilling.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Keep writing. Don’t ever give up. The reason you write should be to make you and your readers happy, not to make money. Oh sure, keep the dream alive for that big publishing contract if that’s what you want, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. Write for the love of writing and always work to improve your craft. To me those are the earmarks of a successful writer.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? I’m probably a weirdo, but I never listen to music when I write. I find it too much of a distraction.
Tell me more about The Guardians of Spirit Rock Series. This is a series about The Gray Brothers. Four Native American Brothers, connected to their own spirit animal work to protect their town from evil. The first book is Secrets of a Wolf. Here’s the blurb.
A tragic event ruins Daphne Valentine’s career as a K-9 cop and department veterinarian in Seattle. Devastated, she escapes to Spirit Rock, South Dakota, to start over as the vet for an animal wildlife rescue park. When she arrives, nothing goes quite as planned—especially when she meets her new boss for the first time and she’s almost stark naked. Not the greatest first impression…or is it?
A confirmed bachelor, Cameron Gray is shocked at his instant attraction to his new employee. He soon learns she carries quite a bit of extra baggage, but even so, his desire to possess the sexy vet ignites him with a need he and his wolf can’t ignore. But all is not what it seems…. What exactly drove Daphne to leave her successful career and move to Seattle?
When dangerous poachers bring the two together in the line of duty, Daphne discovers Cameron’s secret, forcing her to question every decision she’s made since arriving in Spirit Rock. Will the tender new love they’ve found be enough to hold them together or drive them apart forever?
Join the Gray brothers in Spirit Rock, South Dakota. Gifted with the power to shift into their own unique spirit animal, they have been bestowed with the enormous responsibility of watching over their ancestral canyon. Their strength and conviction will be tested…as will the depth and breadth of their heart and soul.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Kelly, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.