My next guest comes from New York and she is joining me in a celebration of her debut release, Rogue. Please join me in welcoming author Kari Nichols.
AS: So, you are a published author now. How does it feel?
KN: It feels surreal. I’m still reeling from the fact that my book is sitting on my bookshelf.
AS: Writing is a process of writing, read, rejection, read, and rewrite. You stayed the course; no doubt through many ups and downs, and you reached your goal. Have you taken the time to sit back and breathe?
KN: It was definitely a long process, and I did take a bit of time off from writing. But the time off was mainly spent focusing on my other business. I’ll get to sit back and breathe once December hits!
AS: Mutual Twitter friend Iona Morrison celebrated her debut release this month. She quoted, “Today I celebrate, tomorrow I write.” Did you have a big celebration?
KN: I didn’t have a big celebration. But my husband and I celebrated with two of our good friends, and the night was definitely memorable!
AS: Well, we join you in the sweet victory.
AS: What age did you realize you wanted to become a writer / author?
KN: I’ve always loved to write. And I’ve been dreaming up stories in my head since I was about five years old. But it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized I should be writing them down. I have no idea what took me so long, but I’m incredibly happy now that I’ve figured out this is what I truly love to do.
AS: What genres interest you most?
KN: I’m pretty diverse when it comes to genres, but urban fantasy, historical fiction and romance have to be my top three.
AS: So, what prompted you to write Rogue? Where did your ideas or inspiration come from?
KN: I was reading a really terrible YA series when I had to stop because the books were just SO poorly written. I looked at my husband and said, “I should really do this. I’m a way better writer.” So he stayed up with me really, really late that night and helped me come up with the premise for Rogue. I knew I wanted to write a story about immortals, but I didn’t want it to be geared towards teens. I wanted to write a book that was something I would want to read. I can’t go into detail about where my ideas came from, because I would be giving away some major plot lines! Needless to say, we both really like history.
AS: You and your husband have a very successful photography business in New York. How do you find the time to write?
KN: It is not easy! I am a very singularly focused person, so I only write once my photography clients are completely taken care of. Wedding season is generally much slower between November and February, so I wrote the majority of Rogue over those months last year (and will likely try to do the same with Ghost this year).
AS: Each author approaches prewriting differently. What’s your favorite method of prewriting?
KN: I write my full story arc so I know where I’m going to start and where I plan to end up. It’s complicated with The Plagued Trilogy because I’m writing three books that are all heading toward the same outcome. So I have to be really careful that there aren’t any discrepancies in plot lines or characters. In addition to the outlines, I now write detailed character bios on any characters that will make important appearances in the book. I give them a past—a full story of their personalities, life experiences, emotional responses, etc. That way I really know my characters before I ever write about them.
AS: You’ve described your editor as invaluable in helping you stay focused. Describe how you two work together. Do you send her the entire novel at one time or do you break it down into segments or chapters, wait for her feedback and then continue?
KN: She is incredible. I send her pieces of each novel as I’m writing. Each time I send her something new, she reads the entire work as a whole—not just the new parts. So with Rogue, the first thing I sent her was the first five chapters. Once she gave me her feedback on that section, I worked more and sent her the first fifteen chapters (and so on and so forth). Once the book was completed, she got each new draft as I finished them. She is incredible!
AS: Did you experience times when you needed to change the direction of Rogue and was that easy for you?
KN: I didn’t really have to change the direction of the book, but I did have to do a major overhaul on a few of my characters. It was only easy because I knew by changing them, I was going to make the characters much more relatable/likeable which would lead to readers enjoying the book more. I’m pretty much willing to do anything to make my books the best they can be—even if it’s a lot of extra work or heartache for me.
AS: Many new authors often give up trying to cope with the details of the business side of becoming an author.
At some point did you find yourself overwhelmed with the process? How did you handle those times? What can you tell aspiring authors to help them get through this?
KN: I already run a successful business, and years ago I sold a second successful business. So the business side of being an author doesn’t stress me out as much as one might think. The one thing that really does stress me out is trying to run both businesses simultaneously while trying to continue writing. It’s a huge commitment and more often than not I find myself behind schedule at the end of each day. I usually turn to my husband in those times. It’s so important to have a strong support system around you if you’re going to be an author. I rely not only on my husband, but also on my author friends who have already released books of their own. I have one friend in particular who released her book two days before I released Rogue, so we’ve been able to talk about our triumphs and frustrations as they come. It’s been a huge comfort to be able to talk to someone going through the same things.
AS: You chose to take the route of an indie author. What benefits / challenges presented themselves that prompted your decision?
KN: I spent months just researching the differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing. There was one author in particular who pretty much cemented my decision to go the indie route. You can find her amazing articles about self-publishing on her blog here-- http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/2014/03/03/self-publishing-is-it-difficult-sometimes-is-it-doable-definitely/I basically decided that I would rather maintain control over the creative process and make a smaller initial profit than hand over my rights, creativity, and editing to a company that probably wasn’t going to end up doing much for me in the end.
AS: How long did it take you to write Rogue?
KN: I began writing Rogue in October of 2013 and released it on August 20th this year.
AS: What has been the most rewarding / challenging part in writing Rogue?
KN: The most rewarding part is seeing the reviews of my book. It wasn’t until I saw the first review that I said to myself, “People are actually reading the book that I wrote! This is real!” The most challenging part was just making the time to sit down and write it. After my first draft was finished, I sent it out to three readers to get their honest feedback. After their responses, I ended up just sitting back and thinking about the feedback they’d given me for a solid month. I was so overwhelmed by how much I had to add/change to make the book better that I couldn’t touch the story for a while. So once I was able to wrap my head around it, I got to work (and dove in head first). That was definitely the most challenging part of the writing process for me.
AS: Tell us about Rogue, give us a teaser.
KN: “We stand united, Family of Immortals. Plagued by life. Cursed by the hand of God …”
Rogue was born into an immortal family whose wealth is marked by a trail of blood. But when he meets the unnervingly familiar assistant of his next target, an unexpected rush of emotions begins to unravel his carefully laid plans.Lissie lives a mundane life filled with work … and little else. She hasn’t taken a risk since she moved to New York City after college—seven years ago. But when the mysterious Matthew McCloud walks through the door of her office, she finds herself diving head-first into a whirlwind romance she never saw coming.
AS: Will this become a series?
KN: Yes! Rogue is the first installment of The Plagued Trilogy. I’m currently writing Ghost, the second book in the series.
AS: Where can we buy Rogue?
KN: You can buy Rogue on Amazon here-- http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-The-Plagued-Trilogy-Volume/dp/0990612325/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
Or on Smashwords here-- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467452
AS: What can we expect from author Kari Nichols in the near future?
KN: I’m hoping to finish the first draft of Ghost in the next month or two. I’m also working on a compilation of short stories that are contemporary fiction. If I can find the time to work on that, I may get the short stories out before Thanksgiving. But I’m not making any promises!
AS: Do you have a book tour set up; where can we find this schedule?
KN: I’m not going to do a book tour with Rogue. I just don’t have the time with wedding season still in full swing. But I am in the middle of a blog tour. I try to regularly post links to the latest blog posts on my website.
AS: We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. How can you be reached or how can we find information on upcoming releases?
KN: You can follow my blog here— http://www.karinichols.com
On Facebook here— http://www.facebook.com/thekarinichols
On Goodreads here— http://www.goodreads.com/thekarinichols
Or on Twitter— @TheKariNichols
AS: Kari, thank you for stopping by and giving us the opportunity to celebrate with you on your new release. It is exciting, and we certainly look forward to the completion of The Plagued Trilogy.
KN: Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure!
AS: Once again, Kari’s new release can be found at Amazon -- http://www.amazon.com/Rogue-The-Plagued-Trilogy-Volume/dp/0990612325/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 and Smashwords -- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467452
If you find yourself in need of a photographer, Kari and her husband, Caleb, travel extensively, providing some of the finest wedding photography anywhere. Psst: I’ve seen their work and it is amazing. You can find more about them and their studio at http://www.cottonwoodstudiosworldwide.com
If you are new to writing, do yourself a huge favor. Take advantage of the resources provided by Kari and myself. Visit Elizabeth Hunter at Self-Publishing: Is it Difficult? Sometimes. Is it Doable? Definitely. and Joanna Penn at TheCreativePenn.com for a free download of her e-book Author 2.0.
Welcome back to Author Showcase.
I just want to take a minute to say thank you to all my readers for stopping by and giving me ear as I shout out the latest releases of authors who work hard to bring you some entertainment through reading.
We are back for a final week with author Kaye Kelly from NZ.
AS: Kaye I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed visiting with you this month and learning more about your work and taking in all the wonderful and encouraging advice. I’ve had a great month and I thank you so much for taking the time out to be here on Author Showcase.
KK: It has been a great month. I really appreciate this opportunity, Alexia, thanks so much to you and all your readers.
AS: This week we are going to talk about your latest book but first, I’ve noticed all your books are set way back in time.
KK: Yes. I enjoy writing historical pieces. All my published novels to date have been historical with backgrounds in the 1860s, 1870s. Then with The Body Snatcher, a giant leap forward to the late 1940s.
AS: What prompted the giant leap?
KK: Two things, mainly. The first was a reader suggesting I write a book with a Marlborough background as my first three books have West Coast backgrounds. The second was knowing there were still people living in Havelock (the town Rossville in The Body Snatcher is based on) who were around in 1947/48. As all the characters in earlier books lived years before I was even a suggestion of a twinkle in my father’s eye, all my research was done through books, local historians and museums, the thought of being able to talk to these people – real LIVE people – to be able hear their versions and snippets of what went on at that time was too temptingly delicious to resist.
AS: In last week’s interview you mentioned that your character from BS was your favorite. Tell us about him and how he comes across this body. Tell us a little about this book.
KK: Brian got into my head in a way that no other character has ever done before. It was as if he was directing the story; telling me what to say, I couldn’t bring him into line, and despite me worrying that he was leading me up the garden path, to my mind, the story absolutely flowed. How did Brian come across the body? The local Rossville kids often used to find coins in the mudflats at low tide that had dropped out of pockets when people had been fishing off the wharf. One day Brian finds two half crowns – a veritable fortune – but he also finds a body that the coins probably belonged to. By the time the local cop comes on the scene the body’s disappeared and because Brian’s a bit of a larrikin and is known to stretch the truth at times, nobody believes him. Brian determines to find out what happened to the body, but in doing so ends up in all sorts of situations that everyone, apart from him, seems to find hilarious.
AS: What is special about this book to you and how long did it take you to write BS?
KK: What’s so special to me about this book is that words flowed all the way through. Brian got into my head and led me by the nose … excuse all the body parts. It took around three months to write The Body Snatcher, but months and months of polishing. Then I laid Brian to rest. Forgot about him until last year when he suddenly demanded to be let out of the computer file I’d so rudely locked him in.
AS: We talked earlier about some of your wips. What can we expect to see from Kaye Kelly in the near future?
KK: I’m not sure what I’ll be working on next. I have a middle grade trilogy that’s demanding my attention, a YA fantasy that’s also vying for attention. Then there’s a contemporary comedy trying to nudge these books aside. As well as thinking seriously of reworking and republishing Mecca’s Gold, the first book in my historical trilogy.
AS: Kaye where can we buy your books and how can we get in touch with you?
KK: Cross the River to Home, A Secret Mind, and The Body Snatcher can be found at: http://Amazon.com Amazon.uk Amazon.au Amazon.ca Links at http://www.kayekelly.co.nz
I would love to hear from readers and writers. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – if there’s any way I can help, I promise to do so.
AS: In closing out this month, what final piece of advice do you have for our readers?
KK: My advice for the last week would be; no matter how frantically busy you are, always make time to help another writer. I can pretty well guarantee that somewhere down the line, you’ll be finding your favours returned a hundred fold.
AS: Well, Kaye thanks again for stopping by this month. We will definitely look forward to seeing more of your works out in the near future. I hope a revival of Mecca's Gold will be one of those works.
KK: Alexia, I have really enjoyed my chats with you this month. Thank you so much for this opportunity to enjoy your hospitality and chat with you and your readers!
AS: Take Care Kaye. Find Kaye on Twitter and Facebook. Pick up her latest works at Amazon.
Next month, Author Showcase will be hosting author Jan Romes; author of witty and zany characters. Please join us on there February 1st.
AS: Author Kaye Kelly is back with us once again. This is week 3 of 4.
Thank you Kaye for keeping up with us all this month. I'm sure you have been busy and I really appreciate you coming back by for another interview.
Last week, Kaye shared with us that Random Germany won the bid for Cross the River to Home. That must have been exciting to know that your books were being taken the Frankfurt Book Fair. But you didn't just have one book that made it to the tables. You actually had your third book, The Secret Mind, that was also on the bidding block.
How awesome is that! How did you feel when you found out that Random was taking both of your books to the fair?
KK: Apart from finding it hard to believe, I felt pretty good! I’d always dreamed of something like that happening, but never really thought it would. When I received my publisher’s email telling me the terrific news I must have read it through at least a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t having a “wishful thinking” moment. Had I been more agile I would have done a few cartwheels around my little office.
AS: What a nice surprise. So, tell us a little bit about The Secret Mind. It's a very unique title, what was your inspiration behind this novel?
KK: The idea for A Secret Mind came from an abandoned mental asylum in Hokitika, a small town on the West Coast of New Zealand. Rich in pioneering history with its gold deposits and temporary cosmopolitan population it was begging for a story to be told. A secret Mind has several plots but the main one revolves around Libby Budd, a young girl who, because of an accident, not only has grand mal seizures, but can’t speak. Her step-father convinces her mother to have Libby committed to the asylum. With her lack of communication skills, Libby’s powerless to stop him.
AS: Of all the characters in your novels, do you feel you relate to any one of them and how so? Which one would you say would be your favorite character - the one you enjoyed writing the most?
KK: I think it would be impossible for an author not to relate to any of the characters they write about. When I’m writing from a particular character’s point of view I try to get into their head. I know I’ve succeeded when suddenly they’ve got into MY head and taken over. But I have to be firm with them at times and make them wait their turn. My very favourite character is 14 year-old Brian Lowe from The Body Snatcher. He was an absolute joy to work with. I use the expression “work with “rather than “write about” because he totally took over the novel and I didn’t have a hope of stopping him.
AS: That is wonderful and that one is sure to be a best seller. Kaye, each week you have given our readers some advise. What do you have for us this week?
KK: Well writing is such a joy in my life and realize the benefit of having a writer's group within reach. So, if you're just starting out never work alone, join writers groups. If you don't want to join a physical group there are so many wonderful groups now online you can join. You'll find so many helpful tips and advice as most of these writers will have been Indie or main stream published and are aware of the pitfalls, and believe me there are many.
AS: Do you have a favorite writers club or organization or do you participate in a local writing community?
KK: These days I rely on on-line writers’ groups for support. In particular, a group of Australian and New Zealand writers I found on Facebook and a wonderful group of writers on Twitter – you – yes you, Alexia Stevens – being one of them. They’re a great bunch of talented authors and so willing to give of their time and help.
AS: Awe, thank you Kaye for your kind comment, it's sweet of you to think of me.
I have really enjoyed our visits, Kaye, thank you and I'll look forward to visiting next week.
It will be hard to say good bye.
Well, that's it for this week. Please give Kaye a big round of applause.
And I just want to remind you Kaye will be back one more time this month to visit and we'll be talking about her latest release The Body Snatcher.
With an author of this caliber, you don't want to miss this last week.
IN closing, author of zany, witty, characters, Jan Romes will be stopping by for a visit for the month of February, please join us again soon. Thanks for stopping by once again and have a pleasant evening everybody.
This month on Author Showcase, we are celebrating the works of New Zealand author, Kaye Kelly. She will be with us all month and she is back again for part two.
Please make welcome, Kaye Kelly.
AS: Welcome back Kaye, thanks for visiting us this month.
KK: It's good to be back, thank you for having me all month.
AS: So, with your first book, you learned some hard lessons about publishing but you enjoyed it enough, came back and wrote a 2nd book. Share with us a little about Cross the River to Home.
KK: Cross the River to Home was my second book, Alexia. I love your comment regarding jumping straight back in because I had a ball writing the first novel.
Set in the 1870s, Cross the River to Home tells of the impossible love between Mai, a Chinese woman, and Henry, a young immigrant who has come to New Zealand in search of his sister, now married to a doctor and living in Charleston (yes, we have a Charleston in New Zealand too). With racial prejudice, rife from both sides of the family and the local community conspiring to keep them apart, their future promises to be bleak.
AS: Very interesting.
AS: I hear you have an interesting story to tell about how you got the idea to write this novel.
KK: The idea for this book came from a Chinese lady I was chatting to in a local dairy. I mentioned I was about to write another book but was stumped for inspiration, and she said I should write about a mixed marriage. Aha! Salvation! Not wanting to startle the bejeebers out of her, I refrained from shouting hallelujah and hugging her.
AS: After successfully publishing this time I bet you wished you could really give her a hug.
AS: In an earlier conversation, you mentioned that all of your books have special meaning to you. Would you care to share about this with our readers?
KK: I’d have to say that none of the books I write are “just another book to write.” Even the ones written years ago lying languishing and unpublished – deservedly so – in the bowels of the computer leave a mark on me. I’ll suddenly think of one of the characters and wonder how they’re getting on. Daft, I know, but I like to think that in another universe they’re living inside a house-sized book, carrying on with their lives undisturbed by a nosy giant (me) peering over the top at them and dropping them into situations they would rather not find themselves.
AS: Talk about the challenges a writer faces when starting a new book.
KK: For me, it's mainly the research. When I wrote Cross the River to Home the internet wasn’t the fount of information it is today, or should I say it was, but so much of it was rubbish, and a lot couldn’t be verified. Today, you can find heaps of information without having to leave the computer, which is great, but not so great for the posterior … sigh. There’s a scene in the book where the local doctor performs a cataract operation. The librarian at the Dental and Medical library at Otago university was a marvellous help, spending hours delving in the archives, then putting me in touch with a retired professor of Ophthalmology who checked the scene I wrote. Generally, I found people so willing to help, many of them becoming friends I still keep in touch with.
AS: That is wonderful.
AS: As writers, we grow both personally and professionally. How would you describe growing as a writer from your second book?
KK; I learned so much from writing this book, the most useful being the editing. I had a wonderful editor, Rachel Scott, who didn’t spare the red pen, and for that I thank her from the bottom of my heart. When editing future books, I found myself thinking, “what would Rachel do here?” And, inevitably my own “red pen” would show no mercy in slashing the waffle.
AS: Ah yes. That blasted red pen should be thought of as a writer’s best friend.
So, did Cross the River win any awards for you?
KK: Cross the River to Home was pubbed in 2004 by Random House, NZ. It’s now available on Amazon as an e-book. However, it did receive some mixed reviews. But the wonderful thing is that Random put it in their catalogue to take to the annual Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. Two companies bid on that book and Random Germany won the bid on it. While it didn’t allow me to retire, the payoff was handsome. And at that time, none of Random NZ authors had ever had an advance that high.
AS: How awesome is that. Grateful to you for sharing your book writing experiences with us.
AS: Each week Kaye will be offering a bit of advice for those new to writing. This week, Kaye’s advice to you is: During times when the thought of the research and plot or your next step seems daunting, treat these things like an onion, simply peel the layers one at a time. It’s something that still works for me today.”
AS: Thanks once again Kaye for stopping by Author Showcase. Our visits are delightful.
AS: Kaye will be joining us again next week. We will be discussing her third book and there is a little special surprise that we will share about this book as well.
Please join us again here on Author Showcase on Monday, January the 18th for another visit with Kaye Kelly.
Thanks for dropping by all and have a safe week.
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