Starting this week and running through December 3rd, I am interviewing some special authors for some holiday fun.
Plus, these authors and I have worked up a little something special just for YOU, our followers as a way of saying thank you for all your support. The best part is...you don't have to sign up for anything or even create a free account.
My premise for these special holiday interviews is "What These Famous Authors are Doing for the Holidays".
Opening week, we are visiting with Kaye Kelly. Kaye has authored several books including Cross the River to Home and her latest being The Body Snatcher.
So, please help me welcome back author Kaye Kelly from New Zealand.
Alexia: Kaye it is so good to have you back. I’m so grateful you found some time for a Christmas visit. And I'm equally grateful that you were able to join me for a special Christmas project for our followers. I'm sure they will be delighted.
Kaye: Awe, thank you Alexia. And thanks for having me back again.
Alexia: So, are you doing anything special this Christmas that you don’t normally do? If so, what would that be?
Kaye: We’ll probably head off to our daughter’s. She and our son-in-law have a cattery and boarding kennels so … Tony and I will probably be chief poo picker-uppers. Here is a picture of my Tony from an earlier Christmas.
Alexia: Well, I’m sure you will enjoy your family time.
I love decorating for the holidays. My favorites are the old fashioned ones. So, how about you; do you favor old fashion Christmas decorations or new/modern ones. Why?
Kaye: Some of our tree decorations are as old as our marriage – 55 years! So very traditional. Why? Just because I like them and they look … well … Christmassy.
Alexia: 55 years - amazing. It is hard to find real "Christmassy" ornaments amidst all the commercialism anymore.
What is one of your most favorite Christmases as a child?
Kaye: I think my most favourite Christmas would have to be the year I was six years old. An older brother had told me Santa wasn’t true. But on Christmas Eve Mum and Dad left a bottle of beer and a piece of Christmas cake on my bedside cabinet for Santa because they said that after all his travelling he’d be hungry and thirsty. In the morning I was just as thrilled about finding the bottle empty and only crumbs left on the plate as I was about my presents because in my mind it meant Santa really was true.
Alexia: Oh, how funny. My mother and father in law tell our children that if they don’t believe in Santa, they definitely won’t get anything.
So, what’s it like decorating around your house for the holidays? Do you have family over to help string up miles of lights and finish off the day with holiday treats/drinks? Perhaps, you all go shopping for the perfect Christmas tree and discuss new things to do this year.
Kaye: On December 1st, I dig out the old trusty
fake Christmas tree and decorate it. Some years I
also put it up on my birthday in June and we
have a mid-winter Christmas dinner seeing June
falls in winter here in New Zealand.
Any excuse to have a glass of bubbly.
This is a picture of me with my trusty tree.
Alexia: Ah, Christmas in June, sounds exciting. That has been done here in the states as well.
If you could go back to your childhood, what Christmas treat did your mom make for you that you would most enjoy baking for your family today? Would you have a recipe to share?
Kaye: Although a very good cook, by the time I came along when Mum was 43, she was over baking so I don’t have any memories of special recipes, but one I make every year is Russian Fudge.
And yes, here my recipe:
675g (1 ½ lbs) sugar
½ cup milk
½ tin Condensed milk
125g (4 ozs) butter
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup.
Put sugar and milk into a saucepan, mix, cover and slowly bring to the boil. Add condensed milk, butter, salt and golden syrup. Boil until it reaches soft boil stage, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool then beat until thick (doesn’t take long and you have to be careful as it can start setting in the pot). Pour into a tin. Mark into squares before it sets hard. Sets very quickly in fridge.
Alexia: That sounds so yummy.
All we do to prepare for the holidays sends out a message to our families and friends. What is your message?
Kaye: No matter where you are, we’re always here for you, we’ll be thinking of you and sending our love.
Now, if I were visiting your home for the holidays, what should I expect to see, taste, and do? What would it be like?
Kaye: When the kids were still at home you would have seen Christmas wrapping scattered from floor to ceiling, kids squealing with excitement as they opened their presents, then at dinnertime, a table full of traditional fare; roast turkey, lamb and ham, and seasonal veggies, followed by Christmas pudding, brandy sauce and cream, pavlova and trifle. Now? Being summer, it’s usually stinking hot and we have a barbecue (sausages, mince patties, and salads) along with a few glasses of bubbly for me, and for Tony, a few glasses of his home brew beer. Then a nice afternoon snooze.
One Christmas Eve when Tony and I had had to work until really late, we waited and waited for Marg and Ray to go to sleep so we could wrap their presents and put them under the tree. By midnight when we could still hear the little angels laughing and giggling in their room, we decided we’d go to bed, get up early and wrap their presents then. However, the best laid plans… We were woken by Ray yelling out, “Marg, Marg, wake up the buggers haven’t got us anything.”
Alexia: Sounds like a lot of fun and love at your home, Kaye. I wish you and your family the best this holiday season. Thank you for stopping by; I always enjoy our chats.
To purchase Kaye's books contact her at her website at Kaye Kelly.
And thanks to each of you who have taken the time to stop by and visit with Kaye and I. And, I also want to remind you to check back here on November 18th to open your special gift from us. It is our way of saying thank you for all your tweets, likes, fav's and general support.
Next week, I'll be interviewing Theresa Snyder. She and my favorite chocolate eating dragon, Farloft, will be stopping by for a holiday visit. It will be fun - you won't want to miss it.
See ya then. Take care and have a safe and happy holiday season!
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.
So, the holidays are over and I am back at my desk. I am especially excited about all the changes taking place in my writing career and for my website.
And I am especially excited that New Zealand author, Kaye Kelly, is visiting this January, 2016. Author Showcase is filling up fast and will present some exciting reads.
Kaye will be interviewing with me each week this month so be sure to stop back by for more updates with Kaye.
So, without further adieux; please help me make welcome from
New Zealand, author Kaye Kelly.
Welcome Kaye, thanks for joining me here at Author Showcase.
AS: Mmm. New Zealand. Land of sunshine. The name evokes a sense of beauty and a place of peaceful respite. Have you always lived in NZ?
KK: Yes, I was born in New Zealand, Alexia, in a little town called Westport, though Tony and I have lived in Blenheim for over 30 years now. And you're right, New Zealand is a place of beauty and serenity, and pretty nice people.
AS: Sounds lovely. One of my favorite mountain climbing shows, Vertical Limit, was filmed there in NZ. The topography closely resembled the area surrounding the K2 so it made a perfect place to film.
So, let's talk about your first novel, Mecca's God.
KK: Mecca's Gold is an historical novel (1860s) with a New Zealand background. A simple romance, it was my first novel and published in 1998 by Quoin Press, a publisher long since gone out of business.
AS: Have you thought about condensing it and putting up a sample on your blog for your adoring fans?
KK: I've been thinking of putting it up as an e-book. It needs a good editing but I have a few other projects I'm working on for Indie publishing first. If I decide to release it as an e-book, it could take a while.
AS: I like the name, Mecca's Gold. And I enjoy historical romance novels and would love to see that out as an e-book. What a wonderful idea.
Perhaps with your help, we can entice Kaye to pull that one off the shelf, give it good dusting, so that we may once again relive the courageous lives of the characters within.
Each week Kaye offers some advise for those new to writing. This week, Kaye cautions authors to be careful in accepting offers from vanity publishers. With vanity publishers, the author pays the publishing company to publish the book. You may be stuck with trying to sell your book to no avail, then you could be out several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Kaye will be back again on Monday the 11th. Please join us then as we discuss Cross the River to Home, followed by A Secret Mind on the 18th and finally, on the 25th, we discuss her latest release, The Body Snatcher.
Thank you Kaye for joining me here this month in The Tea Room for Author Showcase. I look forward to all our visits.
Hello, I am
I write ya romance and non-murder mystery. Take a sneak peak at Mystery at Bear Creek Island. You can also read the personal bio's of Duke and Kohana.