Kris Kennedy, a Golden Heart finalist, writes historical romances and recently signed a two book deal. You can learn more about Kris's writing (and her mostly dyed blonde moments) at her web site.
LOL, CJ. Right off the bat, my blonde (mostly dyed, anymore) is showing. I don't know if you meant my name, of the book's name, so I'll give you both! :-)
I'm Kris Kennedy, and my book, for now, is titled The Kinds Of Wanting. I thought that was a hot, interesting title, but apparently I'm wrong. LOL And, seeing as I know nothing about the publishing business, I think I'll trust my editor.
And so, I had a title vote at my website and got LOTS of great suggestions. I sent the top rated ones to my editor (and tacked on a few new ones, when he didn't gasp in amazement after first glance), so now we'll wait and see what they do with it.
I'll be posting the new title as soon as I know it, and giving away prizes, so come and visit! I will be updating folks on my publishing journey--what each step along the way is like, so come visit my website often. And sign up for the newsletter!
How long have you been writing?
I guess I've been writing romance in earnest since 2000. Although, I took a MAJOR break for about 2 1/2 years after my son was born. Who knew how much a person needed sleep? How weak and pathetic a brain can become when deprived of just a few . . . sweet hours . . . . of . . . uninterrupted . . . sleep.
So, I went a little psychotic there for about 1 1/2 years, with little sleep, husband overseas travelling for work for most of that 2nd year, and my mother passing away, and I didn't get much writing done.
But I felt like I crawled out of my cave when my little guy turned about 2 1/2, and I started writing and entering contests again at that point.
What made you decide to pursue writing novels?
Ha! What to say to that? Is it really a decision?
I remember this: my step-father & mother gave my husband & I their old computer, maybe back in 1999. I used to write endlessly as a child, w/ pen and paper, so I got excited, thinking, 'Maybe I can do it with the computer.'
I sat there that first night, in front of the glowing screen, and I just started typing.
It was like digging up mud. Slow, pointless, heavy.
In other words, it wasn't flowing.
Until I read my first ROMANCE novel. I took the plunge and checked out one of those 80's romance novels from the library. I'd been eyeing it for a year or more, but was always too embarrassed to check out, b/c of the covers. LOL.
But I'll tell you what--I read that book, and THAT NIGHT I was up until 3 a.m. typing. Fingers flying over keys, creating typos like a mad woman.
The next morning my husband said, "Wow. It's nice to see you really into something." LOL.
He had no idea. I had no idea. It was way past ideas--it just had to be.
What genre do you write and how did you choose it?
I write medievals, mostly, although I do have several half-written contemp. stories & one Georgian, which was the first story I ever wrote, and it will NEVER see the light of day.
The contemps will come, but they have to wait, b/c I really love the sweeping, dangerous feel of the middle ages.
Where do your ideas come from?
The short answer: everywhere!
TV shows, a line in the newspaper, a line in a 11th century monk's chronicle, where some mention is made of "And King Art O'Conchobar laid waste the land between the loch's for want of the woman," or something, and I'm thinking, "Oh, yeah!' LOL The tragedies of other people make great fodder for the storyteller.
For any Lord of the Rings fans (the books) you may remember when Sam & Frodo were far into their quest, dying of thirst and and weary beyond words. Sam, in his simple, philosophical way, reflected how the hard times are not the ones you want to live through, but they make the best stories. I thought that was very wise. :-)
How do you approach writing a novel? (plotter or pantser?)
Aaaa! The heart of my current matter. I have always just winged it (wung it? LOL)
But I got burned on my last ms, one of the Golden Heart finaling ones, the one I just sold.
I wrote this story over such a long time, that it evolved and morphed significantly. I ended up re-writing it so many times. Major, major plot points shifted, characters got more tortured (An aside: I love a tortured hero. If you do too, look for my book in the Spring. But first, check my website for the title, so you know what book to look for! LOL).
Recently, I've been trying to plan (plot) a little more. But I'm scared the Fire might go out (or muse, or enthusiasm, or whatever you want to call it. It feels like a fire in me, so I call it that).
So, I am trying to balance the two different approaches, developing a new, more organized process that still keeps the Fire alive.
Funnily enough (is that a word?), much of that Fire comes from discipline. Self-discipline. Disciplining myself to sit and write every day.
Writing begets writing. The more I write, the more I CAN write, the more I WANT TO write, the more IDEAS I have for writing, the more EXCITED I get about it.
I think that's true for everything. The more we do of anything, the more energy we get for that thing, if it's a our passion.
Are you working with an agent?
Yes, I have an agent. Barbara Poelle, at the Irene Goodman Agency.
How did you choose the right one?
She had some good editorial feedback for me, and that is something feel I need at this point. When I'm flowing, I can do 10-15 different things with a scene, w/ a story. I can amp this up, tone that down, add this in, cut that out, etc etc, and still feel I'm being true to the story.
What I need is some direction. It's great to have an industry professional to give me feedback.
Tell us the story of hearing that you'd "sold"!
Some people may have heard this already (up to 550 times, perhaps) so please, pass on by if so! :-)
I was tending my 3 y.o. son, who had just developed pink eye. It was a tough morning for me, b/c, due to the pink eye, he couldn't go to school, so, whoosh, there went my precious 2 1/2 hrs of writing time that day.
(Sure, I can and do write at night, after he's in bed, but, oh boy, am I not at my romance-writing best at 8 pm after a day w/ a non-stop 3 y.o.)
Anyhow, I was forcibly--I mean, lovingly--holding a warm compress to his eye when my agent called w/ the news.
Sorta changed my outlook on what kind of day it was going to be. :-)
Were contests an important part of your publishing journey?
I think they have been, for so many reasons!
Above all, even if you think you've gained noting from a contest but scores all over the map and another $25 down the tube, you have at least been reminded of how SUBJECTIVE this business is. And that is super important to remember. No one is required to love our stories, no matter how hard we've labored on them.
Contests serve many purposes (I always want to say 'purpii" instead of 'purposes') depending on where we are in the journey of getting pubbed.
Early on, all I wanted was feedback. I don't think I even realized that there WERE editors as judges in those first few I entered. I was just overwhelmed with the idea that, for only $25, I could get three other people to look at my story and give me feedback.
(And there's a new, tangential realization: inflation has not affected the contest realm, has it? It was $25 when I first started entering back in, oh, 2001, and it's $25 today, Nice!)
I do recall with fondness my first contest. Or rather, the results from it. One judge very gently pointed out that I may want to consider the concept of 'Point Of View' for my characters and my scenes.
I was electrified. What's that?, I thought. I re-read her explanation. POV? Cool!
I remember my thank-you letter (I must still have it somewhere, on that parent-donated computer, probably). I said something about thank-you for suggesting this "concept called 'Point Of View.' I think it will be very helpful."
LOL LOL LOL.
Yes, Kris. Sort-of.
What advice can you give aspiring authors?
I think I still AM an aspiring author! But here's what I believe, to the core of my being, after almost 20 years as a psychotherapist: persistence can overcome all.
Keep Showing Up.
Mentally, emotionally. Be There. Because when the Opportunity walks by, you need to be there, too.
People sometimes look at others and think, "Well, sure, if I had the [FILL IN THE BLANK: time/ money/success/judge/editor/the XYZ] she had . . . ."
But chances are, that person has worked her b*tt off to get where she is, whether you witnessed all those efforts or not.
"Must be nice..." kinda thinking kills energy and enthusiasm faster than . . . a sleepless 3 y.o. LOL.
I know this, because I've been known to engage in that kind of thinking myself sometimes, when I'm feeling low. And I know how it makes me feel. Lower yet. Awful.
And it isn't valid thinking anyhow. I mean, if we must destroy our enthusiasm, let's do it with something that makes SENSE!
Because persistence tied to even a modicum of talent, wins. Every time.
Now, I have questions for all of you!
~ What do you think of romance covers? Do you like them hot? Do you think they affect how the romance genre is viewed by others?
~ How do you stay motivated? I'm not just talking to writers, here, either! I want to know from everyone, what keeps you going?
Thanks for listening to all my blather! Now I can't wait to read your comments and listen to all yours. LOL