1. When did you know your passion lay in writing?
I’ve always been interested in writing, but my professional writing career began in 2000. Growing up, I read every book I could get my hands on, and eventually I started writing short stories. I took creative writing classes in high school and college, but I didn’t try to get anything published until I took a commercial writing course. I got a lot of great feedback from the instructors and other students and began submitting my stories.
I started writing because characters, plots, settings, and story ideas kept popping into my head. One way for me to deal with them was to write the story (or idea) down. I’m still inspired by ideas that come to me from out of nowhere, the Universe, muses, or by something I see or hear at random.
2. Do you write the same genres you like to read?
Yes. My romances are very diverse and vary in heat level from mild to super-spicy and cover nearly every subgenre (historical, gay, contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal). To date, I’ve written more historical/fantasy romances than any other genre. I like history and learning about how people lived hundreds of years ago — but I make sure my historical romances are anything but boring. They’re filled with the same sort of situations (falling in love, learning about yourself, overcoming problems) that are found in contemporary romances.
3. What authors inspire you? Who are your three favourite authors to read?
I read everything, so in a sense, every book I’ve read (or author) has influenced me in some way. I did read a lot of Stephen King growing up, and I’m a big fan of The Twilight Zone, so I was introduced to the world of speculative fiction and great storytelling at a young age.
Right now, my two “go-to” authors are Stephen King and John Sandford. I read a lot of books in different genres (mystery, thriller, suspense, non-fiction, horror), so my third person is whoever is next on my books-to-read shelf!
4. You’re obviously really good to your fans, what’s the nicest comment you have gotten about your books?
I’ve had fans tell me that they’ve just ended a relationship and they’re devouring all kinds of romances to get over their heartache. Most of the comments say that they fell in love with the characters and loved the twists and turns in my books. I enjoy hearing from readers and am always thrilled to learn that they love the stories I’ve created.
5. What are your hobbies other than writing and reading?
When I’m not writing or reading, I like to spend time with friends and family, travel, visit haunted/creepy historical places, and go to flea markets and garage sales.
6. What’s the strangest thing you had to research for your books?
When I wrote my paranormal shifter romance, Beauty & the Bigfoot, I had to do a lot of research about Bigfoot. I went to the library and took out every book I could find on the subject. The librarian gave me strange looks!
7. Out of all the books you have written, is there anything looking back you wish you could change?
Yes. When I revisit any of my books I always find something I’d like to change – usually it’s a small edit. I generally want to revise a few paragraphs, add extra details, tighten something up, end a scene earlier, increase the tension, etc. For the most part, I’m happy with all of the scenes, the plots, and the characters in my books. I’ll be re-releasing several of my Amber Quill Press romances in 2016, and I’m giving each one a read-through and a fresh edit, so I can change any little details I find.
8. If you weren’t a writer what would you be doing?
Ironically, my day job also involves writing and editing, so I’m always surrounded by words. If I had to pick a non-writing-related activity to pass the time, I’d probably paint and learn to play the drums.
9. Where’s your favourite place to write?
That depends on the season. When the weather is nice, I like to write outside in my back yard. In the winter, I’m forced to write inside. When I do, I sit in a comfy chair in the living room.
10. Do you listen to music while writing, if so, what kind? And do you think it influences your writing?
Yes, I’m always listening to music. What I listen to depends on what stage of the writing process my book is going through. If I’m writing a rough draft, I listen to tranquil New Age-type music (instrumental or Enya). If I’m typing the book (or editing) I’ll listen to pop, rock, disco – anything from A to Z.
Music has played a big part in two of my books. In Trust with Hearts, the hero is a country music singer (and the heroine hates country). All kinds of music themes run through that romance. In A Perfect Match, I used songs on the radio to enhance the hero and heroine’s relationship.
11. Which of your characters, from any of your books do you most resemble?
I think I put a little of myself into all of my characters, both the heroes and heroines. I see a lot of myself in Shauna (from Dangerous Indenture) and Odaria (from The Viking’s Witch). Prince Allan (from The Pauper Prince) and Ev (from A Secret Match) have the same type of odd sense of humor that I do.
12. Do you only have one story in your head at a time or do you have many and just focus on one?
I get new story ideas all the time, so I’m always thinking about more than one plot or set of characters. For example, I’ve been in the middle of writing a book and had the entire plot for a new book jump into my head. When that happens, I take a break from the book I’m writing, make an outline and take notes for the new book (so I don’t forget anything), then go back to the first one. I can only write one book at a time, so the new title has to wait in line until I’m ready. I think that’s why I’m able to write so many books – I always have the next one (or two) lined up.
13. How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the book. Some of my romances are shorter novellas (Ultimate Night’s Delights, A Secret Match) and others are longer full-length novels (The Viking’s Witch, Dangerous Indenture). Obviously, the longer the story, the longer it takes to write, revise, edit, etc. I generally take about a month to write the first draft of a novella and anywhere from two to four months for the first draft of a full-length novel.
14. Is there any genre other than romance that you would like to write?
In addition to my romances, I also write horror stories. My horror stories are more psychological/creepy than gory. I’ve always been a horror fan, and I started out writing short horror fiction before I wrote romances. I like switching between the two genres because I get to explore different types of plots, settings, and characters in horror that I couldn’t write about in a romance. I published two horror ebooks in 2015: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse. I also wrote a non-fiction book about writing: You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. It’s a “how to” guide for anyone who wants to write, and it’s filled with fun writing exercises and writing tips.
15. What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
I have a very busy 2016 ahead of me! This spring, I’ll be re-releasing two historical/fantasy romancetrilogies. These novellas were previously published by Amber Quill Press and will be getting a re-edit (with a few added scenes) and new covers.
I was with Amber Quill Press for ten years, and I published 16 romances (in all genres) with them. These are great stories that I don’t want to see vanish forever, so over the course of 2016–2017 I’ll be re-releasing all of them on Amazon and other platforms. (Stay tuned to my blog and social media for more information and updates.)
My third Medallion Press historical romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, will be published in September. This Western is set in a small Nebraska town in 1877 and blends spicy romance, humor, and danger. It was a lot of fun to write and I think readers will enjoy it.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone. I welcome questions, comments, and feedback from readers. You can contact me on social media or via the email address on my website.
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. Don’t miss her horror ebooks, Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use. Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, http://www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
CATCH UP WITH KELLI
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