Hi Kay, Welcome to THoR. It is lovely to have you here.
Thank you very much for hosting me on your blog. It's nice to be here.
Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
When I was a kid, there were no digital cameras and film was very expensive. My parents gave me a camera but then we were limited in how many and what kind of pictures they could afford me to take. When we would go on vacations, I wanted a way to remember every little detail, not just the handful of vacation photos of us standing in front of landmarks. So I began to write about our vacations. Then I wrote about special events, Christmas, and so on. I didn't keep a daily diary or journal but did record the things most important to me, the writing bringing to my mind those inner pictures that helped me hold onto the fond memories. When I was in fifth grade, I shared some of these with my teacher and she liked them enough to tell my parents that I should pursue writing.
Release Day for your debut novel, Heartsight, Astraea Press, is magical and special, how are you feeling right now at March 1st draws closer.
It doesn't feel quite real yet. I see the cover art and my name above the title and get chills but I keep wondering if I will wake up and find my rejection notice waiting in my email after all. It's not that I don't believe in my story--I truly do. It's just that it's so hard to get noticed in the publishing field. The closer the day gets, though, the more real it becomes, and the more those butterflies fluttering in my stomach dance!
From what you’ve learned so far on your writing journey, what advice would you give to other debut novelists awaiting their first release date?
If you've already been accepted for publication, relax and enjoy it for a day, let it sink in, tell all your friends and family. Then start looking into methods of marketing. These days it's really all about social media. I recommend they start following other people's blogs before they are even published, and if they don't have a Facebook account, or Twitter, and don't have a blog, they need to work on getting these things. The market is competitive and you have to get your name out there. Follow people like Kristen Lamb (she's on Facebook), who has the most social media savvy I've ever seen. Start building your network of friends. They will be a major key in getting the word out for your work.
What drew you to write in your chosen genre, and do you do a lot of research for your books?
One summer when I was 13, I was bored. All my friends had gone on prolonged vacations or to camp. I went grocery shopping with my mom and there at the checkout was a Harlequin Romance. It had a blue top and a picture of a horse - that's all I remember about my first Harlequin lol. My mom, knowing Harlequin's reputation for quality clean reads (this was 1970), bought me the book and I fell in love with falling in love. I tried historicals back then but they were the "bodice-rippers" and not really a good fit for me. Since then, I've read some historicals I really like. But I keep coming back to contemporary romance and contemporary romance with elements of suspense. I like reading it the best and so I like writing it the best.
As far as research, I do pretty extensive research for everything I write. I often set my stories in fictional towns but in real geographic areas. Heartsight takes place on the North Carolina Coast in a fictional place called Lookout Island. Harkening Point, where the lighthouse is located in the story actually came from the name of a mountain that is local to where I live called Harkening Hill. But the other elements of the story, the blindness of my male lead, I did extensive research on what blind people are capable of - many might be surprised they can do anything. I interviewed a couple of people who have been blinded, and I read stories on blind participants in extreme sports (rock climbing, swimming, triathelons, etc.). My research on Down syndrome, for my little girl's character was a bit easier, as my first child was born with Down syndrome in 1984. I needed only to tap into my feelings as I recalled them from back then to understand the feelings of Trish in my story. Unfortunately, my own daughter never lived to be six, the age of the girl in my story, so I did some research into what children with this disorder are capable of, how they learn, and all the positive and negative things I could find on the subject.
What do you love most about writing?
The absolute best thing for me is when I type that last line and know that I've nailed the basic story. I know it's not completely finished; there will always be editing--I write in layers, getting the basics then adding the details. But when I know I've captured the basics of how the hero and heroine get from point A to point B, there is no greater satisfaction.
And what do you like least, and why?
The scariest is the actual submission, pushing that SEND button. I'm a perfectionist and I always worry, even after SEND, whether the MS is right. Are there errors I missed or my critique partners missed? Did I capture the emotions well? Did I leave a huge plot hole no one noticed in my extensive editing process? That sort of thing. In other words, is it really good enough to send off? My hand hovers over that SEND button for a long time and several deep breaths before I actually push it.
Purchases made through the Astraea Press website between March 1 and June 1 will generate a $2 donation to the USO for the Wounded Warrior Program.
Please come back tomorrow when Kay interviews her hero in Heartsight