19 February 2011

Debut Author Spot ~ Meet Kay Springsteen

For the next four days I am turning over the debut author spot to Kay Springsteen.  Please come by and give her your support.

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.

 What draws you to your favourite colour?
My favorite color has always been blue. I don't even know what draws me to it, but certain blue things can really make me feel great - the color of Lake Superior in Michigan on a summer day, a cloudless spring sky over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Who or what is the greatest inspiration/influence in your writing?
Inspirations for various stories can come from any source at any time. I don't know when or where they will hit, but when they do I am instantly aware of them and must start to develop them, even though I don't actually dive on in -- first it's research and character development, plot development, and then writing. I'm not saying that my inspiration is prophetic or anything but I do feel that my best work is when I pay attention to the things God shows me and follow His lead. My greatest supporters really are my children. They believe in me and encourage me, and they appreciate that I put my dream of writing on hold while I was raising them. Now they're grown and they give back in big ways -- helping with marketing, running to the store for me, helping me plot my stories.

What kind of car do you drive?
I drive an older Dodge Neon, red, with a 5-speed standard transmission - holds the curves well and fun to drive in the mountains near my home.

Who are your favourite authors?
I have a few authors I will always buy - Tori Carrington, Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis. But I love, LOVE discovering new authors. I read a great story by new author Lisa Vance this past December about losing love and second chances. And there is this book I plan to order right away called "The Brat." :-)

Where do you get your characters from?
They are all inside me somewhere. But sometimes I need a little extra something, so I go people watching. I pay attention to quirks I notice in people around me as I sit or stroll anonymously through a crowd and often expand on these. A lot of my characters end up with "theme songs," which I play while writing their specific scenes.

If you were a flower, what would you be?
A daisy--sturdy, hard to get rid of and pleasant to look at with their heads bobbing in the wind.

Are you a plotter or a ‘pantser’?
Mostly a plotter but I take the best of pantster personalities as well, meaning I know where my characters are going, I know most of the plot twists they will encounter, but I do NOT always know how they are going to react to those twists until we get there. Sometimes that changes the way the story goes but the ending is generally going to be the same.

Do you have any pets, and what are they?
I have five small dogs - mixed breeds (terrier, yorkie, chihuahua) who go on hikes with me in the mountains and keep me company by lazing all over me while I write, read, watch TV...

If you could give a gift to anyone, who would you give it to and what would it be?
Okay, this is probably the toughest question of the day. I would love to say I have some great altruistic answer but I don't. I've joined friends and family in the fantasy of winning the lottery and thinking of the charities I would share with. But if I could give anything to anyone, I would probably give the knowledge of how to reach inner happiness to each of my children, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter. It took me a long time to learn that it's not about what you have, where you are, or ever who you are with. It's about how you let yourself feel inside.

Do you have another novel in the pipeline?
I just resubmitted a novel to another publisher after making changes at the suggestion of an editor there. She was very interested in the work and loved the writing but showed me where I could make it better. From what I understand this is not often done, so I paid attention to her advice...and I really liked the outcome. Even if it's not ultimately accepted by that publisher, I have no doubt it will be placed somewhere.

What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on a novel set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. If readers don't know this place, I truly suggest a virtual trip there - really just google Mackinac Island and check it out. This WIP is another sweet romance that is being written to the high standards of Astraea Press. 

Heartsight is available at astraeapress    
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


Anonymous said...

terrific interview with a very talented writer - go kay!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Therese! I'm in good company with you.

Kim Bowman Author said...

Awesome post!! Wonderful interview!! Congrats, Kay

Lisa A. Vance said...

Great interview, Kay! Thanks for the plug! 'HeartSight" is an awesome story. The characters are real and unforgettable. I can't remember rooting for a couple in a book so hard before. Kay's descriptions are so realistic the Reader can't believe they weren't actually there. I know know exactly what it feels like to be caught in the middle of a hurricane. I hope that's the closest I ever come! I wish you the best of luck, Kay! You deserve it!

Anonymous said...

love this interview