Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! I can hear you all cheering at the newest, UNofficial UtopYA Con author interview on the block! You know what that means, right? Yup, a new person to get to know, and a new featured book for the week. Today, I have Ms. Kelly Martin with me. You'll love getting to know this vivacious little lady! If you don't have your tickets to UtopYA Con 2015 yet, go get them here. Remember, prices go up as time goes by! It's been expanded to a four day conference, and there are a ton of surprises coming your way for the 2015 lineup! Anyway, on to the author! Sit back, relax with your cup of Jo, and let's get going!
Jo: Hello, Kelly, and welcome to my humble ablog! It’s wonderful to have you here, and I can’t wait to get to know you better! Let’s jump right in. Ready?
Kelly: As ready as I'll ever be ;) I'm so excited to be here!!
Jo: Awesome! As ready as you'll ever be, eh? Well, my readers like the good stuff, so I hope you're prepared to answer some difficult questions! Allow me to start off by asking you about your daily to-do lists. Why do you make those, and how do they help or hinder?
Kelly: Um... Well, I do, sort of. I have three kids in school plus I'm a teacher so lists are sort of my life. Except I tend to lose them sometimes and then it's not very pleasant. Basically, my main to do thing for my girls is to not forget their snack money. Everything else is extra ;) For writing, I 'try' to write 2,000 words a day after they go to bed, but sometimes I don't. If I don't, I at least try to do something 'writerly' like... you know... read ;) Lists help me focus because I'm one of those people who if I don't see it, it doesn't exist. Cabinets are my enemy.
Jo: I feel you on the to-do lists. I can go to the store for bread and come home with everything but. Haha! With all that going on, how the heck do you get any rest? Like I always say: Organization is the key to productivity. Have you tried pinning your list to your shirt? Yes, I've done that. Don't judge me. *grin* Onward! What got you started writing?
Kelly: In October, 2011, a friend of mine named Charlotte told me about NaNoWriMo, and it changed my life. I'd always wanted to write a book, but I never thought I could (because I'm me). I decided why not and started on what ended up being my first published novel, Crossing the Deep. Five months later, I was ready to query it. I signed a contract in July and it came out in October 2012.
Jo: Wow! That happened pretty quickly for you! I know authors who've worked for years to get a contract and still don't have one. Congratulations! That's quite an accomplishment, young lady! *cheers* I already know the answer to this, but I’m gonna let you tell my readers. How long have you been blogging?
Kelly: I started blogging in 2007 actually. It wasn't anything writer related because I didn't know I wanted to be a blogger. It was basically a sort of journal. I went all Doogie Howser there. Then in 2010 I started more of a mommy blog, then a devotional blog, and then a cleaning blog (which I still can't believe I wrote), and then a publishing blog.
Jo: Whoa. Talk about your path being a winding one. I'm glad you finally found your sea legs though. Now I can interview you on my blog! What an honor, eh? *wink* Kidding! Moving on! What are three things you wish you’d known when you started, and what are three things you hope to learn over the next year?
Kelly: I wish I had known about the money vs. time. Honestly, that was a bit of a shock. I knew I wouldn't get rich, but I had certain goals that I haven't met yet. Also, I wish I had known more about the writing process. And how helpful other authors really are because I had to figure out some stuff that, if I had just of asked, someone would have told me.
Three things I hope to learn: *Different types of social media (tumblr is my love, but I don't use it much for writing. Just fangirling... because I totally am). *To not rush through a book. *Read all the classics on my 'bucket list'
Jo: Perseverance will take you everywhere you need to go. Just hang in there. Love your learning list. I have classics on my must read list as well. LOL! I'm gonna oust you here. *cackles* I read somewhere you were experiencing writer’s block back in July/August of this year. Is it better now? What did you do to overcome it?
Kelly: YES! Holy cow! It was awful. I was off all summer, but I couldn't write. Basically, I was scared. You'd think after 10 books, all published with great reviews (2 who hit #1 on Amazon's bestseller list for YA/Religion) that I'd be okay writing. You'd think wrong. I lost my confidence and if an author has no confidence, you can't write. It's just the way of the world. I would sit down and have a story in my head, but after the second sentence, I wouldn't be able to write anymore because I thought it was horrible. Re-reading what I wrote later, it wasn't horrible. It was pretty good, but at the time, I was sure I was the worst writer in the history of writer-dom.
SO what changed? I got this idea for a book that would just be for me. No publishers, no critiques, nothing. It would be my baby. The characters would be mine. It didn't matter if I had horrible grammar or an unlikable male lead. It didn't matter what I wrote. It didn't matter if every word was the worst word choice ever, it was my story. That lead me to writing a 61,000 word draft of a story in less than three weeks and it was wonderful! (maybe not the story to anyone else, but it was SO freeing to just write, tell a story, not worry about 'oh, how would you market this', 'wow, the grammar really stinks', 'do I have enough conflict here', etc). Will that book ever be published? I don't know, but I know it got me out of my funk. It is probably one of my favorite stories I've written too. Probably because it is so personal-- not that any of the events happened to me, but because it was the story I wanted to tell--I hope that makes some sense.
Jo: That makes perfect sense, and every writer reading this interview should take note. No one should ever lay down and give up! Find a way to work through everything! Thanks for sharing that, Kelly. Now for an eye-opening question for many people: I noticed you have eight books on Amazon and not a single one star review to be found (WOW!). To what do you attribute that?
Kelly: I don't know lol. I wish I did know some secret. I guess it's funny or strange to think of someone who hasn't had a bad review to go all weird with writer's block. I think, though, that since I had such great reviews, I didn't want to let anyone down. Eight books with no bad reviews is an amazing streak. I didn't want to ruin it.
Jo: Fear is the most common motivator for many things we do. Rapid fire question time! Green or Purple?
Jo: Great answer! Favorite drink?
Kelly: Water (I'm so bland lol)
Jo: Uh, YUM! Not bland! LOL If you had a time machine (come on, the theme for 2015 IS time travel! *grin*), what would you change in the past or look at in the future? Why?
Kelly: Oh! The past. Definitely the past. I don't want to see my future because, like on Back to the Future for example. They went to the future, then back to the past which changed the future. So the future isn't truly written. If you were to go to the future it would be the future of the point in time you were at the very moment you left. And if you went there, you could always go back and change it-- so it wouldn't really be the future, would it? (Sorry for the long winded answer lol). But I'd love to go to the past. I love reading historical books and watching movies from the past. I think it would be cool to go back there.
Jo: I expected a long winded answer! I agree, but I'd like to hop to the future for a second (I think). What a hard question, eh? Ha! Now, tell me which of your novels was the most difficult to write and why.
Kelly: My 10th book which comes out in October from Blue Tulip Publishing. It's called Betraying Ever After: A Shattered Fairy Tale, and it was the most difficult book I've ever written. Not that it isn't good. I think it's good, but it is my first historical/fairytale/anything outside of Tennessee (all of my other books are set in Tennessee, where I live, so it's a bit easier). I hope readers love it too. Emma and Vaughan are such a cool couple, and Mr. Dodsworth is an awesome villain. He makes me happy--strangely.
Jo: Tennessee is a great place to set a novel (I was born there and lived there for about ten years recently)! But, I agree, sometimes you gotta step outside the box. *grin* Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?
Kelly: What is the meaning of life? ;) Actually, I'm glad you didn't ask me that. I'm still working on the answer.
Jo: Let me know when you've found it, okay? We'll compare notes! Well, that’s all the time we have for today. It was lovely having you on the blog, Kelly. Thanks for stopping by and spending time with me and my readers!
Kelly: Jo, I can honestly say this has been one of the best interviews I've ever been a part of. Loved your questions. Thanks for having me!
Awwwww I just got warm fuzzies!
Now, it’s time to tell all you lovely readers about the featured book! It'll be on the sidebar of the blog for the next two weeks. Grab a copy! You already know it has great reviews. *grin*
Title: The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe
Author: Kelly Martin
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal with religious elements
Length (print): 228 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99
~ Barnes & Noble Nook $2.99
~ Smashwords $2.99
If Shane Davis had it to do over again, he wouldn't have gone out that night. He wouldn't have burned down the church. And he sure wouldn't have taken the annoying dead girl home with him.
Now that Shane has her, he has no idea what to do with her. He can't release her into the "wild" because people will recognize her (being a hundred and fifty year old town 'legend' will do that). He can't send her away because she can't take care of herself yet. And she can't stay because if people find her, they'll know he burned the church. Being eighteen now, Shane definitely doesn't want that fact coming out.
Unbeknownst to Shane, someone has figured out the girl's secret and will do anything to get it for himself... even kill the girl who isn't so immortal after all.
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Martin a follow here, there, and yonder?
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+KellyMartinAuthor
Other: (tumblr) martiekay.tumblr.com
If you have any questions for Kelly, pop them into the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed meeting Kelly as much as I did.
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!