Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Interview with Kelly Thompson

1. What was your inspiration to begin writing and when did you start?

When I was a kid I spent hours writing stories; besides reading, that’s what I loved to do. Life as an adult kind of pushed that aside for many years. I tried for a while when my kids were young, but it just didn’t work. A couple of years ago, I read a really good book. Okay, I’ll even name it. It was A Date With the Other Side by Erin McCarthy. It was laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, with characters who felt real. And I wanted to do that. Combined with the fact that my kids are getting older and I actually have some time to myself, I decided instead of sitting in front of the television every night I would do something productive and give writing a shot again.

2. When you write, how do you go about it? Are you a pantser or plotter?

I began totally as a pantser. I sat down with characters in my head and wrote my first story. And although I’ve never submitted it anywhere, I think it actually isn’t bad in terms of plot. (The writing is a whole other story!!) But in my last few books I’ve been trying to plot more. I can’t figure everything out, but I try to identify what my turning points will be, my crisis, climax and resolution. And I think about some possible ideas for the plot. But if I’m coming up blank, I find the best thing to do is just start writing and the characters make things happen! It amazes me the things they do!!

3. What do you find to be the most difficult about the craft of writing and why?

Definitely the “selling” part. Sending query after query after query is tedious when I’d rather be writing. Then the rejections are all discouraging. And then even when you do publish, the promotion work is hard for me. I’m not a hugely outgoing person and while I want people to read and enjoy my stories, I wish I didn’t have to tell them about them all by myself! Like, I’ll be sending out an announcement to friends and family and I was going to add at the bottom “Please don’t feel obligated to buy and read this book.” What kind of selling is that???

4. What's your favorite thing about the genre you write in?

I write contemporary/erotic romance and I have to admit I love hot love scenes. I like reading them and I like writing them. But to make them “hot” there has to be an emotional connection between the two (or three!!) characters, also between the characters and the reader. That’s what I strive for.

5. Why did you pick the publisher you went through?

I picked Samhain because they have a great reputation in e-publishing and they publish some fantastic authors, ones I know and like. I’m really proud to be a Samhain author.

6. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication - the highs and lows?

It’s like a roller coaster, isn’t it? Writing the book excites me. I especially love it when I solve a plot problem - I just feel exhilarated! I love it when I go back and read something I wrote and I think, damn that’s good! Then I send the queries and wait and wait and then the rejections come and I think, damn I guess that wasn’t so good. It’s hard not to get discouraged at first. I also had some discouraging experiences with critique partners who weren’t supportive at all, and was very close to quitting. Then – a sale! That first sale is definitely a high! I actually made two sales within a week of each other – major excitement! That gives the confidence a boost, which is good because that’s not the end of the rejections! Those just keep coming. It was a real low when my second submission to Samhain was rejected. That really hurt, but I did sell that story to someone else. And now I have made a second sale to Samhain, I’m happy to say!

7. Your cover art is amazing; do you believe the artists captured the essence of your stories?

Yes I think so. I know they’re working from stock images and are limited with what they can do, but I also got feedback from the artist at Cobblestone Press that she had an easy time because I put so much detail into my cover art form, so by the third time I had learned the more information you give the artist to work with the better. She got it exactly right. A cover is so important, but as a new author, any cover with my name on it is thrilling!

8. If someone were to ask you for advice on writing and publishing a book, what would you tell them?

Just do it! (As Nike says!) Many years ago when I first gave writing romance a try, I thought I’d send out queries but not bother writing the story unless someone was interested! Very efficient, except you only learn writing by doing it. Even though I’ve written so many books nobody will ever read, each one was a learning process. So write, write, write. And learn wherever you can. Take on-line courses, read and study books about writing, and find a great critique partner.

Thank you Kelly, if you have a comment or question for our special guest please leave a response and she'll do her best to get back to you.