Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kelli's Interview with Coffeetime Romance - Part 2 - Advice to Writers




Hello again everyone!

Today I'm sharing part 2 of my interview with Coffeetime Romance. I'm sharing an inside look at the writing process, and offer advice to beginning writers.

(Wanna hear what else I have to say about the writing life? Links to all of my interviews are on the News page of my website: http://www.kelliwilkins.com/news.html)



What is your favorite part of being a published author? What is your least favorite part?
I love the process of writing the story. Creating characters, worlds for the characters to live in, and telling the story of their adventures is a lot of fun. It’s interesting to see what the characters do, watch them fall in love, and learn how they overcome their troubles to have a happy ending. 

However, once the “fun” part of writing is over, then the real “work” begins. Revising, editing, and proofreading the story is necessary, but it’s not terribly creative. You have to pull yourself out of the story and focus on wording, the plot, and other details that make the story “work” as a whole. This painstaking process has its rewards in the end, though. I have a phrase I use when I’ve finished a story: “I love having written.” This means I love having it all finished, polished, and done!

How have your friends and family responded to your becoming a published author?
My friends and family have been very supportive. My husband is proud to call me the “resident writer” in the family. I have a few close friends I turn to for encouragement and guidance about my writing, and family members are always asking about my latest (or next) project.

What do you think is the hardest thing about writing romance?
I think one of the hardest things about writing romance (aside from creating the story in general) is to write love scenes. The intensity, details, and descriptions have to be tailored to the genre and heat level of a story.  Plus, you have to make the scene develop naturally and fit the personalities of the characters. 

If you’re writing a tender historical romance, love scenes are handled quite differently than if you are writing a super sizzling erotic romance. The heat levels and intensities vary among all my books, so I’m able to experiment with different scenarios in the love scenes. Sometimes you have to set aside your “internal editor” and write the scene that’s appropriate for the book and the characters, regardless of what other people think you “should” write.

What would you like your readers to come away with after reading one of your books?
Ideally, I’d like my readers to become involved in the characters’ lives and fully engrossed in the story. I’ve had some great reader feedback about my books. People were surprised at the twists and turns in The Pauper Prince, and wondered how (or even if) Claudette and Allan would end up together. One person confessed to tearing up during parts of Dalton’s Temptation. Those are great things for a writer to hear. It tells me that I’ve created believable characters that readers care about.  

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
The best advice I can give to any writer (regardless of what genre he or she likes to write) is to keep writing. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to sit down every day and write something. But the more you write, the easier it gets. (And don't just talk about writing "someday" - sit down and do it! The stories won't write themselves.)

Writing classes are a great way to learn the basics and meet other writers. If possible, join a writer’s group or a critique group to get feedback on your stories. A lot of times an outside person will notice something wrong with your story when you don't. If someone makes suggestions on how to improve your story, listen with an open mind, and don't take any criticism personally. 

When you’ve written the best story you can, submit it! You can’t get published if you never submit, and you never know when your first acceptance will arrive.


Remember, if you have a topic you'd like to see me address on the blog or a question about the writing life, drop me a line. I may answer your question here!

Until next time,
Kelli


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kelli's Interview with Coffeetime Romance - Peek Inside the Mind of a Writer


Hi Everyone!
Today I'm sharing an excerpt from my interview with Coffeetime Romance. It offers an inside look at my writing process, a bit about my background, and more!

Enjoy!



What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I never actually decided to be a writer—it was just something that seemed natural to me. I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school and writing always interested me. I’ve been blessed with a lot of ideas and I just kept writing story after story as they came to me. Oddly, I never tried to get any of my writings published until I enrolled in a commercial writer’s program as an adult. People liked reading my short stories, and I liked writing them, so I decided to submit them for publication. From there, my “official” writing career was born.


Do you have a favorite genre or two that you like to write in?
I write in several genres: horror, romance, sci fi, and non-fiction. I have a lot of ideas, so I’m able to diversify and switch gears now and then. In romance, I like to write historical/fantasy stories.
My “Royal Desires” trilogy from Amber Quill Press (A Most Unusual Princess, Dalton’s Temptation, and The Pauper Prince) is a “medieval” fantasy. I liked writing the series because it allowed me to create a whole world for my characters. My romance novella, The Dark Lord, is historical, and The Sexy Stranger is contemporary.  Although I’m drawn to historical/fantasy settings, if I get a great idea for a story I’ll go with it, regardless of the genre. My novella, A Midsummer Night’s Delights, is also a fantasy story.

What actually motivates you to write? Do you have a muse or muses that keep you going during those times when you may experience writer's block?
I’m self-motivated. I keep a folder of ideas, and if I’m ever at a loss for my next project, I read through the folder and see what story/plot/idea appeals to me to write next. Whenever I get stuck on a story or need to work out some details (of plot, characters, or whatever), I take a break from writing and go for a walk to clear my head. Usually the “writer’s block” clears up on its own and I get clarity on how to fix the story.

Where do you think you get the ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. I’m constantly observing what goes on around me, listening to other peoples’ stories, seeking out unusual settings, and noticing what most people don’t see. All of that, plus my overactive imagination, leads to story ideas. Once in a while, a story idea will just come to me out of nowhere. Sometimes I take two ideas and combine them into one, or I take an idea and ask myself “what if” to invent new scenarios.

When I wrote A Most Unusual Princess, I knew I wanted to write a story about a headstrong princess who was far from typical. (And boy, was she ever!) I fell in love with Elara and the other characters, and from there, created an entire trilogy. For The Dark Lord, I wanted to evoke a feeling of gothic mystery and suspense. Sometimes stories aren’t necessarily based on a concrete idea as much as they’re based on a character, mood, or setting.

Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your own writing style?
I read a lot of books in all genres, horror, mystery, romance, general fiction, and non-fiction. I think I’ve been influenced in some way by everything I’ve ever read. Each time I pick up a book I notice how the author draws me into the story, if he/she keeps me interested, what works for the story and what doesn’t. I think reading helps me develop my writing skills.

Look for part 2 of the interview next week!

Do you have a topic you'd like to see me address on the blog? Have a question about getting published, writing, or my books? Send me a note or post it in a comment and I'll make your suggestion part of the blog!

Until next time,
Kelli
 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kelli's Quill Newsletter - Big March/April Issue


KELLI’S QUILL
The Official Newsletter of Author Kelli A. Wilkins
March/April Issue (Vol. 5 Number 2)
Happy spring everyone! The weather’s been really warm here and my flowers are in bloom. As we say goodbye to a mild winter, I’m sharing some news, an interview excerpt, and more!

FOR READERS:
Mark your Calendar – The Viking’s Witch is Coming!:

Kelli’s first romance with Medallion Press will be released in e-book format in August. The Viking’s Witch (formerly known as The Witch & the Warrior) will be available for pre-order in July. You can visit Kelli’s author page here: http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/

Here’s the plot summary:
The Viking’s Witch

Scotland, 803 A.D.
 
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village? 
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.


Cats& Horror:
Kelli’s horror story, “Just an Innocent Little Cat” was published in DARK THINGS II: Cat Crimes: Tales of Feline Mayhem and Murder. The character of Chester is based on a real-life orange cat. All proceeds from sales of this anthology go to several cat sanctuaries across the USA. Buy a copy (or three) on Amazon and help cats! The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/DARK-THINGS-II-Crimes-Feline/dp/1468055488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324187873&sr=8-1

Kelli’s on Amazon: Did you know that all of Kelli’s writings are on Amazon? (Romance, short fiction, anthologies, horror, non-fiction, and everything else….) Visit her author page and catch up on books and short stories you may have missed. The link is: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.-Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1326933452&sr=8-3
KELLI’s INTERVIEW:
This month I’m sharing an excerpt from my interview with Whipped Cream. It offers an insight into my views on what is romance and what’s not. Enjoy!
Q: How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?
A: When I started writing erotic romance, I wasn’t 100% sure what “officially” defined erotica, erotic romance, and porn. It seemed that everyone I talked to had a different opinion – so I devised my own definitions.
I consider ‘erotica’ to be stories that explore a character’s erotic adventures or exploits and contain explicit details – but romance isn’t at the core of the story. An example would be Anne Rice’s “Beauty” books. The reader follows Beauty and the other characters through their sexual adventures, but they’re not involved in romantic relationships.
I define ‘erotic romance’ as a sexually-charged story that has romance (either M/F or same sex) as the main focus. To me, an erotic romance needs to have an interesting plot and character development that keeps readers wondering “What happens next? Will the couple get together? How will the story end?”
Erotic romance has more (and more detailed!) love scenes than a ‘traditional’ romance. And there are many different ‘heat’ levels to erotic romance. Some are tamer and only hint at what’s going on between the sheets. Some erotic romances include more explicit details and let readers peek in on the sexual activities of the romantic couple, while others are scorching hot and include toys, multiple partners and other sexual acts that might be considered “taboo” to some readers.
And porn? I think porn is basically people having sex. Usually there’s no character development, story conflict, or background details. The quickie definition I sometimes use is “The pizza guy shows up, finds half-naked horny women waiting to pounce on him, they screw, he leaves.” It’s a one-time encounter that doesn’t aim to make readers care about who the characters are – the sole purpose is to show people screwing and… well, we all know the rest.
Q: How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?
A: When I’m writing my stories, I generally look for a unique plot and interesting characters to support that plot. When it comes down to the basics, a reader won’t sit through any story (no matter what genre) that isn’t attention-grabbing or that doesn’t have appealing, believable characters. Readers like to get to know the characters and identify with them as they have their adventures. Without a solid base, the story will fall flat, regardless of how exciting the love scenes are.
Once I have the story down, I let the characters have fun! When I write love scenes I sort of stand back and let the characters do what comes natural. I generally know how far the scene will go ahead of time, but I let the characters take over and enjoy themselves. Later, when I edit/revise the story, I go back and cut anything that doesn’t work with the scene. I think love scenes have to flow naturally from the plot and the characters. I avoid just plopping them in there for the sake of spicing up a story.

Q: What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?
A: I can name several, but I can’t pick just one! Some of the biggest public misconceptions about erotica are: that the stories are mindless scenes of people having sex; that there’s no “real” plot or characterization; and that they’re “easy” to write. Other misconceptions are that the authors of erotic romances are basing the love scenes in the books on their own private lives, and that we ‘act out’ the love scenes in our books. Not true! The stories are fiction, not confessionals. And writing good romance is just as difficult and as labor-intensive as writing horror, sci fi, or mystery.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Kelli’s Quill. Be sure to visit my website (www.KelliWilkins.com). Feel free to forward the newsletter to groups, friends, other writers, and anyone who likes to read!
Happy Reading!
Kelli
Got questions, comments, or suggestions? Contact the author at: www.KelliWilkins.com