Monday, April 2, 2018

You Gotta Read... Talks with Kelli A. Wilkins (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

Here’s Part 2 of my interview with You Gotta Read! I answer some writing-related questions & share a few words of advice…

Q:.  Are your books based on real events or are they fantasy?  

About 99% of my romances are pure fiction. When I get an idea for a story, I start writing an outline and let the characters tell me what happens as the story progresses. Since I’m writing fiction I can make up whatever I want. There are three exceptions, however.
When I wrote Beauty & the Bigfoot, I did research on Bigfoot, so I could incorporate the facts into my story. (A main character is an avid Bigfoot hunter, so he had to know everything about the creature.) In A Deceptive Match and A Secret Match (my wrestling romances) I called upon my own personal experiences and observations to convey what life is like in the world of professional wrestling.

Q. Which is your favorite of the books you have written?

I love all of my books and all of my characters; they’re like my children. Since I write in different genres, I have favorites in each. In the fantasy genre, I’m particularly fond of my “Royal Desires” trilogy: A Most Unusual Princess, A Most Intriguing Temptation, A Most Unfortunate Prince.  In paranormal, Beauty & the Bigfoot (it’s a comedy), and in straight contemporary, it’s a tie between Trust with Hearts and A Deceptive Match. I think my favorite gay romance is A Secret Match. I just love the hero, Everett and the struggles he goes through to find acceptance.

Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Coming up with ideas for my stories is the fun part of writing. The challenging part is sitting down and doing the work that comes next: the revising, editing, and proofreading of a manuscript. That part of the process isn’t hard, it’s just not creative. You have to turn off the imagination part of your brain and get to work on the technical aspects of writing.

Q.  Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Fortunately I don’t get writer’s block. I have millions of ideas for stories, but I just don’t have time to write them all. Sometimes after I finish a book, I’ll take a break from writing for a while and let my mind relax and catch up on my reading. Then, when I’m ready to write something new, I’ll read through my ideas folder and see what inspires me.

Q.  Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

I’ve been inspired by many authors throughout the years and probably every book I’ve ever read has influenced me or inspired me in some way. I started out reading Stephen King short stories and novels, and so really got a feel for good storytelling and world-building at a young age.

Lately I’ve been reading John Sandford, Jonathan Kellerman, and the Preston & Child novels. I find that I like to read anything and everything that isn’t in the romance genre when I’m reading for fun. I enjoy a good detective/mystery story and these authors have created some fantastic and memorable characters.

Q. How did you deal with rejection letters?

In the past, I used to get upset by them – especially if they were nasty or scathing. (I had my share!) Since then, I’ve learned to shrug them off or laugh at them. I’ve gotten rejection letters with typos, ones calling me the wrong name, and the ever-popular photocopied form letter rejection. Most of the stories that were rejected over the years have been bought by someone else, so I can look back and say, “Ha! You missed your chance. Someone wanted that story after all.”

Q.  What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Writers need to have a good imagination, excellent observation skills, and the determination and patience to keep writing, even when they get rejected. It’s not easy to finish a novel and get it published, and many would-be writers give up before they even start because “it’s too hard.” I know a lot of people who tell me they want to write a story (or a book) but say that don’t have the time or it takes too long (or it’s too much work). Writers need to have an internal drive to write. They also need to have the self-discipline to sit in a chair and edit a story when they would rather be outside or doing something else.

Q.  Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

I let the story and the characters dictate how much detail is enough. My erotic romances all vary in genre and heat level. Some romances (Midsummer Night’s Delights) are scorching hot and there are a lot of explicit erotic details. Other romances (A Most Unusual Princess, Loving a Wild Stranger) are tamer and hint at what’s happening without being too obvious. The heat level and sexual activities in the stories all depend on the characters and the plot. My horror fiction tends to be more psychological/spooky than gory. But if the story calls for some blood or a violent death, I’ll run with it.

Q.  Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas? What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?

My ideas come from everything and everywhere. Most of the time I don’t even try to search out ideas, they find me. The only time I deliberately researched a legend was when I wrote Beauty & the Bigfoot. I needed all sorts of details for the story. I went to the library and took out every Bigfoot book they had. The librarian gave me a strange look and probably was wondering what I was doing!

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts! I invite everyone to visit me on social media for book updates, excerpts, and more. Let me know which of my books is your favorite, and which characters you love best.

Happy Reading,

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