Today we welcome Author Kelly McClymer, author of Historical Romance and Young Adult fiction titles The Fairy Tale Bride, Getting to Third Date, The Salem Witch Tryouts, and others. Welcome, Kelly.
This Blog Blank: So we may as well get the good stuff out first. Can you tell us about your latest work? What was your inspiration for writing the story?
Kelly McClymer: I have two hot projects, one just finished up (for now), and one I will be releasing in the first week of October. The first hot project was the release of my backlist historical romance novels, in conjunction with a wedding promotion meant to earn money enough for me to pay for my daughter’s wedding. Anyone with a romantic streak can read all about it in my blog series Confessions of a Turtle Mom . The books all had bride in the title, and my husband and I had set aside $0.00 for our daughter’s wedding, so … . Happily, I earned enough during the first three months of the promotion to pay for a wonderful outdoor “green” venue (my daughter is a Peace Corps alum and wants the opposite of a showy wedding).
My newest venture, however, takes me back to my current genre, YA. It is an indie release, entitled BLOOD ANGEL, which tells the story of a school shooter who is haunted (literally) by his ex-best-friend/victim as he works his way through the court system. I myself have been haunted by the school shootings in the last two decades’ worth of news, especially while bringing up two sons who were square pegs and never quite fit into the round holes of school life. This book will be available in early October. (e-tailers aren’t always quick about getting books live). I’ll be running a promotion on that title for the month of October, along with some other paranormal authors. Check out my website for details.
TBB: When I fall in love with a book, invariably it’s when I can get lost in the descriptions – when it becomes real – sound, image, etc. Other people I know skip the descriptions and go straight to the dialogue. As writers, we are fortunate in being able to get lost in worlds we create. What causes you to get lost when you are writing a book?
KM: My favorite thing in reading, and writing, is exploring the “what if” of a situation. I began writing short science fiction/fantasy stories that asked questions such as: what if postpartum depression was a real, not an imagined, demon? what if mothers held their family members’ actual, beating, hearts in safe keeping? and if we could step into a machine that would accurately diagnose and treat us, would we trust it more than a fallible human doctor with a good bedside manner? This actually translates to many genres (which is good, because I write in many genres). For example, my THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS asks “what happens when a Beverly Hills cheerleader raised as a mortal has to transfer to a school for witches and start doing magic?” I had so much fun thinking about the kinds of problems that would cause, that I’m releasing a short story in my Salem world for Halloween. Look for A BEVERLY HILLS HALLOWEEN to show up October 15th.
TBB: There are “character” writers and “plot” writers (among other types). Which are you?
KM: I’m an idea writer. To me, however, it seems that every good story needs great characters. Characters are the way the reader accesses the ideas in the story in a concrete and believable way. For example, in THE HUNGER GAMES, Katniss Everdean is a stubborn, isolated young girl who loves only three things: her mother, her sister, and hunting outside the boundaries of her dystopian enclave. If she’d been a perky cheerleader, the story would have been *very* different. Characters create plot by leaping onto the page and taking action (or refusing to take action) as life swirls around them, challenging them at every turn. I, as the writer, help things along by keeping things focused on the “what if” being explored. And making sure that the challenges are truly challenging (this is hard for me, as I don’t like to torture my characters too much and have to push myself to do it).
TBB: I hear writers all the time say that they “write for themselves.” Whom do you write for? Why?
KM: I write for everyone who ever asks the questions I ask and wants to explore the ins and outs of the answers (probably through more than one book, because most questions don’t have simple answers, or I’m dense).
TBB: On your website, you have been pretty open about including posts from other writers. What prompted you to do so?
KM: I’m pretty boring (a tendency to be pedantic that I have to rein in hard). I am inspired by other people’s stories, so why not let my blog readers be inspired by them as well?
TBB: What do you like most about your writing? What do you want people to take from it?
KM: Oh. This is a tough question. You’re asking me to compliment my writing. I’m better at complimenting other people’s writing. I like that I’m willing to explore more than one angle and not take a black and white approach to what is right and wrong. I think we are all shaped by our culture to accept a jumble of stupid and wise beliefs without question. I don’t think that’s always a good thing. In fact, that is an area I plan to explore a lot more aggressively in my future indie books.
TBB: What made you decide to write your first book?
I wrote my first novel because all the critiques of my short stories said (in essence) “this should be a novel.” I chose historical romance as a genre because I love history and romance has a very clear, well-defined ending (surprise! the couple gets together… hope I didn’t spoil things for anyone). It was a lot harder than writing short stories. But I became addicted to the rush I get when a scene comes together.
TBB: I saw that you are sharing a work-in-progress on your website . That can be thrilling, and scary. What made you decide to go in that direction?
KB: I’m finishing a chicklit novel I began when chicklit was hot (about ten seconds before it died a cold, hard death). I had sent the first chapters to my daughters and her friends in the Peace Corps, and she’s always mentioned that she’d like me to finish that book. So, as an engagement present, I am finishing it on my website. Then I’ll get it edited professionally, and indie publish it. THE EX-FILES asks yet another “what if” question: what if you passed by Mr. Right because you were too quick to end relationships that were less than a perfect 10? This is a question I always find interesting (given a 30+ year marriage that reminds me everyday relationships take a lot of patience, tolerance and forgiveness). Exploring this question in public, on the blog, has been fun. I feel a little like Dickens — leading readers along a garden path one chapter at a time, hoping the ending works out.
TBB: What part of writing do you like the most? The least?
Totally depends on my mood. When I’m feeling adventurous and curious, I love the drafting phase. When I’m feeling more cautious and analytical, I love the editing stage. I almost never love the revision stage when it requires big structural changes, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of tweaking scenes to be more active, emotional and tense.
TBB: Who is your favorite character, and why? (Yours, or someone else’s.)
This week? Hermione Granger. She’s loyal, determined, and doesn’t give up. Plus, she has a Time Turner, and I really want one.
TBB: What do you want potential readers to know about your writing?
It’s always a work in progress, a little messy, a little too careful for its own good, and there’s always a question buried under there somewhere.
TBB: How can they find your work?
My (free) work in progress is on my website kellymcclymer.com. Click on THE EX-FILES on the sidebar subject line and you’ll get all the chapters that I’ve put up so far. My backlist historical romance novels (THE FAIRY TALE BRIDE series) are available at e-retailers everywhere (Amazon, B&N, Apple, Smashwords), and my frontlist YA novels (GETTING TO THIRD DATE, THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS [http://www.amazon.com/Salem-Witch-Tryouts-Kelly-McClymer/dp/141691644X]series, and MUST LOVE BLACK) are also on Amazon, B&N, and Apple.
Kelly McClymer started out writing plays for her sister to perform for their parents. She branched out to writing for her high school newspaper, and then began a futile attempt to write science fiction. At last, with her historical romance novels, she achieved the goal of published author. And then, in a leap of faith, she left romance for the Young Adult world of fantasy and witchcraft. She may be secretly working her way back to science fiction, but mum’s the word on that one.
You can find Kelly on http://www.kellymcclymer.com . Thanks Kelly, for joining us!