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Friday, July 8, 2011

Welcome Author Kelli Wilkins

Interview with Amber Quill Press author Kelli A. Wilkins (www.KelliWilkins.com)

1.      Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?
I was born in New Jersey, but I was raised in a small town in upstate New York. Voorheesville was very rural and there wasn’t a lot to do, so I became an avid reader at a young age. Our house was on the outskirts of town. We had a creek in the back yard, and my brother and I used to go wandering up into the mountains to explore. Living there helped fuel my imagination and inspired some of my short stories.

2.      As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
Even as a child, I was always reading and writing stories. So I knew that writing/publishing was in my blood. I never really thought about a career, but I knew I could write, edit, and proofread. Most people thought I’d end up being a librarian, but I’m a copywriter by day and writer by night.

3.      What do you do for fun?
I enjoy traveling, gardening, reading, going to flea markets, hanging out with my husband, and visiting friends. I also like to explore creepy/haunted places.

4.      How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
Growing up in rural NY (in the woods, as I sometimes say) helped me understand small town life, and get a great respect for nature. When I want to tap into the horror side of my imagination, I think about how it was to grow up in an environment where houses were far apart, there were no streetlights, and you could drive into really creepy and desolate areas and not see any people.  Most of my short horror fiction takes place in small towns (usually on or around Halloween). Autumn is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday!

5.      Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
My latest Amber Quill Press romance is called Four Days with Jack. It’s my thirteenth romance, but my first gay romance. This contemporary story takes place at a tropical resort and explores the budding relationship of two best friends. Here’s the full plot summary and link:


When David invited his best friend along on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David lived a lie and denied his attraction to Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally sheds his denial and admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack is more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden desires. But what will happen when they leave the resort? Will David sacrifice everything to start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

In April, Amber Quill Press released my contemporary romance A Perfect Match. Here’s a bit about the book (and the link):


Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash.

Disgruntled with her job as the office gopher for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.

Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.

Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie. Their mutual attraction grows, and Danni gives in to the lustful feelings she’s repressed for years. As their relationship deepens, she finds herself drawn into Vinnie’s world and becomes a key player in his title bout. But before Danni can tell Vinnie that she isn’t the reporter she claims to be, he discovers her deception. Her lie threatens to destroy everything between them. Is their fragile, newfound love destined to fail, or are they a perfect match?

6.      How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Titles are tricky! Sometimes I’ll know the title before I start writing the story. That happened with several titles: Four Days with Jack, Beauty & the Bigfoot, Trust with Hearts, Dalton’s Temptation, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Other times, I won’t know the title until I’m almost ready to send the book out! Usually I’ll have a few ideas for a title, based on the characters, the setting, or theme, and I take a survey of my writing friends and family to see which one they like best.

7.      Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
So far I haven’t used any contemporary events in my romances. Many of my romances are in the fantasy genre, but I incorporate universal themes into the storylines (love, trust, forgiveness, etc.).

8.      How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
99% of my romances are fantasy. 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 two 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 Perfect Match (my wrestling romance) I called upon my own personal experiences and observations to convey what life is like in the world of professional wrestling.

9.      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.

10.  What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
No matter what genre they write, I’d advise new writers to take writing classes (either online or in person) and learn all you can about crafting a story. Telling a story is the main focus of being a writer. You have to be able to think of an idea and write/revise a good story before you can do anything else. Reading “how-to” writing magazines and joining critique groups are also excellent ways to learn techniques and get feedback from readers and/or other writers.

11.  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; 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.

12.  Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
This may sound strange coming from a romance author, but Stephen King is my favorite author. I started out reading his short stories (at a young age) and they showed me how to craft a story, use details and descriptions, and give a story a voice. I think his On Writing book is a great way for anyone to get inside the mind of a writer and see how the process unfolds.

13.  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.”

14.  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.

15.  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 (A Midsummer Night’s Delights) are scorching hot and there are a lot of explicit erotic details. Other romances (A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord) 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.

16.  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!

17.  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 trilogy A Most Unusual Princess, Dalton’s Temptation, The Pauper Prince. In paranormal, Beauty & the Bigfoot (it’s a comedy), and contemporary, it’s a tie between Trust with Hearts and A Perfect Match.

18.  Where can we find you on the net?
I’m pretty much everywhere! My website: www.KelliWilkins.com contains all sorts of information about me, my romances, and my horror and non-fiction writing. Excerpts and reviews are also posted for each romance. Readers can sign up for my newsletter, Kelli’s Quill, on the News page.

Amber Quill Press has a page listing all of my romances, the link is:

I also write a blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com. Each week I write about my books, the writing life, post reviews, offer writing tips, give prompts, or share anything else that pops into my head.

Readers can also find me on:
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share some of my writing insights. It was a lot of fun! I enjoy getting feedback from readers and would love to know what some of their favorite books are. Readers can contact me via a form on the News page of my website.

Happy Summer Everyone!

1 comment:

DA Kentner said...

Very nice interview. Really enjoyed it.