As promised, the weekly Author Spotlight is back! I’m very excited about this week’s spotlight because she is a very busy woman and I am honored that she took some time out to answer my questions. In chatting with Kahlen, I have discovered a few things about her: 1. She is incredibly articulate and intelligent (not that I suspected otherwise). 2. She is a huge support of fellow authors. 3. Her integrity, hard work and talent have resulted in her becoming an Amazon, B&N and Smashwords Best Seller! Her most recent book, Angel After Dark, released on January 16.
Synopsis of Angel After Dark:
***This book is for Mature Audiences of 18+ for steamy love scenes***
- You published your first book in April 2012. What was it that got you into writing? – I lost my job in newspaper advertising when the economy tanked in 2009, and I’m the single breadwinner in our family. I started a coupon website and while it was being designed, I decided that I needed a way to network with women who were my principal target for my website. My daughter was really into Twilight and even though I hadn’t read the books, I saw it was a big deal and researched it. I found the phenomenon of fan fiction and a light bulb went off; it was how I would network. I started to write a story and was amazed at the response! I discovered I loved writing and became consumed with characters. Soon, the website dream was shelved when my readers encouraged me to publish.
- What is your favorite part of creating a story? – Seeing where it goes after the premise is developed; letting the story or characters lead me.
- What do you believe is the hardest part of writing? – Pushing through scenes that are hard to write. Some just flow, others are work. And I hate sales. An occasional sale is great, but there is a lot invested if you really care about your book, and it’s hard to put it on sale. (Especially when it’s less than $4 to begin with.)
- Did you consider going the traditional publishing route, or was indie the way for you? – Yes, I wanted to be traditionally published. I didn’t know much about indie publishing and I pulled all of my fan fiction down and for two years, I queried agents and publishers. I had some good results, a few rejections, but either way it took months of waiting to find out and readers were constantly asking me when, when, when? So, I went the indie route. After I did, three NYC literary agencies contacted me and I signed with McIntosh & Otis Literary. My Remembrance Trilogy has been picked up by City Editions, so it’s traditionally published in France, in the French language. I still have hope for North America. We’ll see. 🙂
- How do you feel the publishing landscape has changed since publishing, The Future of Our Past? – There are a lot more writers, millions of books and it’s much harder to compete and be “found” by readers. Also, traditional publishing has changed, too. Now they seem to be harvesting the most successful indie writers, as much as they find writers through queries, etc.
- What do you love most about the indie author community? – There are many indie authors who offer a lot of help and support to each other. For the most part, there is a good camaraderie and I’ve made some good friends! And, I love when new writers trust me enough to ask me for writing and publishing advice. 🙂
- Facebook is a huge tool for indie authors. It allows us to stay connected to readers and bloggers. In the last few months, they have made significant changes to how we are able to interact with “fans” and share information. Thoughts? – The reason you follow pages is because you want to know what is going on, with that person, event, etc. But that isn’t happening anymore. It’s sad. In order for our fans to see everything we post, we have to boost each one. And still, not everyone sees it. (I think “keeping in touch” and “sharing information” was the premise behind why Facebook was created in the beginning, and in part, has fallen by the wayside.)
- Has this affected your connection with fans? If so, how? – My connection with my readers? Absolutely. When I post, they may or may not see it. I wish I could afford to boost every post, but I can’t.
- You are a best-selling author, with thousands of fans; what is the best compliment you have received from a fan/colleague/blogger? – Wow. I get a lot of PM’s from readers and bloggers after they’ve read my work and I love hearing from all of them! I’ve been told my books helped someone escape their physical pain enough that they didn’t have to take medication, that I saved a marriage, or “OMG! I can’t believe I just found your books!” Or that my series is the best one they’ve ever read. I feel overwhelmed and humbled. My readers are amazing! One and all, and I love their comments.
- If there were one misconception about authors that you could correct, what would it be? – Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. It involves more than writing and hitting publish. It’s expensive. If it’s done right, it involves editing, cover art, models and sometimes photo shoots. Cover designers, formatters, beta readers, blog tours, signings, banners, swags, giveaways…it also takes time to write a good story. I wish I could hammer them out every other month, but my editing team is a picky bunch of bitches, and I’m on threat train with them. 🙂
- Since 2012, you have written four books, your most recent, Angel After Dark, released mid-January and you have fantastic reviews (Congratulations!) What can you tell us about this story? – It’s the story of two very strong individuals who meet over the phone during a radio talk show because the man is angry that his girlfriend (albeit one he is breaking up with) called into the woman’s radio show to complain about him the week before. He calls in the to defend himself. Alex stereotypes Angel as a homely, frigid shrew and she thinks he’s the epitome of a womanizer. Sparks fly from the first conversation and they fight for control over each other. The attraction is explosive even before they lay eyes on each other. Alex doesn’t believe in love and Angel decides to turn tables on him and “be the man.” She doesn’t bargain on him being sex personified and he is knocked for a loop by her intelligent wit, potty mouth and beautiful face. Her main job as a criminal profiler is dangerous and a lot of other stuff happens in the series as well… but let’s just say, “it’s on.” 🙂 Here is a fan made trailer: VIMEO
- Is there any part of your books that you can personally relate to? Do any of the characters have traits that are you? – Yes, and no. I hate writing scenes where I have to make my “perfect” men flail and fail… but it’s real, so I have to do it. And sure, there are parts of me in my characters. I don’t think any writer, who writes with emotion, can keep pieces of themselves out of the pages.
- Are you working on something right now? If so, is there anything you can tell us about it? – I’m working on a few things. The second book in the After Dark series is completed and going into formatting soon, I’m writing the third book, another series and a stand-alone. I’m trying the stand-alone because I feel sometimes I lose opportunities with new readers because they won’t start a series until it’s complete. That’s hard for me… so I’ll try the other and see.
- Who would you consider your inspiration personally? Professionally? Personally, it’s my daughter and now my readers. Professionally? – I have many authors I read and adore; to list them would be difficult.
- Has your family read any of your books? What advice or encouragement have they given you? – Yes. My sister is one of my editors. But she didn’t know I wrote until I had two books completely written. No one in my family knew until I decided to publish. My mother has read my books. My books are sexy so that was a bit awkward at first, but now it’s no biggie. They are all very supportive.
- What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment? – Writing wise, I’ve hit #2 on Amazon paid list, #1 on Smashwords, #23 on Barnes & Noble, won awards in the Twilight Fan Fiction world, those mean a lot to me. But mostly, it’s when a reader connects with my books. That’s the most amazing thing! I’m most proud of hitting Amazon’s Highest RATED list because that comes from the reviews. Personally, I’d just like my daughter to grow up with respect for herself and others, and to know that if she wants anything in this life, she better be prepared work her tail off to get it!
- If someone asked for your advice about writing a book, what would it be? – It’s your book; your story. Write it from your heart and be true to it. Only make changes if you truly believe they should be made. It’s a tough business that’s very competitive… do it right. Get your book edited, and present a professional product. Price your book fairly, but don’t under price it. You worked your ass off for maybe a year, and your time, money, love, blood, sweat and tears… is worth something. If you want your readers to see the value in your books, YOU have to as well.
- Are you reading anything right now? If so, what? – Yes, I’m reading Kelly Elliott’s new book Cherished and not-so-patiently awaiting Raine Miller’s fourth book in the Blackstone Series. Also, Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren is next up.
- If you could say anything to your readers, what would you say? – You’re investing hours of your life with me when you read my books and I hope I’m able to place you within the pages with my characters. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking a chance on me. You are my inspiration… The very reason I write! xo