- When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I think I've always liked to tell stories from the time I could talk. LOL. I started writing stories in High School for our school Literary Magazine called Sketches. I wrote a series of short stories. I didn't seriously start writing again until 2000 when I started my first novel. The stories and ideas just wouldn't go away.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first book when I was 37. I guess I got started a little later than most. I have kind of a fun story about that. I was a manager for a claims department and I was conducting an evaluation with one of my employees and we began to talk about the creative things we liked to do. He did videos for his church and I always wanted to write a novel. I told him about this book I wanted to get at Barnes and Noble that would help me do that. He came in the next day and brought me a Barnes and Noble gift card and told me to go buy that book and write that novel. I was very touched. (was he sucking up because I was the boss? Probably, but it worked! LOL) I went and bought the book and the rest is history.
- How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have written four three of which are published. Which one is my favorite? Gosh that's like asking which of your children is your favorite. I love them all, but if I had to pick one I'd say my newest novel Captured In Lies is my favorite. It challenged me with the research I had to perform to get it accurate and the villain was so evil that he was a lot of fun to write. He poses a lot of challenges for my hero and they aren't really the typical challenges you find in romantic suspense books.
- What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Because I am busy with a day job I usually have to grab writing time when I can. I try very hard to write from 7pm to 8pm in the evening but it doesn't always work out that way. I have a husband and two busy teens that keep me on the run. Also I grab time on the weekends and whenever I get an hour or two to myself. The important thing I think is to write a little every day. I set myself a word count or say I'm going to write a chapter today before I go to bed. Little goals like that keep me motivated.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
LOL. I like this question. I've never been asked this before. Let me see…I think I would have to say the way I talk to myself when I write. I talk out loud in the voices of my characters so I can get a feel for how it sounds and if it is in pattern with their personality. My family will often come by my office and ask me who I'm talking to or if I'm on the phone. It has been the source of many good family jokes at my expense! LOL
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Most of my ideas come from true news stories. The idea for my first published book Sealed In Lies came from a news story that happened in Northern Virginia. A guy broke into a Senator's house and kidnapped his wife. Once he realized who she was he let her go. My crazy mind started wondering, "What would happen if she didn't want to go back home?" and Sealed In Lies was born. I find more often than not that truth really is stranger than fiction and with a few twists and turns can be the fodder for a lot of good novels. I also dream a lot of my ideas. I keep a notebook by my bedside to jot them down as soon as I wake up. The mind of a writer can be a very strange and scary place! LOL
- What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I really love to read. Yes, when I'm not writing I'm reading. I also enjoy spending time with my family. We live in Florida near the water and we have a boat so we spend a great deal of time in the sun enjoying watching the dolphins play and swimming.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Wow, this is a good question. Hmmm…I think I learned something about myself and that was that I really do have the perseverance and stamina to make it all the way to the end of a book. I learned that you really can visualize the story from start to finish and when you do your writing just flows onto the page like a river to the ocean. The story for Online Angel came from a real life story of a friend of mine and as he told it I began to literally see the book in my mind. We met in Orlando for business one day and by the time I got home I had the entire book outlined in my head. I wrote it in four days. That was truly amazing to me. Granted it was only a novella, but I was just amazed at how it really came together. I love it when that happens.
- What do you think makes a good story?
I think it is a combination of plot and characters. You need a compelling plot. One that will draw your readers in and make them want to keep the pages turning, but if your characters are flat the reader won't care about them. You need characters that are interesting and quirky enough that readers can identify with them and fall in love with them. When those to things come together it's gold.
- Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer?
I actually have a blog about that called Writing Tips for Writers on my website www.kellyabellbooks.com. I think the most important thing I've learned in the writing process is Do Not Rush. Many times I find myself getting excited when I finish a book and want to rush through the editing process to get it a publisher when I should be taking my time. Let your manuscript breathe for a little while and go on to something else for a week or so, then come back to it with a fresh look. Many times you will see problems with your plot or your characters that you can improve upon that will make your story much stronger.
Thank you so much for having me today. I've really enjoyed visiting with you. Stop by and view my books at www.solsticepublishing.com and learn more about me at my website www.kellyabellbooks.com. I love to interact with my readers.