Author Archives: kyraleighw

Author Interview Kristin L. Gray

Kristin has a new middle grade novel coming out in just a few weeks called Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge. I can’t wait to read this book. It looks like such a sweet story. Kristin and I also have the same editor! {Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books} Which makes this interview even more exciting for me!

You have an awesome new book coming out this year called VILONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE. Can you tell us about it?

Sure! Fourth grader Vilonia hasn’t lost her rain coat in the three weeks she’s had it and she’s brushed her teeth every night and she’s volunteered to be the Friday Library Helper. But all that hard work is worth it if it means she can get a dog. Besides, this dog isn’t just because Vilonia has wanted one for pretty much ever. It’s also to help Mama, who’s been lost in one, big sadness fog for forty-three days—ever since Nana died. But Vilonia read that pets can help with sadness. Now all she has to do is keep the library goldfish alive over spring break, stop bringing stray animals home, and help Mama not get fired from her job. And she’s got to do all of it before the Catfish Festival. Easy as pie, right?

How did you come up with the idea?

Vilonia’s story morphed over time. I had the idea of a young girl adopting and nurturing a puppy born preterm. But once I began researching, I came across fascinating articles about pet therapy and how dogs actually help us. So Vilonia’s story quickly evolved into one of a dog helping her family overcome their grief. So yes, dogs can be therapy. (Though sometimes, my dogs drive me bananas, but I love them anyway.)

When is it released?

March 7. Soon!

What made you decide to start writing, and why did you choose children’s books?  

I distinctly remember falling in love with the humor in the CLICK CLACK MOO series as I read them aloud to my son. I thought I’d like to try that. So when I came across an ad for the Institute of Children’s Literature, I signed up. A few years later, I joined SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) which helped me tremendously. If anyone is serious about writing for children, my first suggestion is to join a local SCBWI chapter.

Tell us about your experience getting into publishing. How long did it take you? 

Oh boy. I started with picture books for a handful of years while my children were small. I got close to landing a contract a few times, but for whatever reason – it never panned out. Then one day, an editor who liked my voice wrote back and asked if I’d ever thought of trying anything longer, like a novel. So I did. And two manuscripts later, I had a first draft of Vilonia. Or put another way, I began dabbling in writing when my oldest son was in kindergarten. He is now a teenager and can drive a car! Publishing is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Also, I’m old!

What writing advice do you have for someone trying to breakout in the market?

Read widely and read what’s new in stores. Libraries are wonderful of course, but to stay current, you need to be aware of what is selling into today’s market. But even then, listen to you heart. Write the book you want to see on the shelves. That passion will shine through.

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Reading! Sleeping! Traveling with my family and exploring new cities. I also like cooking. Okay, baking. I really like baking.

Do you listen to music when you write, if so, what’s your playlist like?

If I listen to music, it’s usually Adele. I love her. But I am a huge fan of the Coffitivity app which provides background noise as if you’re in a coffee shop. It’s so soothing to me. I sometimes use it even when I’m sitting in an actual coffee shop. Is that weird?

If you had to live inside one story’s universe, which would it be and why?

Oh man. Harry Potter. For its delightful magic, amazing friendships, fascinating creatures, and okay, the Burrow (the Weasley’s cozy home).

Everyone writes about people they know. Who shows up in your books over and over?

I think there’s a little bit of myself in Vilonia. I was a preemie and so is Vilonia. My dad is a fisherman, like Vilonia’s dad.

Who do you think your reader is?

I would like to imagine Vilonia being enjoyed by anyone no matter their age, but I especially hope she resonates with kids ages 8-12 who have a lot of moxie and compassion. Kids who love the outdoors, love to run barefoot in the summer, and who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done.

What are you working on now?

A quirky middle-grade mystery and a handful of picture book texts.
Where can we find out more about you and your upcoming book?

www.kristinlgray.com

Thanks so much for having me!

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Interview with Rosalyn Eves

Today’s author interview is with the awesome Rosalyn Eves! Rosalyn has a new book coming out next month called BLOOD ROSE REBELLION Even though I know she’s super busy, she was kind enough to chat with me!

 

You have an awesome new book coming out in a few weeks! 
Can you tell us about it? How you came up with the idea? When is it released? 

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION is a YA historical fantasy—think the 1848 Hungarian revolution, but with magic. I lived in Hungary for a year and a half in my twenties and fell in love with the culture, so when I started thinking about a Victorian era fantasy, it seemed like a natural setting. The book comes out March 28, 2017.
What made you decide to start writing, and why did you choose children’s books?  

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eleven and my fifth grade teacher told me I might be good at it. I’ve always loved young adult books—I love how intense the feelings are and I love the feeling of possibility when your whole life is still in front of you. That said, the first book I finished as an adult was a middle grade manuscript that I started for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers in 2010.
Tell us about your experience getting into publishing. How long did it take you?

A long time! I wrote my first “book” in junior high, and another (really, a trilogy) in high school—but then I stopped writing while I finished college, went to grad school, and started a family. It was after my second kid was born that I realized that my dream of someday being a writer wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t start now. That was six and a half years ago.
What writing advice do you have for someone trying to breakout in the market?

Read a lot—in your genre and outside of it. And write a lot. There aren’t really any shortcuts for those two things.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I like reading (of course!) and watching period dramas on TV. I also like hiking and I’m lucky to live in a really gorgeous area for that.

Do you listen to music when you write, if so, what’s your playlist like?

I can’t listen to music when I write—it’s too distracting for me. But I did listen to a lot of Hamilton in between revision sessions on this.

If you had to live inside one story’s universe, which would it be and why?

I’d love to visit Lois Bujold’s Barrayar, which is such a fascinating mixture of high technology and an almost Victorian feudal sensibility.
Everyone writes about people they know. Who shows up in your books over and over?

This may be cheesy, but I think a bit of my husband shows up in the love interest—especially  his steadiness and his scientific mind.

Who do you think your reader is?
What do you imagine him or her to be like?

I think my reader is a lot like me at sixteen—more adventurous in books than in real life.

What are you working on now?

The sequel to Blood Rose Rebellion, which picks up about 8 months after the first.

Where can we find out more about you and your upcoming book?

http://rosalyneves.com/

 

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ugh

I’m currently trying to revise a story I’ve been stuck on for close to a year. I’m starting to think that I may not even have a plot to this story. Do you have any idea what it’s like to write a plotless story?? It’s like drinking a cup of coffee with no caffeine.. only worse!

When I feel alone in the writing world, I like to google funny writer memes to make me feel better.
They are a good reminder that I’m not the only one drinking caffeine free coffee.

 

writingwriter2writer3writers4writers5writers6writers7writers8s

 

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Author Interview with Shaila Patel

For the next few weeks I’ll be doing author interviews with some amazing writers! Our first guest on the blog is Shaila Patel. She has a new book coming out NEXT WEEK! She’s been kind enough to give me an interview even though I know she’s super swamped getting prepared for the release of her new book SOULMATED.  Thanks a bunch, Shaila!

You have an awesome new book coming out this week called SOULMATED.
 Can you tell us about it? How you came up with the idea? When is the release date?

Thank you! Soulmated is a teen paranormal romance that’s coming out on January 24th, 2017. It’s Book 1 in the Joining of Souls series about an Irish empath named Liam Whelan who’s forced by his parents to find his empath soul mate. His search leads him to the States where he moves in two doors down from Indian-American Laxshmi Kapadia—who isn’t an empath and whose mother is overprotective and sheltering. Not only is Laxshmi not allowed to talk to her gorgeous new neighbor, but her mom is forcing Laxshmi to either graduate early to go to medical school, or have an arranged marriage right out of high school. As different as Liam and Laxhsmi are, they both struggle with parental and cultural expectations. The conflict really picks up when Liam decides that he wants to be with Laxshmi (whom he affectionately calls Lucky) despite the fact she’s not an empath.

As for how I came up with the story, I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was one day and thought that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stands for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She’s always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings, so naturally, my writer-mind imagined what it would be like if empaths (people who read emotions) really existed. That was the nugget that inspired the story. Once that thought took hold, I couldn’t let it go! 

Tell us about your experience getting into publishing. How long did it take you?

I was actually quite lucky! I began writing Book 1 of Soulmated in January 2013 and hired my own editors to tell me what needed fixing. They taught me A TON. I also began networking, taking online workshops to better my craft and learn the business, joined the Romance Writers of America, and pitched to my publisher—all by mid-2015. I accepted an offer in August 2015, and the rest as they say is history!

What writing advice do you have for someone trying to breakout in the market?

The best advice I can give is two-fold: (1) Treat it like a business—invest in yourself, be professional within the industry, and network, and (2) Never compare yourself to other writers—learn from them and be encouraged by them, yes, but don’t let their successes or failures be the standard by which your judge yourself.

Do you listen to music when you write, if so, what’s your playlist like?

I love to listen to music while I write, but I typically play one song on repeat for a particular scene or chapter. I pick what moves me—it can be classical, alternative, heavy metal, opera, techno—you name it! It helps me create the tone and mood for the characters, and later, when I reread what I’ve written, I can’t NOT hear that song playing in my head. Soulmated actually does have a playlist at the end of the book of songs the characters are listening to or are interacting with in some way. Here’s that list:
Mindy Gledhill – “Bring Me Close”
Splender – “Yeah, Whatever”
Dave Matthews Band – “Crash Into Me”
Ed Sheeran – “Photograph”
Calvin Harris – “I Feel So Close”
Kaskade – “Eyes”
Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”

What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on Books 2 and 3 of the Joining of Souls Series, as well as an adult contemporary romance.

Where can we find out more about you and your upcoming book?

You can visit my website at www.shailapatelauthor.com and sign up for my newsletter, or simply follow the links to my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.

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