Wednesday, 5 June 2013
Author Interview: Kelli A Wilkins
Kelli Wilkins is an award-winning author who has written more than 80 short stories, fifteen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romance writing spans many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to surprise readers with a horror story. Most recently, her horror short, “Sometimes Monsters are Real” was one of eighteen stories included in the Mistresses of the Macabreanthology.
Kelli publishes a blog (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/) filled with news, interviews, and writing prompts. She also writes a newsletter, Kelli's Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor).Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone!I love hearing from readers and invite folks to contact me. Let me know your favorite book, character, or scene from any of my romances (or horror stories!).
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story “jump” into my head, and I’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with A PerfectMatch, A Most Unusual Princess, Trust with Hearts, and The Viking’s Witch.)
Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and once I get to “know” and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Once I know the story, the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Four Days with Jack,Beauty & the Bigfoot, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)
Before I start a book, I think about the story. I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline/list. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. I tend to go where the story takes me.
Once in a while I’ll be writing a scene and the characters “take over” and decide that the scene should go a different way, or something I planned on happening changes. I thought I knew all about my characters before I started writing The Pauper Prince and A Midsummer Night’s Delights – but I was wrong. One thing I learned while writing those stories was that characters can leap off the page and take the story in a different direction. Even though I created the characters, I was surprised to discover a different side to Prince Allan (in The Pauper Prince) and Julian (from A Midsummer Night’s Delights).
Writing a new book is always an adventure for me and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Yes, sometimes they develop a life of their own. That happened when I was writing my historical/fantasy, Dalton’s Temptation. I introduced a secondary character, Prince Allan, and before long, this wise-cracking fellow tried to run off with the book. I fell in love with him and decided that he needed his own book, so I wrote The Pauper Prince for him, and told his story. Readers and reviewers loved it.
Do you write in other genres besides M/M? What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?
I write romances in all genres, at all heat levels. Most of my romances are ‘straight’ M/F, but sometimes I mix in some ménage. I always knew that one day I’d write a gay romance, and I’d been batting ideas around in my head for a while. I was in-between books and had just finished editing A PerfectMatch(which had a gay secondary character) when I heard about the Amber Allure “Postcards from Paradise” line, and I knew I had my next project.
At first, all I had was a basic plot (straight guy comes out to his gay best friend), a title, and one pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom. (For those who have read the book, you know which scene I’m talking about – but I won’t give it away here!) From there, I let my imagination wander and came up with the resort, the rest of the plot, and the unusual cast of characters that Jack and David encounter.
My second M/M book, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing also was written for a particular line at Amber Allure (the Howling at the Moon series). It’s a different take on the werewolf legend. This paranormal has a lot of humor mixed in and it was a lot of fun to write. Reviewers also loved it.
I’m toying with more ideas for M/M exclusive titles, and just wrote a new book that has M/M, F/F, and ménage. That story,Ultimate Night’s Delights, is the last book in a series that includes A Midsummer Night’s Delights and A Midwinter Night’s Delights. The first book starts out “straight” then readers are quickly drawn into a world of swapping, naughty games, and anything goes, including M/M and ménage. (Ultimate Night’s Delights should be released sometime this summer.)
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I can be both! I sometimes get up early and do an hour or two of writing while my husband is sleeping or surfing. If I take a nap in the afternoon, I’ll be able to stay up late at night and go out, or write more. I’m pretty flexible!
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’ve been to a lot of places (Egypt, Scotland, Ireland, and lots of places in the US), but I’d like to go to Easter Island and see the Moai up close and in person. I’d also love to the tour castles in Wales (especially haunted ones!). I like visiting old, historical places that are surrounded in mystery.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Yes. I live in the States and several of my historical/fantasy books are set in the UK. I don’t mention a particular time-period (since it’s a fantasy I can make up kingdoms, princes, and whatever else I want). My IPPY award-winning historical, The Viking’s Witch was set in Celtic Scotland, and The Dark Lord took place in the Carpathian Mountains.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Yes. Depending on what stage of the writing process I’m in, the music changes. If I’m actually writing a book or short story, I listen to New Age-type music. If I’m typing/revising a story I put on anything (1960s-80s, or whatever.) When I’m proofreading a final draft I need to have quiet, though.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
My most recent M/M book is Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, published by Amber Quill Press. It’s an unusual take on the werewolf legend and blends a contemporary gay paranormal with humor - and danger.
Here’s the blurb:
Killer in Wolf’s Clothing
A super aggressive Alpha male, a serial killer, and a visit to a kinky sex club…What has Larry gotten himself into?
When Larry learns that his boyfriend Greg changes into another man during the full moon, he has a hard time accepting it—until he meets Deke, Greg’s alternate Alpha personality.
Deke doesn’t play nice and has no time for games. He only wants two things—to get laid and to get revenge against the arsonist who murdered his friends. Finally free from Greg’s restraints, Deke is ready for action, and Larry is more than willing to submit to Deke’s needs.
Together, Larry and Deke set out to find the killer. Their hunt takes them to an all-night Alpha sex club where things heat up for the two of them. But when Larry unwittingly falls into the clutches of the murderer, it’s up to Deke—and Greg—to save him before it’s too late.
Buy link: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/KillerWolfsClothing.html
Sometime this summer/early autumnUltimate Night’s Delight’s will be released. It’s a follow-up A Midsummer Night’s Delights and A Midwinter Night’s Delights. Anything goes in those books, including M/M and ménage. (I encourage readers to check out both of the previous books – excerpts, blurbs, and reviews are on my site.)
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started? Is there anything you would do differently?
I’ve learned a million (or more) things about writing and publishing in the last 13 years. (Yes, it’s been that long!) Aside from elements of the craft (learning how to write tighter, build characters and settings, revise and edit my own work, etc.) I’ve learned a lot about publishing and promotion. I blog, do press releases, guest blogs, interviews, post on social media, etc., all of which seemed overwhelming at first.
The world of publishing has changed completely since I started submitting stories (on paper with a SASE) to editors and agents. There were no such things as e-books and traditional publishers refused to acknowledge them as “real” books. The M/M genre was all but non-existent and authors weren’t as open about writing erotica (in any genre) as they are now. Every step I’ve taken on my path has led me to where I am now, and I’m happy. So, for the most part, I wouldn’t make any grand changes to anything I’ve done.
However, there are two things that, looking back, I would have changed. One, I would have taken control over my website earlier. I was relying on friends who knew how to do programming to update it and that basically turned into a disaster. (My site was inactive for about a year while I listened to promises….) I’m now in charge of my own site and much happier with it. (Go check it out: www.KelliWilkins.com.)
The second thing is that I would have rewritten, deleted, or edited down one of the sex scenes in one of my books. (I won’t say which one.) I wasn’t happy with it from the start, and looking back I’d like to change it. Other than that, I’m content with my choices.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Although most people think of me as romance writer, I also write horror short stories. The author who has had the most influence on my writing is Stephen King. I read his short stories at a very young age, and his writing style and distinct voice have always stuck with me. He creates interesting characters, brings the reader into the setting with sensory details, and sets up unique plots. The telling of the story (regardless of genre) is the core to any good book. I think his On Writing is a must-read for anyone who writes or wants to write.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
The best advice I can give to any writer (regardless of what genre he or she writes) is to keep writing. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to sit down every day and write something. But the more you write, the easier it gets.
Writing classes are a great way to learn the basics and meet other writers. If possible, join a writer’s group or a critique group to get feedback on your stories. When you’ve written the best story you can, submit it! You can’t get published if you never submit, and you never know when your first acceptance will arrive.
What are three words that describe you?
Eclectic free-thinking writer.
List of previous books:
I listed all of my romances here along with the genre. Readers are invited to check out summaries, excerpts, and reviews on my site: www.KelliWilkins.com
A Midsummer Night’s Delights (historical/fantasy, M/M &ménage)
A Midwinter Night’s Delights(historical/fantasy, M/M & ménage – Sequel to A Midsummer Night’s Delights)
A Most Unusual Princess (historical/fantasy)
A Perfect Match (contemporary wrestling romance – with secondary gay character)
Beauty & the Bigfoot(contemporary paranormal/comedy)
Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover (paranormal)
Dalton’s Temptation(historical/fantasy – Follow-up to A Most Unusual Princes)
The Dark Lord (historical)
Four Days with Jack(contemporary, gay) May 2011 Bestseller!
Killer in Wolf’s Clothing(paranormal, gay) May 2012 Bestseller!
Naughty Nobles (historical/fantasy anthology paperback– contains 3 stories: A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, A Midsummer Night’s Delights)
The Pauper Prince (historical/fantasy – Follow-up to Dalton’s Temptation)
The Sexy Stranger (contemporary)
Trust with Hearts(contemporary)
The Viking's Witch (historical/paranormal) Gold IPPY Award Winner!
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:
Amber Quill Press Author page http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_Wilkins.html
Medallion Press Author Page http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
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