Super-duper author, Kaily Hart is with me today, sharing her journey towards publication and loads of valuable info to aspiring authors!
I should say, I knew Kaily from afar through one of my good writing friends’ blogs (See, this is a proof that blogs come in handy J )! She was one of the first persons I followed when I started my own blog and whoa, I’m still in awe of the way Kaily manages her writing life, blogs and personal life (ahem..that’s a different story coming up for another day)! You can find her interviewing new authors, sharing snippets on Wednesdays and other wonderful features she comes up with now and then to make it interesting. Hat’s off, my online friend. From the very open admirer of your creativity!
She’s multi-pubbed with Ellora’s Cave. Boy :fans self:, you MUST have a taste of her heroes ;) I dare you to stop with one!
:Host’s speech over: ;) Cue for Kaily to have her say :grin: Before that... I love those
hot dudes on the fantastic covers she has... :happy sigh:
Ju, thanks for much for having me here today!
I hafta ask: What steered you towards romantic fiction? And where do you think your stories fit? I know I'm sneaking in a second question here, but you can't blame me for curiosity...
I’m not sure I could really write anything else. I have to have my happy ending, my happy for now if it’s a shorter story. I’ve read a lot of literary fiction and it’s great, wonderful, thought provoking but I NEED my happy ending. It’s even more of a necessity now that I’m a mother. There’s so much struggle and despair in the world. We’re bombarded with it constantly and I don’t want to sit down to read more of that. It’s probably why I started to read romance. I had limited time to read and I wanted something that simply made me feel good and allowed me to escape for a time. I love reading a book that causes those ‘belly tugs’ because of the emotion depth and intensity of a story and I try to create those moments in my books. A developing relationship is probably one of the most complex and beautiful things in the world and I love to explore all of the dynamics of it.
I’m very simple. I believe in enduring love and that good will always triumph over evil. I think that comes out in my writing. It just happens to be wrapped up in a very hot and steamy construct!
Whew….Hot and steamy, definitely works for me ;) and nowadays, I don’t touch books that doesn’t promise me a happy ending…
Okay..what were the major milestones in your writing journey so far? And what next?
Gosh, there’ve been so many. I think a writer’s journey can be so hard that it’s important to celebrate each victory, success and milestone along the way, regardless of how small. Things that are some that are most memorable for me:
- The first time an editor said ‘yes’.
- The first time I signed a publishing contract.
- The first time I saw my cover. With my name on it!
- My first release day and I saw my book ‘out there’.
- The first time I said ‘I’m a writer’ when someone asked me what I do.
- The second time an editor said ‘yes’ because I knew it hadn’t been a fluke J.
- My first book signing. Terrifying and incredibly exciting all at once!
- The first time someone came up to me at a conference and wanted to take a photo with me. I mean, come on. Me? It was so surreal that she was having a fan girl moment. Over me!
Probably one of the most memorable for me was the first time I received an email from a reader. OMG. It wasn’t long after my first book came out. I often re-read that email. It meant so much that someone would take the time to send me a message, a special heartfelt message, especially considering I was a new author. I’ll never forget how I felt in that moment. Sigh…
I bet those were as wonderful as you remember them!!! Wishing you all the best, Kaily! Hope you garner loads more contracts and lot more milestones J
So… what are some of your writing tips and tricks?
Oh, wow that’s a tough question. I think for me ideas are the easy part. I have so many outlines in my ‘ideas file’ and they keep growing, that I may never be able to write them all. Ideas are good. They’re great, they’re the seed of a story, but a writer needs to be sure they don’t get distracted by the bright, new, shiny idea. I’ll jot down enough to capture an idea and keep right on working on my current story. This works most of the time, unless the characters are really talking to me (but that’s a whole other thing!). A book has to get finished. You can’t do anything with an unfinished book. I do tend to ensure I have pen and paper with me because inspiration can strike at any time. Once I wrote a paragraph of dialogue that hit me on a used snow cone wrapper I had in the car because I had nothing else when I was in the school pickup line!!
I’m a combination of a plotter and a panster and I find myself moving more towards plotter as I tackle more complex plots. I spend a lot of time on the characters before I ever start writing because IMO this is the key to a good story. You must know your characters. For me, that means filling out a Character Map, a spreadsheet I developed. Writers need to find what works best for them, but if you know your characters, they’ll help direct you. You can put them in any situation and you’ll immediately know how they’ll react. I develop complete histories and backgrounds for my characters, and lot of the information never explicitly makes it into the story. It’s key though, because that background/history drives who a character is today and it ensure behavior and reactions are consistent. And feasible.
I try to write something everyday, even if it’s jotting down a couple of lines of dialogue. I find I can develop an entire scene around a few pieces of key dialogue. Often I find myself most creative at night when every else is in bed!
:cough:SteamyNights??!!:cough: And snow cone wrappers? Wonder what the characters had to say about that!
Your pointers are so true and perfect. I sometimes run into problems if I don’t have the characters figured out. All I can do here is nod my head sagely and ask the next question…
What are some of the most important things you have learnt as an author that you didn't when you were a writer?
I only started writing right at the end of 2008 when I stepped back from my career in corporate America to spend more time with the kids and to ‘be there’ for them. I had this romantic notion of taking classes and relaxing, getting more involved at their schools and doing all the things I’d always been too busy to do. Suffice it to say I got bored pretty quickly LOL. I’d always read and it happened quite suddenly when I decided to write a book. I can’t explain it, but I just knew I could do it. My theory is that perhaps the desire was always there, but I’d pushed it aside to focus on my more ‘practical’ career.
I knew it would be tough. I mean, it takes a lot of words to write a book. I knew what I wanted to say, but it was getting it down the way I wanted to portray it, that was the really hard part. And that only comes with practice. I think that’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned on the journey to publication; you can only find your true voice by doing. I wrote two full length books before I felt comfortable knowing my style and voice. Others take a lot longer than that but you need to actually write stories and books for this to develop. I think this is the single, biggest thing that editors look for. They look for a unique, strong, engaging voice because that’s what will ensure readers are invested in your story and that’s what differentiates you from other writers!
Whoa Kaily! That’s one solid piece of realization there. Ultimately, there’s no other way but a single one, and that is by writing.
Thanks so much for being here with us, Kaily and thanks for sharing your thoughts honestly J
Thanks, Ju for having me here today! The questions were really thought-provoking.
If anyone would want to contact me (which I would love by the way) or just keep up with what I’m doing, you can find me all over:
Web – www.kailyhart.com
Group Blog - http://passionatereads.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/kaily.hart
Twitter - http://twitter.com/kailyhart
Kaily Hart, a seemingly straight-laced mother of four left corporate America and a high-powered, lucrative career to be a stay at home mom. Ha! That lasted about four weeks, during which time she realized she had a deeply repressed dream —to write. And romance at that! By day, Kaily plays conservative wife and soccer mom, but at night crafts hot and steamy tales of romance and love with gorgeous heroes who wouldn’t dream of leaving the toilet set up. Ever. She’s smart and sassy, at least in her own mind, and is trying her best to bring the alpha male solidly back to contemporary romance, one hot story at a time. Two years ago she never would have thought she’d be doing this, but now that she is? Well, you couldn’t pay her enough to do anything else.
Kaily’s books, PICTURE THIS, PAY UP, PLAY ME & POINT BLANK are all currently available from Ellora’s Cave and other ebook outlets. PERECTLY UNEXPECTED (paperback) is available currently from Amazon & B&N.
And, what’s more…Kaily has generously agreed to do a giveaway. Winner gets to choose a book from her backlist (ebooks only please…since the paperback is awaiting a special event giveaway later on my blog.)
All you have to do is
follow my blog, her blog, blah, blah. just leave a comment or a question
for Kaily and you’re set to enter in. Even a “hi there!” counts J How simple could it be…
Note : Giveaway runs until Sunday. Winner will be picked by Monday and announced in a new blog post.