Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fab author Kaily Hart with a giveaway

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:

Hey Kaily!!!!!! 

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:

About Kaily:
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. 


  1. Hello! And oooo, I've got a question. How did you go from corporate America to writing full-time? Did you ease into writing? Or did you jump off the ship and dive in?

  2. Ju, thanks SO much for having me here today. I'm excited to be able to give a book away over here. If anyone would like to check out the books beforehand, you know, to see which one you'd like to read, you can check out the excerpts here -

    Hi, Shelly! I quit my job basically thinking as my kids were getting older I really need to change directions and do something that meant my time was more flexible and that I wasn't traveling so much. I went from VP of a global delivery group to stay at home author pretty much within a month! I hadn't intended to be become a writer then. It was almost as if I'd cleared that career and my true passion was able to come to light!

  3. thanks for having this giveaway.

    what one thing would you change if you could-to do with your writing.

  4. Hey, J! You know, I think it would be to write more at the beginning. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I find it hard to let go of a book, so I can get into loops of tweaking. At the beginning, when I first started, I could have done less of this and written more new material, just to establish the critical discipline needed to be a productive writer. I spent a lot of time researching marketing, promotion, the industry, etc., which was good, but I could have done more actual writing!!

  5. Hi Kaily,

    Great interview. Have always been fascinated by the process of writers...nice to know the story behind the stories :)

    Is editing tough? Whether they are self edits or editor's? What's been your toughest one to tackle so far?

    Thanks for the wonderful chance to win one of your books. I'd surely go for "Point Blank." Drooling over the man candy :)

  6. Helise... What a great name :). I make self edits tough because I nitpick everything. I want it to be just so, perfect. Of course, it probably can't be, not to everyone. I also edit as I go. No matter how hard I try to force myself to forge on with my draft, my process is just built around having a well done foundation to proceed with the rest of the book. And I love edits from my editor. It means the book is mostly done and there's just a few more things to polish and it'll be OUT.

    PAY UP was probably the most difficult edit, actually. Even though the 'bet' is not the main driving force of the story, I had to ensure it was feasible and felt 'real'. I played around with that one for awhile.

    And yeah, liking the man candy myself on POINT BLANK!

  7. Wow, ladies :) You girls are all up and rocking already! I, the host, is late to my own party :sigh: ;) But then blame it on the timezones..!!

    Welcome, Shelly, J.barett and Helise, and thanks for keeping Kaily occupied :)

    Wow, Loving all the new questions and at Kaily's answers too!

    Kaily, I think it's good you started out slowly - as in making sure your book was perfect. IMO, that's more important than having a book out there for the sake of it..and then growing as a writer. If you put your best out, then people will wait for your next. I think you did fab in gathering those initial readers who fell in love with your work, rather than making them wait and watch if you'd become better - which, in this era of digital / amazon publishing, is too tough... People sample writers, move on if it doesn't suit their tastes..(if that makes sense)... Again, that's just my feeling :) So feel free to toss it out of the window too !!

  8. Glad you joined the party, Ju!

    When I commented above I meant when I first started writing that very first book. I didn't know anything! I could have been better served just pushing through and writing the next book. Those ms will probably never be submitted or published (thankfully). I like your comment about taking it slow and steady and focusing on quality. That's what I've done with my books I feel. I haven't gotten them out as quickly as I would have liked, but I wanted each to be the best it could be in its own right. I think the worse thing I could do would be to put out a mediocre book just to satisfy a release plan. I want each book to be its own star. I want the books to stand out, not fade into obscurity amid the mass of books out there. At least, that's the plan!

  9. Kaily. How did you find your niche? Did you alsways know what style of novel you wanted to write. i.e. steamy.

  10. Those abs...I'm drooling over here.

    But yes, voice is so important, and I'm so glad you pointed it out! If you have a solid voice, then you will definitely be published eventually.

  11. Terrific interview, Ju!
    Kaily, your covers are all fabulous. How do you manage to write so much with 4 kids at home? When my grandkids come to visit, I don't get anything done. :-) Of course, I'm a big fan of yours and have been cheering you on from the sidelines. You've done so well. I'm proud of your accomplishments to date and look forward to more good reads. Haven't read Point Blank yet but would love to win a copy.

  12. I think so, DJ. It's my personal opinion and my position as a writer of romance that those intimate moments that occur are absolutely key in a developing relationship. It's often during these moments that major turning points in a relationship occur. To do justice to a romance, I feel like the bedroom door needs to be open. For a writer this is a unique opportunity to develop characters and grow the story. Again, this is just my personal view and having said that I think everyone has that boundary of how much is too much. Mine might be too steamy for some. I know others that would consider what I write pretty 'vanilla' based on what else is out there. It's just a matter of finding the balance you're comfortable with as a writer and a reader.

    Marlena, couldn't agree move. Voice will individualize you as a writer. You can learn writing dynamics and mechanics. Voice is something you have to foster, nurture and grow. It's yours and no-one elses :).

    Lorraine, that means so much to me! Thank you!! The kids are all at school now so I have a narrow writing window that I have to take advantage of and inevitably I work late at night :).

    Thanks on the covers although I can't take credit for those. Hawt, right?

  13. Hi Kaily, Hello Ju,

    Wow! I love Kaily's covers! I've met one of her heros in Pay Up, a fireman, drool!

    All the best, Kaily.

    Thanks Ju!

  14. Kaily, I just happened to run across you on Facebook last year, you peaked my interest and I checked out one of your stories. The rest is history!! Beside you were so nice! You made me a facebook friend (even though you didn't know me from adam), and you actually talked to me. I was impressed! Wishing you continued best of luck!

  15. Hey, Nas, thanks for stopping by! And just wait. I'm planning Cole's story, a follow-up to PAY UP. I love writing about firefighters :).

    Dale, thanks for your lovely words and thanks for your support!

  16. Hey, lovely to see you all enjoying yourselves ;)

    Great questions, DJ, Lorraine!

    And thanks for dropping by, Marlena, Nas and Dale :)

    The weather is getting chiller and I'm all bundled up, battling a nasty cold. Ugh.. Me wants summer..... or the next best thing is curling up with a hot book ;) Like Kaily's :p (hint hint)

  17. Hi Kaily and Ju! Incredible interview and comments. I have to agree that Kaily is an fantastic writer and a truly sweet and wonderful person. Writing short romances is very difficult, and she does an amazing job with character development and pacing in her stories. Plan on not being able to put her books down!

    Kaily, you already know I have all your books so don't worry about the drawing ;).

    Ju, I hope you feel better soon! Kaily's heroes should do the trick.

  18. Hi Rula,

    Thanks so much for your wonderful words :) /me nods :)

  19. Ju, hope you've managed to get on top of that cold! If Rio wasn't already taken, I'm sure he could help you out with that!

    Aw thanks, Rula. You always say the nicest things.