Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Well here is the interview with Kerrelyn Sparks that I promised to post. Kerrelyn Sparks was nice enough to grant me an interview about her writing. Even though she was busy with her writing she was nice enough to answer the following questions as soon as she could possibly get them done. You can visit Kerrelyn Sparks's Vampire World Forum where you can chat with her about her books, writing and much more. Here is the link to the review of her Love At Stake series that I wrote. Now here is how the interview went between me and Kerrelyn Sparks:


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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life?


Kerrelyn Sparks: As a teenager, I thought writers must have the coolest lives ever, but they seemed like faraway, magical beings. It didn’t seem like something a normal person like me could ever accomplish. Even so, the dream never went away. Years later, when I had retired from teaching school and my youngest child was in elementary school, I had some spare time, and the dream came back to haunt me. I realized then that I had to at least try. Two years later, I celebrated my first sale. I procrastinated for years because I didn’t believe in myself. I would encourage others not to make that mistake!


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Kerrelyn: I grew up reading mostly historical and paranormal romances, so I always assumed that is what I would write. The first book that I was able to get published was a historical romance, but I soon switched to contemporary paranormal romance, and I love it!


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


Kerrelyn: The first book I wrote was a historical paranormal titled Lady of the Lake. I still have it, but it has never been published.


Phoebe: How much research did you have to do for your historical novel and the Love at Stake series and did it take you a long time to gather that research?


Kerrelyn: My first published book was a historical titled For Love or Country. It took place in pre-Revolutionary Boston, so I had to do quite a bit of research. My hero was a James Bond type character, so I gave him spy gadgets that were suitable for the time period. He also used a prototype of the Turtle, the submersible that was used during the Revolutionary War. My Love at Stake series are contemporary books, but they still require some research. I have to make settings and occupations accurate. And the vampire heroes can be centuries old, so I have to do some historical research to complete their backstories and understand them.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the Love at Stake series after having written a historical romance?


Kerrelyn: My first book was published by Forge. They had decided to try publishing a line of historical romances, and they hired an editor for the line. I was her first (and only) purchase. Before the book was released, she left Forge, and Forge decided to terminate their historical romance line. The historical market was lagging, especially those with an American setting. I finally realized that I would have to reinvent myself in order to stay published. I’d always loved paranormal romance, so I decided to give that a try. I love writing about vampires, ’cause I get to keep the historical hero and match him up with a feisty, modern heroine.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write one of your novels? And is it the same or different with each novel you write?


Kerrelyn: When I write a book, I start off really slow while I get acquainted with the hero and heroine. It can take a whole month just to write the first hundred pages. Once I get to know the characters, it goes much faster. By the end of the book, I’m going very quickly, and the last hundred pages can be written in about ten days. At the beginning, I have a rough idea where the book is going, but I don’t plan everything out. I let it evolve as the book is written.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Kerrelyn: When I first started writing, I finished a book the first year (The Lady of the Lake). I queried publishers, but received nothing but rejections. I wrote a second book (For Love or Country) and entered contests hosted by RWA chapters. I queried publishers again and listed my contest wins. This time, I received a request from an editor who had judged the book in a contest. I also sent out queries to agents. I received an offer of representation just as I received The Call. From the start to The Call, it took two years. However, it took another two years for the book to actually be published and on the shelves in bookstores.


Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book out in print and how do you feel about your other novels being published?


Kerrelyn: That first book was a bittersweet experience. By the time the book was on the bookshelves, Forge had discontinued their historical line and my editor had quit. My agent lost interest in me, and I broke off with her. It looked like my career was over before it had even gotten started. Since I had to struggle to get published again, the next book (How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire) was doubly sweet. And I get real excited whenever a new book releases. I know not to take success for granted. This career is very unstable and unpredictable, so you have to rejoice whenever the news is good.


Phoebe: Are you planning to write more books in the Love at Stake series after the fifth book in the series named All I want for Christmas is a Vampire, which comes out in Tuesday, October 28?


Kerrelyn: All I Want for Christmas is the fifth book in the Love at Stake series. Avon has purchased three more. The sixth and seventh ones should come out the summer of 2009. As long as Avon keeps buying them, I’ll keep writing!


Phoebe: Do you plan to write a different series sometime in the future or writing another historical novel?


Kerrelyn: I wouldn’t be opposed to writing another series or another historical. I have actually proposed historicals to Avon, but they’re very happy with the Love at Stake series, and I’m on such a busy schedule right now, that I don’t have time to write anything else.


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule, your book signing appearances, and your personal life without going insane?


Kerrelyn: When I’m officially in deadline hell (one month to due date), I’m totally focused on writing. My family is very understanding and supportive. I still manage to feed them—usually! Normally, I only do book signings when a new book has been released.


Phoebe: Do you take certain amounts of breaks in between your writing and book signing appearances to have personal time with family and friends?


Kerrelyn: When I come out of deadline hell after mailing a finished book off, I usually take a few days off to relax and be with family. My best friends are my critique partners, and I usually see them every week or so.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Kerrelyn: Joining RWA was the best thing I did to get published. Finaling in contests put my work in front of editors and made my query letter more impressive. I met my critique partners through my local chapter of RWA. Being around other dedicated writers is an inspiration to me and helps me to persevere. Perseverance is key in this career. Knowledge of the industry and networking are also important, and I gained that from RWA. So my advice is to join RWA, and keep writing. Never give up!


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Kerrelyn: You can learn about the craft of writing, research, promotion, and marketing from the experts at RWA. Go to local conferences or the national conference, and read articles in the Romance Writers Report (the RWA magazine). When it comes to craft, I recommend that you write and write and write. Discover your own voice that will make you unique. Research can be done with books, the Internet, and asking questions from specialty chapters of RWA (like the Beau Monde if you write Regency). As for promotion, a great website is the best way to reach readers. I also have bookmarks and postcards printed that I mail to bookstores and reading groups. With the last book, The Undead Next Door, I had a trailer made by Circle of Seven productions. They did a fantastic job, and the trailer can be seen at my website.

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
 
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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