Welcome to this weeks installment of Finding Fiction Friday! Today I am very pleased to talk with another of my "Evernight Vol. 2" compatriots, A. L. Kessler. Please join me as we take a walk through her writing experiences ...
Amy, how did you get started writing, and what did it feel like when you learned that your first story had been accepted for publication?
I started writing fan fiction in middle school and then started crafting original stories in high school. My mom passed away the summer before my Freshman year of high school. I found writing a great way to escape from the crazy my life became and it grew from there. I tried through out my attempt at college to get published. My greatest accomplishment during that time was a full manuscript request, but that didn’t amount to much. When I learned that Keeper had been accepted into Evernight Vol. 2 I was ecstatic. I had to reread the e-mail a few times to make sure I understood it correctly. The I proceeded to rush to the bedroom and attack my husband (to wake him up) so I could share the good news. I couldn’t stop grinning I was so happy.
What’s your favorite writing environment? At a desk, on the couch with your feet up, music or not, etc.?
My favorite has to be down stairs with the dual screen monitors. I prefer music when I write, but silence when I edit. There has to be some type of drink, warm or cold. I’m a coffee addict so any type of coffee will do. During the winter I love to kick back and write in front of the fireplace. If I can get out of the house to write, I like to go down to the Starbucks by my house. It’s small, quiet, and the staff is fantastic. There’s nothing like writing with my headphones on and people watching there. Uninterrupted writing is something that is rare at home.
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
The community has taken me by storm. The amount of support that other authors show is amazing. I never expected to be surrounded by such support. Almost everyone is willing to help out where they can.
Your first publication was the story “Keeper” in the “Evernight Vol. 2” anthology. I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, so I will just ask what your inspiration was for this story?
Dreams have always fascinated me and I always wonder what it would be like for someone to be trapped there and why. Kheelan developed from that point. A friend of mine, who is a huge book nerd, inspired Aubrey. As for the world and the plot the idea and mythology of the Fae world is amazing and I wanted to try my hand at creating a story in it.
Last month your novel “Midnight Symphony” was released. Tell us a little about this novel.
Midnight Symphony was a novel I shoved away in a drawer for a while. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. I pulled it out and looked it over and decided that I could do something with it. My inspiration came from a puzzle image and from there I combined two story ideas that I had. Cora and Darius have a great chemistry even if they are from different walks of life. Cora is a gypsy witch and Darius is a demon. Together they have to stop a war. Here’s the official blurb, because quite frankly I don’t know what else to say.
The legend of the Gypsy Lady had been passed down for centuries, and now it is Cora's turn to dance in the square. Giving people hope and taunting the Demon King is what she lives for, until she catches the attention of Darius, prince of the demons. Hidden behind her mask, she keeps her identity from him until she is captured by the king. With her magic on the verge of waking and the village on the brink of war can Cora tame Darius' heart before it's too late? Darius became obsessed with the Gypsy Lady the first time he had seen her dance and play in the market place. The night he kissed her became his undoing. When his father captures the woman people believed to be a spirit, Darius takes the chance to observe her. His obsession with her grows into something more, he knows that together they can stop the war and set things right, but can he accept it?
You decided to self-publish “Midnight Symphony”. What led you to that decision? How was it different for you?
After Keeper had been published I had a few people in my inbox asking me if I had written anything else or when my next release was. After talking to my husband and a couple close friends I decided to ‘ride the wave’ and not keep my few fans waiting. I had and still have a team of people who were willing to help with the beta reading, the editing, and the cover.
What was different for me? All I have to compare it to is Evernight Vol. 2. I sent in the story, it came back with edits, and then I sent it back with corrections. Once it was sent I waited. The contract came in, I signed it (after reading it of course) and then waited for the release day. When it came out I advertised for it and made sure to keep up on the reviews. For Midnight Symphony I kept in contact with the beta readers doing the feedback and the edits. I had to find a cover artist (because I have no talent in that area) and had to do the research on how to get it into the readers’ hands. When it was out I generated hype for it, ran contests, and I’m still doing promotion stuff for it like sending out review request to blogs. It’s a lot more work than Keeper was. But honestly I’m glad I went this direction.
There are always ideas bouncing around in my head. I’m never short on them. I have another short story released in Penny Dread Vol. 3, Of Souls and Steam. That is a Steampunk story. The first novel in my Dark War Chronicles will be out in June, In the Light of the Moon. I’m currently participating in a free-read blog of Twisted Fairy Tales. I’m always working on something, there is just too much in my head to not be.
What does your family think of your writing career so far?
My husband thinks it’s fantastic. He always tells me “When you hit it big we’re going to do…” He’s been with me since I sent my first query letter. One sister is encouraging, but won’t read because “Reading sex my sister wrote is just weird”. Though my other sister thinks it’s awesome and is always encouraging me and asking me how things are going. When Keeper was published my father asked me if he would get a copy of the article I wrote and my step-mom nicely explained to him that I wrote romance.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. (Yes, this set goes to eleven.) Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? Oy.
- What is your least favorite word? Cunt
- What turns you on? Hair pulling
- What turns you off? Cockiness
- What sound or noise do you love? The sound of my baby girl giggling.
- What sound or noise do you hate? You know those clacker magnets that make that buzz noise? That.
- What is your favorite curse word? Shit or Fuck.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I have my dream profession - I’m a stay at home mom and an author; however, I’d like to try ASL interpretation.
- What profession would you not like to do? Anything that deals with dying people or animals. I just couldn’t take it.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Congrats, you didn’t screw up like people thought.”
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Did you ever think you’d get this far?
Amy, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
Where to buy:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-symphony-al-kessler/1114587476?ean=2940044309272
Penny Dread Vol 3:
Evernight Vol 2: