One of the things I love about doing honest book reviews from ARCs (advance review copies) is that I get to find some really talented authors. Kayla is one of these. She kindly offered her work The Council for a review. What I had to say was “Read this now.” It reminded me a bit of the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling and a bit of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Kayla graciously agreed to offer this interview and share some of her experience with writing that novel. Thanks Kayla!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a psychological horror/thriller writer originally from Roseville, Michigan. A few years back, I moved across the country to Texas where I currently live with my husband and son. I love to read and write things in the psychological fiction genre. When I get free time, I like to go for walks in the woods and listen to ‘80’s music. My favorite author is Stephen King—he’s actually the reason I began writing, but I also have a soft spot for Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare as well.
What are some of the challenges of being an author?
The biggest challenge of being an author to me is simply getting the time to write. Life can be hectic sometimes so there will be days or even weeks that pass without me getting the time to write which can be bad if I leave off in the middle of a scene.
What process or routine do you follow to get so much writing done?
My writing process is actually quite complicated. When I begin a new project, I first write it all down in a spiral college-ruled notebook with a fountain pen. Pen on paper helps me gather my thoughts better than writing on a computer. After I finish my first draft in the notebook, I transfer all the writing to loose-leaf paper that I keep in a binder. After this draft is when I finally type it on the computer and look for things such as plot holes or areas where characters need development.
Which of your books do you love the most? Why?
I love The Council the most because at its heart, it tells the story of a girl figuring out who she is in a chaotic world and I think that’s something everyone can relate to on some level.
Which of your books do you feel the least affection towards? Why?
I think I feel the least affection toward my series The Blood Moon trilogy. While this was the first series that I wrote, I feel that the idea of vampires and werewolves has been done to the point where people will judge my books without even giving them a chance.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I’m working on a handful of projects including The Elemental Coven, book two of The Witch’s Ambitions trilogy as well as Comatose at Dusk, book five of the Rituals of the Night series.
What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Develop the toughest skin you can manage and then some. Writing is a hard business, and on most days you’ll want to bury your head in your pillows and stay there but there is light at the end of the tunnel if you have the determination and willingness to put in the effort it takes to get there. Just remember to write because it makes you happy. Don’t lose sight of that.
What do you want to know from readers?
From my readers, I’d like to know what it is about my work that drew them in to read something from me. First impressions are everything, after all. Being an indie author means news of my books travels by word of mouth. How did they hear from me and what made them decide to take the risk and show their literary love?
What do you want readers to know?
I appreciate every single person that takes time out of their day to read my work and support me. Writing is hard so having people who are there for me on days when I want to give up make all the difference. Without my readers, I’m nothing.
Where can readers find out more about your books or get in touch with you?
I’m available on just about every social media site known to man.
Here’s my most frequented sites:
Google +: https://plus.google.com/108956159394665688329
Facebook is always the best way to get in touch with me.
What is your favorite movie, comic, or book?
My favorite movie of all time is the 1988 movie Heathers. This dark comedy appealed to my twisted sense of humor and strengthened my faith in my Rituals of the Night series. No matter how many times I watch it, I never get sick of it.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza. I don’t know why but I could eat pizza for every meal and never get sick of it.
Who is your favorite character from The Council?
Lilith is my favorite character because of the way she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t care what other people think of her and will do what she needs to do for herself and to protect the people that she loves.
What can’t that character live without?
The truth. If something is bothering her, Lilith MUST get to the bottom of it at all costs.
Tell us a little bit about your journey as an author.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I wrote a number of novella-length works but nothing too serious. Then I wrote my first series, The Blood Moon Trilogy. I never published it but instead, I moved onto the Rituals of the Night Series. I had written a handful of books for this series when I got the idea for The Council, my first fantasy book.
Published works require more than just an author. What sort of team members do you have to help you reach the final point of publishing a work?
I have a team of wonderful beta and advanced readers that give me essential story feedback before it goes onto my editor, Miss Crystal MM Burton to be polished and perfected. Finally, Laura Callender creates beautiful covers to help them stand out.
What do you love most about being an author?
That feeling I get when all the ideas I have for a novel begin to come together in complicated waves and I create a fantastic world from nothing. It’s the best feeling in the world.
What do you dislike most about being an author?
Promotion. Being that I’m a small-time author, I don’t have the funds to hire a PA or anything of the sort. That means that some time that should be devoted to writing, goes to promoting the books I have out instead.
What is the most important piece of advice you have for other writers and authors?
Never give up. Writing is a tough business but wear your battle scars proudly and never let anyone take away the joy it gives you.
What is your favorite TV show?
I love American Horror Story because of the way it takes taboo subjects and twists them psychologically to build on the horror and suspense. I feel like each season is fascinating because it blends real life horrors with fictional to create something truly unique and original.
Do you ever have moments of self-doubt or novel-doubt?
I have a lot of moments of self-doubt and I think that’s what makes me a better writer. I’m always looking for ways to improve my craft and without self-doubt I wouldn’t do whatever possible to make myself a better writer.
Are there any unpublished manuscripts you have created? Will you ever publish them?
I have handfuls of unpublished manuscripts, most of which were written during my high school days. A put a few up on my Wattpad page but I’ve never given them much serious thought. Maybe one day once I’ve finished writing my two series, I’ll look at the ones with potential and see if they can be polished up a bit.
If you could go back in time and meet anyone, who would it be?
I would love to meet Eminem. His music has been such a huge motivating factor in my life both writing-wise and otherwise. A lot of my characters were developed with the aid of his music, and I think it would be an amazing opportunity to sit down and talk with him about what inspired him to create his music.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I just want to say another big thank you to everyone supporting my writing career. Thank you for having me. It’s been fun!