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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Author Interview with Kay Springsteen

Hello Kay, please tell us about you, as a writer.

I’ve written since childhood. When I ran out of things to read, I’d make up stories and write them in notebooks, later on the typewriter, then the computer. But I never pursued publication until this year. It was just more for fun. I love to craft stories in which the people have lots to overcome but in the end they ultimately win.

Your book ‘Elusive Echoes’, is a contemporary romantic suspense; perhaps you’d you give us some insight into it in a few sentences.

Sean and Melanie have been nearly constant companions since childhood, except for several years when she had been forced to live with relatives she hated. Those years scarred her and made it hard for Mel and Sean to reconnect. Now her past coming back in a big way.

How did you come to write this particular book?

This is actually a follow up book to my release from earlier this year, Lifeline Echoes, and is the story of THAT hero’s brother.

     Do you have a favourite character from the book? If so, who and why this particular one?

My favourite character in both the Echoes books is the heroes’ father, Justin. He’s kind of an amalgam of my parents and me as a parent to my own children. Imparts bits of wisdom throughout the stories, strong sense of right and wrong. But he can be counted on to give straight talk.

Where can people buy your books?

What qualities does a writer need to be successful?

Availability to readers. If you don’t connect with readers on a more personal level, you can be the greatest writer in the world, but you’ll still fall short.

What’s your working method?

I have two part-time jobs aside from my writing, so a lot of time I work on my stories late into the night. It seems to work. No phone distractions, very peaceful (though I do write to music).

What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?

Not having an experienced critique partner or group and/or not listening to their advice. Writers don’t have to do everything every crit partner suggests, but I recommend if you don’t agree you talk it through and see where you and the partner can come to an agreement. If the crit partner doesn’t like it, find out the reasons.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important in writing?

They are 100% important. I am also an editor for a different press than where I write, and I see many mistakes that sometimes ruin a good manuscript.

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?

I write a draft, then revise it. Then I submit to my critique partners and make revisions based on feedback. Then I re-read it and make further adjustments. Then I submit my work. After that, I listen to the content and line editors and make adjustments as they guide.

As a writer of sweet romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

I edit a very high heat level but I got my break in publishing by writing sweet. It really doesn’t matter, the genre, so much as you enjoy what you write and you market to the readers who enjoy what you write.

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What's your opinion on this, and how do you deal with it?

I don’t do a ton of heavy marketing. I let readers know I’m out there, and when I have a new release but I don’t pressure others or harass them with my promotions. I do try to reach out to others through blog tours such as this and I open my own blog for others to visit.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?
My “real job,” running errands, and housework are my least favourite time killers. Gardening, hiking with my dogs, playing with my granddaughter, and photography are things I love so I don’t mind stepping away from a story to participate.

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, or a writing group?

My friends and children are the most supportive ever! My daughters enjoy helping me plot and plan my stories.

Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?

I believe it is, especially since I also work on the editing side of things. If you want to be taken seriously, be professional. Writing IS a profession. If you want to be successful in any profession, you put on the uniform. A banker doesn’t apply for a job wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals. An author shouldn’t apply to a publisher with a manuscript that is the equivalent of that.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Depends on the novel. Usually about 1 month to a rough draft then 6 months to finish revisions and submission.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Everything around me. I people watch when I go out. I watch the news. I listen to music. And I talk to my family. All of these have potential to plant a seed that can and often does grow into a major story.

If there’s a single aspect of writing you find frustrating, what is it?

The muddle in the middle – just past introducing the characters but just before the first obstacle. When the characters don’t feel inspired, and seem to want to mill about aimlessly.

Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?

The hunt for the next plot.

Do you believe creative writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

I think it’s a bit of both. But I believe the possession of innate talent inspires the desire to hone the craft. I feel this about any inspired art form.

What are you writing now?

A novel in the tradition of my debut novel, Heartsight, which is currently titled Heartcries.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can visit?

Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?

I would probably buy an RV, pack up my pups, and roll out across the U.S. stopping when I found something interesting, and writing by voice recognition software. I do my best writing behind the wheel, but usually have to wait until I get to my computer before I can type what was “written” in my head.

Where do you actually write?

I write in my head almost constantly, anywhere I happen to be. But physically typing the story out, I sit at my desk in an office of my home.

Elusive Echoes - PG rated novel
(mild violence and mature themes but no graphic cursing or explicit sexual encounters)
They’re two people caught between friendship and something more; they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go.
Drawn together from early childhood, Sean McGee and Melanie Mitchell seemed destined for each other. But at age thirteen, Melanie was wrenched from the people she loved and forced onto a path she loathed. Sean was no stranger to people leaving, but losing Melanie devastated him. When she suddenly reappeared in Orson’s Folly, Sean was overjoyed. The Melanie who came home, though, wasn’t the same girl. She’s got a harder edge and she’s obviously hiding something, but Sean no longer knows how to reach her.
Returning to Orson's Folly as an adult, all Melanie wanted to do was forget the years she spent away. But she soon learned that going home didn’t mean she could return to her old life—or her childhood sweetheart, Sean. Even their mutual attraction to one another hasn’t rebuilt the bond of trust and closeness they once shared. It’s been seven years since she returned and now everything Melanie wants to forget has broadsided her. She must confront her demons and relive her past in an unexpected way or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved. But even if she succeeds, Sean might be lost to her anyway.
Mel sighed. She couldn’t remember a time since they’d been teenagers when she hadn’t wanted to be Sean’s girl. Yet they never seemed to get beyond a few heated kisses before he hightailed it in the opposite direction. Sometimes it was hard to tell if he really wanted to kiss her or if he was just being polite.
“Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” As always she felt a little anxious about his answer, though she usually tried to cover her anxiety with an attitude of nonchalance.
He smiled and gave her a peck on the cheek with one last warm hug. Then he rubbed the back of his neck and cast a sheepish glance her way. “Hope so.”
She breathed more easily when she caught his “yes” tell. He always seemed just a little on the shy side when he said yes to something that was important to him.
Sean waited for her to cross the parking lot again before he left. He probably didn’t know she routinely stood at the door and watched his taillights disappear. 
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