The awesome Olivia Kelly agreed to do an interview with me. Sit back and catch up with her. I am currently reading one of her books called The Lady and the Duke. 🙂
Olivia Kelly writes all sorts of things, in between chasing her children around their small section of North Carolina and drinking copious amounts of Coke Zero. The stories run the gamut from historical fiction to urban fantasy, but they always include kissing.
My website: http://oliviakellyauthor.weebly.com/
You can find me on
C- What’s your current project? Tell us a little about it.
O. – I have several current projects, because I am a maniac.
My Regency romance novella, Look to the Stars, is coming out in May (Dismissing the Duke ~When the Duke Comes to Town) in a historical romance anthology. Miriam Rosenbaum is a Jewish American heiress who would much rather study the stars than get married. Leopold Blakeley will someday be an earl, though he’d much rather… not. His great-uncle, the Duke of Danby, has come to Town for the season and is making his life difficult, sneakily marrying off all of Leo’s cousins. He’s afraid he’ll be next, and with good reason. To forestall the duke’s efforts, Leo chooses to give the appearance of courting his mother’s old friend’s daughter. He knows he’s in no danger of her WANTING to marry him, after all, so it’s a brilliant plan. If only she would cooperate!
I’m writing several comic scripts, a few of which are on submission right now. I think I still have two poems out on sub as well.
C- What has been your favorite scene to write so far?
O. – In Look To The Stars, it’s the scene where Leo is attempting to subtly maneuver Mimi into accompanying him to Hyde Park, where rumor can convey the news of his courtship to the duke. Unfortunately for him, she’s much more interested in finding a way to visit the Royal Observatory, and confer with the scientists working there. After intense negotiations, they agree to do both, but of course it doesn’t work out the way either had hoped.
C- Who or what has inspired your writing?
O. There are so many authors I love that, when I read their books, it makes me excited to write. And my head is constantly filled with “What If” questions, especially when music is on. I get a lot of inspiration from songs, even ones that are radically different from the genre/media I’m writing at the time.
C- What is your biggest goal with your writing?
O. To tell my stories. Sure, money is nice and I’m kind of need it to survive, but I’d just like to get my stories out where they can be read. I have no desire or plan to top lists, to be honest.
C- Do you have any pre-writing rituals?
O. – Not really. I do listen to a LOT of music, and I like to set up a playlist for every WIP. But I listen to music constantly anyway!
C – What is the weirdest location you’ve ever written at?
O. – In the bath, using my kid’s travel lap tray to hold up my notebook! I’ve also written in many a doctor’s waiting room.
C – How do you handle writer’s block?
O. – I’ve learned to differentiate between writer’s block and depression. That was key for me. I don’t necessarily get writer’s block, as most know it. But I am manic depressive, so I have symptoms that mimic it at times. Learning to not be angry and frustrated at myself for not being able to write is my biggest struggle. I’m still working on that! But I’ve found if I push myself too hard when I’m suffering a low, it only makes it worse. I’ve had to learn to be very honest with myself, for self-care. Am I’m depressed? Or am I being lazy because it’s Sunday morning and I don’t waaaaaanna write?
C- How much research was involved in your latest piece and how did you tackle it?
O. – Some research is always required when you write historical fiction, if you’re not making the world up wholesale. Thankfully, this is a time period and a world (The Duke of Danby) I’ve written in before. So… not much! I do a lot of research on small things, I find. Something like that turns out to be only one line could take me an hour of reading science websites, for instance. But even in writing fiction, it’s important to get your facts straight!
C- Are you a panser or a plotter?
O. – A bit of both? I generally plot an outline and I always do a character bible. I’ll write up a summary as well. That can change though, as I write the story, so it’s usually adjusted later. With Look To The Stars, it was harder because we have preorder buttons. So I actually have to STICK to my outline this time! Horrors!
C – What has been your biggest learning experience so far in your career?
O. – Even when Indie pubbing, if you’re working with others, use a contract. Always get a contract when it involves money and a creative endeavor. Even if you’re working with friends. ESPECIALLY if you’re working with friends.
C – Is there anything you wish you were told prior to writing or publishing?
O. – I’m lucky, in that, as a baby writer I fell in with a group of very successful authors. They really showed me how the industry works, both in Indie and traditional publishing. I felt like I had a good handle on what might happen, before I published my first story.
C- What’s next for you?
O. – Possibly more historical romance, but after Look To The Stars, I’ll be concentrating on my comic scripts. I have one that I’m polishing now that I’m probably going to be putting together a creative team for pitching, to Indie pub. And always more submissions! Keep moving forward.
C- What do you like best about writing romance, fantasy ?
O. – There’s romance in everything I write. Everything. The overall genre might be coded something else, like urban fantasy, but it’s always there. I think I just love the idea of Love. That one big one, the one that knocks you down, then lifts you up. And all the messy, angsty, complicated fun that leads up to Love.
C- Is there another genre you have tried writing?
O. – I think the only genre I HAVEN’T written in is Mystery/Thriller. My brain just doesn’t think like that!
C – Have you taken any writing classes? If so, share those experiences.
O. – Other than in school, no. As anyone who has ever edited me would be quick to tell you.
C- Is there any talent or skill you wish you were better at within the writing/publishing process?
O. – EVERYTHING. I like Indie pubbing for the independence, but I HATE the Indie pubbing process. I’m terrible at it. I can’t seem to get the hang of converting files and uploading and yada yada, no matter how many times I do it. It’s always a struggle. As far as writing, I’m never satisfied. It’s a blessing, because I’m always pushing myself to do better this time. But it’s also a curse, because I’m never 100% happy with what I produce. I think many people feel like way, though, no matter what career they chose!
C – Have your parents read your work?
O. – YES. My mom isn’t a fan of my stories usually, not because she thinks I suck (um, I hope), because she only reads Mystery. Which, you know, is the only genre I DON’T WRITE. But my dad, who reads everything, always reads my work. He’s a pretty decent copy edits beta, lol!
C – What made you decide to self-publish or traditionally publish?
O. – When I wrote my first (and only) full length novel, I decided to send in the first chapter to a Romance Writers of America chapter contest. Much to my shock, I won in Historical Romance. I half-heartedly sent it to a few agents, got a few requests, got some rejections. I even sent it in to a publisher and got a nice detailed rejection explaining that they had just acquired a manuscript like mine, so sorry, best of luck. After some inner debate on sending it out more, or revising the hell out of it, I decided to shelve that project. I felt like I’d put so much time into that novel, every time I went back to work on it, I was only making it more of a mess.
Then came the offer to self-pub a novella in an anthology, with many of the authors I’m working with in THIS upcoming anthology. I decided to try it, and it worked out well. We topped some Amazon lists, which was fun, and it still provides me income about four or five years later. That was the experience that showed me, hey, I might be able to actually do this as an Indie author. I liked the idea of not being beholden to anyone other than myself. If I Indie pub, ultimately I rise or fall on my own.
I have sold a short story to Fireside Fiction (who are awesome), and that was also a good experience. So, I’m not opposed to a more traditional publishing route, I’m just very cautious about giving up any part of my independence and creative freedom.
C- What scares you the most?
O. – Failing myself, failing to meet my own standards. Trust me, they are higher than anyone else’s expectations of me ever could be. I just want to make art I can be proud of, really.
C- When did you start to feel like an author?
O. – I’ll let you know when that hits. Lol… No, but I truly still don’t feel like an author. A writer, yes, that’s a title I’ll own gladly. Maybe I’m reluctant to use author to describe myself because I’ve only published short stories and novellas so far? Which is silly, because I consider others who make a career out of writing the same to be authors. This is the downside to being friends with so many novel writers! You have weird self-expectations.
C – Have you ever acted out a scene to see if it worked? Share a funny or embarrassing story about acting it out.
O. – I haven’t! But I do read it out loud at times, ONLY in the safety of my home office.
C- Which poets or authors have influenced you in your own writing?
O. – Oh, Lord. Too many!
If we’re talking historical romance, I’d say Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah Maclean, and Courtney Milan are my biggest influences. If I could write half as well as those ladies, I would be satisfied.They write lush, gorgeous novels and novellas.
In comics? Nearly everything I read. The ones I’ve learned the most from, however, are The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Hellboy, Ed Brubaker’s run of The Winter Soldier, Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, Bombshells, and Loki: Agent of Asgard.Just this weekend I picked up both Faith and Mockingbird, and LOVED them. Those are two comics I can’t wait to read more of.
If you’d like to pre-order go here!
Here is the preorder page for Dismissing the Duke (When the Duke Comes to Town): http://www.amazon.com/Dismissing-Duke-When-Comes-Town-ebook/dp/B01CW8BRQS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
This was a great interview! Thank you so much Olivia!