Today Kiernan Kelly is our guest on the blog. Kiernan has written many books that are loved by her fans. In the three years since she has been published she has become a veritable writing machine, churning out more than 40 stories — most of them for Torquere Press. In addition to the other books mentioned in this interview she has written A Change of Heart, As Serious As The Grave, the Fionn O’ The Fae Series, In Bear Country and the sequel, Two Spirits in the Spurs and Saddles series, and many more. Today we’re going to learn a little more about Kiernan and why she likes to write certain types of books.
Hi Kiernan and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on the blog. I think the very first Kiernan Kelly book I read and reviewed was Dancing on the Head of a Pin and I still love that book today because it was so funny. Two of your other books that I absolutely love are Seti’s Heart and Riding Heartbreak Road. I know you have had many more successful books before and since, but those are my favourites.
Thank you, Wave. I’ve been looking forward to this interview for quite a while, because I admire your question-asking awesomeness. Truly, the interviews I’ve read on your blog are some of the most amusing and interesting ones I’ve ever come across!
Can you start by telling the readers something about yourself that we don’t already know?
I’m a klutz. Seriously…I should come with a warning label. If I’m not banging some part of my anatomy into walls or doors, or tripping over my own feet, then I’m dropping stuff, or spilling something. I’ve always been this way, for as long as I can remember. Someone once told me that I live too much inside my head to be aware of what’s happening around me. That strikes me as true, but doesn’t really help me with getting the coffee stains out of my clothing.
What kind of a writer would you say is Kiernan Kelly?
I like to think of myself as the author-version of everyone’s quirky neighbor, the one with drag queen garden gnomes, who wears Monty Python Killer Bunny slippers to the grocery store. You know the one — she’s a little eccentric, but just enough so to make you giggle, not run away screaming when you see her coming in your direction.
My books are a lot like that, too. I’ve written “serious” novels, like Riding Heartbreak Road, but I’ve also written stories and characters that are a little…well…different, to put it politely. I like writing about the oddest characters — satyrs, angels, demons, ghosts, and zombies, for example, in addition to the usual pairings.
I know, I know…my life is so exciting. Me, in my tiny office, hunched over a keyboard. Glamorous, huh?
What do you most love about writing and why?
The best part for me is the creative process. I love discovering new characters, finding out what their flaws and strengths are, and exploring their personalities and relationships. I like the dynamics between characters, and I really love a good fight scene. There’s nothing like having my characters argue, except maybe for the make-up sex afterwards.
Now that you have had this gig for about 3 years, if you were a reviewer how would you rate it and what’s the best part? Are there any downsides to being a famous writer?
If my life was a book, it’d be as boring as hell. Most of my time is taken up with writing. I’m so thankful my husband is as understanding and supportive as he is, particularly when a story isn’t going as well as I’d expected, or there’s a deadline looming and I get nervous that I won’t meet it (that hasn’t happened yet, but sometimes I take it right down to the wire, which is nerve-wracking).
But as far as the rewards of my chosen profession go, I’d have to give it five stars. It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I’ve ever held.
If you had to choose, which one is your favourite Kiernan Kelly book? Why? Is there a book you wish you had never written? *g*
That’s a difficult question, but I suppose Riding Heartbreak Road answers both parts, though. It’s one of my favorites; special to me because it was my very first book. I do still get flak about the epilogue, and even though I stand by my decision to put it in, I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if I had not, and if I should’ve let things stand as they were between Jake and Brent after the last chapter.
I also really liked Seti’s Heart,” and the “Dancing on the Head of a Pin” universe, because Seti and Cael (the leads in the books) are pretty hot guys with attitude. I have a new book coming out in April called “Outland,” which is quickly edging its way to the top place on my list of favorites, mostly because the characters are not the sort of pairing you usually see in gay romance novels. They’re older, both just past fifty, full of flaws, living in the closet in a small Bible Belt town. I fell in love with them while I was writing them.
Why do so many of your stories have the common theme of curses e.g. Seti’s Heart. Why the fascination with this topic?
You know, I’ve never quite thought about that before! Wow…I’m a little creepy, aren’t I? ROFLMAO I love the paranormal. Shapeshifters, vampires, mummified Egyptian kings…the whole shebang. I think there’s something tremendously appealing about characters being slammed by forces outside of their control, like curses, and struggling to — and eventually succeeding — in overcoming them. It’s sort of reflective of real life, when we get hit by something we never saw coming, and need to deal with it. Plus, I’m intrigued by the whole mystique of the supernatural; things like having powers, being immortal, or being able to shift shapes. I like my characters to be something a little more than merely human, and yet having to deal with the spectrum of human emotions.
Which of your books would you say is your best seller?
I’m very lucky in that all of my backlist still sells very well, but if we’re talking about sales at release, I guess I’d have to pick Seti’s Heart as my best seller, so far. Although, in terms of overall dollars and cents, Riding Heartbreak Road holds the title, since it came out three years ago and is still selling copies.
You have been writing for some time. How would you say your writing has evolved?
Oh, by leaps and bounds! Here’s another secret about me…while I hold a degree, it’s in graphic design. I never studied writing or English in college, aside from the basic, required courses. Everything I knew when I began writing was gleaned from reading — and as it turns out, I didn’t know my ass from my elbow. I have been blessed with publishers who decided to take a chance on me, and with very patient, very accommodating editors, who’ve helped me refine my craft. I’m still learning, though, and still working on producing cleaner, tighter writing in my manuscripts.
What do you consider to be your major achievement as a writer?
Being published, period. It’s an accomplishment I’m most proud of, second only to watching my three terrific kids grow into really cool adults. Imagine…I wrote a story that someone decided was good enough to invest their time and money in to publish, and that readers are willing to spend their hard-earned money to buy and read! It’s heady — and humbling — stuff.
As a writer, what do you know for sure?
The only thing I know for sure is that I know nothing about anything. There’s always something new to learn, something more to discover, some way I can improve my writing.
What does Kiernan Kelly have planned over the next 3 – 6 months in terms of new releases?
The next big release I have coming is “Outland,” on April 22nd through Torquere Press. I’m very excited about this one. The chief pairing in the book are two men, Beaver and Hank, who are both just over fifty years old, but still sexy — at least to each other. There are some heavy themes running through this book — gay bashing, hate, and ignorance, but there’s also hope, friendship, love, and some steamy sex. It’s a good mix, I think, and I’m really looking forward to its release. In December, I have the sequel to my latest novel release, In Their Own Skins: Shifting Sands, titled In Their Own Skins: The Mark of Cain. In between, I have a long list of short stories coming, including a story in the upcoming Torquere Press anthology, Animal Attraction II, called Elusive Blue. I also have another story coming out shortly from Torquere for their new Spices line called Homesteads and Horseradish, and a novella coming from MLR Press in the Studs and Spurs anthology, called The Judas Steer. Both are historical westerns.
I think I know the answer to this question but would you say that you’re a character driven or plot driven writer? How has this helped your writing?
I would consider myself a character driven writer. The characters always seem to come first to me, and the plot, while important, is a device I use to get the characters from point A to point B. For me, as both a reader and a writer, it’s what’s going on inside a character’s head and heart that really makes the story a good read. The plot and steamy sex are the icing on the cake for me, but the characters are the heart of it all.
You are known for selecting strange themes and odd pairings for your books. Why? Do you do so because that’s what you prefer to read?
I do enjoy the paranormal, as I’ve said before, which is why I write so much of it. I like writing odd, unusual themes and characters because, if nothing else, in my books readers will probably find something they haven’t read before. I particularly enjoy writing “normal” guys who happen to be stuck in extraordinary situations.
You also published “Eight Rules to Being Ordinarily Fabulous” which I think are a hoot. The one I love the best is “If a razor doesn’t remove the hair from your balls, the medical tape will. It’s your choice.” Have you ever thought of publishing a book of humor?
Humor is a part of the human condition. We all appreciate it, in some form or another. Life would indeed be dreary and dull without it. Laughter lightens the soul, and helps us bear the hard times. As a writer, I enjoy making people laugh. I like readers to recognize a sense of humor in my characters, to laugh along with them — or, at times, at them. I haven’t thought about writing a book of humor — I’m afraid it would just be a couple hundred pages of me rambling on and amusing myself. LOL
What advice would you give to aspiring authors to achieve a small measure of success?
Believe you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Understand that reading, like art, is subjective, and while not everyone may appreciate your style, or the genre you choose to write in, that doesn’t mean you haven’t written something worthwhile.
KIERNAN KELLY UNPLUGGED
We have a section that I call Unplugged where I ask far ranging questions that may have a little to do with your books but not a whole lot. I hope you’ll play along.
Absolutely. Unplug me. LOL
So, how hot do you get when you write about two men under the sheets?
I’ve said this before..I think men are hot, and two men together getting sweaty and spent can leave me drowning in a puddle of my own drool.
How do you come up with your plots? Do you do so while touching the vegetables in the produce aisle?
Yes, there’s nothing sexier than feeling up the zucchini in my neighborhood Piggly Wiggly. ROFLMAO! I think I’m still twelve years old at heart — I giggle when I see signs in the meat department for Pork Butt.
Plots — and characters — can come from anywhere, at any time. I keep a notebook with me at all times, because I never know when I’ll see something that inspires me.
Have you ever thought how great it would be to have two or three of your protags FOR dinner and dessert in a virtual world?
Of course! I had the biggest crush on Seti for the longest time. In my head, he looked like The Rock in “The Scorpion King.” Good God, what I wouldn’t pay to see that man naked, and run my tongue…er…okay, maybe that’s a little too much information. LOL.
If you were asked, what would you say is your favourite erotic fantasy?
I love the innocent/experienced pairings, where one partner introduces the other into the wonderful world of sex. I also like younger/older pairings, the straight-guy-exploring-gay-sex, and the old, tried and true “I-hate-you, I-love-you” fantasy.
Is there a question about yourself that you’ve never been asked that you’re dying to answer?
Question: If you could choose to be a supernatural creature, which would it be, and why?
Answer: Why, Kiernan, what a good question! LOL. I would be hard pressed to choose, but I think I’d probably go with a shapeshifter. Not that I’d want to be anything as mundane as a werewolf. To begin with, there’d be WAY too much body hair. The razor bills alone would break my bank account. Secondly, I like my meat rare, but not still breathing, thank you very much, and if I had to run it down before eating it, I’d starve to death.
Is there such a thing as an Angelina Jolie shapeshifter? Honestly, no one should look that good AND get to sleep with Brad Pitt. It’s just not fair to the rest of us schmucks. If I could turn into her during a full moon, I’d go for it in a New York minute.
Tell us something fun about Kiernan Kelly that will rock our socks.
I didn’t go to college until I was forty, and my kids were grown. I studied graphic design, not fine art, but have never worked as a graphic designer. After school, I did the whole fine art show circuit thing, and have the blue ribbons on my wall to prove it.
In short, the two things I’ve been most successful at — fine art and writing — I never studied in school. Go figure.
I would like to thank Kiernan for joining us on the blog today.
My pleasure, Wave. Thank you!
Kiernan was a most delightful guest but I still wonder why she included that epilogue in Riding Heartbreak Road. She never did say. I love the book but like most readers, while I understand that there are RL issues that characters must face, a HFN would have worked for me just as well. But writers have to write their truth and I understand and respect that.
Kiernan was a lot of fun and I have this picture of her at the Piggly Wiggly feeling up the zucchini to get the right texture and size.