Answer: I’m sorry, but for legal reasons, I am NOT allowed to look at any book ideas or manuscript pages. I can give you advice, though.
First-- Study the craft of writing and practice a lot. You may not get your first book published. You may not get your tenth book published. Remember, just because you wrote something that’s not good enough to be published, that doesn’t mean you have wasted your time. It’s simply part of your learning curve. Keep at it, and you will improve.
Here are some books I found very useful:
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II by James N. Frey
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
Secondly-- Read a lot. Read great books from all genres. Soak it in so you can acquire good instincts. Then you will know if something is off in your own writing, like the pacing or the characters. Join a critique group our volunteer to judge writing contests. You can learn a lot by analyzing other people’s writing. (Sometimes we’re too close to our writing to see the flaws).
Thirdly-- Study the business of writing. Learn about publishers and agents. Learn how to format your manuscript correctly. Learn how to write a dynamite query letter. And make sure you can finish the book! Learn about traditional publishing, self-publishing, or hybrid, so you can decide which path is best suited for you.
Fourthly-- Join a writers’ group like Romance Writers of America. You can find them online at http://www.rwa.org/. They have local chapters and online chapters. They hold workshops and classes, both physical and online, where you can learn everything from the craft of writing to the business of getting and staying published. They hold conferences where you can meet editors and agents. They run contests where the final entries are seen by editors and agents. (That is how I acquired my first sale). If you don’t write romance, find another writers’ group. They are out there, and they are the best way for you to educate yourself about craft and the industry.
And finally-- Never give up! Published authors are simply the writers who refused to give up.
Answer: Anywhere and everywhere. I love to people watch. I like to look at ordinary things and play What if?
Answer: Each author will be different, but for me, the characters come first and they run the show.
Answer: Due to time constraints, I can only consider requests that come from my agent or editor.
Answer: Mail me a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope), and I will send you whatever bookmarks and postcards I currently have available. Make sure the envelope you send is big enough for postcards that are 4”x6” and bookmarks that are 7” long. A regular size business envelope (9.5” x 4”) is big enough. If you want bookplates, let me know the name you want them made out to. My address is P.O Box 5512, Katy, TX 77491-5512.
Answer: You can mail your book to me, enclosing a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) that’s big enough for me to mail the book back to you. Or you can mail me a smaller SASE, and I will send you a signed bookplate plus some bookmarks. My address is P.O Box 5512, Katy, TX 77491-5512. Please use real stamps on the SASE, since metered mail comes with an expiration date. You can also order my books through Katy Budget Books, and I will drop by the store and sign them to you before the fabulous folks at KBB mail it to you. You can find them at http://katybooks.com/.
Answer: I don’t really know. My first historical was For Love or Country, published in 2002. I was delighted when Avon reissued it in 2012 as The Forbidden Lady. I was able to revise The Forbidden Lady to make it sexier. The sequel, Less than a Gentleman, released in 2013. At this time, I’m not working on another historical romance, but that could always change.
Answer: Roman was born in 1492. During medieval times, it was common to use exclamations referring to God. “Zounds!” is actually a shortened version of the original, "God’s wounds!" "’Snails!" was "God’s nails!" "Odsbodikins" referred to "God’s body!" "God’s blood" was a common medieval oath, even though it sounds strange to us today. Since Roman was a medieval vampire who needed blood for survival, I thought it was an oath that suited him. It’s also a fairly mild oath (he’s not cursing or damning anything to hell, which would be offensive to a guy who had been raised in a medieval monastery and had actually lived as a monk). Roman has been saying the phrase for over 500 years, so it’s a habit he would find hard to break. And I thought if I left him with a medieval habit, it would show that he hadn’t changed a great deal over the centuries.
Answer: Phineas is one of my favorite characters because he is a hero-in-the-making. We get to watch him become a hero! Whereas the older Vamps have personalities that have been set for hundreds of years, Phineas is young and changing, and that makes him exciting. Many of the Vamps have less-than-stellar backgrounds (look at Connor, for example), but they overcame their past troubles and worked hard to become heroes. Phineas is the same way, except his less-than-stellar past is much more recent. Why do I give the heroes rough backgrounds? Because I write stories, and if I start off with a perfectly wonderful character, then I have nowhere to go with him. From a writer’s point of view, perfect people make for boring stories. Flawed people are much more interesting. Example: the Adam Sandler movies. His character usually starts off in a bad way, but in the course of the movie, he becomes a hero. It’s the metamorphosis that makes a story. And it’s the ability to overcome past troubles and current conflicts and emerge victorious that gives each hero the ability to inspire hope and encouragement in his readers. I think you will be very pleased by how heroic Phineas becomes! His book releases in the Spring of 2012.
Answer: If you wish to chat with Kerrelyn and other readers, please join the chat group by sending an email to KerrelynSparksChatemail@example.com. If you’d like to receive news and updates, please subscribe to Kerrelyn’s newsletter at KerrelynSparksNewsfirstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Kerrelyn on Facebook or Goodreads or on Twitter where she is @KerrelynSparks.
Answer: I hope to! I love that merry gang of vamps and shifters, and I haven’t given up on them. But after living with them for over 10 years and 16 books, I needed a break. They were like family that came to visit and never left! Meanwhile, other ideas were percolating in my head and demanding to be told.
Honestly, there were a few things about the vamps that had started to feel confining. One: all those vampire scenes that had to take place at night. I was trapped in the dark for years! And I had to constantly figure out a light source so they could see! And two: all the vamps had pretty much the same powers. After awhile, I wanted to invent a group of superheroes where each one had a different power or gift. And they could be alive during the day!
That’s what I’m doing now with the Embraced. I hope you will love them as much as the Love at Stake gang. And yes, I do plan to return to the vamps and shifters eventually. When I do, I’ll jump ahead in time so the children will be grown enough to star in their own stories. Don’t worry about J.L. Wang and Laszlo. In a few years, or even a hundred years, they will still look exactly the same. And they will definitely be ready for love!