Thank you so much for joining me here, Kitty!
Thanks Kelsey, it’s great to share the writer’s world with readers.
So, what was your road to having Freaksville getting published?
It’s been a long road with a few potholes along the way. I started writing in high school. I used to write stories for my friends.
Fast forward several years, I wrote Freaksville almost four years before I sold it. I sent my submission off to one publisher only to discover they closed their YA line. I shelved the story.
I started to concentrate on my non-YA contemporary and paranormal romance. After a few rejection letters, I pulled Freaksville out again. I had heard about this new publisher who was looking for YA books. I read their submission guidelines and felt Freaksville would be a good fit. As a result, I queried them and received a request for the full manuscript. I sent it off and a few months later I had a contract offer.
Can you describe the feeling when a publishing company bought your book?
My husband and I had gone to dinner with a group of friends. As a creature of habit, as soon as I got home, I went upstairs to check my email. There in my in box was an email from my (now) editor. It said Freaksville in the subject line. Two weeks prior, a girl in my writing chapter had sold to this same press. Her email had the words contract offer in the subject line. I thought I had gotten another rejection. ( A little tidbit: I‘ve heard that the average writer receives 42 rejections before selling.) I was sorta bummed, but decided to open it anyway. I hadn’t noticed there were attachments.
When I opened it and saw the words Contract, I screamed! My husband came in and asked where’s the spider. (I hate spiders and tend to scream like a banshee when I find one.) I told him I sold Freaksville.
I wanted to celebrate.
Like a maniac I jumped up and down and barreled down my street to my friends house shrieking, ”I sold a book!” I’m such a dork.;)
What's your favorite comfort food when writing?
I love peanut M&M’s. When I’m stuck on a plot line, I munch on them. It’s sorta dangerous as they are really small. I don’t realize I’ve inhaled the entire bag until it’s gone. It’s the hole hand to mouth phenomena, like popcorn. I also live on tea for the caffeine.
How do you come up with your character's names? I'm always curious.
My stories are character driven. Meaning I come up with the hero, heroine, villain and supporting characters before the plot. I think of the type of people I want to have in the novel, their strengths, their quirks, and pet peeves. I try to pair opposite together. Conflict is what drives stories.
I have a lot of baby name books and websites. Sometimes I have a name in my head. I like to base the meaning of the names on the character’s traits. Since I’m a huge anglophile (lover of all things British) I often use names of British towns as the last names. Like in my short story My Prom Date’s a Vampire, my characters are Wendy Stoke and Matt Glasgow. Stoke is a town in
In Freaksville, the last names have a huge meaning. Kasey Maxwell my heroine, and Josh Johnstone my hero, both of their names are very historic. The Maxwells and the Johnstones were families that had been feuding over the borders between
I also google every name I select. If I get any hits, I change it.
I have a pet peeve—when writers use really hard names to pronounce. I try to make sure I don’t use spellings that are too crazy or something so off the wall you need a dictionary to translate. Nothing pulls you out of a story faster than a weird word. I’m very conscious of the names I choose.
I also keep card catalogs with the character’s traits, their data, i.e., blonde hair, hates elevators, etc. Stuff like that. It helps me when I’m creating them. My characters tend to live in my imagination. I never use real people to create a character. Now, I might use a quirk of someone I know. But I never base them on people around me. So nope Josh is not my hubby. I’m not Kasey. We have similarities because she comes from me. Yet I think she’s more of a risk taker than I am. Besides, she sees ghosts and has visions…
Writers block. What do you do to get over it?
When I first started writing, if I was blocked on a certain section, I usually started writing something else. It helped. Now, since I have contracts to fulfill, I have to work through that block. I use a few different methods. One is to write it out on butcher paper. I’ll spread out the big white rolls on the floor and write thoughts out with different colored Sharpie pens. (I love sharpie pens. My handwriting looks so cool in them.) Sometimes the brainstorming helps me. If it’s just a certain chapter that’s giving me trouble, I often will skip that section and write myself a note like add Lycan detail here. Then, I’ll start a new chapter.
I also have a really great CP. (Critique Partner) She lives in a different state. We’re both night owls. I can call her late. She lets me talk my plot issues out. I firmly believe in “spare the reader, not the writer.” And my CP will tell it to me straight. If it stinks she tells me so.
What was the biggest hardship when writing Freaksville?
Writing it was the easy part. It was on my terms. It’s editing and doing all the little things that were the hard part. I wouldn’t say I’ve had any hardships per say. I’m a tad bit impatient. The waiting has been the hardest thing for me…being on someone else’s schedule. Things get pushed back. I grew up in the microwave generation—I want it now and I want it fast.
Why YA fiction?
It comes easy to me. The genre fits my snarky sense of humor. I’ve been told I have a good voice for YA. ( style of writing.) I love first person stories. Now there are plenty of YA novels written in third person, too. I do write in third person but not in YA. YA is what I started writing. I used to write about teenagers as a teenager. I love the fantasy angle and the discovery you can have in YA. I love the age around sixteen to seventeen. The challenges in that age are real, but fun. In Freaksville, Kasey is sixteen… she’s kind of caught between being a child and becoming woman. She just discovered she has powers and it freaks her out. She’s a bit of a drama queen. I had so much fun creating her and her BFF Gillie. I get to watch cool movies, hang out at the mall, play around with sparkly nail polish, and have a crush on a hot guy from
Tell me the last book you read and what you thought of it.
I’m a huge reader. I wasn’t always one. I discovered that in order to be a better writer, I needed to read. I try not to read the same style of writing as the project I’m working on. I’m currently reading the novel Dark Curse by Christine Feehan. She doesn’t write YA. I adore the way Feehan writes. She has a rhythm to her words.
For YA authors, I like Catherine Clark. (I have two of her books on my nightstand.) She’s so different from what I write. My stories have a lot of paranormal, it’s nice to read something that has a normal hero and heroine, in an ordinary world, without furry monsters and freaky powers. When I’m not on deadline, I can read five or more paperbacks a week. I’m on deadline right now, so it’s taken me a week to get through one novel.
What are your favorite types of books to read? What other types of paranormal books do you like to read?
I love paranormal romance and mysteries, too. There are way too many to list. I have boxes of books I’ve read and a nifty vintage paperback rack filled with books to be read. It’s like having my very own bookstore in my office.
I’m also a huge fan of the TV show Supernatural. It’s hard to stay focused on writing when there are new episodes! Oh and the show Bones, too.
To be completely honest, my biggest influence has been John Hughes movies. He wrote Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful and the Breakfast club…and so much more. I learned about comedic timing and story telling from his work. It’s why I started writing. If you haven’t seen them, rent them— they are awesome!
What are your upcoming books?
Freaksville, the first in the series. I’m in the final rounds of edits for that, checking for typos, etc. It’s coming out soon. I don’t have a release date yet. Fingers crossed. It will be available as an e-book first then print. Please, bookmark my website www.kittykeswick.com
My Prom Date’s a Vampire is a short story that will be available to read for FREE. Yep. My publisher www.thewildrosepress.com is going to have it on their Free Read program. Again, it’s coming soon. (I’m in hurry up and wait mode. LOL) It’s done. I’m waiting for production to post it. But, readers will be able to download it for free. It’s only nine pages long. It’s based in the same world as Freaksville but with different characters.
Furry & Freaked, is the second book in the Freaksville series. I’m currently tying up loose ends. It deals more with Kasey’s paranormal gifts. She’s growing and so are her powers and responsibilities.
I’ll write a few more Free Reads. I also have another YA plotted out so I might take a break from the Freaksville series and work on that. It all depends on what my publisher and readers want.
Thanks for the interview Kitty, I hope to get to your book soon! Anything else you want to add?
Thanks Kelsey, it was fun. I do have a blog, called the Wolfy Chicks. I’ve started it with another YA author, Judith Graves. We both write about werewolf-like creatures. Be sure to check it out. http://wolfychicks.blogspot.com. I also have a myspace page. I need to spend more time on it. www.myspace.com/kittykeswickyaauthor
Thanks SO much, Kitty, for doing this with me! I can't wait to read Freaksville!