Welcome, welcome to another edition of Meet the Author. This week’s contestant is a brilliant new author I recently “met” when I had the distinct privileged of appearing in the same anthology along side her.
Please give a warm welcome to Kelly Said, author of Pearl of Pau’maa, a smashing PNR short story set in an underwater world.
Let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes. Do you have any odd rituals when you write, like stand on your head to get the blood flowing or turn around three times before you sit at your desk? Not that I do that, just saying.
It’s nice for me to begin by taking my dog for his walk, an activity that has dual benefits, hehe! Reason one is that the fresh air and wide sky lets my imagination roam free (whee! release the daydreams!), and reason two is that a long walk helps settle my dog so he’ll nap while I nestle in to write, hehe!
Maybe it’s a little odd that I don’t sit at a desk to write, instead, I prefer to fluff up the pillows and curl into the corner of our living room couch. It’s a small L-shaped sectional that has a “ledge” on the back, something my husband insists is *not* a shelf for my dictionary and cans of liquid caffeine, hehe! I’ll sit there with my lil’ netbook and just write the hours away, windows open (weather permitting), dog snuggled in next to me, husband in garage or watching TV.
Ah, yes, we must wear out the family first so we have some peace to write, don’t we? Personally, I send my wee girl for a few laps around the house to expel her never-ending energy. No need for me to be tired out, too! Tell us about your road to publication. Was it short and sweet? Long and winding with many bumps?
I started off by joining the Writer’s Digest forums in December 2009 and just absorbed everything I could. I wrote, badly, praising those who slogged through my early story drafts about a high school girl on the cheer squad who happened to also be a werewolf, welcoming all the constructive criticism I could get. I had no publication goals at that time, just a drive to write better, to keep going until the critique comments reflected my efforts to improve.
I spent 2010 just happily doing my own thing, critiquing, practicing my writing, and reading books in my genre – until October 2010, when the forum had a friendly short story competition. That’s when I knew it was time to put myself out there and see if I could write a story from start to finish *and* get it done by a deadline. Challenge accepted and goals met, woohoo! I was so thrilled with myself that I decided to take a step outside the comfortable privacy of my friendly forum and submit to a publisher.
So, I scanned duotrope.com for any open calls for submissions that appealed to me and what I like to read and write. I found one that had a due date for the the beginning of the new year, January 2011, which left me with a couple months to write a whole new story. A daunting task, well, for me, hehehe! Wyvern Publications was looking for submissions for an upcoming young adult vampire anthology called FANGTALES. They wanted a new take on an old classic, stories featuring traditional vampires only, no day walking BLADE vampires and no sparkling vegetarians allowed (sorry Edward fans).
So, it took me a couple months to craft 5,000 words, but I finished my short story, SANCTUARY, and subbed it on January 14, 2011. In April 2011, I received the ”I love your story and would very much like to include it in our FANGTALES anthology” email. After snoopy-danced around the house and preening over my signature on the contract, I somehow managed to survive the excruciating six month wait until October 2011, when the book was released. I still grab my copy off the shelf, open it up to page 55, and read my story with a huge goofy grin on my face, hehehehe!
Pardon the pun, but after that little YA vampire story, I was bitten. Immediately after that I set my sights (and word count goals!) higher. That was when I saw J.Taylor Publishing’s call for submissions for their water-elemental themed summer anthology, TIDAL WHISPERS. :)
The first one is always the sweetest, isn’t it? And I’m quite sure you’ll be receiving quite a lot more of those squeetastic emails in the future. Your work is awe-worthy, seriously. *bows to you* Tell us how you manage it. Do you have any quirks that give you that little extra spice to be able to pen stories so well? Odd little tidbits about you that few people know?
Hmm, let’s see. Well, I like to have all the figurines in my house facing west so they can watch the sky change colors as the sun sets each night. hahaha! just kidding, that’s a friendly nod to Stephen King’s Annie Wilkes in Misery. I don’t have any figurines and I’m not fussy about organization like that — well, maybe not THAT fussy, hehe! I am particular about where I put certain things, like, if something’s been moved or relocated, I’ll tend to hit the code red button and mutter “I had that there for a reason!” That being said, my husband can ask me “Where’s that thingamajiggy?” and without even looking up from what I’m doing, I can say, ”It’s in the third drawer down, next to the bent business card, but you won’t see it right away because a pink sticky note is partially covering it.” hehehe!
As far as my other quirks, I think a lot of them were born out of necessity, like having a neatly folded paper towel under my tea/coffee mug – because no matter what, my dog finds a way to bump my table tray just enough so that my drink tsunami’s over the lip of the cup. The fact that I have the cup perfectly centered within the white paper square does not indicate any sort of obsessive compulsive disorder hehehe! I’d like to think it’s because having it in the center provides maximum spill coverage, yeah, that’s it. *straightens corners, nudges cup to the left, perfect! no, wait*
I’m so glad I’m not the only author around suffering from a little OCD. Not that I go through the house straightening pictures or putting that book just so. Nuh uh. Not me. My “tenancies” started young, how about yours? What kind of high school personality were you? Band dork? Jock? Loner? Brainiac?
All of the above? hehehe! Well, except for the fact that I wasn’t in band. I went to a relatively small school in a cozy town where everyone pretty much knew or grew up with each other, but had their own circle of friends. In high school I played soccer and volleyball, but I don’t think my peers would’ve considered me a jock. I still have my letterman’s (letterwoman’s?) jacket in my storage closet; excellent condition, rarely worn. I had close friends I hung out with regularly and we did all sorts of fun/crazy/stupid stuff that still makes me giggle to this day.
And as for a brainiac? Well, I’d like to think I was pretty smart, even if my GPA didn’t fall into the top ranks of my bigger-brained peers, those who pursued their studies with passion. I pursued certain *classes* with passion — writing and art? top marks. Science and math? eh, not so much. I think I was fine with obtaining passing grades in those classes
Math *shudders* Yeah, I hear you on that subject. Pure evil. Says the one who married a math teacher. *snort* Some of my favorite movies are based on Marvel Comics. If you could be a superhero, what would your power be?
Oh man! This is a question that requires serious thought! For instance, I would love to have super strength, but I don’t want it to be at the cost of like, “your heart wears out a little bit each time you exert yourself to where your life span is shortened.” I think the power of flight would be the best. I mean, I have constant dreams of flying, of feeling my muscles strain to get lift, the exhilaration of banking hard left or right, hehehe! Yeah, I think being able to fly would be awesome – plus it’d be a nice way to avoid all those pesky gropers *ahem* I mean the brave men and women who handle security at the airport.
I would love to be able to fly! If I wasn’t *ahem* scared skinny of heights, that is. Do you have any phobias, like run-screaming-at-the-mere-mention-of-it, fears? Come on now, the villains of the world need to know what your kryptonite is, Supergirl.
Spiders. Aaaaaaah! *runs away clawing at hair* Hehehe! I jest about it, but I do have a serious, serious aversion to the eight legged freaky-deekies, like, to the point if I see one (on tv, pic or in real life), I get instant chills. It’s funny because my husband teases me saying, “I could see if you were afraid of bears, lions, or gorillas, animals that could do serious damage if you were ever alone in a room with one. But spiders? They’re little!” In my sight though, it’s like “objects in field of vision appear much larger than they are” kinda thing.
To me, spiders are as deadly and quiet as ninjas. They can swing down at you from the ceiling, scuttle along the curves and contours of your kitchen counter, lie in wait for you in the shower. It freaks me out to see one, and absolutely terrifies me beyond belief to see one and then have it scamper off and hide. I think the only thing worse in the world would be a FLYING spider *shudders*
Ick. Spider ninjas. Stuff of nightmares right there. *shivers and tries to rub off phantom things crawling on me*. I think I need to write one into a book so I can kill it a hundred different ways. Yeah, that’d be awesome. Have you ever done what the author t-shirts threaten and written somebody you dislike into a story? No need to name names, or anything. Come on, spill the details!
I’ve actually done the opposite! I’ve taken someone I love, written him into my story and then really put him through the wringer, hehehe! I had a lot of fun modeling my main character in SANCTUARY (FANGTALES anthology) after my younger brother. Michael was such a great name to use for my 16 year-old church-going vampire slayer that when I wrote it down in my notebook, the rest of the story clicked into place.
And as for the grueling challenges I put him through in the story, well must’ve been payback for all those years of brotherly torment I endured, hehehe! All kidding aside, my brother is the coolest and it was his strength and morals that I drew from to create my main character, someone just trying to do the right thing under paranormal circumstances.
Wow, you’re much nicer than I would have been. Of course, my siblings are all older and used me as a punching/errand girl for years, so … you know … they kinda have it coming. *snort* Great stuff above, and even greater stuff to come. Let’s look at the book!
Pearl of Pau’maa
Should Miki choose to wed the local wealthy boy she doesn’t love, her stomach will stop grumbling. Her soul, however, will suffocate. With one last opportunity before she must concede, she sneaks off for a final dive to her hidden crate at the bottom of the seabed. What waits for her is more than a captured lobster. It’s a treasure she cannot claim without great sacrifice or true love.
Connect with Kelly here:
Pick up a copy of the book here: