I believe that most of us have multiple voices in our heads. I have several, but instead of calling them “voices” I call them “characters” and I write stories about them. If you’re reading this page, hopefully it means you liked one of my characters.
At the heart of every story is a character on a journey. You’re on a journey. I am on a journey.
So, who am I? I am not a fan of definitions. I feel like definitions pigeonhole us into little take-out boxes. Writing is a part of me–of my journey–and my thoughts, experiences, and every-day events have influenced the words that extend from these fingertips-linked-brain.
I like the odd. Scars. The macabre. Online dictionaries. I enjoy food and books and, perhaps, I adore each slightly too much.
I am a fan of flaws.
I have many. A lot.
Sometimes I think that all that I am is one long series of flaws combed together into a human shape, vocal chords, and sarcastic thoughts.
Someone might say that I write to correct the flaws that I see in myself. Who knows? Maybe I do. I say that I write with my flaws right in front of me and those extend into the characters laid on out e-ink and paper.
Below is an interview I did:
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I’ll ask my friends and my family and my co-workers what they’ve read lately. I’ve gotten many great recommendations this way. Luckily for me, my sister is a huge reader and we have the same tastes, so she often recommends books.
The second way I discover books is through magazine book sections – People Magazine being first and foremost. However, a lot of what they review is mainstream, traditionally published novels and non-fictions books. Unless it really appeals to me, generally I will not pick up a novel that has been over-reviewed.
The third way is GoodReads. I’ll preview author pages, covers, and other “lists” on the GoodReads pages and discover a lot of great works. I think that GoodReads is hot in the young adult market and getting it right.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I might have been ten. I remember writing a Gothic tale about a brother and sister. I want to say that they went to visit a distant relative who, as it so happens, lived in an old, castle-type house. I’m sure ghosts and creepy family members showed up, but, in truth, I don’t remember much other than that.
What is your writing process?
I have a day job (I work for the U.S. Army and I’m also a Veteran), so I only write on Saturdays.
I’ll have a general idea of how a story starts and how it ends, but everything in the middle is ad-hoc. What I mean by that is that I’ll sit in my chair and write for twelve hours straight (no joke) and throw as much stuff as I can in front of my characters. As long as I have goal in mind, I’ll get them there, but, in general, it might not be pretty. Now, this doesn’t necessarily apply to my erotic romances. The only thing I want to get in the way is their partner’s body parts. 🙂
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oh, yes. My mother is an avid romance reader. Think bodice-ripping romance books! I grew up with thousands of these books in the house. The first story that I read that I remember and that had an impact on me was one of those “rape” romance books where the woman (gorgeous, but down on her luck or mistreated by a relative) happens to be near a navy dock at the wrong time and spotted by a handsome Captain or some such character. Naturally the man mistakes her for a prostitute and proceeds to “take her by force” only to realize–too late!!–that she’s a virgin. How or why she forgives him and falls in love with the man is beyond me, but it was one of these books that I read at, maybe eleven, and it’s twisted my mind ever since.
How do you approach cover design?
Up until recently I was rather clueless. I knew a good cover when I saw one, but creating one was another story. I love looking at physical book covers — YA has some of the best covers out there, hands down — and searching GoodReads and other online retailers for covers in my genre.
Previously, I used to create my own covers using Pixelmator and they turned okay. However, my covers are now created by professionals.
For straight-up contemporary romance, my cover artist is Gabrielle Prendergast (www.coveryourdreams.net); and for my science fiction, fantasy, and horror covers, my cover artist is James T. Egan (www.bookflydesign.com).
What are your five favorite books, and why? (I’ve embedded links to the versions that I own and read)
1) Jane Eyre. I think I’ve read this book almost twenty times. It never gets old. At heart, I’m a Gothic Girl. There’s always a wife in the attic. Always!
2) Their Eyes Were Watching God. An amazing, amazing book – if you can get past the dialog. The prose in this book is so stunning, so beautiful, that I wish I could find another like it.
3) Emma. Cute, clever, timeless. It’s easy to read. Plus, it’s funny.
4) Pride and Prejudice. I’m sure you’re sensing a theme with Jane Austen here. 🙂 I just think this story still resonates with every generation.
5) Persuasion. This should probably be #1 above because the letter that Captain Wentworth writes to Anne always brings tears to my eyes.
What do you read for pleasure?
Romance, hands down. Mary Balogh, Joanna Bourne, Jane Austen, and other Regency-era romances where the heroine and hero find ways to thwart Regency society rules and fall in love. Romance authors write some of the funniest dialog out there. Also, I like to read stories about “mismatch” couples. Servant falls in love with the titled lord. Billionaire falls for the janitor. I suppose, when it comes down to it, I like to see how their differences prove to be what makes their love work out.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don’t market or promote my titles. My philosophy is to improve my writing, and write the best story possible. Then repeat. As long as I continue to add titles to my portfolio, I’ll grow my readership.
Describe your desk
Mostly clean. I use a Mac laptop with an additional (larger) monitor, keyboard, and mouse attached. My desk is in the dining room. The only luxury I have is a nice chair. Since my butt sits in this chair for up to fourteen hours, I had to get a good chair. Oh, I also have a little heater near my feet. My feet are always cold. I listen to music (anything from Thirty Seconds to Mars, REM, Flook, Tom Petty, to Garbage) while I write.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. There would be no reason for me to write unless someone out there reads my words. Once I’ve written something and published it, it’s no longer mine. It becomes someone else’s thoughts, feelings, laughter, tears.
I cannot tell my readers how to feel about the book or even what it means. Readers will read it the way they want to, feel the way they want to, and either like it, or not.
In the same vein, I write what I want to read. I do not follow trends or fads. One of the stories that I’ve written (A SINFUL WIFE) is, in my opinion, one of my best stories – ever. But it wasn’t easy to place in a “virtual” bookshelf because it wasn’t a clear-cut genre. So I love it when a reader picks it up and tells me that it was an odd, but good story. I like those emails.
What are you working on next?
I have a long list of short stories that I need to get to. Some of them are odd, which might have a hard time finding a home, so I might save them for a collection of short stories. I’m also working on several romance novels.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, I have a day job, so I have to get out of bed everyday to go to work. 🙂 But, my family inspires me. Also, coffee. Coffee inspires me to get out of bed each morning.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Does sleeping count? In general, we like to camp and hike. And if we pass a coffee shop along the way, so much the better!
Here are all of the answers to the questions burning little holes in your hearts!
Are Kelly Washington and Della Roth the same person?
Yes. However, I have “retired” Della Roth. I’m now only writing under Kelly Washington.
What happened to Jean 8. Aeglothecca?
In 2013, I retired that pen-name after getting great advice from a well-known author that I admire. It basically boiled down to the fact that no one could pronounce it or spell it. For an author, you don’t want even the slightest reason to turn a reader off. Writing isn’t just a hobby for me. It is a business. And changing the name was a business decision.
How long have you been writing?
I like to tell the joke that I was born with a pencil in my hand. My mother doesn’t like that joke. I’ve been telling stories and writing them down since I was about ten years old. I’ve passed the trait onto my elementary-aged son. He can tell stories and draw them, too.
Are you married?
Why? Are you proposing? Nevermind.
Where do you call home?
Washington DC, but I’ve lived all over. My dad was in the Army and after I graduated high school I joined up, too.
Do you have a day job?
I’ve worked for the military in some fashion for almost 20 years now. My blood runs red, white, and blue, baby!
Questions about the books…
In what order should I read the Falling For Him Series?
1) Falling For You, 2) Hungry For You, 3) Ready For You
In what order should I read your erotica short stories?
You can read them in any order. Smolder, Captive, and Ignite Me are not dependent on any other story to complete their own story. However, Tabatha was introduced in Captive, her story is Ignite Me.
In what order should I read your Reclaimed Souls Series?
1) The Pale Waters, 2) The Queen of Scarred Hearts, 3) The Daughter of Lava, 4) The Priestess of Reclaimed Souls
How much money do you make from your books?
Don’t cringe. I don’t mind answering. A couple hundred dollars a month. Nothing crazy, but nothing to sneeze at, either. Over the last few years I’ve been able to pay off my car loan because of what my writing earns me.
Do you have an editor?
Yes, the wonderful Susan Helene Gottfried mackes me wordz muchh gooder. Her website is West Of Mars. Go check it out. I’ll wait.
What your favorite story that you’ve written?
I’m very fond of Justin, Nebraska, and Aaron in my Falling for Him Series. I plan to write more in their world. My next favorite is a short story written for an anthology workshop, called The Bridge to Ashlen’s Dragon. As soon as I can publish this, I will. Think Romeo and Juliet + Dragons + a Happy Ever After, and you’ve got the nexus for this story. Everyone who has read it gushes over how amazing it is. Naturally, I like being gushed over.
What’s your least favorite story that you’ve written?
Oh boy! What a killer question that will set me up for failure no matter what… I have another short story, called Dissonance that I just cannot place anywhere. I’ve tried multiple markets and science fiction magazines and e-zines, and it’s been rejected a dozen times. The editors love it, but pass on it anyway. So, while I really like the story, I have a negative feeling toward it at the moment. So I guess, if I have to answer the question, then Dissonance is – at this time – my least favorite story.
What are you working on next?
While I want to re-enter Justin’s world (Falling For Him), my current project is the sequel to Collide Into You. It focuses on Alec (a major league baseball player) and Courtney (a fearless, and deployed, Army Captain). There’s a touch of magic in this one (Ellen makes an appearance, just as she did in Collide Into You). Right now, it is tentatively titled OUT OF TIME. In addition to this, I’m working on several science fiction & fantasy short stories.
I heard the Reclaimed Souls Series has erotic scenes. Is this true, and how do I get to read them?
You heard correctly! Each book has one (or two) erotic scenes that I cut for the final book. Some readers have read them, but at this time, I do not plan to make them available for public reading.
Why do many of your characters have physical flaws?
You’re probably referring to Adam in Smolder and Roland in my Reclaimed Souls Series.
In Smolder, Adam had been wounded by a road-side bomb in Afghanistan. The fact that he’s missing a leg and has scars all over his body worries him as he becomes intimate with Jen.
Roland, without giving too much away (because it is part of the plot), is disfigured. This fact figures in heavily in his interactions with Rahda. In fact, it’s the very reason, well, one of the reasons, he brings her into his life.
So why are they flawed?
Well, I don’t necessarily see it that way. I see that they have challenges to overcome, but these flaws do not define them. In fiction, especially in romance, YA, and new adult, many of the main characters are perfect looking. They have amazing bodies, gorgeous faces, piercing eyes, and are, put simply, drop-dead-gorgeous. Okay, this is the part where I say not all romances are like that, but many are, and I don’t enjoy it.
I want to see regular, everyday folks in my stories. I like scars. Plus, with my history with the military and having seen first hand the effects of war wounds-mentally, emotionally, and physically-I suppose this bleeds into my characters. I don’t like why some of these scars come to be, but I’m also in the camp that finds scars sexy. Yes, I said it: scars are sexy.
Got more questions? Click on the Contact Me up top!