Interview with Kelly Washington
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. I do create my own covers using Pixelmator and they’ve turned out pretty good, I think. I always have the customer in mind. The cover does say a lot about a book and it needs to have the right colors, fonts, and appeal. Romance covers, in general, will have a couple on them (in an embrace) and science fiction covers can vary wildly. My latest series (Reclaimed Souls) is a mash-up of romance, action-adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. So I went more in the fantasy, science fiction direction versus a couple on the cover.
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 a dozen 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, romance. 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 haven’t marketed it, but mostly because I do not have the resources to do so. So, what do I do? I write the next story… and hope that my audience grows.
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. Next to my monitor is a picture of my son’s first grade picture. His two front teeth are huge right now, but it is adorable and I love looking at him when he isn’t already in the room distracting me (which happens a lot).
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 will always write what I would 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. Also, I have two novellas that require editing, so I’ll be working on those in early 2014.
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 and I want to be a great mom to my son and a great wife to my husband. It would be tough to tell the kiddo that he has to go to school if I’m a slow-poke in the mornings. Also, coffee. Coffee inspires me to get out of bed each morning.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Well, Doctor Who is about to boot-up again; so I know that will keep us busy on Saturday nights. In general, we like to camp and hike.