Here it is…the last installment of my interview with author Erin Kellison. As I posted earlier, she is a very gracious person, and it was an absolute pleasure to communicate with her for this.
A few words about the Shadow Series: As her website describes (www.erinkellison.com), she writes dark fairy tales with a high level of romance. I highly recommend the series for anyone who likes to read about new worlds within our current world. Her writing paints lush and vibrant images as she describes the realm of twilight, which only a true artist could be able to do. These descriptions are what originally kept me wanting to read more. After I had finished the second book in the series, Shadow Fall, I had found myself counting the days until the third book, Shadowman, was released. I had preordered it, which is something I rarely do.
I hope you enjoy this last bit of our interview.
16. What is your educational background? Was writing a college major for you?
I actually tried to get into a writing program when I was about twenty, but I wasn’t accepted! So I went on to get a degree in English Language and Literature, with a concentration on mythology and folklore, as well as publishing. I completed an internship at a publisher and discovered that my true love was the stories themselves, not getting them ready for print. I went on for a masters in anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. (See a pattern?) When I had my first kid, I returned to writing fiction, because that was always what I really wanted to do. I thought I’d give it my best, and see what happened.
17. What is your typical day like when you are in the midst of writing a book?
The typical day begins with getting the kids and husband out the door. I go right to work, usually hitting email, twitter, and Facebook first. Then I dive into writing and keep at it until I have to pick up the kids from school. After, I’m a mom until they go to bed. Then I usually get down to blogs or interviews or other prep. I have a critique group once a week, where we bring pages for hammering. My dishes don’t always get done. The laundry often piles up. My husband is a super-hero and picks up all my slack. Couldn’t do it without him.
18. What is your writing process? Do you outline? Write the first draft through, discovering what the characters are going to do while writing? How do you approach editing? Have a designated writing time?
I have a good idea what I am going to write before I begin. I always end up deleting anything I start without having some kind of plan. But I only have an idea of what I want to accomplish; the rest presents itself as I write. That sense of discovery is the fun part. I write and rewrite a scene until I think I have it, and then I move on. I have written some scenes 5, 6, 10 times before I will budge. But when I am finished, I usually have a complete manuscript.
My critique partners and husband give me feedback, which I use to tweak what I’ve written. I get revisions from my editor, and I approach them gratefully. I want the story to be as strong as I can make it. She really understands where I am coming from, and so all of her comments resonate with me.
My writing time is usually in the morning, unless I am on a deadline, and then terror will keep me working as long as it takes.
19. Your publishing name is a variation on your real name. How and why did that decision get made?
Great question! My dad told me once that Erin was among the names he suggested for me, but was overruled by my mom (and rightly so, since she was the one delivering me). And Kellison is family lore from my husband’s side of the family. The story goes that their ancestor was a civil war deserter who dropped the K when he switched sides. He sounded like a colorful character, so I assumed the name. Erin Kellison, in a way, is an alter ego. In another universe, that could easily be my name.
20. What surprised you the most about the process of being published?
How long it takes! Patience is not one of my virtues.
21. You have a third novel coming. Any release date? Plans for more?
Shadowman releases September 6! I’m writing book four right now, tentatively scheduled for Sept 2012. And I am contracted for one more. I also have started a novella series (e-only). The first part, Shadow Touch (same Shadow world), is out now, but look for another installment this year. Lots going on here. J
22. Your short bio says that you began writing as a young girl. Does your current writing reflect similar storylines, or have your interests changed as far as what you write about?
I am pretty consistent, though I’ve dabbled in fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. I could see myself exploring those soon, but I’ll probably still have a romance underpinning the story. I recall that all my early stories were contemporary fantasies, with a strong sense of danger.
23. Is writing novels your main line of work, or do you have another job, and do your writing on the side?
My main job is my kids. Then writing, which I hope to do more of since they are both now in full day school. I’ll miss having a little one around though.
24. Another comment: I liked how you wrapped up Shadow Bound with the reappearance of Custo. I really like his character!
Custo actually gets his own book, Shadow Fall. But he recurs in Shadowman and book four, which I’m writing right now. J Custo is one of my favorite characters.
25. Are you, or is someone close to you, a car enthusiast? Have you ever driven a high performance car?
Laughing here. Yes, that would be my husband. Neither of us has driven a high performance car, but when I need a cool car for my story, I have a very eager researcher who will get me all kinds of images and video, and even the inside audio of acceleration. I usually IM him at work with, “I need a car…” and then get way more information than I could ever use. (He does all sorts of other research for me, too.)
26. E-Readers are very popular right now. I am curious how you, an author, feels about this recent technology. Does the electronic medium hurt or help your business? Do you own an e-reader yourself?
I have two kindles, but I love reading print. The fact is, e-readers are not only very popular, but they will continue to be. The publishing industry is in the middle of an e-revolution, with amazing opportunities (publishing has gotten a lot easier) and some terrible losses (the Borders chain has just decided to liquidate). I’m caught in the middle of this shift, but I’m not really worried about the technology itself. I like technology. The shift to ebooks is making available a lot more titles, so the trick is to write good stories (which I want to do anyway) and to stay visible (hence the enslavement of my husband and the creation of my two websites.) My publisher supports me on their end. The rest is up to the readers. I think e-publishing can only support and grow my business.