Interviewee Kelli Wilkins has stopped by to chat with JR, and thankfully she didn’t make this interviewer go “old school” pen and paper….
Kelli what is your most current work?
My 15therotic romance from Amber Quill Press is titled Ultimate Night’s Delights. It’s the final novella in a series that began with A Midsummer Night’s Delights and continued with A Midwinter Night’s Delights. Although all three stories are connected, they each stand alone as individual reads. I think fans of the first two novellas will find this one to be a satisfying conclusion to the series.
Tell us a little about Ultimate Night’s Delights and what inspired you to write it?
This story is the final chapter in a series that began with A Midsummer Night’s Delights. When I wrote the first book, I never intended to write a sequel and had no idea I’d be starting a trilogy.
After I finished the second book, A Midwinter Night’s Delights, I wrote a few other romances, and then started toying with ideas for a third novella that tied everything up. Readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters from the first two books and wanted more. I was happy to round out the series with Ultimate Night’s Delights. I leave everyone in a good place!
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story “jump” into my head, and I’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with A Perfect Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Trust with Hearts, and The Viking’s Witch.)
Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and once I get to “know” and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Then the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Four Days with Jack, Beauty & the Bigfoot, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)
Before I start a book, I think about the story. I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline/list. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure for me and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Although Ultimate Night’s Delights is a historical fantasy, my romances span nearly every genre: historical, fantasy, gay, contemporary, and paranormal. Writing in different genres lets me explore different characters, plots, and settings, and keeps things interesting! I switch back and forth between genres depending on what story/plot I’m developing next.
My romances also vary in their heat levels. Some (A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord) are mild, while others (Ultimate Night’s Delights, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing) are super-hot. I like being able to write whatever genre, characters, and stories pop into my head – it helps keep me creative.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Thankfully none of my characters were hard to “get right” by the time I sat down to write the story. But in Trust with Hearts, I had to make sure the female lead, Sherrie, wasn’t too “bitchy” and turned off readers. She’d had a rough life and I needed to make sure I showed a tender, vulnerable side to her, even if she was pretending to be tough.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life?
All writing has some basis in real-world experience – but not in the ways most people think. I might get an idea for a story (let’s say, a man falls in love with the neighbor, or he has to rescue his love from a fiend) from reading an article, a dream, seeing a movie, or talking to someone. But as a writer, I use my imagination to take that “regular idea” and make it my own, with my characters, my plot, and my writing style.
The same works for creating characters. I’ve taken bits and pieces from real people and used some of their elements for my characters, but no one character is 100% anyone I know. I’m also a “people watcher” so I pick up character traits from observing people and how they act.
Because I write romances, people think the love scenes are “confessionals” or are inspired by what I do in my personal life. Not so! Let’s use the F word here – it’s Fiction.
Fiction is made up, no matter what inspires it. The characters in my stories are doing these things, not me.
And believe it or not, people have asked me if I “act out” the love scenes at home. I tell them I don’t act out what happens in my horror stories, so why would I act out my romances? I let them know I have a very vivid imagination and I can create anything—whether it’s a vampire story, a romance, or even a vampire romance!
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
The “hardest” part of writing is sitting down and doing the final set of edits/proofread. I go through the manuscript and make sure every word/sentence/paragraph is as close to perfect as it can be and it has enough details/ helps move the story along. I also check for repeated words or phrases and give everything a solid read. It’s not exactly fun, and it’s not terribly creative, but it does help to put a final polish on the book.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Here’s something surprising in this day and age: I write everything in longhand. When I get an idea for a story, I write my outline, let the ideas for the characters and plot marinate in my head for a while, and then go back and start writing on paper. After the first draft is complete, I type up the book. I add details and edit out parts I’m not crazy about as I go, so by the time I have a typed version it’s close to being a revised second draft.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
1970s stuff – love it. The music, the movies, everything.
What TV Show/s are you addicted to?
Right now I watch Grimm, Supernatural, Dead Files, Sleepy Hollow and a few other shows.
Do you have a hobby that you like to try and squeeze in?
When I’m not writing I like to travel, go to flea markets, and read.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I always listen to music while I’m writing. When I’m doing the actual writing of the book, I’ll listen to calming New Age music. When I’m typing/revising, I put on anything – oldies, rock, etc. to keep me motivated.
Music is important in two of my contemporary romances. In Trust with Hearts, the hero is country music singer and he uses music as a way to communicate with the heroine. (It also plays a secret part in the plot that I don’t want to give away.) And in A Perfect Match, I used songs and song titles in the background to set the mood for scenes and to describe the hero/heroine’s relationship.
Do you write one book from start to finish or are there multiple works underway at any given time?
I write one book at a time, but if I get another idea for a story while I’m writing, I’ll take a few minutes (or sometimes hours) to write out the idea or a quick outline while it’s still fresh.
After I finish the first draft of a book, I put it away for a week (or sometimes longer) and go write something else, then come back to the book. Being away from it for a while helps me see where scenes need to be added, deleted, or improved.
Where were you when you got your first contract? What was the book and who did you tell first?
I got contracted for my first three Amber Quill Press romances (A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, and The Sexy Stranger) on the same day. I had entered their book contest and they took all three novellas. I told my husband first. He gets all the good news first.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Probably eleven or so. When I was in sixth grade, my best friend and I would sneak off and read her aunt’s romances. I don’t remember the titles or much about the plots, but I do know most of them were historical romances involving castles and women in peril! The love scenes were very tame, but at the time we thought they were something super-exciting.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Ironically, I’m a full-time copywriter/editor for a company that publishes non-fiction books.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and an all-time favorite?
I have so many “favorite” movies in each genre…I can’t pick just one. I like horror movies, sci fi, action, adventure, some comedy….just about anything.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Right now, I’m writing a follow-up book to my contemporary wrestling romance, A Perfect Match. Everett, the secondary character (and Vin’s best friend) is getting his own story. I don’t have a title or a pub date yet, but I’ll keep everyone posted.
I also have two historical romances that just came out. Wilderness Bride from Amber Quill Press, and Medallion Press is publishing Dangerous Indenture in May. Stay tuned to my blog and newsletter for excerpts, summaries, and more details!
Where can readers find you? (Include all links you want, facebook, twitter etc….)
It was fun sharing my thoughts today. I welcome questions and feedback from readers. You can contact me via my site and also sign up for my newsletter, Kelli’s Quill.
Readers can find me on the web here:
Amber Quill Press Author page http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_Wilkins.html
Medallion Press Author Page http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
And for the silly side –
What is your favorite type of ice cream?
Mint chip or chocolate.
Team Sam or Team Dean? And Why.
I’ve been on team Dean ever since he broke into Sam’s place in the first five minutes of the first episode! I love his “tough guy/James Dean” attitude that we all know is just hiding his vulnerable side. Dean is serious and moody, and he always wants to fix things and has good intentions, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out for him. And naturally, he has a kickass car and great taste in music – so how can you not love him?