17 June, 2016

#Interview with Romance #Author Kelli A. Wilkins

About the Author:
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. 
In 2016 Kelli is re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information as it becomes available.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.

Kelli posts on her Facebook Author Page and Twitter. She also writes a weekly Blog
Visit her Website to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter HERE.

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/a storyteller?
I’ve always been interested in writing, but my professional writing career began in 2000. Growing up, I read every book I could get my hands on, and eventually I started writing short stories. I took creative writing classes in high school and college, but I didn’t try to get anything published until I took a commercial writing course. I got a lot of great feedback from the instructors and other students and began submitting my stories.
I started writing because characters, plots, settings, and story ideas kept popping into my head. One way for me to deal with them was to write the story (or idea) down. I’m still inspired by ideas that come to me from out of nowhere, the Universe, muses, or by something I see or hear at random.

What inspires you to write?
I’m constantly inspired to write by the ideas, stories, and characters that keep popping into my head. I may go a few months without actually writing something new (whether it’s a romance or a horror story) but during that time, I’m usually thinking about/plotting a story, developing a character, or mulling over ideas in my head. I don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike, because it’s already there. I also like the satisfaction of having written something and having those characters and the story go out into the world and reach readers.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
My two latest romances, A Deceptive Match and A Secret Match, are both full-length novels set in the world of professional wrestling. Wrestling has always been a part of my life, so it was only natural that one day I’d write a book with wrestling as the backdrop. But A Deceptive Match is different from my other books because the entire story came to me in a rather unusual way—in a dream.
One morning I woke up and said “Uh-oh!” and grabbed the pen and paper next to the bed. (I keep it there in case of inspiration.) I knew that if I didn’t immediately start writing down everything in my head, it would be lost forever. So I sat there, furiously scribbling the outline. At this point, it was just the bare bones of the plot and the characters, but I knew I was onto something.
Over the course of the day, more bits and pieces came through. Now I had a subplot, secondary characters, and knew more about what was happening in this wrestling romance that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I was fortunate enough to actually “see” the book in my head like a movie—some scenes were missing, but I had a clear picture to work from.
A Secret Match also came to me in an odd way. I introduced readers to Everett (as Vin’s best friend) in A Deceptive Match. I loved writing for Ev— he’s one of those characters who tries to run away with the book. I always thought that “one day” I’ll give him a story of his own, but I didn’t have a clue as to what the plot would be. I put thoughts of him aside and wrote other books. Then, one morning as I was driving to work, he popped into my head with a four-line book summary. Within an hour, I had the whole story and I started writing the outline. 

What is your favourite scene in the books? Why?
One of my favourites in A Deceptive Match is when Danni is Vin’s valet. It’s the turning point in the book. She’s totally in lust with him, but holding back. He forces her to go to the ring wearing a skimpy dress and act as his valet. After the match, things really heat up between them! Another is when Vin and Danni are in the ring and he’s showing her a few wrestling moves. They tease and flirt with each other and eventually share a hot first kiss.
Two favourites come to mind with A Secret Match. One is when Ev and Josh kiss for the first time. Ev is very nervous and unsure and Josh puts him at ease. The second is when Ev announces he’s gay on live TV. At that point, Ev is at his most vulnerable and completely exposed. These scenes allowed me to explore a wide range of emotions and show a tender, softer side to Ev.

Tell us about your writing process.
I write whatever characters, plots, and ideas come to me, whether it’s a horror story or a romance. My romances vary in heat level from mild to super-scorching hot, and I’ve written in just about every subgenre: historical, fantasy, gay, contemporary, and paranormal. When an idea comes to me, I make an outline with basic scenes, snippets of dialogue, notes on point-of-view and plot, then I sit down and start writing.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I write everything (outlines, character descriptions, and the first draft of the manuscript) in longhand with paper and pen. Writing this way makes me feel more connected to the characters and story and I can write anywhere at any time. When I have a rough draft, I type up the story and edit/revise as I go. By the time it’s all typed, it’s more like a second draft.

What do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read everything, so in a sense every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way. Growing up, I read a lot of Stephen King, and I’m a big fan of The Twilight Zone, so I was introduced to the world of speculative fiction and great storytelling at a young age.
Right now, my two “go-to” authors are Stephen King and John Sandford. I read in different genres (mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, non-fiction, horror), and my books-to-read shelf is overflowing.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
The best advice I can give to any writer (regardless of what genre he or she likes to write) is to keep writing. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to sit down every day and write something. But the more you write, the easier it gets. Writing classes are a great way to learn the basics and meet other writers. If possible, join a writer’s group or a critique group to get feedback on your stories. When you’ve written the best story you can, submit it! You can’t get published if you never submit, and you never know when your first acceptance will arrive.
I’m always asked to answer writing-related questions (how to get published, where ideas come from, how to create characters, etc.) so one day I decided to write a book about it! My non-fiction writing guide, You Can Write – Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction covers everything about writing (regardless of genre) from A-Z. It’s perfect for beginning writers who need motivation or simple advice on how to get started. The book is on Amazon and other platforms and includes fun writing exercises and helpful tips all writers can use. (Read more about it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00THWLFQU)

What would be the Dream Cast for your book if it was to be turned into a movie?
For A Deceptive Match, I could see casting either Chris Hemsworth or Alexander Skarsgard as Vinnie. (I’m not sure who would play Danni.) Everett from A Secret Match could possibly be played by Kit Harington.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favourite place to go and unwind?
When I’m not writing, I like to read, spend time with friends and family, travel, visit haunted/creepy historical places, and go to flea markets and garage sales.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I would like to go to Easter Island, Machu Pichu, and a few other ancient sites around the world.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m having a very busy 2016! So far this spring, I released five romances, and my third Medallion Press historical romance will be published this fall.
I was with Amber Quill Press for ten years, and I published 16 romances (in all genres) with them. These are great stories that I don’t want to see vanish forever, so over the course of 2016–2017 I’ll be re-releasing all of them on Amazon and other platforms. (Stay tuned to my blog and social media for more information and updates and full title lists.)
This spring I re-released my historical/fantasy Royal Desires Series that’s made up of A Most Unusual Princess, A Most Intriguing Temptation, and A Most Unfortunate Prince. (Although the books are connected, each stands alone as an individual read.)
In May, I released two contemporary romances set in the world of professional wrestling: A Deceptive Match and A Secret Match. My gay paranormal, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, will be released in late May/early June.
My third Medallion Press historical romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, will be published in September. This Western is set in a small Nebraska town in 1877 and blends spicy romance, humour, and danger. It was a lot of fun to write and I think readers will enjoy it.

13. Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I invite readers to follow me on social media for the latest news and updates. I’m always posting something (interviews, guest blogs, reviews) to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and my blog. 
I also welcome comments, questions, and feedback about my books from readers. I enjoy hearing which books, characters, or scenes were their favourites, and how they like the books in general. You can contact me on social media or via the email address on my website.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone.
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins

About her Books: 
A Deceptive Match
Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash. Disgruntled with her job as the office assistant for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.
Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.
Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie, and she unwittingly becomes a key player in his title match. Their mutual attraction grows, and late one night, they give in to the lustful feelings they’ve been fighting.
As their relationship deepens, Danni considers telling Vinnie her secret. But before she can confess the truth, Vinnie discovers she isn’t the reporter she claims to be. Her lie threatens to ruin everything between them. Will their relationship be destroyed by her deception or will their love win out?

Order your copy of A Deceptive Match here:

A Secret Match

Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay.
After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.
One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems—both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a manipulative boss and a tag-team out to destroy him.
Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?

Order your copy of A Secret Match here: 

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