Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?
My professional writing career began in 2000. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. 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.
Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write?
I divide my time between writing horror and romance, so my writings are very diverse. My horror stories tend to be psychological/scary tales and not focused on blood or gore. My romances vary in heat level from mild to super-spicy and cover nearly every subgenre (historical, gay, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal).
To date, I’ve written more historical/fantasy romances than any other genre. I like history and learning about how people lived hundreds of years ago — but I make sure my historical romances are anything but boring!
Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you?
Yes. I’ve noticed that my heroines are generally strong-willed and determined to make their own way in the world on their terms (whether they exist in a contemporary or a historical romance). Other themes or ideas I’ve brought out in my romances are: being true to yourself, acceptance, moving on/starting over, and learning to trust. Several of my horror stories involve ghosts and hauntings and have young children as clever main characters. (Kropsy’s Curse and the “The Ape” are two examples.)
Do you have a favorite author who introduced you to the genre?
Not really. I read everything, so in a sense, every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way. I did read a lot of Stephen King growing up, 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.
What advantages or challenges does a writer in your genre face in today’s fiction market?
The world of publishing is changing every day and that can either be an advantage or a challenge — depending on your point of view. Self-publishing has opened up countless opportunities for writers — you can set your own price and self-publish a book on many platforms with low overhead. However, some people see self-publishing as less “real” than working with a traditional publisher. Of course, more authors publishing independently leads to more competition.
Aside from self-publishing, authors are challenged with doing a lot of their own marketing and promoting. However, social media, electronic newsletters, book groups, and blogs make it easy to reach people instantly.
I do the best I can when it comes to promoting my books and I apply the same marketing strategies to all my writings — both the books I’ve self-published and the ones that were traditionally published. You never know where something will lead!
Tell me a little about the characters in your historical romance, Dangerous Indenture. Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?
Dangerous Indenture is set in Pennsylvania Colony in the early 1700s. The setting has everything to do with the characters, plot, and the book overall. Most of the novel takes place at Stewart House, where Shauna (the heroine) is an indentured servant. We see how life was lived through her eyes as she tends to the peculiar Stewart family.
I made sure to describe the house in detail for readers and brought the unusual characters to life in the always tense atmosphere. Shauna is a clever young woman who is starting a new life for herself; Ashton (the hero) is a drunken rogue who has made a mess of a business deal and fallen out of favor with the family. Joshua Stewart is a gruff, demanding man (on the surface) who tries to keep a tight control over the household, his son Colin, and Colin’s mentally unbalanced wife, Minerva.
As the story progresses, Shauna and Ashton fall in love and try to discover who murdered the previous servant at Stewart House. Dangerous Indenture is a great combination of romance and mystery.
If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Good person who helped animals.
How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
That depends. If I “open up” and allow myself to think about characters, a plot twist, or a scene, I can get very distracted. I always keep a pen and paper handy to write down anything that comes through, so I don’t forget it. Then I go back later and elaborate on ideas when I have time to sit and focus on the story.
What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
I have a very busy 2016 ahead of me! This spring I’ll be re-releasing two historical/fantasy romance trilogies. These novellas were previously published by Amber Quill Press and will be getting a re-edit (with a few added scenes) and new covers.
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.)
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, humor, and danger. It was a lot of fun to write and I think readers will enjoy it.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone. I welcome questions, comments, and feedback from readers. You can contact me on social media or via the email address on my website.
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 and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. Don’t miss her horror ebooks, Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.
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.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Here’s the book summary and an excerpt from Dangerous Indenture, Kelli’s historical romance published by Medallion Press.
Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony.
But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.
Shauna fights her growing attraction to Ashton, torn between propriety and acting on her emotions. But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants will work for the strange Stewart family.
Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.
When Shauna’s investigation leads her too close to the truth, it’s up to Ashton to save her before time runs out.
“Tonight is all about pleasuring you,” Ashton said as he unbuttoned her dress. There seemed to be a thousand tiny white buttons running down the front. As each button popped open, he could see more of her chemise. Once that was off, Shauna would be naked in front of him for the first time.
He struggled with the buttons that stretched the material tight across her breasts.
“Do you want me to do it? It’ll be faster,” she offered.
“No, I’ve got it,” he replied as his nervousness returned. Damn it. What kind of man couldn’t unbutton a woman’s dress? Liam probably could do it in three seconds with his eyes closed.
When he finally got the last button undone, he opened the dress and slid it past Shauna’s shoulders. It fell to the floor at her feet.
“Now for this.” He bent close and kissed Shauna’s breasts through her chemise. All that separated his lips from her soft skin was a thin piece of linen. He tugged on the ribbon that held the chemise closed. The drawstring opened, and he parted the material, freeing Shauna’s pale breasts. God, she was lovely.
A shy smile crept across Shauna’s face, and she shielded her breasts from him with her arm.
“I dunno. I’m not used to being gawked at.”
“Well, get used to it, because I’m not only going to look at you, but I’m going to kiss you everywhere.” He moved her arm to her side, exposing her breasts again. “I’m going to pleasure you, and all you have to do is enjoy it.” He bent his head and drew her right breast into his mouth.
Shauna moaned and arched her chest toward him. He curled his arm around her waist to steady her as he swirled his tongue across her nipple. It hardened under his tongue. Shauna whimpered, and he increased the pressure while massaging her other breast.
“Ashton, oh . . .”
Her murmurs of pleasure gave him the courage he needed, and he worked her chemise lower until it fell away. Acting on instinct, he ran his hand down Shauna’s flat belly and slipped it between her thighs.
“Oh, Lord,” she muttered.
Order your copy of Dangerous Indenture here:
Don’t miss Kelli’s other Medallion Press historical romance, The Viking’s Witch: