May 03 2011
Greetings, Cool Peeps:
My guest this week is writer Dawn Kirby from Odessa, Texas. Up until three years ago, Dawn had barely written more than a grocery list, and now, she is writing like crazy.
Dawn is 34 years old and. She and her husband Jamie will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on September 11th. (Congratulations!) Dawn is the proud mother of three beautiful children: Tristan, 13, Aishlynn, 11, and Shelby, 9. Please, join me in welcoming this sensational woman of many talents.
When did you first know you were meant to write — or had to write? How did your writing life evolve from there?
It wasn’t until after I started writing SECRETS. I’d only meant to get the idea on paper so it would stop nagging at me. I figured fifteen years had been long enough. Before I knew it I was three chapters in and a whole series had already taken shape. The more I wrote the more I HAD to write. By the end of the book I knew there was no way I could stop.
If a potential agent or publisher were reading this interview, how would you pitch your work? Go for it, girlfriend.
SECRETS, the first book in the paranormal Serenity Series follows Leah as she discovers the secret that has kept her parents apart her entire life. The father she thought to be dead walks back into her life just in time to watch as some outside force threatens to destroy the safe haven he created the night he walked away.
Once her secret is out, vampires and werewolves alike vow to do whatever is necessary to keep her out of the hands of a power hungry vampire and a money grubbing shifter. After all, a day walking Dhampir would be a marvelous addition to any vampire’s collection.
Using phenomenal senses along with the unique ability to see moods and smell the personalities of those around her, she takes the lead, determined to find out who’s hunting her and why. That’s when all the secrets begin to unravel.
If you don’t find a mainstream publisher, will you publish independently?
Absolutely! I want to share the world I’ve created, not hide it.
People (yes, including me) do some wacky things. My grandpa used to tell me that eating my vegetables would build character. I doubt that my green beans and broccoli made me the woman I am today, but that aside, as a writer, how do you build your characters?
That’s great! My granddad used to tell me eating vegetables would make me pretty like him…took me years to start eating them.
Every one of my characters is based on someone in my life. Take Kale for example. Aside from his tendency to be a player among the ladies, I based him after my son, Tristan. Happy-go-lucky and smiling all the time. Nothing gets him down. When it comes to charisma, both could charm the fangs off a rattlesnake.
Declan, one of my vampires, is a total sweetheart. Good looking, red-headed and Irish to boot. His laid back, caring attitude comes from a boy I knew in high school. Though I think he’s one of my more attractive characters, one of my readers can’t even hear his name without gagging, literally.
All of my readers, including my editor, Jessica Swift, have had strong reactions to the characters. So much so, I’ve received emails and phone calls regarding their future well being. In some cases regarding their desire for me to resurrect a favorite they weren’t willing to let go of just yet. I love it when I can sit down with a fan and listen to them talk about each character as if they know them personally.
I wanted all my characters to be relatable in one way or another. Judging by the reactions to them so far, I’ve accomplished that goal. To me it makes the story more real. It makes me want to read more, learn more about them. I want my readers to feel every emotion they do. Experience every joy, absorb every pain.
Please, give our readers a fabulous reason or two to visit your blog.
A visit to my blog will give your readers a glimpse into my world. Not everybody has the same tastes I do.
I love the world I’ve created. I can only hope others will, too. Only in the land of imagination can a vampire have a pulse. A werewolf NOT be cold hearted killer hell bent on destroying anything that gets in his way. Shifters in my world are more in tune with nature than any other supernatural creature could ever be. They live for the nights they can transform and run out the energy daily life doesn’t allow them to expend.
On my blog readers can get a taste for my writing style, my characters. There they can read about the things that inspire me or simply take a few minutes and let my characters help them escape the real world. Go for a dangerous ride in the rain with Letalia or dream of death with Sage. Step away from “honorable” and let Mara use you as she will. Lonely Nicholas could use a little love as well; it’s been centuries.
As a social media-savvy woman, you come across many authors, writers, and other creative peeps promoting their work. What are some of the coolest things you see people do to promote, and what are some of the not-so-cool things you see? What advice can you offer to those who want/need to promote their work and aren’t sure how to go about it the right way?
Book trailers are by far the most creative. It’s amazing to see how they transform written words into something so mesmerizing it makes you want to go out and buy the book right then and there.
Reaching out to other writers is awesome, too. The mutual support system Facebook and Twitter offers is unbeatable. I’ve found so many wonderful people. Any one of them is ready and willing to help spread the word at any given time. It’s a privilege we should all take part in.
On the other hand, there are those who abuse that privilege with merciless self-promotion. I for one want to know who the person is behind all the blog links and follow me’s. Putting yourself, not just your work out there is what social networking is all about. Don’t be afraid to make a few personal connections. I have and I count myself lucky to have made them. The friends and colleagues I’ve met have only enriched my life. Reading their work has help nurture mine. I notice things in my own writing more now. Some good, others bad, but I’m learning. That’s what makes networking so great.
You’ve told us about what you’ve been working on to date? What future projects tickle your fancy?
At the moment I’m working on a paranormal collaboration with a fabulous author. In my opinion he is without a doubt one of the most talented writers I’ve met so far. It’s only in the early stages, but I’m tickled to pieces to be working with him.
Besides that I am in the process of starting book five in the Serenity Series, REVELATIONS and working on a spin-off of the series as well as a journal based on Leah’s father. There’s a ghost story to be written in there somewhere, though it’s still in the early stages.
I love writing flashes for my blog. Besides coming up with some great stories, it’s a fantastic way to get this wordy writer down in the word count department. I’m a Texan, we talk…A LOT!
Recently I started writing short stories for Paranormal Utopia http://paranormalutopia.com/2011/03/water-lily311/ . A website devoted to anything and everything Paranormal. Though I only have one post under my belt, I’m looking forward to many more.
Tell us a little about life in Texas. If you were to live somewhere else, any idea where that might be?
I love being able to say I’m a Texan. There’s just something about it that warms my heart. I honestly don’t think I could ever leave it behind me for good. Moving would only take me as far as Weatherford, a gorgeous little town outside Fort Worth or maybe the coast. It’d be nice to see something other than dirt and tumbleweeds when I look out my front door.
I’ve only been there three or four times in my life but I fell in love with the community immediately. In fact SECRETS is based there. What better place for weres and shifters to run?
You love writing about secrets. What’s the most exciting part about that?
The most exciting part is thinking up all the secrets. I had no idea how twisted my mind was before I started writing. How else can I explain the constant need to test the tenacity of my characters?
Often, I hear people say, “I have no secrets.” Do you believe them?
Not at all! You can’t really LIVE life without having at least one skeleton in your closet.
Please, tell us how you feel about the ever-evolving publishing landscape.
Personally I think this is an exciting time to be a part of the publishing world. There are so many ways a writer’s voice can be heard. The best part is none of it is wrong.
Traditional Publishing isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Indie. Both are strong. Self- Publishing has never been better. Editors are at your fingertips. Beta readers are just a click away. Cover artists and illustrators are out there, too. All ready and willing to help you make your dream a reality. All it takes is a little research and a lot of hard work and time.
I know people who are scared to death of Twitter but really should be using it. Can you give these potential tweeps a few pointers on how to use it?
The only thing I can say is, JUST DO IT! It will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Put yourself, your work out there. Get to know a few people. Follow a range of people and see just how much you can learn. The five minutes it took to set up your profile will be the best five minutes you’ve ever spent. I knew nothing about Twitter when I signed up, but I was determined to figure it out. Within a week I decided it was without a doubt the best way to educate myself. Between the agents, publishers, writers, links and blogs it’s practically a one stop shop for information. Nowhere else can you ask a question and get a myriad of answers in response.
Using Twitter for the first few times is intimidating. I’ll be the first to admit that, but once a writer learns the ropes and gains a trusted group of “friends” it can be a blessing. There’s a sense of community that can’t be found anywhere else. I think I can speak for most of us when I say it’s always a pleasure to welcome a new writer, editor or agent to our lists.
For those of you who are just starting out, give me @SecretsWriter and a few of these wonderful people a shout @LisetteBrodey @ShellyPicarella @SwiftInkEditor @Alchira4ever @theMindjuggler @ATRUSSELLWRITER @TymothyLongoria @sabrinaogden @TrishWolfe @Darke_Conteur @DianaIlinca @ParaYourNormal @StephenPenner @LaraDunning @IndieBookIBC and we’ll be more than happy to show you the way around.
What do you know now that you wish you knew five years ago?
That particular list is endless, but the one thing I wish I would have known how hard getting published, traditionally or otherwise really is. Going in almost every writer has a vision of sending out a query, getting an agent and getting a publishing contract within a year. The reality is that only happens to a small percentage of very lucky people. If you’re not willing to put in the time and WORK your ultimate goal will never be reached.
What do you hope to know in five years that you don’t know now?
That’s a toughie…I can think of so many things I’d like to know more about. I suppose the biggest thing would be how I can divide my time between family, work, writing and helping new writers navigate their way across what at first feels like an overwhelming sea of questions.
What are the top five items on your to-do list?
Get final edits done on SECRETS
Publish it, first as an ebook.
Dedicate myself to editing the other three
Write the final four books in the Serenity Series. For them it’s just a matter of trying to make my fingers go as fast as my brain. Difficult since I’m a four-fingered typist. (The other six fingers refuse to work at all on a keyboard)
Take a deep breath and start the process all over again
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
My writing area. Whether it’s on my desk or on the couch I have to have all my things within an arm’s reach. I can’t function otherwise. Everybody knows better than to mess with my notebook, pencil or my maps. I get nervous when a fan picks up the binder I keep all my notes in. Not because it may give away a secret or two, but because it’s not where it should be. A steady bout of pacing goes on if someone decides to sit in my spot, too. Asking them to move would be rude, but it’s so tempting. My three-year-old nephew was shocked one day when he came over finding my daughter in my normal place. I’d swear he only hugged me to check me for fever.
As long as I have a Coke, my Atlantis pencil (yes, I am majorly picky when it comes to my pencil choice), my binder and my music I’m happy. Words flow and I fall back into my Supernatural world easily.
Any parting words for the masses? Where can the peeps connect with you?
Follow your dreams. You never know where they’ll take you, but the destination will be well worth the ride.
Come see me anytime!
Thank you so much for having me, Molly. It’s been a joy and a pleasure to talk with you. I must thank Lisette the next we talk for the fabulous introduction.