What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
Mystery/Suspense with a dash of romance. I feel comfortable with it, ideas come to me from everywhere – news, stories related to me by friends, anything contemporary without being depressing. I like my characters to feel like someone you could meet on the street and the stories to be “plausible”.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
No, while I keep an “idea book” of possible plots and add to it whenever something strikes me as a possible story; I’m not organized enough to keep track of one set of characters at one time. I can read two different books during the same day…I just can’t write two.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I belong to the Green Country Ruff Riters who are part of the OFWI, Inc. The group meets once a month and several of us email chapters or ideas back and forth to get outside ideas and critique.
Can you remember your first reading book?
No, afraid that I don’t. I remember waiting for the Bookmobile in the summer and checking out everything related to horses when I was in school…but the first book, sorry.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
I spend mornings at my computer and snacks are on the shelf over my desk. For salty, I like Jerky and for sweet, anything chocolate. I go on a health binge and eat nothing but apples from time to time, but that only lasts for a week or so. Runts and hard candies draw me in the winter.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
Bombsite until it drives me crazy, then about 3 days of clean before it spreads out again. Cat hair and often the cats sprawled around the monitor and mouse pad. Pens lost under the keyboard edge, idea binder and story binder leaning against various sides of the credenza desk. Phone numbers, contact data, invoices and all kinds of things including art pinned on the board that runs from the shelf over my head to the desk top. Six full cubbies over my head with all kinds of paperwork and projects. It’s insane, but I can normally find exactly what I need in less than three minutes of searching.
So far, I’m self-published. I keep submitting to agents and publishers, but I don’t have enough patience to wait months for responses. I start querying when the first draft is finished and polished – at least the first fifty pages – because I know it will take x amount of time to polish the remainder and by then I’ll be frustrated with the lack of responses and ready to find an editor and publish. I submit to no fewer than twenty agents and three publishers before I self-publish. This is all a learning experience. I wrote Desperate Endurance then began reading about query letters and finding a publisher. It was depressing. Several articles explained it could take between six months and two years to get a book published by one of the traditional houses. So, I looked into self-publishing including the economical “print on demand”. Having read some self-published authors who don’t know what an editor can do; I knew that investing in one would be the only way I could be proud of my final work. That is my only investment before I publish, besides my time. My husband formats for me and together we come up with cover ideas and art. After publishing, we try to promote and have learned with the first novel what does and does not seem to work.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
I read such a wide range of authors and learn from everything I read so this question is extremely difficult to answer. I don’t think I write “in the style of” any specific author. For a “clean” mystery – not a whole lot of side plots and very entertaining – Tony Hillerman is great. For romance – Nora Roberts is good, but Joan Johnston also creates wonderful characters and again a “clean” plot. I enjoy spicy scenes and by “clean” I mean easy to follow without a huge amount of side plots that muddy up the story. For suspense – John Sanford. But I also read Christine Feehan, Jennifer Ashley for paranormal and romance.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
PROOFREAD – You first, then hire/beg do whatever you have to do to get it proofread by at least one other person. I recently paid an editor only to find out that the person did not catch a mistake because it was “in the dictionary”. Spell check is not perfect. Affect, effect, accept, except, Sherriff, sheriff are all in the dictionary and spell check will let them go – but the meanings of each are different and if the proof-reader does not actually read the work, they won’t be able to catch it when the wrong form is used.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
What a lovely dream. I haven’t spent much time at the movies lately so I’m afraid that I would have to leave casting to someone who has…but it’s too bad that Sam Neil isn’t thirty years younger for the part of Roger in Desperate Endurance. Same with Jody Foster for Bethany. My characters are down to earth people and the actors would need to be the same to carry off the role.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
Does it have to stay boring? How about this for a short essay…
Driving to the market to collect some milk I was in the worst traffic. I got behind a huge horse trailer, the kind that holds horses and living quarters and there is no way you can see around it. Slowing, I took the time to enjoy some of the scenery when movement at the back of the trailer caught my eye. The latch handle on one of the rear doors seemed to be vibrating loose. Another bump, and it bounced open.
Slowly, terrifyingly, the door began to swing open. I could see horse legs. Crap, what to do. I could see in my mind’s eye a horse falling out the back. Laying on the horn I hit the “On Star” emergency button. I explained the situation as I continued to hit the horn, trying to get the attention of the driver. I swerved out into oncoming traffic, honking to get the truck to slow, waving madly at the problem.
I didn’t know if I should try to use my car to close the door or drop back to give room to any animal that might fall out.
Then I heard it – Thank God! A police siren approaching from both the front and the back, cars and trucks pulling off the road in both directions like leaves falling off a tree in fall. I pulled over and thankfully, so did the truck with the horse trailer. The police vehicles were stopping her. As the truck came to a halt, one of the horses backed nicely out of the open door. As I had feared, it had not been tied in place. The lush grass on the side of the road beckoned it while the police officers and truck driver walked to the rear of the trailer. Grazing on the tall grass, it was easily caught, averting another possible disaster.
My hands shaking at the drama and possible disaster I had just been a minor part of, I sat in my car watching the police and driver reload the horse, secure the door and put tape around the loose latch handle to hold it until proper repairs could be done. I doubt if the driver realized I had called in the problem, but that was fine with me. Someday, I may need a person who can help in a possibly disastrous situation. I’ve always believed that “what goes around, comes back around” and maybe this good deed may save my life one day.
http://www.kaseyriley.com is my personal site where you can find information about myself, my novels, and excerpts from my work.