Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with children’s author Kay LaLone. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Kay. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Kay: I’m Kay LaLone author of Ghostly Clues. I live in Michigan with my husband and youngest son (two older sons live near by). I love writing about ghosts, witches, demons, angels, and anything supernatural. I am also an avid reader and do book reviews.
Morgen: I bet your boys love those. You write children’s books, was there a reason to choose this genre?
Kay: I chose writing for children because I think children have a more open mind and a wild imagination.
Morgen: You’re probably right. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Kay: Ghostly Clues is my first middle grade novel.
Morgen: Middle grade – is that the age group you write for?
Kay: Children all the way up to young adult.
Morgen: Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
Kay: Agatha Christie was my favourite author when I was younger.
Morgen: And one of mine, still is. 🙂 Do you think it’s easier writing for children than adults?
Kay: Yes. I haven’t really tried writing for adults because my characters have always been younger.
Morgen: Do you get a second opinion on your stories before they’re published – if so from adults, children or both?
Kay: I’m involved in two online critique groups that have helped me develop my stories for publication.
Morgen: Online groups are great. I’ve just set up five (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/online-writing-groups) and although only a month and a bit old, we’re having a great time. Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about writing for children?
Kay: If it is your passion and dream to write for children, never give up. Someday it will happen. Your book will get into the hands of your readers.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Kay: Yes my book is an ebook. I was involved quiet a bit in the process. Just after my ebook came out is when I started reading ebooks, which I like now.
Morgen: Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Kay: I have several stories in the works. But I have recently sent, Family Secret, to my publisher.
Morgen: Let me know how that goes. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Kay: Most of the time I try to write every day. I don’t suffer from writer’s block to often but when I do, walking seems to clear my mind.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Kay: I get an idea and I run with it, letting my characters tell me their story.
Morgen: I love it when they do that. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Kay: Usually a name of a character will pop into my head. Then I’ll do a character sketch to see what this character looks like. Then figure out what their story is. I think flaws make a character believable.
Morgen: We all have them. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Kay: I do a lot of editing and revising.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Kay: Not really. But I think it helps to make your characters and setting more believable if you do research.
Morgen: As you say, they have to be believable. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Kay: I have had plenty of rejections. Or I should say Ghostly Clues has had plenty of rejects before I found the right publisher. I try not to take rejection personally. Over the years, I have realized the publisher is not rejecting me, it’s just that my story wasn’t right for them.
Morgen: Absolutely. Do you do much marketing for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Kay: I think you have to market your name more than just your book.
Morgen: You certainly do, and it’s hard work. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Kay: Never give up. Keep on writing.
Morgen: If you want it badly enough, you won’t give up. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Kay: I love to blog. Also I’m an avid reading and write reviews for the books I read.
Morgen: Oh do you? I’ll have to add you to my mixed blog’s reviewers page. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Thank you, Kay.
I then invited Kay to provide an extract of her writing:
The house was blanketed in a quiet slumber. I snuggled under the sleeping bag with Allison, trying not to think about ghosts, as I drifted to sleep.
Random pictures floated in my mind like ghostly images.
I tiptoed among tombstones and my heart ached as if I had lost something or someone. He had to be here, somewhere. The gravestones rose like stone walls. No names engraved on them. No dates. No R.I.P. Nothing. Just smooth, flat stones. Ghosts—grayish, smoky forms with black eyes—floated over the tombstones. I shivered, suddenly cold, freezing. My breath visible like a little ghost. I didn’t want to look at the ghost anymore so I looked down at my feet. A tombstone with Grandma’s name appeared out of nowhere. The earth moved. The dirt around the headstone broke away and gnarled fingers clawed their way into the air, searching, grasping. Shriveled fingers clutched my leg.
Something grabbed at my leg—the hand, I screamed and frantically wiggled out of my sleeping bag, bumping MJ as I tried to get away from the hand I thought I felt grab at my leg.
And a synopsis…
The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul.
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead. The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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