Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.
In this series I get the chance to interview some fab authors and glean some insight into their writing life, their motivations and the challenges that they have overcome with writing their books.
This week I am super excited as 2 x award-winning paranormal mystery thriller author Kimberly Brouillette has taken the time to come sit in my chair! Squeal!
I don’t think I have interviewed many paranormal writers in this series, so I am bubbling with excitement and I can’t wait to hear how Kimberly gets her inspiration for her fabulous books.
I do love it when award-winning authors agree to let me interview them – sigh!
Hey Kimberly – welcome to the BlondeWriteMore blog, please take a seat.
Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written:
I have written 2 award-winning, paranormal murder mysteries:
- ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ (Book 1, Monastery Murders), and
- ‘Devil in the Details’ (Book 2, Monastery Murders).
I was also contributing editor for ‘Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars,’ written by Pamilla S. Tolen. For the past 12 years, I have edited numerous books for Comfort Publishing and various authors.
When did you write your first book?
I actually co-authored my first book, ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ (Book 1, The Monastery Murders) with Karen Vance Hammond in September, 2013. I wrote my second book, “Devil in the Details’ (Book 2, The Monastery Murders) on my own and released it in August, 2015.
Both books have won the 2014 and 2015 Paranormal Awards for fictional literature, respectively. Currently, I am finishing my third book in the same series, ‘Method in the Madness,’ which is scheduled to be released fall 2016.
Wow love your awards!
How long did it take to write your first book?
‘Secrets in the Shallows’ and ‘Devil in the Details’ each took approximately 18 months to complete. I hope to finish ‘Method in the Madness’ in only 13 months.
Working full-time at my day job at a regional magazine only allows me to spend nights and weekends on my personal projects.
What was your motivation to write your first book?
‘Secrets in the Shallows’ was inspired originally by a nightmare that my co-author for book 1, Karen Vance Hammond, had experienced.
The prologue for book 1 is directly taken from that scary dream. Once Karen and I began working on the first book of the series, we developed a paranormal murder mystery that has been called a combination of Hitchcock’s suspense and Christie’s mystery with a dash of King’s horror.
Book 1 does end with a cliffhanger, however the story continues into the second book, ‘Devil in the Details,’ where the actual killer is finally revealed with a twist. The back story which explains why everything began in the first place will unfold in book 3, ‘Method in the Madness.’
What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?
I learned a great deal throughout the process of writing this entire series. Even though I had previously edited a number of books, I made the mistake of trying to edit the first book, initially. After some harsh reviews concerning my typos, I quickly realized that it was not the wisest choice, so I hired an editor to work on ‘Secrets in the Shallows.’ It was re-released in August 2015. It is so easy to become blind to your own work. I have learned my lesson and won’t attempt that again.
Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?
When I began working on book 2, ‘Devil in the Details,’ Karen Vance Hammond, my co-author of ‘Secrets in the Shallows,’ had some significant life changes due to a family member’s health. The adjustment process that resulted caused the project to slow down considerably for a few months. When we realized that her situation wasn’t going to change quickly, Karen released the project to me so that I could finish it in a timely manner. Since then, I have continued working on this series for the past 2 1/2 years on my own.
Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?
I have a general sense of where the story is going to end up, however there are many aspects to the story which change along the way, especially with a mystery. Originally, I attempted to plan everything out for most of the book. However, once I started writing, I realized that it isn’t uncommon for me to gain wonderful inspiration as I’m working on the story.
If I move too far ahead of where I am at in the story, then I may have worked many hours on chapter summaries which may not be written. For this reason, I have developed what I call as the headlight method By this I mean, I have a general map which allows me to know where I’m heading, however the specific routes I take can change.
I will write chapter summaries for about 15-20 chapters at a time and focus on those chapters until they are completed.
Basically, I only write as far as I can see using my headlights, or chapter summaries. Once I finish those chapters, I repeat the possess until I complete the book.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
It’s hard to reduce the best thing about being an author down to a single aspect. However, if I must, then I would say that the best thing about being a writer is having the ability to create a wonderful, tangible story from your own mind and then share it with the world. Inspiring words can be eternal if they are shared. How many thousands of authors claim that Charles Dickens has inspired their own works, almost 150 years after his death? A captivating or inspiring book can become a legacy which continues to endure, even after the writer is long gone.
What is the worst thing about being a writer?
I believe one of the worst things about being a writer is that there is so much required in order to become a successful writer which has little to do with the writing itself. Since I have a day job, my available writing time is already limited. Combine that with the normal responsibilities of life and family time, then there is even fewer hours that I am free to write. That time is reduced even more by the need to promote my books via social media, write blog articles and conduct author interviews on websites, radio shows and podcasts.
Unlike most authors, I am also a graphic designer, so I save a great deal of expense by designing my own book covers, bookmarks and any promotional materials, but again, my time is reduced significantly. Due to my available time or looming deadlines on some days, I must choose between designing my book related graphics, writing my book manuscripts or promoting them. My ultimate dream is to be able to focus my attention on all aspects of my books by becoming a successful, full-time author. I realize that the responsibilities for my writing career wouldn’t change, but I would have more time available to spend actually writing.
Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?
I only started focusing on my own books within the past 6 years and have no plans on stopping any time soon. As of right now, I have approximately 7-10 years worth of projects in mind. On top of that, I have many additional ideas for screenplays, novellas and short stories that I haven’t even begun. I’ve found that I am happiest when I am able to be creative. Writing is one of the outlets I need to be content, so I will continue as long as I have a story in my head.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I basically alluded to this when I spoke about the worst thing about being a writer. I would never say there is a typical writing day for me. My writing days can vary greatly, due to whether I have other responsibilities that I need to focus on. Whenever possible, I try to spend my time between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. writing on my current project.
However, should I have a radio show interview or need to design a new marketing graphic, then I may not spend as much of that time actually writing.
Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?
The biggest contributing factor for any procrastination directly relates to social media. As I mentioned before, social media is a large aspect of my promotional activities. It does require continual self-discipline so that I don’t spend too much time on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I have my good days and less successful ones, in that regard. The upside is that even if I do spend more time than I should on social media, it is usually to help promote my books, so it isn’t a waste of time.
Which is more important – plot or characters and why?
I don’t believe one is more important without the other. In order to create a truly remarkable story, both are needed. Should one or the other be less significant in the story, then it will show in the reviews.
I believe that realistic characters who enable the reader to empathize, rejoice and cry will make a story worth reading. However, if the plot isn’t very original or creative, then those wonderful characters will fall flat in the reader’s mind.
A great writer knows how to utilize original plots and memorable characters to create a world where the reader can escape to and never want to leave.
Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?
- First and foremost, I recommend that aspiring authors spend a great deal of time actually READING the works of great authors. Try to take in a variety of genres, not just the ones that you usually are drawn to.
- Allow yourself to read for multiple reasons. Find a new appreciation for different styles, formats, perspectives, approaches and themes. There are so many rules on writing which were written long ago. Some of those rules may need to be broken in order to unleash your true potential.
- Develop your own writing style that makes your work unique. Discover the true reason you want to write and then do whatever you need to in order to reach your goals.
- Above all, don’t become stuck in the mire of self-defeat. Only you can stop you.
Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?
I would not say that I suffer from writer’s block. Whenever I find that I am unable to work on a certain part of my book due to lack of the right inspiration, I simply begin working on another aspect of it. Fortunately for me, my books have dream scenes, differing time lines and even multiple point-of-views (MPOV), so it is not very difficult to focus on another segment. I determine which part I am most inspired to write at that time and then begin writing.
I will add that there have been times when I was unable to write on specific parts of the book, or even certain characters, due to a need for inspiration. For example, in my current project, ‘Method in the Madness,’ I was unable to write the prologue for three months due to the fact that I have set a PG-13 standard for my books. I had to determine the correct approach to deal with a very violent and delicate matter in the story line. While the specific inspiration eluded me for that part, I went ahead and wrote the next five chapters, which involved another time line.
When I desperately am seeking a story line epiphany, I have found that riding our motorcycle has allowed me to be able to get away from the world just long enough to find the creative spark I need. There is something that happens when I’m able to block everything from my mind which allows new ideas to spring forth.
What do you wear to write?
I like to be as comfortable as I can be as I write. It’s not unusual to write in a loose t-shirt and shorts, or even my Pj’s. I don’t want to be more concerned with what I’m wearing than what I’m writing.
If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?
I am very accessible via Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, Instagram, Pinterest, E-mail and my author blog. My books are available via paperback and Kindle on Amazon and most standard book outlets. Autographed paperbacks are only available directly through me (e-mail for more information).
See below for the links:
Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/Kimberly_Brouillette
Instagram Profile: AuthorKimberlyB
Pinterest Profile: www.pinterest.com/kimbrouillette
Thank you Kimberly!
Ok, I have so many things to take from this.
- I love how you were inspired by a nightmare to write one of your books. Brilliant!
- I LOVE your headlight method and I am hoping you will come back and do me a guest post on that as it sounds really useful. As a writer who hates planning but needs some sort of direction this method appeals to me.
- OMG you have 7-10 years worth of projects in mind! How does your brain cope?
- Your tips for aspiring authors are great!
- I can relate to having a story line epiphany moment and I love how you get on a motorcycle to get your creative juices going.
Thanks again 🙂
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