Dear lovelies, (Are you a little bit hung over today? Me too, but that’s okay. I will type *very* quietly.)
V: So Kelley, tell the pretty people a little bit about yourself, would you?
KH: I’d rather tell you about my characters. 😉 But, okay. I was born and raised in Texas and currently reside there. Yes, I’m one of those Texans your mamma warned about. I have no problem with all the other states—I’ve lived in several of them and they’re great, but I still think Texas TOTALLY ROCKS. Aside from writing, I read shit-tons and dabble in lots of other hobbies, such as scrapbooking, sewing, and crochet. With two daughters in their teens, I joke that I live on Teenage Drama Island, which I hate and sort-of love, because it gives me lots of fuel for the stories which swirl through my head twenty-five hours a day.
V: LOL, trust me, anyone who reads SECRETS I KEEP will KNOW you’re from Texas. With all the hilarious geographical colloquialisms, how could they not? Okay, NOW you can tell us about your PitchWars entry.
KH: SECRETS I KEEP, a New Adult Contemporary about Lily Blanco. She survived a childhood of physical and sexual abuse, and she’ll do anything to protect her little sister Sophie from the same nightmare.
Lily leaves her emotionally unstable mother and abusive father, hiding with Sophie in Texas. Picking up cans on the side of the highway and living in a dilapidated house, Lily scrapes by, until she fractures her pelvic bone. Forced to accept the help of her neighbor, Lily’s where she swore she’d never be again—dependent on a man.
Jax Alexander understands his job—return Sophie to his employer by any means necessary. His undercover gig is made easier when Lily falls from a roof and into his arms. She keeps him at crutch’s length, but he charms secretive Lily. However, Jax didn’t expect to fall in love with her. He also didn’t realize his job puts Sophie’s well-being in danger.
The only way for Lily to protect her sister is to reveal her own dark past, not only to her fragile mother, but Jax as well. Lily worries the revelation might push her mom over the edge. Plus, she thinks Jax will never look at her the same once he knows the secrets she keeps. Most terrifying of all, Lily must gather the courage to confront the monster she calls “Dad.”
V: And TRUST ME, you guys. It’s AMAZING. What inspired you to write this book (or even just writing in general), Kelley?
KH: As hokey as this may sound, I have to admit I’m most inspired by my daughters. At sixteen and eighteen, they are discovering the world and relationships. Right now, it’s all new for them and I’m lucky enough to have a front row seat. I write both YA and NA, so they’re right smack in those age groups.
The best compliment I’ve ever had for SECRETS I KEEP, was when Alex, my eighteen-year-old, read it in one sitting, and then texted me.
Alex: Loved the book
Me: I can take it if there are parts you didn’t care for.
Alex: I loved it. It was amazing. Great job.
Me: Thank you sweetie, I’m really happy you loved it.
Alex: I want to live with Jax! And I feel like Lily and I would be best friends lol.
Me: REALLY?? *smiles like demented llama*
Alex: Ummm what?
Me: You make me smile…REALLY BIG GOOFY SMILES.
Alex: Like this…??
V: Wow, that it hilarious, and a little terrifying. (I have a childhood llama phobia. Let’s not talk about it.) *Ahem* So. What is your favorite thing about your main character (Lily Blanco)? (BTW, Lily has her own Twitter account.
KH: So many women can identify with Lily. She’s unsure of herself, but she’s determined to do the best she can for those she loves. She refuses to give up or give in, even when life’s a total bitch and nothing goes right.
V: What do you hope to accomplish as a writer?
KH: Entertain the masses, first and foremost. I don’t write to teach lessons or as part of any kind of social agenda, if someone gets something beyond entertainment, then that’s all cake. If you meant accomplishments as a writer, I want to go as far as possible. I would love to see my books made into high quality movies, with first run actors (read as: someday I’d love to see Jax portrayed by Chris Hemsworth).
V: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face so far, on the road to publication?
KH: My answer is probably similar to other new authors’—rejection. I take comfort in the fact that all the greats were rejected at some point in their careers. Very few make it in this business without taking a few on the chin, maybe a couple to the gut. I just get back up, work to improve what I have to offer, and put myself back out there.
V: Sometimes, that’s all we can do. What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
KH: Sit your ass down and write. You can’t improve your craft reading about writing or networking with other authors, not to say those things are unimportant. To add quality to your work you must write a book, edit the living shit out of it, exchange critiques with other authors, edit it again—and again, and again—query it, and then write another book. Rinse then repeat.
V: Except, with any luck you won’t have to repeat the querying process. *Avoids eye contact with self* Finally, please tell all of your future fans (because I know you’ll have many) where you can be found on the intertubes.
V: Thanks for visiting, Kelley, and I can’t wait to unleash your manuscript upon all the other unsuspecting vic… I mean, Pitch Wars agents! (You’re gonna knock ’em dead!)
Note from V: Wanna meet the other two beautiful and talented members of PitchWars 2013-14 Team #BookBombshells? Please stay tuned for my next post in the “Meet the Bombshells” series!