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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free For All Friday - Meet author Kylie Griffin!

Help me welcome one of my Unsinkable sisters, Kylie Griffin. Our Golden Heart "class"of 2010 chose the name Unsinkables and a life preserver as our name and symbol, and I'm always honored to have one of my siblings on my blog:)

As you'll see by her interview, Kylie was finaling is contests all over the map, so it's no wonder she sold her trilogy -- yes, 3 -- book series to Berkley! YAY!
BLOODBORN is the first of the series (though Kylie says the title may be changed before her Feb. 2010 pub. date).

So grab a cup of coffee and get to know this talented lady a little better.

Was your road to publication more like a straight shot down the freeway or bumpy drive down a gravel road?
I started sending out manuscripts to publishers around 15 years ago and made every mistake in the book. Then I discovered three writing organizations that impacted my writing career - Romance Writers of Australia (joined in 2001), Romance Writers of New Zealand (in 2004) and Romance Writers of America (in 2009).

The annual conferences and the incredible workshops on offer gave me knowledge about the industry (which I was badly lacking), skills to hone my craft (that sorely needed developing), and writing competitions (to put my editing and skills to the test). From 2002-2010 I entered a swag of contests, used the feedback to continue improving and by 2007 I started to final, then place and then win. In late 2009/early 2010 I decided to take my manuscripts and enter them in some RWA contests.

The highlights were winning the WHRWA Emily contest & the Emily's "Best of the Best" (from which Leis Pederson requested the manuscript Berkley Publishing are soon to publish), and taking out an RWA Golden Heart (paranormal section).

I've also queried agents on and off over the last 5 years. I ended up signing with a small agency in 2009, but then the recession took its toll and my agency folded. Then just after winning the Golden Heart I started receiving offers of representation from agents. In the middle of talking with them I also received THE CALL, an email from Leis Pederson offer to buy the manuscript she'd requested from the Emily contest. This all happened in a week and a half, and leading up to my sister's wedding, so it was a hectic time.

In the end I accepted Elaine Spencer's offer of representation (from The Knight Agency) and she negotiated a three book deal for the Light Blade series. So, you could say the road has been long and bumpy but the journey has been interesting and certainly worth it.

Why did you choose your genre -- OR did it pick you?
I think I'm genetically predisposed to the paranormal romance genre. I cut my teeth on TV shows like Battlestar Galactica (the 70's version, folks!), Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr.Who (a British TV series) and every fairytales as bedtime reading. The interest grew to obsession the older I became and when I started high school I ended up addicted to authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings and JRR Tolkein.

About then I decided I could also invent my own stories. My fledging writing career began then an thankfully a couple of very patient high school English teachers encouraged me to pursue the craft. To this day I credit them for inspiring me to pursue writing as a career and to persevere at it.

When writing, what gives you most trouble: Characters, emotions, conflict?
Definitely the characters. I'm a panster/scener with my writing process and all the GMC charts or character interviews in the world pre-draft won't help me discover them before I put fingers to keyboard.

I have to write scenes and get into the action before they start revealing their internal thoughts, personal quirks, strengths and flaws to me. Once I'm about 25-30K into the book they begin to take shape and then it's just a matter of going back after the first draft to layer in the detail in those opening 8-10 chapters.

Where is your favorite writing spot?
My favorite writing space is my desk - I waited nearly 15 years to find the "right" one - a recycled timber with imitation leather top. Occasionally I'll it in my lounge recliner with my laptop on a steady table but more often than not I'll be sitting at my desk. More office-work environment like than a comfy recliner.
I've included a picture of my desk. 
You can see my "Series Bible" for my WIP (work in progress) on the right hand side. This one is bright pink but whenever I write a series I have one of these accompany me where ever I take my laptop. That way I have the info on everything about the character, setting, history, maps, names etc. at my fingertips.
 
You can also see the ever present coffee cup, a small rock that has the word CREATE carved into it near my lamp and on the wall are inspirational sayings as well as a tiny picture of my great Grandma Griffin above the left hand corner of my laptop (I use her surname as my author surname to keep it in the family, it just happens to match my genre as well), and a photo of my agent and editor (I like to see them when I'm corresponding via emails or talking to them over the phone).
 
Silence, noise, or music while writing?
I have an early morning routine that involves a few of the senses. Once I've finished breaky (about 5am) I like to
 change my desktop picture - usually I select a natural scene that encapsulates a setting from my WIP or one of my many hunky guys who resembles my hero.

Once I've done that then I light a scented candle, put up my DO NOT DISTURB sign on the front door and go for it. Sometimes I put on easy listening music, down low so I can't get distracted by the lyrics, but mostly I write in silence.

Jennifer, thanks for having me visit, I've really enjoyed it.
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Bio: Kylie Griffin writes paranormal/fantasy/futuristic romance for Berkley Publishing and lives in a small rural village in outback NSW, Australia.
In her “spare” time she’s a volunteer fire fighter, ambulance officer and member of the State Emergency Service, helping in floods, storms, search & rescue and road crash in her local community.
To contact or find out more about her, you can visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com
My Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=843143006
 
THANKS, KYLIE! :)

5 comments:

  1. Good morning, Kylie
    I love how you start your writing routine. LOVE the Do Not Disturb sign on your front door and lighting the candle.

    You've learned, you've persevered, and you're doing awesome. Congrats!

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  2. I love how you start your writing day, too, Kylie! And what a great idea to post a photo of your writing area for us to see. Now I can picture you all those miles (and miles) away! Plus you've inspired me to play around with ways to get in the writing zone. Now where did I put those candles...

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  3. Angela, I have 2 DND signs. The first has a lovely fairy on it warning people I'm writing and please not to disturb me unless urgent. The second had Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with claws out in a very threatening pose - caption underneath says "IN DEADLINE HELL - Turn around, walk away right now and no one gets hurt".

    Hey, Jacqui. I always find checking out others work space interesting - LOL. And scented candles are great, just remember they're burning before you leave the house though! :-)

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  4. Hi Kylie -
    Just wanted to thank you again for being my guest! I'd love to have you back next year to celebrate your release:)

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  5. Hi Kylie and Angela,
    I just found my favorite scent- and bought two Gardenia candles today. Will have to get out my glass candle holder and get to work. Yes it is interesting to see your space. Good idea to make it seperate. I will have to create a cozier writing space. Good interview. Like your group name and life preserver. Congrats on selling all three.

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