Interview: Kelly Gay

Kelly Gay, author of the Charlie Madigan series, is visiting The Life and Lies today! Welcome Kelly!

1) Why and when did you begin writing? Gay-Kelly

I began making up stories from the time I was four years old and was six when I wrote my first story down. The 'why' is harder to answer because it's really something that feels intrinsic to who I am. I write because I have to, because the ideas in my head demand to get out and become a reality on paper. I began writing with dreams of publication in my teens and later, more seriously, in my twenties. The goal has always been to create stories for a living.  

2) What inspired you to write your series?

I just had these ideas in my head about a world where the paranormal had come out of the closet, and this single mom character who was faced with sacrifice and choices. I felt compelled to explore her more, to see how a single mom, urban fantasy heroine would cope and it kind of took off from there.

3) How did you come up with the title?

My editor and I came up with it during a phone call wherein I was frustrated by the fact that none of the titles I was coming up with felt right. He started throwing out phrases and matching up words to ones I'd already been toying with and he came up with 'The Hour of' and paired it with Dust and Ashes, which I'd had paired with something else. When he said it all together, we both knew that was the one. 

4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

I was influenced by Marion Zimmer Bradlely, Mary Stewart, C.S. Lewis, Anne Rice...  I read a ton of mythology growing up, which influenced me greatly as well.

5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I don't research beforehand as that can distract me from the actual writing. My research consists of things like weaponry, bodily injury, technology... I write over anything I don't know about and then go back after I'm done my draft to fill in the missing pieces and flesh things out more.

6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No, not really. Of course there are certain internal characteristics or traits that resemble people I know, but no one character is based on a particular person.

7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

The most exciting is seeing my books on the shelf and actually being able to share the wild ideas in my head with others. The hardest part is sharing those ideas with others, LOL -- in getting what I see and feel into words that will make the reader see and feel the same thing. That can be a struggle sometimes to organize all my thoughts and words while under the pressures of deadlines, contracts, other books, family life, etc...

8) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Don't get caught up in finding the "right" process to write your fiction, in what size font to use, if you should outline, if you should plot as you go . . . etc.  There is no one right way to do it. Everyone's process is different. Do what feels comfortable to you. Concentrate on learning what makes a great story great by reading, reading, reading, and then studying books you really love, dissecting them, seeing how they address pacing and plot and characters... Great books are amazing tools for learning how to craft great stories yourself.

9) Will there be more of Charlie Madigan in the future?

The 4th Charlie book is scheduled for summer 2012. After that, I'm not sure. I'd definitely like to write more, though.

Just for fun:

1) What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read! Play with my kids and try to get outside as much as possible.


2) What book are you reading right now?

Graveminder by Melissa Marr.


3) Do you have any pets?

We have two cats and a Great Dane. He's massive and when I write about Brim (the hellhound) slobbering, I get my inspiration from my dog!

4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

Potatoes, bread, and cheese. Can't live without those things. And pizza. Least favorites would be sweet potatoes.

5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write on the recliner side of my sofa with my laptop. The sofa is leather and very cushy, so I can stay there a long time, which is good and bad. (Have to remind myself to get up and walk around during long bouts of writing).

6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Not usually. Food distracts me, so if I do snack, I use that time to read emails or network online. Snack of choice, though, is usually cheese popcorn. Love!

7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

The British Isles or somewhere in the Greek Islands.


8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

History was my favorite and math -- least fav.


Thanks Kelly! Check out Kelly's website for more about her and her books.

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