Whilst driving down the road the other day, I started imagining myself at my very first book-signing. . .
(SIDEBAR: This is something I tend to do whilst driving down the road: imagining wonderful scenarios, like an agent calling me, asking me if I’m sitting down, to which I reply yes, to which he says, I loved your novel, I have to represent it, I won’t take no for an answer! I admit to being a nut. Certifiable. 🙂 )
This latest soiree found me in a bookstore during my very first book-signing. The book was CHERRY. I was thrilled, nervous, but surprisingly eloquent. I charmed the pants off my adoring audience, answering each question with poise and wit. I was honest–almost to a fault–but that just endeared me further to those who’d driven blocks to hear, from the author’s own lips, how kkellie came to write CHERRY (a NYT best-seller, and critically acclaimed!), how she became a writer, and other fascinating facts!
First, about the in-process painting above~ I’d taken a photograph of a deer and decided to try my hand at painting it in oils, which I’d purchased at a yard sale for three dollars and some change. This is how I paint, and this is how I write: not rendering the whole then adding details, but concentrating on the details–set down and perfected–before moving on.
Just a little tidbit, something to wet your whistle, as they say. And now. . .
Q: Not a question, but thank you for coming here today, kkellie. We are thrilled to have you!
kk: And I am thrilled to be here. This is so much fun!
Q: CHERRY is so interesting, fresh and unique. How did you come up with the idea for CHERRY?
kk: The truth is, CHERRY came to me, or was given to me like a gift. I was driving down Jefferson Avenue in beautiful downtown Trenton, Michigan. I passed a street, CHERRY, and–that fast–I knew what I was going to write next.
Q: Next? You mean you’ve written other things? Oh you have to tell us!!!
kk: I shall, but let’s focus on CHERRY because, you know, this is my fantasy and I want to talk about CHERRY right now.
(laughter, knowing winks)
Funny thing, though. For a few moments there, Steve McGuire was going to be a serial killer. Can you imagine?
Q: Not our sweet Cherry!!
kk: I know. Luckily, that moment passed and cooler heads prevailed.
Q: So you knew the story in a flash? The whole thing, beginning to end?
kk: Yes, I did. It’s so weird. Every novel I’ve written has come to me like that, except for this last one–
Q: You’re writing a new novel??!!
kk: Yes, EFFIN’ ALBERT. I’m up to 60K now, so. . .
Q: We can hardly wait!!!
kk: Me, too. Back to CHERRY–
Q: Who are you most like, David Brandt or Steve McGuire?
kk: I wish I could say Steve McGuire but the truth is, I am a lot like David Brandt in that I can be selfish, self-indulgent, full of angst and doubt. I fancy myself a writer–
I’m my own worst enemy, but despite my shortcomings, I am a good egg.
Q: Were you worried about portraying Brandt in such a negative light? Weren’t you worried that your readers wouldn’t respond to such an unlikeable character?
kk: Nope. Brandt is who he is. I don’t need my characters to be likeable, I just need them to be interesting.
Q: Not to divulge any spoilers here but. . . were you concerned about putting a [REDACTED] in your novel? Weren’t you worried you’d lose readers?
kk: Initially, yes, I was concerned. That’s why I posed the question in a thread at AbsoluteWrite. The reaction was mixed. Some were vehemently against it. I caught some flack, some suggested I didn’t know crap about [REDACTED], I had no business writing about it, but others understood my reasoning for putting it in there–
Q: What was your reasoning?
kk: It needed to be there, for the story arc, for the character arcs. It ultimately defined the relationship between Brandt and Cherry. Believe me, I gave it a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that it was a risk I was willing to take. It was necessary. I was okay with that.
Q: What about getting an agent or publisher, weren’t you concerned that putting a [REDACTED] in your novel, especially a male-on-male [REDACTED], would turn off prospective agents or whatever?
kk: Again, initially, yes, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the [REDACTED], per se, that limited my agent/editor pool. Rather, it is the novel in sum: it’s gritty, it’s on the edge, I take liberties with content and format. It doesn’t have a real ending–
Q: Yeah!!!! What’s with that? That’s a heck of a risk to take, kkellie, not giving your novel closure.
kk: But again, it had to be that way. In my mind, there was no other ending. If I ended CHERRY with [REDACTED], or with Brandt [REDACTED]. . .
Q: You are venturing uncomfortably close to spoilerville. Just sayin’.
kk: Pardon me. Let’s just say I left it hopeful, but true to the characters and their story.
Q: Let’s take a break so you folks can shake kkellie’s hand and have her sign your copies of CHERRY. I know you’ve all been waiting. . .
To my ersatz readers of this blog, I shall conclude this fantasy at a later date, depending on a lot of things. In the interim, should anyone out in cyberspace have a question for kkellie, author of CHERRY, feel free to pose it on this blog.
I am sure you’ll find the author most accommodating.