CHERRY: The Author Speaks! Part One of Two


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–

(smiles, tittering)

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. . .

(thunderous applause)


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.


12 thoughts on “CHERRY: The Author Speaks! Part One of Two

  1. Hahahaha you mean I’m not the only person who does that??? In my fantasies I’m usually on a panel at a SFF con. 😀

    It can be weirdly useful, though! If I imagine readers asking me questions, then I have to come up with the answers to those questions, and oddly enough it helps clarify my thought processes sometimes. So I’m going to keep pretending such fantasizing is time well spent. (Ha! Really they’re just asking me how I’m so awesome.)


    • I know, I know!!! And I bet you have a great answer for them!!!

      sl, if visualizing one’s successes makes them come to fruition, I am there, I swear! Because I am doing this all the time. Which is weird because, like, I’m a grown-up and everything. . .

      I find you most delightful, sl. Did you have a question? Because otherwise, I’m gonna cut this short. Time is money, you know.



    • There are no ‘coulds’, Jen Donohue. Not could, DO. Err, what did Yoda say? Holy crap, I’m cracking myself up which may be problematic, as I was about to attempt another EFFIN’ ALBERT chapter. . .


      You know I jest, Jen Donohue! Thank you for visiting kkellie and her fabulous blog. 🙂


  2. Who doesn’t do this crazy stuff?!
    I do it once a week. But I usually have two in one. One I imagine everything goes perfect and when I sign a contract the sky opens up and glitter falls down. I believe this to be a true phenomenon that happens to every newly signed writer.
    The other is I get the call and then am asked to change so many things I wonder what to do…

    How much would you be willing to change with Cherry if your most fave agent accepted you?


    • Valid question, Shay Dee, as I quote from three actual novels as well as Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules of Writing” essay.

      I would tell the agent, “Of course I would like to keep CHERRY intact as much as possible but, if you can’t get releases for any/all of those publications, I am certainly willing to revise my ms. Not a problem.”

      That’s one of my imagined scenarios, btw. There are two chapters–I believe you are familiar with them, Shay Dee–that could possibly be targeted for revision. Not sure, like I said–reaction from the peanut gallery’s been mixed. I’m holding off for now.

      CHERRY is precious to me. I hope it squeaks through relatively unscathed.

      By the way, I hope your first lovely scenario comes true. I want some sparkly stuff, too! 🙂


    • Madame, your wish is my command. I shall begin the visualization process straight away — or as soon as I finish watching Dangerman: The Incredible Mr. Goodwin (BBC)–with mr kk.

      The guy is unbelieveable. (Talking Mr. Goodwin although mr kk kicks butt, so. . . 🙂 )

      Anna, welcome to my little blue blog thingie!



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