Wednesday June 2, 2010
Today, I'm happy to welcome fellow crimson rose author Kaylea Cross. Pleae join me in learning more about this new author.
Kaylea, No Turning Back, which released this past Friday, May 28, from The Wild Rose Press sounds awesome. What do you think makes your story different then other suspense novels? What will draw readers to it?-
Thanks, Autumn! I put a lot of work into researching the geography and political scene in Afghanistan, plus the military backgrounds of all my heroes. This is the third book of five in the series, and I think readers will like it because after book two, they’re desperate for Ben to find a HEA. Plus there’s lots of fast-paced action to keep you on the edge of your seat!
Where do you find your inspiration or come up with your ideas/plots?
-I love military special ops, so my heroes all come from that background. Plots come from reading special ops non-fiction, newscasts plus documentaries I’ve seen, and then I let the characters take it from there.
You write about agencies such as the CIA. How do you research them? And do you do all your research before you write the story, or as you go?
Great question! As I said, I read a lot of military non-fiction, so that’s always my starting point. There are some really great resources out there for my genre. Plus I’ve been lucky to have interviewed military personnel to get the “real scoop”, and their point of view on what it’s like on the ground in a combat zone (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.). I do the majority of the research before I start the draft so I can get the main plot worked out (I’m an anal-retentive plotter, by the way), but then I often go back to my sources later on to get the picky little details right, in order to make the story come to life. It’s fiction, yes, but I hope it’s based in enough reality to show I’ve done my homework and make the story plausible.
Also, for this book and the next I got to interview a renowned neurosurgeon to discuss the particular Traumatic Brain Injury one of my characters suffers, and the emergency in-situ flap craniectomy that’s performed on him. I’m a registered massage therapist, so I’m trained in all the anatomical and medical jargon, and the information he gave me was amazing! Sometimes I think I love researching better than writing.
Do you have a favorite character? And what makes him or her special?
Yes! OMG, Luke Hutchinson is my favorite by far. I love him, and if you’ve read any of my other books, I’m certain that’s pretty obvious. He’s just so gorgeous and brave and cynical, and he’s been through hell. I couldn’t wait to finally write his book!
You have several other stories. What makes them unique?
They all follow a similar theme, featuring strong alpha military heroes (yum). The stories give a glimpse into what these incredible soldiers do by highlighting their skill sets, and I’ve also given some basics about the various militant factions wreaking havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope my books will teach you something, as well as entertain you.
Has your writing journey been a smooth or bumpy ride?
-To be honest, the bumpiest thing for me is the drafting phase. I actually loathe that part. So far I’ve only written single titles, and generally I can finish and polish one in about four months or so. No Turning Back took a little longer because I got stuck partway through, but when I finally got unstuck I couldn’t get the words down fast enough. I love that feeling.
The last book, Absolution, is Luke’s book, and it only took me two-and-a-half months from start to finished submission. That’s the smoothest writing process I’ve had to date, but I was just dying to get his story down and it flowed out of me.
There is a great deal of news concerning the e-publishing world. Why did you decide to publish your stories with The Wild Rose Press?
Actually that happened sort of by fluke. After I finished my first novel (Out of Her League), I joined RWA and hadn’t submitted it to anyone yet. TWRP was featured in the first RWR magazine I received with my membership, and since they claimed to be a “kinder, gentler publisher” that gave actual feedback if they rejected you, I submitted to them. I was kind of shocked when I got an e-mail a week after submitting the full for OOHL offering me a contract, but damn straight I took it! The other books are all related, so under contract TWRP has right of first refusal on them. Lucky for me, they contracted all five books.
What advice would you give to a new/ aspiring writer?
Boy, where to start? First I’d say to write what you love because you love it, not because your bucket list includes getting published. Believe in yourself and try to grow a thicker skin, because this business isn’t for wimps. Find an awesome critique partner or group that will help you improve as a writer and have your back when things get tough. Don’t let rejection get you down (sooo much easier said than done!) or make you quit. And finally, read, read, read, because it will make you a better writer.
What is your favorite writing memory?
Hmm. It’s a tie between typing The End on OOHL and getting a contract for Absolution, because it meant I had actually written and published a series of books.
What is the worst advice, concerning writing or publishing, you’ve received?
I’d have to say writing for trends/the market is a bad idea. If you don’t write what you love, it will show in the story. Also, don’t try to copy someone else’s style or writing process. We’re all different, and you have to find what works for you. Not all of us can knock out 1-2k words every single day, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t hit a daily word count. It’ll only suffocate your muse.
Tell the readers something interesting about yourself.
I’m such a research freak that I took up belly dance to bring more realism to my second book, Cover of Darkness. I’m also deathly afraid of flying, but I made sure I studied some flight manuals and then went up in a helicopter to better describe helos in my books. The pilot even pretended we were flying a night mission with Navy SEALs on board, cruising low and fast over the water to come up on the beach landing site we’d picked out. He was such a good sport! Plus I lived to tell about it, which made me extremely happy.
And despite the bloodthirsty nature of my writing, I’m actually a big wimp. I’m happiest puttering in my garden, sitting on my back porch swing with my laptop or a good book, or baking cookies with my little guys.
Where can readers find you?
My website is www.kayleacross.com. My blog is www.kayleacross.blogspot.com, and I’m also on Facebook.
Thanks so much for having me! I’d like to give away a digital copy of No Turning Back to one of your readers, so if you’re interested in taking a glimpse into my dangerous world of special ops heroes, just leave me a comment.
Evil's Witness releases June 18, 2010. Next week Steph's story.