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OBVB: Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond, Kellie! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KLM: Thanks so much for having me. I'm a freelance writer, novelist, wife and mother of four children. This last year, after publishing A Guilty Mind has been a really crazy and busy year. I'm very lucky!
OBVB: When did you catch the writing bug?
KLM: I've always enjoyed writing - even in school. I was the editor of the yearbook, worked on the newspaper, and was an avid reader. In college though, I was practical, majoring in business. Although I worked in finance for years, I did take creative writing in my spare time. After I had children, I started to spend more time writing.
OBVB: What first attracted you to Mystery?
KLM: I read all types of books but will admit that I prefer writing mystery. It's fun for me to surprise the reader with complex characters in suspenseful situations. I especially enjoy writing the twists and turns I sprinkle throughout the arc of the story.
OBVB: What authors influenced you when growing up? Who is on your nightstand right now?
KLM: When I was younger, I read several Stephen King novels. I was always amazed by his imagination. I moved on to mysteries and thrillers but read almost anything. I've read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca so many times I've lost count. At the moment, I've chosen not to read anything so I can really focus on completing my second book. However, I did just recently read Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, and Extinction by Mark Alpert. They were all from the mystery/thriller genre.
OBVB: A Guilty Mind is your debut, correct? Can you tell you use what it is about?
KLM: Yes, A Guilty Mind is my debut. The novel focuses on George, a man battling depression and tormented by the secrets of his past. When his psychiatrist is brutally murdered, he becomes the primary suspect. The Detective assigned to the case doesn't like George, convinced he acts like a guilty man, yet against his better judgment, finds empathy for his suspect. It is a story of truth and secrets and the consequences of those secrets.
OBVB: What was the most challenging thing you had to face when writing your book?
KLM: There were really a few challenges. The first was finding the time to write. This is still often a problem but I do my best to make it work. Early on in the process, I used my book club as a critique group. They were the first to give me feedback about the twists and turns in the conclusion of the book. The biggest challenge, of course, for any writer is the road to publication. I did work with agents and much of their feedback made its way into the final version of the novel. I took the time to revise and edit and get the novel "right". Because I took so much time, I ultimately self-published, as the traditional method can take months and years.
OBVB: How did you celebrate when your book was done?
KLM: I sent a few emails to friends who had been pushing me to publish for some time. I also had a book launch party to celebrate and sign books. It was truly a memorable and surreal night for me!
OBVB: Who was the most fun to write? Who was the most difficult?
KLM: For some reason, George was the easiest character to write. Obviously, I'm not a man nor am I depressed and hiding a terrible act from my past. Still, I just felt like I knew him and could tell his story with ease. Detective Cancini was a little more difficult because he is less emotional and more guarded. This makes it more challenging to reveal the softer parts of his personality.
OBVB: Do you have any muses for any of your characters?
KLM: I don't have any muses but I'm often asked if any character was modeled after someone I know. No one was but the character of Mary Helen (George's wife) is a composite of several types of women I've met in Richmond. However, I also believe she could be a composite of any privileged woman who isn't used to a world where she doesn't get her own way. What makes Mary Helen fun is that even she might surprise the reader in the end.
OBVB: If you could write a book outside of your genre, what would it be and why?
KLM: It's not strictly outside of my genre but I have an idea for a book that is suspense but similar in concept to Stephen King's Misery. It's the story of a man who is being held captive by another with both men having a lot to hide.
OBVB: Is there anything you must have or do when you are writing?
KLM: I don't have any special rituals but I do like to read the work out loud at times to see how it feels and flows.
KLM: I'm usually taking kids somewhere or watching them in a sporting or choral event. They have been keeping us pretty busy lately - I'm looking forward to summer almost more than they are!
OBVB: Last but not least, are there any other projects you are working on? Can you tell us anything about the sequel to A Guilty Mind, Stay of Execution?
KLM: Stay of Execution isn't a sequel but is the second in the series. The planned publication is late 2013.
In this novel, Detective Michael Cancini returns when a man he once put away for a series of rapes and murders is suddenly exonerated by new and unshakable DNA evidence. As questions surround who was really the "Co-Ed Killer", a new rash of rapes and murders draws Cancini back to both cases, the old and the new.
OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond, Kellie. Hope to see you here again hon.
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