An Interview with Kay MacLeod

Welcome to ARCBookblog Kay, it’s so nice to have you here, joining me for an interview, first of all, before we get to the questions, why don’t you tell me and my readers a little about yourself.

Bio pic.jpgKay – Confession time, I’m a fantasy addict! For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the concept of magical worlds. I was the kid with dragons doodled around the edge of her school work, the one with her head constantly buried in a book. As a teen, I shunned partying to play Magic the Gathering and DM Dungeons and Dragons games.

Through the years, I’ve always made up stories and took characters on amazing adventures, in the privacy of my own mind. Now I want to share them with other people.

I live with my husband and cat in Nottinghamshire in England. When I’m not writing (or planning something I’m writing) I’m usually working, reading, playing bass for my church’s worship team, playing computer games (World of Warcraft, Dragon Age, Pokemon, Minecraft) or drinking tea.

Okay, now that we know you’re an Englander, just like me, let’s get to some questions.

Me – Is writing a full-time occupation, or do you have a job that keeps you from it?

Kay – I wish! I would absolutely love to be able to spend all day writing, and that is my ultimate goal. I’ve only released one book so far, and I know it will take time to get to the point where I can support myself with my writing. I can’t wait until I’m one of those irritating people that gets to do a job they enjoy.

Me – What aspect of publishing do you find the easiest?

Kay – Coming up with ideas. My mind is constantly churning with new characters, plot twists, worlds and settings. I’m on the second book of my first series, which I think will be four books long, and I already have plans for a prequel, about eight short stories, a different series of six books, a spin off from that series with the main character’s cousin and rough ideas for another four or five things I want to work on…

I even have big ideas for events or promotions (check out the Indie Advent Calendar I ran over Christmas  http://kaymacleodbooks.com/indie-advent-calendar/) I just love creating things, it’s only a problem because I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to.

Me – What do you find the most difficult?

Kay – I think a lot of authors find promotion hard, I’m no exception, we tend to be introverts so talking about myself is always a challenge. I’ve found that I don’t mind discussing my characters or story though, it makes my day when someone talks to me about what they’ve read and start telling me their theories of what will happen later in the series. Then I find not giving away spoilers with my expressions really difficult!

Me – What is your perfect writing environment.

Kay – There has to be a cup of tea. Though that’s true for most things I do… I generally write from my office when I’m on my own, I prefer quiet and a good chunk of time so I can get into a flow. I especially like taking a week off work so I can just attach myself to the keyboard and let myself run away into the story, even with a full day to write I can sometimes still be there at 1am if I’m really feeling it.

Me – Do you have a process you follow when writing a book?

Kay – I plan well, and I really enjoy it. I use Evernote for keeping everything on track (including my life) I have character bios, maps, timelines, outlines and random ideas I may use at some point. I write out everything I want to happen during the whole book, shift it around if I need to, then bullet point each individual plot point. I like to leave my chapters with a hook into the next one so I decide where each chapter will end and have a loose idea of what will happen in it- even if it’s just a sentence or two.

I also have a list of things I want to develop in each character and ideas for dialogue or points that don’t need to happen at specific times so that I can fit them in wherever they feel right as I write. I never cling too tightly to anything I’ve plotted though, I end up revising my chapter placements a lot as I get into the story and have even changed huge chunks of original material when I’ve found something that will work better.

Me – Would you rather be critically successful or financially successful?

Kay – Financial success would be wasted on me, I’d still mooch around in a hoodie and jeans, still hate wearing jewellery and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between an expensive car or a rubbish one! If I had enough to live comfortably on and spoil my husband now and again it would be enough for me. I remember a while ago before I was anywhere close to finishing Heirs of Power I heard something being described as ‘critically acclaimed’ and thinking, ‘one day my work’s going to be critically acclaimed.’

Me – If you could pick 1 celebrity to read your book and give an opinion on it, who would it be?

Kay – I don’t really…celebrity. I’m terrible at knowing who people are or what they are famous for. There are a few bands and actors I like but I’ve never been into celebrity culture. I think I’d have to say Peter Jackson then, if he likes it he can promise me that he won’t let the film adaptation be disappointing!

Me – Do you find it easy to avoid being distracted when you sit down to write?

Kay – I have good days and bad days. There have been days that I started in the morning, forgot to eat lunch and realised I’m supposed to be going out that evening and have an hour to get ready. Then there are the times when I just wonder what my word count is and then what that makes my average chapter length, or what my sales look like today, or I get side-tracked into researching new ways to say things or describe a colour.

The main thing that never fails to take my attention is my cat, he’s too adorable to ignore and he usually ends up laid across my left arm or shoulder while I work. It slows down my typing but I always feel better with him helping out.

Me – If you have published already, what has been the most successful technique/site/opportunity for you in terms of getting either exposure or sales?

Kay – Goodreads, for sure. It has such a wealth of opportunities and information for writers of all kinds. I’ve made some great friends on there, gotten reviews, done giveaways, promoted my events, even gotten interviews 😉

The groups on the site have been so helpful to me, there are some really amazing people on there, with much more knowledge and experience than me. Even a lot of the things I’ve done outside of Goodreads is because I learnt how to do them on there. I highly recommend it, for readers and bloggers too, come and say hi to me when you get on!

Me – Last but not least, and something a little fun, what is your favourite animal, and why?

Kay – I adore most animals, so I’m going to cheat and say my favourite domesticated animal is my tuxedo cat, Kai. He’s the cutest little thing ever, he’s four but I think he’ll be like a kitten forever, he’s so small with huge eyes and a bigger personality.

My favourite wild animal is a cheetah. They are perfection. Such beautiful and immaculately designed creatures, I love their sleek look, their incredible sprint and their fluffy babies.

If you’d like to know more about Kay, just follow the links below.

http://kaymacleodbooks.com/

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Heirs of Power

51lDg+Kgm1L.jpgAfter stumbling upon an otherworldly ritual, Kitty Fairlow discovers that her own incredible hunting skills are not merely due to a lifetime of training. She has been gifted powers from an ancient spirit, passed down by her father. She is a Constellation.
And she’s not the only one.
A new generation of heroes have each inherited unique abilities in order to prevent the corruption of their world by the Tenebri, a race that thrives on life energy. Kitty, along with a high-born dancer and a snarky juggler, must find their allies before the Tenebri army picks them off.
With the powerful enemy emerging, can the Constellations gather in time to put an end to the threat for good, or will their foe succeed and wreak the same destruction they have unleashed on their own world?

If you like this you can buy the book at Amazon

 

 

Anti-social vs social media.

I was going to title this post Autism vs Social Media, but that seems unfair to the people who are anti or unsocial but don’t have autism or mental health problems as a reason (some people simply prefer to avoid people).

I have encountered a number of discussions on Goodreads recently about the need for and the usefulness of Facebook author pages and other social media, and every time I am left with the same set of conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I know that social media can be a very powerful tool in this globally connected age for enabling a writer to find readers, build a fanbase, connect with fans, etc; on the other, this only works if you are able to use social media effectively.

If, like me, you have difficulty dealing with people on any level (in my case the reason for that is I have autism and a number of other mental health problems, but people have many reasons for this problem) then social media can be a real struggle; unfortunately this means that no matter how good your book is, and I’m not about to claim a Dickens level of writing ability here, but I do believe I am above average as an author, it will be difficult to get people to discover the books you release.

There are sites that will provide authors with a quick boost of promotion, but long-term success will only come as a result of good quality, consistent use of social media. What the solution is, I don’t know, but if anyone out there can come up with a suggestion for how I can market my books effectively, and long-term, without spending a fortune, and without burning myself out trying and failing with social media, I’d love to hear from you.

USA Today bestselling author Rainy Kaye

As part of my ongoing effort to be more inclusive on this blog, and not restrict it solely to the genres I am personally interested in (romance readers and others are people too and shouldn’t be ignored), I am today showcasing Rainy Kaye, USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romance and her book Summoned, the first in the summoned series

61vt+cSy7pL._UX250_.jpgRainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the meantime, she’s a USA Today Bestselling author who writes paranormal novels.

She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, and has been traditionally published by Bastei Lübbe. Her works include the Summoned series, The Deepest Black, and The Withering. She has also co-authored several novels.

Her lair is located somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona, which she shares with a variety of furry creatures. You can follow them on Instagram and find out more about the author on Twitter –  Facebook – and her site

SUMMONED

englishsummonedTwenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told – literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker. Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well.

When he meets Syd – assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd – he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming – the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Blocked

Today I am suffering the agony of writer’s block – not with regard to my books, I’m in editing mode on Where There’s A Will and it’s going really well, and I’m pretty sure if I were to sit down with one of my many book ideas I would have no problem there. No, I’m suffering writer’s block when it comes to this blog; most of what I have posted so far have been reviews of one sort or another, with some random stuff which might give you all a few details about me – namely that I suffer from mental health issues and the approach of winter is giving me a bit of a kicking.

I wanted to write something a little more upbeat, something perhaps, dare I even suggest it, a little fun; I even considered writing a bit about myself so you could all get to know the other side of me, beyond the writing and the mental health issues. My good intentions, however, are not going so, well, good; I have so far started and deleted 3 posts because I couldn’t think where to go with them, and now I’m not sure what direction to take.

I’m not really comfortable with talking about myself, but I’ve heard that one of the best ways to connect with potential readers, and this is the main reason I set up this blog, is to let them get to know you, both as an author and as a person, so here goes.

Alex R Carver is not my real name; I have decided, for several reasons, one of them being the issues I have as a sufferer of autism/aspergers and other mental health problems, that I don’t wish to publish under my own name, so I picked a name I was comfortable with and which, although no outlandish, might stand out a little.

Despite ‘hiding’ behind a pen name, I think first and foremost I should reassure you all that whatever I reveal of myself on this blog, it is the real me.

Now, onto me, who I am and what I like; this is likely to be more of a list of qualities and interests than anything else right now, but I intend expanding on what I tell of you of myself as time passes by. From time to time I will put up posts that reveal more about me, and which touch on my interests, you can also check out my social media – such as it is, I’m not really one for social media – to find out a little more about me.

A few facts:

I’m almost 40 (a lot closer to it than I’m comfortable with)

I have brown hair

I generally have stubble, because I’m lazy about shaving

I’m little under average height, and a little (perhaps more than a little) overweight

Reading is one of my biggest pleasures, I cannot begin to guess at how many books I’ve read in my life, but there are still many more for me to go through, and I hope to get to them before I’m done.

Outside of reading, I enjoy TV and movies, and I usually have something playing in the background while I work – work being writing; I have been writing since the age of ten, when I was given an assignment in an English class to write a story, the story I came up with, which was significantly longer than those written by my fellow students, was a Famous Five style adventure that I wish I still had.

Currently I am unemployed, I don’t see that as a problem, though, because it gives me all the time in the world to follow my dream of becoming a full-time, self-employed, successful writer. My first novel, Where There’s A Will is scheduled for release in January, and I am on track to meet that target, with 5 more books already written in the Inspector Stone series (they’re currently on paper) and several other books also awaiting release, which should happen at the rate of 1 book every 4-6 months.

 

Anyway, I think that’s enough about me for now. My social media accounts, if you’d like to know more about me, are here

Twitter

Pinterest