Saturday, December 22, 2007

Debut Author Interview: Kimberly Killion

Debut Author Interview
by Edie RamerNovember 29th, 2007

This is the second of our monthly debut author interviews. We are excited to have Kimberly Killion, who has sold two books to Kensington’s Zebra imprint, taking time out of her edits to answer our questions.

I heard a little of the story behind your sale on the Pro-Org loop. Would you like to share?
The subject on the Pro-Org loop was ‘Pitching at National’, which is where I ultimately sold. I went to the 2007 RWA National conference in Texas with one goal; To sell. I had one completed manuscript, Highland Dragon, and one manuscript partially written, HER ONE DESIRE. I spent a year writing Highland Dragon and had entered it in several RWA sponsored contests. To my benefit, I won first place in the historical category of six of those contests and had that to take with me to National. I had two interviews set up, and luckily one was with Hilary Sares of Kensington. Though she perked up when I mentioned my contest wins, I didn’t have her full attention until I started talking about the book I had in the works. At the time, I only had five chapters written on HER ONE DESIRE. Hilary was very interested in the premise of this particular story and asked to see everything I had written on it to date, in addition to Highland Dragon. Ten days after National I got ‘THE CALL’. Hilary wanted to buy both books from me. The catch…she wanted HER ONE DESIRE to hit the shelves first. Of course, I was exhilarated, excited, but I only had five chapters written. Long story short…I had to write 80,000 words in three months. I called my dear friend, Erin McClune, for support and she made me focus. The following weeks were a whirlwind of chaos. I set myself on a schedule of 1,000 words a day and 5,000 on the weekends in order to meet my deadline. I got up at 4:00 a.m. to write before work and then wrote at night until 10:00, 11:00, sometimes midnight. I locked myself in the closet with my laptop for privacy and when that didn’t work, I went to the ‘shed’. But, I DID IT! By October 25th, I had 103,000 words written. I mailed it off and am currently awaiting edits. Whew!
Did you have an agent? If not, did you send this to agents previously?
I did not have an agent at the time, but had the full manuscript of Highland Dragon with five editors and agents from cold queries and contest requests. After I made the sale, getting an agent wasn’t all that difficult. I had four to choose from and went with the remarkable Meredith Bernstein. She has been in the biz for years and I adore her.

How long were you writing and how many books did you write before you sold?
I started writing a Regency in 1997, but my writing quickly went on hold after the birth of my son in 1998. It wasn’t until 2005 when my television broke, and I started writing again. I joined RWA and my local chapter, Missouri RWA, and also Heart Through History Online Chapter of RWA. I became interested in writing Scottish Medievals and joined a few critique groups at which point I realized I’d written my first book all wrong. Highland Dragon, as we will tentatively call it, was my second book and is set in 1502 in the Highlands of Scotland, followed by HER ONE DESIRE which begins in 1483 England.

We’d love to know about the types of books you write.
My passion has always been for historicals. I love the idea of being swept away in time and place. My favorite books to read are Scottish Medievals, hence the reason I write Scottish Medievals. I like the alpha hero, but I also enjoy a bit of humor. And yes, even an executioner’s daughter laughs from time to time.

Can you tell us about your debut book? What is it about and what genre?

HER ONE DESIRE will be released as a Zebra Debut by Kensington in July 2008. The story is set in 1483 England, a time when the nobles would do anything to gain King Edward’s crown. My blurb says it best:

Astride a stolen horse, encircled by the shackled arms of Broderick Maxwell, a Scottish spy escaping certain death in the Tower of London, Lizbeth Ives rides to the north, hidden by the merciful darkness. By stealth and by cunning, the daughter of the Lord High Executioner has undone her father’s cruel work, compelled to save the innocent man with her. There is no turning back—they are bound as one in his iron chains. Consumed by mortal fear, driven by passion, they disappear into the night…

A single raven follows them. Is it an omen?
Or only the first of those who would capture them? They must ride on. If captured, they will face death together. But if they reach Scotland, he will claim her for his own…forever.

What are your plans for the future? What can we look forward to from you?
Since sending in HER ONE DESIRE, I have started research on a new book. I’m going to Italy, or rather my hero is. I’m an artist by trade and have always been a lover of the Renaissance era. I’m a fan of incorporating actual figures into my books and am looking into the life of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Your website is great! And so is your trailer for HER ONE DESIRE. It looks very professional, but it appears you’ve done it all by yourself. Do you have any insights you want to share?
Thank you. As I mentioned, I am an artist. I have my degree in fine arts and work as a graphic/web design instructor for a business college in St. Louis. I’ve always been a natural with computers and am finding this works to my benefit when it comes to the promotional side of writing. As far as insights…it is my opinion that every author—published and unpublished—needs a website. Writers are professionals like anyone else, and what professional doesn’t have a website? If you are computer illiterate then hire someone to put you on the web. It is never too early to start networking and there is no better place to network than the internet.

I want to thank Edie for the opportunity to tell my story.

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