Author on the Couch: Lee Kilraine
Today I’m conducting a session with…Lee Kilraine!
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Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Lee: The unexpected death of my mother fourteen years ago hit me hard. It made me reevaluate my life and goals. I had dropped out of college in my early 20’s due to health reasons and although I went on to a happy marriage, exciting times as a military spouse, and raising four kids—that unfinished degree bugged me. And I knew it was something my mom had wanted for me. So, once we stopped moving around the country, I returned to school and graduated college the same year our oldest daughter graduated high school. And going back to school got me writing again. Writing again reminded me that many years ago I’d dreamed of writing a book. So I dove into learning everything I could about writing and wrote a romance. I like to think my mom is watching me and proud of her baby girl.
Me: Wow… What a story. What a journey.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Lee: My sense of humor. It helps my books have a unique voice, but I also think it helps to have a sense of humor to handle everything involved in being an author, such as harsh reviews, crazy schedules, and looming deadlines. Heck, having a sense of humor helped keep me sane raising four kids while my husband was often flying around the world! Okay, well, wine helped too.
Me: Humor and wine… A winning combination.
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Lee: I can be very focused on a job or goal and I’ll put 100% into researching and working toward that job–but to the point that I can’t pull myself away and it makes multi-tasking difficult. Which is not a good thing since an author has to juggle lots of different things in a career. It’s a constant challenge for me.Authors have to juggle lots of different things in a career. @LeeKilraine #amwriting Click To Tweet
Me: So much is expected of the modern writer. We have to be marketers and promoters and social media experts all while trying to write one book, while doing copy edits on another book, and proof pages on a third one. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed.
What was your high point as a writer?
Lee: It isn’t a big thing, but it was huge to me. One of the happiest moments for me was the first time a reader emailed to tell me how much they enjoyed my book. I was touched that someone took the time to reach out to me…I might have even teared up a little. And, I’m going to cheat and mention one other. I grew up a shy kid and spent many glorious hours in the library. So one of my big writing goals is to see my book on a library shelf. I’m not there quite yet—but the first time I saw that my books are available in digital format at the library—yeah, that was big for me.
Me: What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
Lee: My low point as a writer was last fall when I let doubts slip in, not an unusual thing, only this time I actually listened to them. The doubts usually slither in during the plotting stage of the book, because plotting isn’t my super-power. Plotting always takes me way too long and in the middle of that it *feels* an awful lot like wasting time and procrastinating. And then I begin to feel like a fraud—you know that imposter syndrome everyone talks about? That.
What happened was I froze. I didn’t write for over a month as my next book deadline kept speeding closer. Really bad timing to doubt myself, right? During the month of not writing, I went back and reread everything I’d ever read on plotting and characterization but it only made me doubt myself more. I was over-thinking everything.
How did I get over it? I think two things helped. First, was to remind myself of why I started writing in the first place: to tell stories and have fun. So I went back to find the joy. Second, was to accept that maybe all the time I spend thinking and playing around with my plot is part of my process to get to know my characters and to find my way in to the story. Once I stopped fighting it, I began to write again.
Me: Self doubt is so common among us writers. It gets to all of us at some point.
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Lee: I think there’s a little bit of me in each of my heroines. Delaney from BRINGING DELANEY HOME lost a foot over in Afghanistan, and she’s strong, independent, protective, and stubborn- and I think that’s who I am as a mom. And Lu in CRAZY LOVE is stuck in the pain of sadness after losing her fiancé in the war. My husband flew over in Iraq and some of Lu’s journey was born in my worst fears from that time, but also my journey after the death of my mother.
Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book? What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Lee: I’ve written six books. The first book I wrote was a YA novel, so obviously it’s stashed under my bed. The other five are my Cates Brothers books which are contemporary romance.
Plotting is painful for me. I love, love, love writing first chapters! Then the next twenty some chapters can be painful, LOL. I find writing description and narrative is horribly painful. If I could get away with writing a book that is all dialogue—I would. My favorite part of the writing process is revising. Love it! It’s like putting a puzzle together once you have all the pieces laid out.
Me: My favorite part is revising too! That’s when it becomes beautiful!
Tell me about your contemporary romance, LOVE 2.0 (Book #4 of the Cates Brothers Series).
Elvis has been spotted in the little town of Climax, North Carolina. Or at least, a shapely female Elvis impersonator—who’s got Kaz Cates all shook up . . .
Kaz is having one of those days. Cyber criminals, federal agents . . . and now, Elvis. In reality, the King is Mirabel Diaz, earning money by delivering singing telegrams. But Mira’s got another reason for being here: she knows Kaz Cates is secretly a master hacker with the skills to help people disappear, and that’s exactly what she needs to do. Still, Kaz can’t help wishing she’d stay awhile . . .
This isn’t Mira’s preferred career—her singing voice isn’t even that great—but her ex-boyfriend, a powerful Russian gangster, hasn’t left her a choice. No matter where she runs, he seems to find a way to pull strings and get her fired. If she doesn’t get off the grid, his vengeful acts may only get worse. Kaz reluctantly agrees to help, and insists on teaching her self-defense. Though she’s afraid to trust any man, she feels safe with Kaz . . . and welcomed by his family. But if they don’t stop the danger that’s chasing her, she may have to go on the road again instead of finding a haven in his arms . . .
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release,LOVE 2.0.
I come from a big, tightknit family with seven siblings. So I enjoy the interaction between my five Cates brothers. This excerpt is one example of the brothers relying on each other, seeking advice, and…well…being brothers. In this excerpt, Kaz has gone to get advice from his oldest brother, Tynan.
“So what are you saying?” Tynan paused his fork over his food.
“I slept with her.”
“And you’re telling me you’re just friends?” A raised eyebrow showed his doubt about this fact.
“Yes. Absolutely. Just friends.”
“And you’re living under the same roof?” Lu asked, pouring some milk in her coffee mug.
“Temporarily.” Kaz slipped a bite of egg to Ty’s dog, Houdini, who sat patiently next to his chair, working his sad puppy eyes. Before he could blink, DA, the cat, was skidding into position waiting for a table scrap too.
“And you’re telling me it was a one-time deal?” Tynan forked up another bite of casserole.
His brother shrugged. “Then I don’t see your problem. I mean, I don’t believe you, but it sounds like it’s over.”
“What part don’t you believe?”
“That you’re just friends and that it was a one-time deal.”
“It has to be. It would be bad for her to be anything more.”
Tynan scratched his neck and stared hard at his brother. “If that’s the case, I recommend you go out on a date with another woman as fast as you can. That way she won’t feel any pressure from you and you’ll move on.”
“That’s what I was thinking myself.” Kaz nodded in agreement, jiggling the keys in his pocket. “That’s what I’ll do. Thanks, Ty.”
After breakfast Lu joined Tynan on the front porch as he watched his brother drive away.
“Sometimes my brilliant brother is an idiot.” He shook his head and wrapped his arm around Lu. “He’s in trouble.”
“This time I have to agree with you. Why didn’t you clue him in?”
“Babe, there are some things a man has to learn by himself.”
“I’m afraid so. Especially when it’s going to provide us damn good entertainment to watch him.”
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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.