Interview with Laura Lee McKellips

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading or playing softball
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am a member of several book blogs on facebook. I have found most of my favorite books through those blogs.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short story in high school around 10 handwritten pages. The people on the bus would read each chapter as I finished them.
What is your writing process?
Well I still have a day job so most of my writing is late at night. I have the basic outline done then I sit down in front of the computer and just start typing. I let the story unfold one plot point at a time. Once I finish with the chapter, I got back and add some flair and spice. The little details are always added to each chapter once I've read through it a few times. I edit each chapter as soon as I finish with it to help streamline the process. Once I finish with one chapter, I send it to my editor.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't know the first one I read but the one that really got me started on reading was Where the Red Fern Grows. I love the book to this day. I stayed up late every night reading. It was also the first time I ever cried over a book. The world he created was something special and very hard to do.
How do you approach cover design?
I know what I want on the cover and explain it to my designer. I took the pictures for the cover of Cursed Soldier. She took those pictures and created something I could only ever dream of creating. It was better than I even imagine it could be. I always want the cover to be a clue to what the story is about.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Gone with the Wind: It is my all-time favorite book. I didn't know anything about it when I started it and just got swept away in Scarlett's life.

Where the Red Fern Grows: It was the book that got me started in reading.

Collide: This book introduced me to the Indie World and was the only that showed me I could publish my own book one day.

The Prize: My first Julie Garwood book. I fell in love with the style, characters, and history of it. I now own almost all of Julie Garwood's book because of this book.

Going to the Castle: This was my first harelquin romance book. It was the one to start my love of romance with history mixed in.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly romance but I do other themes sometimes. Romance is almost 95% of the books on my kindle and in my room.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle Keyboard, I bought it for a cruise I took in 2011. I couldn't pack all the books I wanted to take so I bought it. I don't regret my decision.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Describe your desk
Nonexistent, I don't write at a desk. I sit at one all day for my job. When I sit down to write, I'm normally in my bed with my lapdesk. My notes are spread out around me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Tennesee between several battlefields. My story Cursed Soldier was influenced by the history of the Civil War that surrounded me. I live within minutes of one of the top 10 bloodiest battles and it was one of my school trips almost every year. It was easy to write my book with the effects of the war within driving distance.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing short stories in high school but then dropped it while in college. I picked it back up when I started writing fanfiction. I met some really great people who helped me grow as a writer. They also pushed my to write a real book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Benjamin is a Conferedate soldier who makes a tough decision during the heat of battle. He is then cursed for that decision. He then gives up everything he knows because of the curse. Flash forward 150 years, it is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Alexandria has opened some storage buildings that contain 150 years of stuff in them. She knows she needs help sorting through everything. Ben sees the job posting and responds. He hopes that going back to Gettysburg, he will find a way to break the curse. He just didn't know he would meet a girl like Alexandria.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to publish a book but I never thought it would be picked up. When I learned about indie books, I knew this was my sign.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has gotten my book into platforms like iTunes that I just couldn't reach.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting to read my final product and know that I wrote it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything, they are the reason that I wrote my second book. They wanted more from me and gave me the courage to write more.
Who are your favorite authors?
Maraget Mitchell, Julie Garwood, Gail McHugh, Katy Evans, Penelope Douglas, Suzanne Collins, Iris Johansen
What are you working on next?
My next book is actually wrote. One of my three editors has it right now. It is called The Woman Behind the Letters and features characters from Cursed Soldier.
How do you name the characters in your books?
I researched the names in Cursed Soldier. I wanted time period names that would translate into now. I also wanted their names to mean something. Benjamin means son of the South while Alexandria means protector of man.

The names in The Woman Behind the Letters were all older names. I looked up cenus from the 1840s and 1850s for the characters for the new characters that I introduced.
Published 2013-12-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Woman Behind the Letters
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,930. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » USA
You read her letters in Cursed Soldier; now find out what happened to Kathryn between Benjamin's letters and the war.
Cursed Soldier
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,420. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » USA
Benjamin is a cursed Confederate soldier still alive 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg searching for a way to break his curse. He meets Alexandria, a tour guide at Gettysburg. Is she the key to his problem or will he accept his curse?