Interview with Q. Kelly

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are a lot of joys, and identifying just one is tricky. Let’s give it a shot, though. I would say one of the greatest joys of writing is the experience, the fun I get from creating characters, bringing them to life and seeing how they unfold. Through them, I can experience a wide range of life situations and fall in love with them and all sorts of people. They expand my world. So does reading books (which I do all the time), but doing so from the writer’s seat is a different experience. Not better, just different. It’s kind of like a game of chess where you play yourself.
What do your fans mean to you?
I can’t say enough how much a simple email or message along the lines of “Enjoyed your book!” brightens my day. And if there’s more to the message, great. In a way, writing is a lonely pursuit. Sure, you can take trips and research the heck out of places and attend conventions and meet lots of people, but the writing itself, the putting words on the screen or on the page—that’s you. You alone. (Even if you’re co-writing, chances are you’re by yourself when you type.) It really helps when people reach out and let you know that they love the piece of yourself you’ve shared with them. I love hearing from people and hearing their stories, how my stories made them think a bit differently or reaffirmed something or somehow enriched their lives or just plain simply entertained them. I’ve made many great friends through my writing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has expanded my international reach. People from all over the world buy my books, and several British readers have written to me to say they buy from Smashwords rather than Amazon UK because there’s no VAT with Smashwords. The price you see is the price you pay.

I also want to emphasize the service Smashwords provides with distribution. In one fell swoop, I can get my books in the Apple, Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble bookstores, among others. Some titles I do directly upload to Kobo and Barnes & Noble, but having the option to distribute there through Smashwords is great, especially if I want to run a freebie promotion and see how many downloads it garners.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through a whole lot of ways. Friend recommendations (word of mouth), browsing my local Barnes & Noble stores, Amazon recommendations, browsing the library, promotional emails and via book-review guides.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much anything. Short stories, books (a wide range, fiction and non-fiction), TV show forums online (I love Television Without Pity’s forums) and magazines (MAD magazine may be my favorite). Since I am deaf and watch TV with closed captioning and subtitles, technically I “read” TV too!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sure do. It was a story about a grandfather who got a pair of new boots and loved them so much he lorded them over other people. Made them jealous. He lost friends. Pretty weighty message for a kid of five or six, eh?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don’t know for sure. I’ve tried a lot of techniques, but I think probably the most effective has been to just keep writing and to keep putting new stuff out (while making sure it’s still the quality readers expect from me).
Who are your favorite authors?
Humorist Dave Barry is one of my favorite authors. He thinks outside the box and looks at situations from different perspectives. So does MAD magazine. Another favorite author of mine is Roald Dahl. He does bittersweet so well.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The prospect of a frappalicious from Barnes & Noble! I won’t lie; I love my frappies. (I get them with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.) Starbucks makes them too, and technically, they should taste the same as the ones from BN. But, yeah, the BN ones are usually much better.
What is your latest book?
I have a collection that features a novelette, a short novel and three short stories. The collection totals about 51,000 words. Each story is one I started last year or previously but could not finish, for one reason or the other. In some cases, I may have been trying to force the stories into longer works they aren’t meant for. In other cases, I may have been lost as to their eventual direction. It really comes down to timing. Sometimes the time isn’t right for a story to be finished or to come out, and that’s perfectly okay. I have lots of stories put aside and stewing for the right moment. If that moment never comes, that’s fine, too.

THE GREEN PILL (about 14,000 words): The year is 2022. A green pill has been developed that cures breast cancer, but in the huge majority of cases, a side effect reverses sexuality. Basically, straight people turn gay, and gay people turn straight. Marcia Brandon, whose marriage to Jim has faded into monotony, keeps waiting for her side effect to kick in, but it never seems to. Marcia is dismayed; she’d counted on the side effect to shake up her life. On the other hand is Byrony Russell, who hasn’t told her husband, Griffin, that she experienced the green pill’s most notorious side effect. She keeps hoping an antidote will hit the shelves, and she can have her idyllic, heterosexual life with Griffin back. Marcia and Byrony meet at a support group and become friends. And eventually, perhaps more.

ONE HOUR (about 24,500 words): English teacher Jessica Harmon and one of her students, seventeen-year-old Riley Jenkins, hide in a classroom closet while a gunman rampages through their high school. They’re the only people in the room because it was Jessica’s planning period, and Riley stopped by with concerns about a debate assignment. When the gunman finds them in the closet, they figure they’re as good as dead. Except Jessica and Riley survive, without injury, their harrowing, surreal conversation with the gunman.

Their shared trauma and their guilt from failing to stop the gunman haunt Jessica and Riley and bring them close. They’re not the same people they were before the shootings, and Jessica, who never had given as much as a second glance to a student, finds herself drawn to Riley.

“One Hour” is the story of how Jessica and Riley help each other through their unique situation. Do they ultimately find happiness and a future with each other?

THE NIGHT THEY DRANK WINE (about 5,000 words): Mallory and Vanessa are sisters-in-law and good friends. One night, they get together to gossip and drink wine. One thing leads to another, and the next morning finds them naked and in bed together. Will they ignore what happened or try to make some sense of it?

STAYING IN (about 3,200 words): Becky Wilson decides one day she’s not leaving her condo again. Her unusual choice brings her backlash—and much more.

TOMMIE (about 4,300 words): Claire has a secret—her first love, Tommie, who died of leukemia twenty years ago, has been reincarnated. Kendall Paulson is nineteen years old, almost twenty, and has no idea who Tommie was. What Kendall does know, however, is that she likes Claire a lot. A heck of a lot. Is Kendall really Tommie? Either way, what does it mean for both women?
Published 2013-10-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

In Need of Resolution: Season One, Episode One
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,210. Language: English. Published: August 7, 2014. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
EPISODE ONE: When Lori Chambliss and Josie Cosgrove write a New Year’s resolution for each other, the consequences promise to reach far. Josie is somewhat of a wild lady: sleeps around, not settled down and such. She’s more than fine with that and is dismayed when Lori’s resolution for her is to attend at least three therapy sessions. Josie’s idea to make therapy bearable: seduce the counselor.
3 in 1: Three Works Under One Umbrella
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 68,560. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2014. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Savings of $4! Individually, these three works ("The Girl Prince and Her Princess," "The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories" and "Cupid Pulls a Prank and More Lesbian Tales") cost $2.99 for a total of $8.97. Buy this e-bundle for only $4.99! In "The Girl Prince and Her Princess," a king passes off his daughter as a boy. He marries her off to the child of his bloodthirsty rival.
One Hour
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,910. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
“One Hour” is the story of how English teacher Jessica Harmon and one of her students, seventeen-year-old Riley Jenkins, help each other through a school shooting and its aftermath. Jessica and Riley are not the same people they were before the shootings, and Jessica, who never had given as much as a second glance to a student, finds herself drawn to Riley. Can they move on and find happiness?
The Green Pill, One Hour and Other Lesbian Stories
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 54,010. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
This collection features a novelette, a short novel and three short stories. ONE HOUR: English teacher Jessica Harmon and one of her students, seventeen-year-old Riley Jenkins, are drawn to each other after a shooting at their school. Their trauma and their guilt from failing to stop the gunman haunt Jessica and Riley and bring them close. Do they find happiness and a future with each other?
Woman Unleashed
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,290. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Joy Devine may be Melody Thomas’s undoing. From their first meeting, Joy consumes Melody’s mind, her body, her soul, her spirit. They embark on an affair, and Melody has never felt more alive. She thinks she and Joy fill each other’s emptiness, but she is wrong, quite wrong—and she is about to find out what exactly she is capable of. ** This novella is about 28,500 words.
Reality Lesbian
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 69,500. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Lucy Marshall is vying for the heart of Dr. Zara Winters on lesbian reality TV. One big problem, though: Lucy is straight and on the show for reasons that have nothing to do with love. Lucy never expected to fall for Zara, but she has. Can Lucy tell Zara the truth? How will Zara react? What about Zara’s connections with the other contestants, who include a gorgeous international model?
Victoria's Very Awkward Love Story (Book 3 of the Strange Bedfellows Series)
Series: Strange Bedfellows, Book 3. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 55,260. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
What started as mere curiosity on Victoria Dourne's part has developed into much more. She and Felicianna Grey have been chatting online a few months, and Felicianna thinks Victoria is a twenty-five-year-old secretary from Chicago, not the eighteen-year-old girl she is. Felicianna is horrified when Victoria confesses all. Can Victoria persuade Felicianna to look past age and circumstances?
Three's a Crowd (Book 2 of the Strange Bedfellows Series)
Series: Strange Bedfellows, Book 2. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 59,060. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2013. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Carol Thomas is shocked when her fiance announces that he’s gotten back in touch with a college buddy named Ennis Evans, and she's up for a threesome. Carol shoves aside her misgivings and tentatively agrees. However, many things aren't what they seem on the surface, and just what is Ennis's connection with Washington's most infamous call girl, Elena Marie Elise?
Love's Spell
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,480. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2012. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Ava Van Dorn doesn’t believe in magic, but she believes in possibilities. So, she figures trying a love spell her grandmother left her won’t hurt. Worst case: her life will stay the same. Best case: her fellow second-grade teacher James Friedlander will fall in love with her, and they’ll live happily ever after. Except…oops! Ava accidentally places the spell on her principal, Libby Lubbock.
The Girl Prince and Her Princess
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,400. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Fairy tales
The king and queen of Athena have a problem. They desperately need a son to marry off to Princess Vexa. She is the unsightly daughter of their neighbor, King Magnatus of Qax. When Athena’s rulers finally produce an offspring, the queen dies in childbirth. The king finds himself faced with the greatest challenge of all—a girl! Eighteen years later, it’s wedding time. Can the deception continue?
Cupid Pulls a Prank and Other Lesbian Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,100. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2012. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Ten short stories are in this collection. The lead story is "Cupid Pulls a Prank." For the first time in American history, both the Republicans and the Democrats have female candidates running for president. The Republican is Alice Cowell, and the Democrat is Gillian Marshall. Cupid strikes them during a live, nationwide televised debate, and Alice's and Gillian's reactions shock even Cupid.
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 69,570. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2012. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Ellora Landry and June Blue Sky, now forty, were switched when they were newborns. When they meet for the first time, they experience an undeniable attraction. However, they are reluctant to risk their hearts, especially since that means revealing secrets and telling the entire story behind half truths. Will they realize that perhaps they were fated to be together since their births?
All in the Family
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 73,680. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Gay & Lesbian
Allison Albrecht and Samantha Cannizarro are thrown together when their parents become engaged. Sam is deaf, so Allison learns sign language. Sam does not care about good impressions. She is a loner, always has been. But Allison cracks Sam's facade, and the two girls fall in love. However, life in a stepfamily is rarely easy. Throw in romance between two stepsiblings, and the ride will be bumpy.
The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,820. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2011. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
The first story in this compilation of nine short stories is "The Old Woman." Jessica is a pretty good best friend, but she goes too far when she dares Rachel to ask an old woman on a date. Rachel has no choice; otherwise Jessica will do the asking, and Rachel has no intention of humiliating the old woman. Turns out maybe Jessica's idea was not so bad. There is a lot more to Ada than her age.
Miss Lucy Parker and Other Short Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,260. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2011. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Miss Lucy Parker is a prim, proper elderly lady. When a Volkswagen Beetle—the new kind, and pink—PINK!—turns onto the winding road that leads to Lucy's farmhouse, Lucy is sure the car contains hippies. Except hippies are not in the car. A woman is, a woman wearing a short, blood-red dress that hugs her body. Thus begins Lucy Parker's great adventure.
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 56,380. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2011. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Caris Ismay is falling in love with a woman she dares not pursue, and at exactly the wrong time. She shares a perfect, passionate kiss she cannot stop thinking about. Can Caris move past the taboo of her attraction and find her path with this woman who seems all wrong on paper?
The Odd Couple (second edition)
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 55,540. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2011. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Morrisey Hawthorne and her four-year-old son, Gareth, have a pretty good life. Then one day they meet Charlene Sudsbury, who is trying to move on from the suicide of her son, JP, three years before. Gareth is nearly the mirror image of JP, and Charlene connects instantly with him. Not quite so with Morrisey. Can these two women overcome their obstacles and find happiness together?
Strange Bedfellows (Book 1 of the Strange Bedfellows Series)
Series: Strange Bedfellows, Book 1. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 75,100. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2011. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
What happens when the queen of the ex-gay movement decides to come out of the closet? The person who helps Frances Dourne with this enormous task is a call girl Frances hires. A call girl with a secret of her own. Can they learn to trust each other enough to find the love they seek in each other's arms?