Interview with Kali Amanda Browne

What do you read for pleasure?
My reading habits depend a lot on my mood. I love to read a good cookbook that gives you a perspective on culture or even stories around the food. A good mystery is always fun. Every once in a while you just need a dense sci-fi story that has epic written all over it! And some rainy days call for sonnets and poetry. You should have a library that covers several genres to keep things interesting. At the same time, pleasure does not preclude expanding your horizons and sometimes non-fiction is the very thing you need.
How do you approach cover design?
The covers I tend to choose depend a lot on the story. Some covers benefit from a literal interpretation of the story or a specific character. Obviously you want to choose an image that is somewhat recognizable because if you go avant garde, your readers might be confused by what you are showing them and this may be off-putting to some. My covers will give you a small clue as to what awaits the reader.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle, but I think that I do a lot more reading on my iPod Touch. I find that once I get into the story, the device doesn't matter. I just disappear in the fantasy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Puerto Rico, with frequent trips to New York and New Jersey. Each locale had its residents, special visitors, customs and language, and I integrated into each and weaved in and out of them. It exposed me to a lot of characters and a level of diversity that most people don't get to experience until well into adulthood (and then only if they move to metropolitan areas). I had rural, suburban and urban landscapes to zig and zag throughout my childhood and everything that goes with that. It made for an interesting childhood and it makes for interesting stories now, I hope, and a variety of settings that remain ingrained deep within me.
When did you first start writing?
I started making up stories as a very young child -- first inventing news and pretending I published my own newspaper, which I read to a delighted elderly neighbor every morning over eggs and toast. I started writing short stories as a preteen, poetry and plays as a teen, I wrote and produced a zine in my 20s, and then longer and more ambitious pieces after I entered adulthood. Writing was a compulsion and one I give into any time it hits me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My friends had urged me to publish and I knew I would one day, but was in no real hurry. Then I found myself without work, at the end of writing "Justified" for NaNoWriMo, and decided perhaps I should put it up for sale. Before I did that, I put together a cookbook, just to see if I could do it (while the novel was being edited). Ultimately, the decision to go indie rather than traditional came down to two things: artistic control and royalties. It was the right mix for me and I am sure that, at any other period of my life, I would have made the same decision. I like to experiment and I doubt a traditional publisher would allow me that kind of autonomy.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was the first place where I published and as the service has grown so has my own exposure to new markets. It was relatively easy to publish with Smashwords, but I am glad that there was some work involved in getting books ready for the premium catalogue because that has given me a distinct understanding of what is needed and I try to format all my books with these principles in mind. I got to learn a few new skills in the process and that is invaluable.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There is a great feeling that comes with surrendering to a story and letting it take you... Going deep into the story, submerging into the fantasy and losing yourself in it is a lot of fun. But I also enjoy the research because deep down I am a nerd. Sometimes, depending on the project, the planning is as much fun as writing the books itself -- such as creating the characters and getting to know them. Creating is like a drug, it's elating!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are awesome! They're a great support system, but also their feedback makes me a better writer -- not only the criticism but also in how they inspire story ideas to pursue and tweak. I'm also very lucky because my fans are very smart and my writing needs to reflect that because they deserve respect.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Stilettos have been prominent in discussions with friends in the last year. In that vein, I have been thinking of these fabulous vintage, steel-tip heels that I bought at a church thrift shop in the Village years ago. That detail gave me an "in" into the story and a twist became the basis for "The Magic Stilettos". I am still working out the mythology of the storytelling and all the characters. I have one of the settings and I am working on a dream world where the soul of the matter resides... It's going to be interesting!
What are you working on next?
I had to go on a writing hiatus while I undertook some tech training and I do need to get back to work, so that is taking my biggest effort at the moment. But I also have several projects in the back burner and I am hoping to have a crime novel, last year's NaNoWriMo novel, and part two of the steampunk adventure published this year.
Published 2014-01-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

El Velorio de Maya (Español)
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 5,840. Language: Spanish. Published: June 5, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Basado en una historia real, "El Velorio de Maya" es un cuento absurdo del funeral de un ser querido, que se hace mas y mas ridiculo, y como interfiere con los planes de la pobre Lucia en su diodecimo cumpleanos...
Haunted Kitty
Price: Free! Words: 2,620. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
A free excerpt of an old journal entry about a cat's meow in the middle of the night and how it haunted our Halloween.
Sins of the Father
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 27,980. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
The Bloody Trail of Disenchantment is a series about the aftermath of infidelity. The first volume in the series, Sins of the Father includes stories about how the infidelities of father figures affect the children in their lives. As in life, some stories have funny moments, some have tragic moments, some stories have horrific details that will shock you.
The Mistress
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,490. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
A story about love, sexuality, commitment, and the courting of these ideas in a digital age across a couple of generations. Because unless you go behind closed doors, you never know the truths of a marriage. Nothing is ever what it seems…
The Scent of Honeysuckle
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 25,890. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Mike and Jess Morgan are a relatively happy married couple who, after winning a large lottery jackpot, purchase a lighthouse in an idyllic north eastern town to pursue their true passions. Soon the quaint and beautiful setting is marred by a series of increasingly unsettling and mystifying experiences . . . including the intoxicating sweet scent of honeysuckle.
Because She Was a Woman
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,310. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » Anthologies
A collection of vignettes about the lives of a dozen women from all walks of life, trying to get from one moment to the next in as graceful a fashion as possible.
Chronicles of Ash: Vol. 0 - Ash to Ashes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,040. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
An introduction to a nine-book series, the fantasy is a steampunk-inspired series of stories of Ashleigh Peters, a young woman from Brooklyn that finds herself sucked into the world of Eleusis. It begins with Ashleigh’s last days on Earth and we meet her family, learn of her life in Brooklyn, and what she leaves behind as she is transported to this new world.
Kali, The Food Goddess: Volumes 1 & 2
Price: $3.99 $1.00 USD. (75% off!) Words: 23,010. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » International, Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » General cookbooks
Over 45 recipes and essays gathered from the online food column on the same title and the e-book Fruits of the Family Tree.
Cuentos y Recuerdos: La Colección Latina
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 20,570. Language: Spanish. Published: June 4, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Cultural heritage
La Colección Latina incluye "Recuerdos de Antes y Entonces", "Una Noche con B.B.", "El Velorio de Maya", y "La Chancleta".
Remembrance of Dingbats
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 26,580. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Memories as written down for posterity, some funny, some heartbreaking, some in the form of dreams.
La Chancleta
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 7,010. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
What's a chancleta? A chancleta is portable discipline. Ask a Latino what a chancleta is and watch them cringe and twitch. Tell a Latino a story of a chancleta that doesn't involve them personally and you'll hear boisterous laughter. This is the story of a chancleta, told in English and Spanish, and the Holy Trinity that is The Way of La Chancleta.
Recuerdos de Antes y Entonces
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 6,030. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Cuando sueñas, cada imagen y cada sentimiento es una memoria de ti mismo. "Recuerdos" es una colección de recuerdos, directamente de mis diarios de los años 1997 – 2007. Por supuesto, cada recuerdo cambia de año a año tal como aumentamos nuestra propia sabiduría. Con suerte, cada recuerdo hablara de una belleza verdadera y trascendental. Los recuerdos son el arte del alma.
How Nadine and Libby Escaped Destiny
Price: Free! Words: 2,320. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A precocious child plays dance lesson in the back of an old trailer. Her mother watches from within. In the midst of the bittersweet scene, their lives are about to change forever, and whatever else may happen the image of an innocent child softly singing will haunt you...
Life, Dreams and Magical Landscapes
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 12,500. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Stories, poems, dreams and journal entries written between 1997-2007 but covering a wider space of time. Its sole purpose: to elevate words to mental images that defined us at different periods of our lives. The use of the royal we here is not conceit but evidence that with every entry a different person can be identified, because we all grow and develop into different people as we mature.
Una Noche con B.B. (Español)
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 2,740. Language: Spanish. Published: December 16, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Mini-memoria de una actuación en directo de B.B. King en el mítico Blue Note Jazz Club en el Greenwich Village de Nueva York.
One Night with B.B.
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 2,480. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
A mini-memoir of a live performance by B.B. King at the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City's Greenwich Village.
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 53,900. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
The story of an ordinary man caught in an extraordinary life. Edmond Styles awoke one morning and walked to work to a job he detested. By the end of that day, he found himself held hostage at gunpoint by a disgruntled civil servant. Before the night fell, two people were dead and Ed began a journey that proverbially lasts 15 minutes.