Interview with Courtney Keyes

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I prefer my ancient Nook or my Android phone. My Nook has no backlight and is like reading a paperback. My phone is just convenient.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Jamestown, ND. Other than aspiring to live up to Louis L'Amour's legacy (I have yet to read one of his books because I am saving the experience), I had a lot of free time to lie all bundled up in the snow and day dream.
When did you first start writing?
I am told I have always been writing. Apparently, I would scribble lines and proceed to read my family the story I had written. My family always kept me stocked with journals. The oldest surviving is from 3rd grade, but I recall many before then.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Tertiary was written during 2015 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

It was based on a combination of two dreams I had. In the first, a young man inherits his father's research and must protect it from the government, so he memorizes and destroys everything. In the other, a young boy and girl with amnesia discover a boat with a lab on board, which they accidentally destroy.

The story didn't come out as eery or moody as I intended, but when you get all the characters set up they tend to influence the story in unpredictable ways.
What are you working on next?
I always have projects going, stopping and stalling at different stages. A few examples: A novella about a possessed body (needs editing), an epic about a lost girl in a land of monsters (needs fleshing out but its complex form makes it slow going), a play about an actress and a Werewolf, and an underdeveloped story about a fully detailed family (and their demon curse).
Who are your favorite authors?
I hate this question - I love so many. Nancy Farmer, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, Hemingway, Austen, Bradbury, Plath, Poe, Vonnegut...those are just those that first came to mind.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I actually love my day job! I'm a Project Analyst, and I enjoy solving detailed problems or sorting out complicated situations. Other than that, I love waking up to my little family of cat, dog, and Sulhanen (Finnish for fiance because fiance is a gross sounding word). The rest of my family, faraway friends, plotting how to make friends in my new town, planning how to decorate the new house, planning for the wedding, working odd jobs to pay for all that...it is fun!
What is your writing process?
I am a mess. I'll have a nightmare or dream that doesn't disappear when I wake up, so I write it down and forget. Later, some odd image or concept will pop in my mind, and I'll hunt down a story to go with it from my dream journal.

From there, I make furious notes only to discard them, rewrite them, try to make a sensible storyline, and leave it sit for months or years.

When I feel like it, I pull it out and redo the storyline, then try to flesh it out.

Otherwise, I just write a short short to get it out of my hair!
How do you approach cover design?
For Tertiary, I tried to do it myself, but gave up and asked my talented younger brother to help me out. He was a Beta reader, so he was familiar with the plot.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I refuse to play favorites. Right now I'm really enjoying the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers. It is light and cheery but involves death and being obnoxiously clever - right up my alley.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read most things. I particularly like light fantasy and sci fi, older mystery, and biography/specific history.
Published 2018-01-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tertiary
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,210. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Mystery & Detective, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Stacy doesn't know why her brother calls his pet crow "Grandpa," why he destroyed a mysterious lab, or why he looks a lot like that pesky Officer Laune. Michelle knows why she suddenly finds herself transformed into a cat, but she is quickly forgetting. All Cade knows is that he loves his family. Three generations of non-family with a mysterious link, and none of them with all the pieces.