Interview with Stephanie Keller

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My father's career was the Air Force. We lived everywhere! Until I was out of college, I lived in a different place almost every other year. I call South Dakota home, because I lived there for nearly seven years and went to high school in Rapid City. I also call Seattle home, because it feels the most like where I should have grown up. I raised my daughter in Denver, Seattle, and Panama City, Florida. I now live in Boise, Idaho, with my husband.
When did you first start writing?
I've always written. You could probably find crayon marks on the wall of the trailer we lived in when I was two to prove it. I wrote during high school, but those efforts are best kept hidden, trust me! I went back to writing in the 1980's, and published a lot of little things, like Reader's Digest anecdotes and stories in anthologies. My first serious book, Dragonfly Secret, was written in the early 1990's when I was camp hosting at a park in northern Washington. It was published by Simon & Schuster.
What's the story behind your latest book?
First, let me tell you about my first book. I thought of it when I saw a dragonfly crushed on a car grille. I thought, if there were fairies, that's where we'd find them. Smushed on the bumper. I don't ready many children's books anymore, and I believe in writing the type of books you read. I'm working on mysteries that could have taken place in my own life. When I read the paper and think, that could have happened to me, there's always the germ of a story idea. It's often difficult to choose just one!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I believe the traditional publishing industry is dying. Technology has give everyone the opportunity to be "published" in e-books. I believe it's up to us to bring the very best to e-publishing. We owe it to our readers.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, writing is reading. When I'm writing, I'm discovering as I go along, totally immersed in what I am "reading onto paper." I love the feeling of creating a great story.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! Without readers, writers might as well be chickens, scratching in the dirt. In my opinion, writing for yourself should be reserved for journals. Readers deserve the very best, most polished work we can offer.
What are you working on next?
More Dog Park Mysteries. I like the people who inspired the first book, and I can see quite a future for them.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog. Seriously. I'd much rather sleep in. I am a night person. Once I get started writing, I lose track of time. I'm likely to wake up in the middle of the night with an idea of how to handle the next chapter, or how to fix the last one, and to write from two a.m. until six. But then I want to sleep in. Luckily, my husband is a very structured person, and is willing to take the dog for her morning walk every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love the outdoors. Two of the most fun activities I can imagine are kayaking and geocaching. I am not into whitewater kayaking, but a quiet lake, or a stream through a nature preserve where I can meet heron, horned owls, moose or even bears is my idea of heaven. Geocaching is a sort formalized scavenger hunt which is fantastic fun to do with friends.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Great question. I get a lot of them first from the library. I look at books recommended to me online or by friends. I will often pick up a dozen free e-books and read just enough to find out whether the author is committed to putting out really good books. Too many typos, bad grammar, etc., and I'm done. I think all readers deserve writers who take the time and effort to go to critique groups or find beta readers and editors before inflicting their casual work on us. That's the one strength of the traditional publishing market. Books are screened and edited and polished. That's what I'm looking for in all books. I believe in reviews for finding books, so I also believe in writing them.
What is your writing process?
I write a rough draft fast! Then I rewrite, trying to add color, character, setting, and general good sense. Then I try to find a critique group or beta reader who will give me comments on weaknesses in the book. Then I rewrite again. Finally, if I am very lucky, I get someone to read it for me again before it's published. I love e-books because it is never too late to make a correction.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mysteries! Fantasy that's deep and dark and twisty. I am tired of vampires, and while war is usually part of any fantasy story, I like those with creativity, imagination, and character. I'm not much into romance, except as one of the primal drives like greed, honor, curiosity, etc. I much prefer an engaging plot to a lot of violence.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Alas, as a writer on a budget, I have one of the first generation e-readers. I bought it second hand on e-Bay, and it has been my faithful companion for years. It really is exactly what I want: a book. I won't replace it unless it dies!
Describe your desk
My first desk was a laptop on a picnic table in a campground in old growth forest in northern Washington. Now, it's a computer in the living room. My desk is awash in notes, lists, coupons, and "stuff." I know that's vague, but what do you call hand lotion, recharging cables, recipes, superballs, postcards, fingernail files, a ceramic rabbit, a hexagonal die, a half dozen thumb drives and a .... wait, what do I even call that thing? LOL!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is publishing central. I don't have to figure out the nuances of a half dozen platforms with their various requirements, decide between them, or try to keep track of accounts for each. It's easy to publish here, and the product is easy to find there, wherever there is for a reader. Smashwords also makes it easy for an author to establish a presence with profiles and interviews and extremely helpful how-to's.
Published 2015-01-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

No More Misty Mornings
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 79,180. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
(5.00)
Reporter Dies in Car Fire. Not much of a headline for a talented feature writer at a Seattle weekly newspaper. No mention of the bullet in his forehead, or of the people whose lives he touched. The woman who loved him is determined to find out who killed him--if she isn't killed first!