Interview with Kelly Stanaway

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm doing my day job. While there though I work on drawing, coming up with plot ideas, working through bouts of writers block and get myself ready for work on the next part of my project.

I've also been practicing with jewelry making, and love to spend time at home with my pets, that guy I live with, family, friends, or just a good video game while I relax.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I mostly use the genre search option and go from there. Each week I look for an eBook to review on my blog, so I need to be on the look out for something that not only catches my interest, but is something that I think my readers would enjoy too. I try not to look for specific authors, since if I narrow my search too much I might miss something awesome.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first real story, that wasn't just an assignment for school. It was based on the characters in a chatroom I was in. It was fun and kind of silly because I used the "handle" names that were used. I found it one day and I was surprised a 14-year old me had written it.

The first thing I wrote that had pride behind it was in high school. We were assigned to write a science fiction short story. The teacher said it had to be more than 1 page, but less than 99. He said no one would write someththing that long. My story was 89 pages. It was about sex used in advertising was part of a conspiracy to get people to have more children so the army would have viable recruits in time for the next major war. I was proud of it.
What is your writing process?
This is always the world's hardest question to answer. Mostly because I have never sat down and though about why my writing happens. I just know it happens. I do a lot of cross-hobby-creation at least that's the only way I can describe it. I have my character, I draw them so I know what they look like, I figure out where they came from physically and as a person, and then I use that information to figure out how they would react to different situations.

I believe, quite strongly, that my life has a table top gamer has been the biggest influence to my writing process. Since a lot of playing is the character you make and play reacting to very specific and sometimes world changing situations. In my down time it gave me a chance to figure out more details about my character's reactions and everything just went from there.

I don't know if this necessarily answered the question, but it is a really hard question to answer, especially since writing a chapter, let alone a book or a whole series has its own process. Sometimes you need to just figure out your main plot and run with it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story ever read, but part of that is because I was being read to since I was a little kid. I remember reading a lot of the Forgotten Realms stories and that got me into fantasy, and for science fiction I read a TON of Star Trek books (no shame!) And that just bloomed into things like Jurassic Park, Dune, and so forth. It helps my father is a book collector so I had this huge supply of books to grab whenever I wanted.
How do you approach cover design?
I draw things, I believe not well, and so when it comes to figuring out my covers it first starts as a sketch. After that it's a slightly different sketch, and a solidifying of the idea. Finally I go to a sight that sells royalty free images, buy the ones I need for dirt cheap and then beg and bribe my friend who knows how to use Photoshop with food to have them make it for me.

it's good to have friends.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Well the selfish answer would be to list mine, but I am not an egotistical freak so I won't do that.

I would say the list would go as follows:
Jurassic Park; it was very innovative for its time and paved the way for one of my favorite movies.
Dune; A wonderful piece of classic science fiction that gave us energy shields, ornathopters, interstellar travel, and a love of Spice.
Jurassic Park: The Lost World; lots of fun, especially since it followed my favorite character. Terrible movie though. Don't watch it.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King; A fantastic end of a journey that was filled with backstory, action, and drama. Also not as much walking or singing as the others.
Lord of the Flies; I don't have a reason, I just really liked that book.
What do you read for pleasure?

Now the real answer is comics, manga, short stories I review for my blog, my friends' writing, and books that get thrown at me. Hopefully not literally thrown.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
This is where I cheat. See I don't have a real e-reader. My primary device is my laptop, since I have it everywhere I go. Though I also use my phone when needed too.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Marketing is hard! Super duper hard, and anyone who says it's easy is lying to you and you have my permission to slap them.

what has worked for me is just sending people requests to like the pages I made for my books on Facebook and throwing the link up on Twitter with hash tags. We did a craft fair at my work and I made coupons to hand out with anything people purchased from me. That has helped the absolute most.
Describe your desk
My desk at home is my lap. Almost every piece of writing I do is via my laptop. My desk at work has my sketch book, pencils, inking pens, action figures, and collectables on it though...
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up and still live just south of Seattle. Here we have the benefit of very diverse cultures mixed all over the place with a high appreciation for everything nerdy. There's also a huge love of science here and I feel incredibly lucky to be in such a place.
When did you first start writing?
When I was in middle school is really when it all started. Then in high school it became more of a "I should probably be taking notes, but whatever this paragraph needs to get done" sort of thing. It's kind of snowballed from there.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The one I am working on (while one is in editing review by someone who is not me) is a sequel to 'The Light Rises' called "Through the Broken Mirror'. It follows Juliet Petri, Amelia's now 16 year old daughter, as she tries to solve the mystery behind her mother's disappearance while at the same time stop a man from tearing reality apart. 

I Wanted to do something different stylistically for this story. 'The Light Rises' and the prequel 'Rending the Seal' are really big on major consequences and global events that have the possibility of changing the world. While that's true in this one, I am also trying to bring home the fact that the 'world' to someone might just be one person. I think it will be a good bridge to the next trilogy since it does set the stage a lot for what's going to happen in the future.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Rejection! I tried going through agencies so many times, and it took me realizing that I am writing in a technically off-genre genre and am a new author without a masters degree. With the industry how it is, agents don't like taking risks, and I get that. So I went to indie publishing so that I could actually get my work out there and see what happens next.
Published 2013-09-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Rending the Seal
Series: The Sealed Light Trilogy, Book 2 · War of Order and Chaos, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 154,890. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Prequel to 'The Light Rises', in London 1887, magic and invention are making headlines. Detective Keagan Gillette however is blind to it; haunted by his failure after learning necromancy and joining the House of Masks he still wasn't able to revive his twin. Now he learns that demons are real and they are trying to get the fabled Seal of Solomon he'll need all the help he can get to stop them.
Uncrossed Paths
Series: War of Order and Chaos, Short Story Collection. Price: Free! Words: 14,770. Language: English. Published: September 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Years before they would be called upon to save the world, a baby girl was adopted by a master magician, a spy hunter found and lost the love of his life, a girl saved the one she cared about most from a demon, and a detective failed to save the one most important to him.
The Light Rises
Series: The Sealed Light Trilogy, Book 1 · War of Order and Chaos, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 119,770. Language: English. Published: August 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Adventure » General
**New Edition Available now!** On a warm August night in London 1890, a man holds his hand up to the sky and creates a blizzard. Now signs of the end times are everywhere, the Horsemen are taking the stage, and the Harlot Queen rides her Beast through London to fill the ranks of hell’s army. In the end it will be up to the strength of few to try and prove that humanity has a right to exist.