Interview with Marie Kelly

Published 2019-06-17.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
While I am Scottish, I have lived all over the world because my father was in the forces, and we moved from country to country as I grew up. I think that this helped me to understand different cultures and to see other civilizations and how we connect on this big hunk of rock called Earth. As we moved around, starting anew from one place to the next, I would lose myself in books, devouring them, books a constant thing in my life.
I also liked to people watch and make stories about those unknown characters that passed me, creating stories telling of their lives for the amusement of my sister. I learned to pay attention and empathize with them (though given the stories I would tell her I hope that their lives were not so complex) and when I started to write I always ensured that the stories were character driven, because rich characters make for a good story that a reader can be part of.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think the greatest job of writing has to be allowing my imagination free rein to see where it takes me. I create characters that I find interesting. They have flaws, but ultimately redeem themselves, and I enjoy taking a scenario that might seem ‘wrong’ but allowing it to ‘right’ itself in a beautiful and romantic way.
What is your writing process?
When it comes to writing I am a pantser. By that I mean that I do not start with a well-laid out storyline which I follow but meander my way through seeing where the story takes me. I ‘see’ in my minds eyes a scene play out and I write that scene and that scene often holds a little clue for another scene and so forth. It is almost as though the story reveals itself to me in segments, allowing me the joy of experiencing it the way my readers will.
I write out of order and allow the characters to have a great deal of input. Many days I have found myself arguing with a character with regards to ‘whether they would or would not do that’, but ultimately, they are usually correct. Once the book is almost finished with most scenes created, the job of stitching it all together takes place, connecting the scenes. And I have always found that they join, that somehow my sub conscious has created the story the way it was meant to be, even if I envisioned it ending another way.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In ‘Lost Sister’ we meet Hayden Carmichael. Tough, determined and driven, she has just completed law school having had to fight to achieve everything she has her entire life. When she discovers that she has siblings, Diona and Daryle Dranias, married to the billionaire Dranias brothers, her life changes. But Hayden is determined to make her way in life, and not rely on her new-found fortune. Henry Grant, on the other hand, has led a privileged life, not always following the right path. However, now the head of his company he seeks to modernise and be the leader he was born to be. When he meets Hayden, she is everything he ever wanted. But what will happen when he finds out her secret? And will the feisty woman ever be interested in a reformed playboy like him?
The ‘Lost Sister’ is the follow up to ‘Kidnapped the Wrong Sister.’ I kept getting asked what happened to the brothers and sisters, and I decided to write a book that follows the sisters’ years later. However, I did not want it to be about them specifically, so decided to base it on another couple, who happen to occupy that same story stratosphere.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I never really saw myself as a writer. I enjoyed creating stories and thought perhaps others might enjoy them too. I had little expectation and just wanted to share what I had So I self-published, not even exploring the traditional route and the response was amazing. I honestly do not believe that I would have had any more success if I had followed the more traditional publishing route. But this way I have had more control over what I write and the timelines (I am not good with deadlines). My experience as an indie author has been a good one. And I would recommend this path to others
Who’s your book boyfriend or secret book crush?
From my own books I would say that the ‘baddie’ Emilio in ‘Blackmailing the Billionaire’ is my favourite character. He was such a perfect man, that what was intended to be a stand-alone book ended up being a series of 5, and all because he had to have his own story. From other books, who could not love the honorable Mr Darcy from ‘Pride and Prejudice’
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Semi-colons. There is just something about those little punctuation marks that I find evil. Not that they are, but neither are cracks on the pavement, and I will do the splits rather than step on them.
What drives you to keep on writing?
If you ask a writer what drives them to keep writing, you might as well ask what drives a fish to keep swimming. It’s in our blood, it’s our passion. Those characters and stories swirling around our head will not stop until they have poured themselves out onto paper. They will insist on their moment on the page. I don’t write for rewards, I write because to NOT write now seems so cruel. I love the beginning of a new story and the excitement of finding how it will develop and end, and when it is done, I feel satisfaction at the completion. The saying goes, ‘Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.’ I write because I do not want to work.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to persist. Don’t let anybody tell you that you are not good enough. You might not be the best you can be yet, but that does not mean you are not good enough. Have faith in yourself and others will follow. And I would give that advice to other fledgling authors out there. If you have a story in you trying to get out, then write it. Don’t let anybody put you off.
What do your fans mean to you?
Gosh. Everything. I write what I enjoy reading and to hear others take the time to contact me and say how much they love the story is humbling. I find that readers are the most supportive people in the world and when they enjoy what you write will become your greatest allies, helping to make you a success. Without our readers, we would be nothing. So a big shout-out to all those who have supported me. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The scratching on the door. If it's not daughter then it's the cat - both demanding fed:)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm pretty good at making stain glass. I love creating modern designs and giving them away to family. Also love walking and exploring the area I live. When you live in one of the top tourist areas in the world then you get spoiled.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was Blackmailed for the Billionaire's Pleasure. It was just a little story rattling in my head that demanded to be put down on paper
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was reading so young I really can't remember. However, as a child I could not get enough of the Narnia books.
How do you approach cover design?
Start with the picture. Find a picture I love and then put the text on in the way it fits best
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