Interview with Saruuh Kelsey

When did you first start writing?
I began writing fiction as a (terrible and cliched) fanfiction author on I won't tell you the username I wrote under, because some of the stuff on there is incredibly bad, but I will say that I started off writing Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes fan works.

When I was fifteen I began drafting my first original work, an urban fantasy series that was originally known as Fate and told the story of twelve individuals named after the months of the year. Looking back now it's very badly written but it did help me to grow as a writer. I wrote three novels between that first original work and The Forgotten, my first published book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I first got the idea for The Forgotten, the first in The Lux Guardians series, when I was on a bus. I get a lot of my ideas on buses; not quite sure why. I had been reading a lot of Dystopian books and I had ideas swirling around my head. So when the bus went through a particularly run-down area and I saw a man hobbling through the streets, my mind created The Sixteen Strains and a man infected by them, living in a world of death and disaster. The Forgotten Lands expanded from there, characters appeared, and I knew from that one moment on the bus how everything would tie in with the future world and the Victorian era.

It was a very complex initial idea and resulted in some frantic tapping away at the notes on my iPod (oh those glory days when you needed separate devices to listen to music and to call someone.) The man I saw on the street even features in one scene in The Forgotten, though he does die within the same scene. Guess I even killed my inspiration for the whole thing. That sets a nice precedent for the trauma of The Lux Guardians series as a whole. (It's entirely painless, I promise)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A lot of factors. The most important factor was that I wanted people to be able to read my book for free. Traditional publishers, as great as they are, always strive for a profit, which makes sense - they're a business, why would they want to lose money? But I never wanted to make a profit from The Lux Guardians.

It was always a thing I couldn't explain. I just knew I wanted it to be free and for there to be physical copies of The Forgotten out there for people to read too.

It was a while before I could pinpoint my exact reason for wanting The Forgotten to be free. I was living with my mum so money for accommodation and food and bills and all those exciting things wasn't as necessary as it would have been had I lived alone. Which was good ... since I didn't have any money.

I remember one day discovering an amazing book that I needed to read right that minute. I needed to go into town and buy it and read it THAT VERY DAY. It was book or death. But of course - no money. So, no book. And that's when it hit me, that I wanted my book to be available for free because books are expensive. Because when you want a book that badly, it's like a kick in the teeth when you can't have it.

I wrote on my blog about this in a bit more depth, but books are an escape from reality for me and for a lot of other people. They're a way to survive the un-survivable. When you come from a bad situation, when reading is your coping mechanism, and when you can't afford to buy your escape, how do you cope? Short answer is you either don't, or you read a book you've read a thousand times, a book whose world and characters can't sweep you away as much because they're as familiar as your own reflection.

But not only that, if you don't come from a bad situation - if you love to read and money is an obstacle between you and a book you want, that's bad enough to be upsetting. It sucks.

So long answer short, I became an indie author because I wanted my books to be there for people if they needed them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love creating worlds, especially putting the details together and forming a picture in my head of that world.

I love being so immersed in the development of settings and cities and realms that for a while it feels like you're actually there (unless of course you're in the middle of a war-torn battlefield. I don't imagine that would be fun.) You get to explore somewhere that doesn't actually exist, and to expand on reality, to change anything and everything you desire. The sky could be pink, the mode of transport could be green elephants with unicorn's horns. Anything is possible, and that's my greatest joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'll let you know when I have some.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a series of fantasy novellas called The Books of Amber, and also the second installment of The Lux Guardians series. The former is in the early drafting stage and is quickly taking it's own shape and turning around everything I had planned for it. Mischievous novella!

The second Lux Guardians book is in the planning stage and is growing every day, with plot arcs expanding and new problems creeping up for the characters. I recently wrote a scene in which Honour and Horatia discover something horrifying - but what's new there? I'm loving the direction the second book is going, both metaphorically and geographically (Yay, Bharat!), and I'm very excited to complete all of the planning and get down to writing it for real.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Food, the Internet, great TV ...

I'm supposed to say something greatly important, like 'I get out of bed every day so that I can create words to inspire a generation, to create books for change and motivation'. Well, I mean, all that's true as well, but I sure do love the internet, TV shows, and (most importantly) food.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing I am always reading. At this moment in time I'm reading four books and a manga. I really shouldn't be reading this many books but ... they looked at me with wide, hopeful eyes. Who was I to refuse them?

I also run a jewellery shop on Etsy, so I spend my nights as a jewellery elf, making bracelet after bracelet and staring into Sam Winchester's dreamy eyes (What...? It helps productivity, I swear!)

There's also the million blogs I run and the hours I lose on tumblr.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Goodreads. I discover over half of the books I read on Goodreads, a quarter on tumblr, and the other quarter while refusing to be moved from my local bookshop.

Goodreads is a Godsend though. I would not have read so many amazing books had it not been for that website and community.
What is your writing process?
Research, research, research, AGONISE, research some new thing that cropped up, and then, and only then, begin to plan the plot.

After the research has been done, I dump my thoughts, erratic as they are, into a word document, all out of order and non-sensical. I tend to do this when ideas crop up; it's usually more than once a day. A few months later, I'll go through the mess and pick out the ideas that are crazy and don't fit the theme and feel of the story - then throw those out, and make a plot structure.

All of my books have a strict timeline. I need to know exactly what date and time things are happening, and a lot of this is translated into my writing (In the beginning of each section of The Forgotten, there is a date, time, and zone.) Because of this obsessive nature my plots are always organised by date so that scenes and chapters don't get written in the wrong order.

AND THEN, with everything plotted and orderly, I begin to write. Mostly I read the plot points for that particular day and character and my mind just takes off, dragging my fingers with it.

And voila! First draft!

I won't even get into editing. It's much more stressful and structured, not as free as the reckless writing of the first draft. And God - the line edits. Awful, awful things.
Describe your desk
Well it's quite large, comfortable to sit on, and is more often than not covered with a duvet...

I write on my bed, or on the sofa in my living room. Wherever is comfy and familiar. I'm not one of those people who can pack up and go to a cafe to write. I get distracted and unnerved by the unfamiliarity around me. I'm a creature of comfort.

Also my laptop is 17". It's huge, designed for movies, and would require a suitcase to transport it.

(I conveniently left out the part about my bed being an entire tip and covered in books, medicines, and other non-interesting crap.) My bed/desk is clean and tidy. Anything else is a lie.
Published 2013-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Beast of Callaire
Series: The Legend Mirror, Book One. Price: Free! Words: 92,590. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
I’m Yasmin Wikke, daughter of Venus, and even armed with a beastly alter ego, I’m badly outmatched.
The Forgotten
Series: The Lux Guardians. Price: Free! Words: 118,700. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
An unlikely bunch of rebels from two time periods take a stand against a totalitarian government. If they fail, both their worlds will be destroyed.