Kelly Charron is the author of horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels including: Pretty Wicked, and Wicked Fallout. We interviewed her for our January 2018 issue of Books ‘N Pieces Magazine.
Q1) Your debut novel “Pretty Wicked” (now earning 4+ stars from over 97 reviewers on Amazon) was in 2016. Since then you have published a sequel “Wicked Fallout” and also have two other YA books to follow. Now that you have hit that sweet spot of good responses, solid following, and hopefully encouraging sales, do you find that psychologically it has become easier to write compared to getting that first novel out?
Luckily, I have the gift of being able to block the outside world out when I write. I write for myself first and then in revisions will consider my audience and figure out if what I’m doing still works. I read a lot in the genres that I write in, so I feel like my natural instinct for reader expectations is fairly attune. You’re always nervous when a new book goes out. You hope it finds readers who will embrace it. So far I have been very fortunate to have the positive response that I have especially considering the Wicked books’ content. Having the main character be a teenage serial killer is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Q2) Your themes are dark! Your author image is almost the opposite. Along with the picture, your professed love of chocolate seems contrary to the teenage serial killer motif. I understand your love of True Crime television, and wanting to understand how people can turn out so different, even from a young age, but how do you, as the author, make that leap into a dark world that many people would hesitate to even think about?
Great question and the only response I’ve been able to come up with is that my childhood and life so far have been very calm and happy. I think the security and complete uneventfulness of my life allows me to play with very dark characters and themes since it’s so far removed from my experience. True, my fascination with human motivation and psychology has always been at the forefront—including why I went to school for social work—so it was a natural extension for it to show up in my writing. I think most people are intrigued with villains, regardless if they are real or fiction. WE have a natural desire to try and understand. I suppose I write these characters to try and understand what makes someone so different from most people tick.
Q3) You also write from the villain’s point of view. That requires some solid psychology to understand and interpret into a novel. Is this a serious exercise or are you enjoying the experience of being able to step out of yourself (rubbing hands, laughing wickedly…”oh this is so good!)?
I do rub my hands together and laugh wickedly. I joke, but I do take my characters very seriously. I want them to come off the page as authentically as possible so the reader has no room to be pulled out of the story. I did a lot of research into the psyches, childhoods, and overall lives of psychopaths and sociopaths, as well as many other personalities disorders and mental illness. All my psych and social work classes helped a lot too. I interviewed a Colorado based criminal prosecutor and a woman who worked with children and teens who committed serious crimes such as murder.
Q4) What percentage of your writing is research versus the actual writing process?
I can get lost down the research rabbit hole quite easily. It’s a great procrastination tool that tricks me into believing I’m being productive. Research is crucial because it adds those details that bring authenticity to the story, but you need to realize when you’ve got enough info, pull yourself away and get back to the writing. I’d say my level of research depends on the book. Right now I’m working on a YA urban fantasy, so the research about witches and magic is extra fun. I have to keep my eye on the prize and turn away from Google. Researching tends to go in spurts for me. A few days research and a few days to weeks of writing, until I need to look something else up.
Q5) On your Website blog you very generously showcase many other writers in interview formats like this. What made you decide to do that instead of just focusing on your own characters and writing?
Writers are fascinating to me. I love to read about their processes, struggles, stories and lives. They are also usually very interesting and generous people. It’s partially selfish because I want to pick their brains and see if any of their creative brilliance will wipe off on me. LOL.
Q6) Describe your writing process. Are you rigid, flexible, lock yourself away, or less restrained, different writing times?
I’m all over the place. I write in my office, on the couch, in bed, at cafes and at friend’s houses. I just need a coffee or tea and I’m good. I try and fit it in a few nights a week after my day job and then at least either Saturday or Sunday morning for a few hours. I do not do well listening to music with lyrics. I can usually block it out at a café, but if I’m home I’ll either have quiet or I play rain and thunderstorms on YouTube in the background. Plot and character bits will randomly pop up and I’ll jot them down on scrap papers or type/dictate them into my phone.
Q7) Writing a novel is difficult. You have achieved what only a small percentage of authors achieve in terms of readership, reviews, etc. What do you do to reach your audience?
I love interacting with people and try to remain social via Facebook and Twitter. I also have a great writing community here in the Vancouver area. I go to writing conferences and try to make connections with other writers. As I stated before, authors are usually very generous and we will often promote for one another. I also have a publicist who helps tremendously, booking me various interviews, signings and events. Publicity and marketing are extremely difficult and I definitely haven’t figured it out yet, but l‘m slowly building a readership that I hope comes with me into future books and maybe tells a friend or two. Nothing beats word of mouth.
Q8) Any advice for writers on what NOT to do?
Don’t quit. It’s tempting on a regular basis because writing is hard and the publishing industry is harder, but if you love it, you will find fulfilment in the work. This is not the career for fame and fortune. There are not many JK Rowling’s and Stephen King’s out there. Write because it fulfills you in some way. Also, don’t be precious with your work. Show people and get feedback. It’s the only way to grow.
Follow Kelly Charron from these links:
Pretty Wicked https://goo.gl/EP2GQ8
Wicked Fallout https://t.co/M8QBtxyhME
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