Author Interview: Kelly Cain


How did you become a writer?

I was a reader first, and came to writing much later in life. When the New Adult market was first getting started, I read loads of Colleen Hoover (still love her as she’s expanded), Samantha Young, and J.A. Redmerski. At some point, an idea popped into my brain and I couldn’t shake it, so I decided to write it down. Six weeks later, I finished my first story.


What inspires you to write?

After picking up the “pen” the first time, I haven’t been able to quell the urge. If I’m not working on a story, I’m not happy.


How do you develop your plot and characters?

I usually start with a high-level idea of what my story is about – it’s very vague in the beginning. Then brainstorm some plot points and bullet those out. Next, I pick character names and start selecting characteristics for them such as physical description, job, personality traits, habits, etc. Then I create a bit of a backstory for them. For my last story, I used the ‘stakes’ exercise from the Writing the Breakout Novel workbook by Donald Maass. For the story I’m currently working on, I’ve used quite a bit more exercises from the workbook along with figuring out character from the Angela Ackerman/Becca Puglisi series of books. All of the above is done with input from my close author friends’ group. I’m fortunate to have them to bounce ideas off of.


Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?

Trying to write across genres was tricky for me. I decided I wanted to write a YA fantasy at some point, and it took me a whole year to complete. It was hard for me even though I loved the story and the idea was original (to me at least 😊). Then I started out on a Women’s Fiction, and a year later, I only had less than 30,000 words to show for it. In the meantime, I’d written a couple of romance short stories for anthologies and they were so much easier for me to complete.


Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?

Rowan is a chef, a year out of the best culinary school in the country, and working in her mother’s southern-cooking restaurant, Smothered in Love. She’s opinionated, can be a bit aggressive and overbearing, over-critical (especially to self), sometimes paranoid but also loyal, dependable, and caring. I love how much she’s moved by music. She’ll stop everything for a good beat.


How does your antagonist create conflict?

For Rowan, Knox Everheart creates conflict just by existing. He bested her all throughout university and when he discovers she’s entering a cooking competition, he throws his hat in the ring too even though he has no need for the prize Rowan is desperate for, a new restaurant.


What are your current/future projects?

I’m currently working on romance where a woman discovers she’s adopted by receiving a ring from the deceased birth grandmother she didn’t realize existed. She isn’t given a name with the rare heirloom, so she goes on a discovery to figure out her birth family by researching the ring. A nerdy geochemist-cum-jewelry store owner may be able to help with her journey.


Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

Not really although I’ve noticed that despite being a morning person, I’m more motivated to get words down in the evenings and even late into the night. I do need uninterrupted time to write though. If I know I have a meeting or something else scheduled, I can’t write until it’s over.


If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Buy craft books, attend craft workshops if possible, and really study the art of storytelling. It makes life so much easier in the end.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

In addition to the advice I gave my past self, I would say pay attention to the writing world. Follow authors on Twitter, not just your favs. Make friends where you can and have critique partners which not only gives you valuable feedback, but also helps hone your skills when spotting problems in others’ writing.


* What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

I’m super active on Twitter (twitter.com/KellyCainAuthor) and Instagram (instagram.com/kellycainauthor), and less so on Facebook (facebook.com/kellycainauthor). There are additional links on my website (kellycainauthor.com) as well.


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