Hi everyone! I am so excited to have YA/New Adult author Kristen Kehoe on the blog today to discuss writing and a few of her favorite things! Kristen is such an amazing person, and I am so glad to have been introduced to her books and get to know her!
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Hi Kristen! Thanks for stopping by to chat today! Did you know; you are the first author I have had the pleasure of interviewing on my blog?
Hello, Tonya! And thank you for having me… I know interviews are hard:)
Yes, they are. haha.
So, let’s get started with what I like to call, the basics –
Could you tell us (in 140 characters or less) a little bit about your latest book, THE LIGHT OF DAY?
Yes! THE LIGHT OF DAY follows Cora and Jake, both souls of independent, fun characters who are just a little lost. When they meet each other, there’s resistance, and then friendship, and then (of course) love. ( Did I make 140? I’m terrible at twitter:))
What inspired you to write your first book?
Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and not in the “let me change the world” way. I have only ever wanted to tell love stories so when I penned FINDING YOU (young adult contemporary) I was inspired by my parents who both come from homes that got a little broken. My parents, despite what everyone around them said, met, fell in love, and made a life together. They were nineteen. No one really wanted to believe they could make that decision to love, but they did and thirty-six years later, they’re still in love.
What books/authors, if any, have influenced your life the most?
Nora Roberts. I read her starting in the sixth grade and thought, yes. Just YES. Obviously, there have been more along the way. JK ROWLING and Harry Potter changed the game for me… I’m not a fantasy, supernatural writer, but I fell in love with her and her characters because even with the magic, the evil, the mortals, they were people with very human reactions. I loved that. Sara Dessen with DREAMLAND because — in my mind — it was the very first edgy, raw, REAL piece of writing about young adults. Sandra Cisneros and THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET because I think it’s this beautiful view into language, life, and women.
Who is your target audience? Why?
Ha, great question. Women? Too brood? Really, it’s anyone from the age of 15 and over. I fell in love with romance when I was young. I know there are thoughts on how young is too young to know about sex, to read about it, but I think right about high school to women my age (30) and over because everyone can feel something for someone who is going through the age they’ve been or are working up to.
What are you up to when you’re not writing?
Mommyhood and teaching. I’m a full-time English teacher, so I see the kids I write about in a sense every day. I have a wonderful two and half year old and a great dane, so we are busy. I read, a ton obviously, and I blog about life because it’s fun:)
What’s your writing process? Do you have any weird quirks, follow and schedule, suffer insomnia..
Well, I carry a pretty big bag of crazy on any normal day, so weird quirks aren’t hard to find:) First, I have to wait for my characters to talk to me. Weird and creepy, I know, but I don’t just think, hey, that would be fun. I’ll be somewhere and all of a sudden it’s like, hey, there’s a story. It’s always been like this. Lastly, I kill a playlist when I’m in the writing groove. Like, KILL IT DEAD. I overplay songs until I wish I’d never bought them when I’m writing a character. For THE LIGHT OF DAY it was Birdy, Hozier, Jake Owen, and John Mayer. Apparently, I’m also oddly eclectic into popular music…
Have you thought about writing in a different genre?
If I could write fantasy, I would. I love Amanda Hocking and JK Rowling, even Stefanie Myer. But I’ve tried and I can tell you… not everyone has the mind for it. Unfortunately, I don’t. I love reading about made up, magical lands, I just can’t see them without someone else creating them. It’s hard to admit I’m too rooted in the here and now to really create because that’s your goal as an author, but it’s also a fact. Write what you know and I know people.
What is your greatest challenge when it comes to writing?
Insecurity, and I HATE saying that. As I told you, I love to read what I’ve written. There hasn’t been anything I’ve put out in all 4 of my novels that I didn’t love… but asking others to feel something for it is where I get stuck. There are hundreds of thousands of writers (not an exaggerations). How can I expect people to take a chance on me? It’s hard, and I hate it. I want to be arrogant, confident… I want to be Rachel from LIFE INTERRUPTED:)
Is there anything you can share about a project you are currently working on?
Yes! I am working on two projects — The untitled that it’s in the back of THE LIGHT OF DAY about a dancer… and then I put her on pause to write TRIPP from LIFE INTERRUPTED. I was cleaning floors one Saturday and all of a sudden, I was seeing his story and I though, well, here we go. So, TRIPP is almost done and I have to say, wow, I love him. His story follows the present day interactions with Rachel from LIFE INTERRUPTED, but every other chapters offers a flashback, filling in the blanks of their story together, from his life when he fell for her and still chose Lauren, to her pregnancy. It’s touching and I’m amazed at what it’s become.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Keep writing? Awful, but honestly, I’m a no one in the indie writing world (so thanks for making me feel like someone today, Tonya and all other readers). I asked Ginger Scott, a dear cyber friend and AMAZING writer how she did, and she said that she wrote, and she believed, and she put her books on NetGalley. So I’m trying all of those things.
Now, on to a little more TOUGH questions.. *evil grin*
Two of your books that I have read deal with some extremely emotional situations. Has there been anyone in particular that influenced these stories, and how did you incorporate their stories into your book(s)?
Unfortunately, too many people. Like I said, I teach high school and as much as I want to believe all experiences our young adults have are positive, I’m shocked almost daily by some of the things they deal with. And then, well, me. I suffered greatly in high school for no reason other than insecurity. In your review of LIFE INTERRUPTED you nailed it when you said that maybe I was a counselor or I understood… I married a counselor, and I was also really anorexic in high school so I went to a lot of counseling. Issues arise for no other reason than we don’t believe in ourselves and because my story was a success, I write successes for other people too.
Everyone interprets a story differently – but if your readers are to take ONE MESSAGE away from reading your books, what would you want that message to be?
Ugh, this is an evil question:) I don’t want to ever hit my reader over the head with a message because I want them to read and be entertained, to feel something for a character simply because. But if I HAVE to, and for you I will, I would say I want them to look at my characters, both male and female, and understand that failure happens for everyone. I once thought failure made me different — it’s a sad reality that failure hits us all and somehow, in order to live the life we want, we have to learn to accept and move on. And we can. I want people to know that. WE CAN MOVE ON. And we deserve to, which is more to the point.
What is the most fulfilling aspect when it comes to writing?
That one great moment when you finish writing a scene and there are tears on your cheeks and love in your heart because you don’t know where the words came from but they are there, in front of you, and wow, are they beautiful.
What, if anything, have you learned about yourself since writing your first book?
To go for it. I held back in my first book, writing for what I thought others wanted and it was wrong. I’m a real life person who loves to throw an f bomb and go head first even though I’ll make a mistake. Now, I write for a character I can believe in rather than what I hope someone else will believe in.
Anything else you want to add?
Thank you, for reading, for your cyber friendship, forall of the above. It’s great and I promise, I know book blogging is so hard. I won’t ever take it for granted.
Drink – COFFEE!
Snack – Queso, disgusting amounts of queso.
Place to read – Couch in the living room with the fire-place and the dog. No tv.
Movie – Ah, While You Were Sleeping… and When Harry Met Sally.
Vacation spot – Lake Tahoe. California Side.
Quote – “What’s past is prologue.” -Shakespeare.
Book – Wow, hard one. Honest Illusions, Nora Roberts. AMAZING.
Thanks again for stopping to chat, Kristen! xoxo
*covers link to Goodreads
The Light of Day will be available on Netgalley soon. Check often! I will update this post with the link once available!
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Tonyalee is an avid reader, gym junkie, coffee addicted workaholic, and blogger. Be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for random shenanigans.