Today we have an interview with K. C. Stewart, author of the popular Adirondack Pack series and the Hailey Holloway series:
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Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background.
My “day job” is a photographer at a portrait studio. I went to school for photography and although I like it, I don’t love it. Photography is a great hobby, it’s just hard to make money in it when you don’t eat, sleep, breathe it. So a few years ago I decided that it was time for a change. I began taking classes online for Library Science. I am about a year away from getting my bachelors and plan to continue on to get my masters and be a bona fide librarian.
Right around the time I started school, I was publishing my first book. I had a lot of big changes all at once, which was good. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the world I live in now.
I live with my boyfriend, two german shepherds and cats in a house we bought last year. He’s a police officer and works strange hours but that gives me time to do homework and write. We have been together for 4.5 years and I am impatiently waiting for the day he proposes. (I can say this because I know he won’t read be reading this interview.)
When you’re not writing or doing work related to writing, what do you do that’s fun and just for you?
Writing is actually my fun activity. With work and school taking up the majority of my time, writing is the one thing that lets my creativity flow. I also read but lately I’ve been re-reading my favorites. This concept is foreign to my boyfriend. He doesn’t understand why I would read something that I already know the plot to. Explaining to a non-reader that these books are my friends and reading them again is like meeting up after not seeing each other for a few months is hard to do.
I also have two german shepherds (18 months and 8 months old) who demand my attention. Thankfully, since we got the second one they tend to tire each other out in the evenings so I can get some work or writing done.
What type of author would you categorize yourself as, a plotter (one who plots the story from beginning to end), or a pantser (one who lets the story take shape without meticulous planning)?
Oh, I’m a plotter all the way. I tried pantsing it for my first book and I hit so many road blocks it was frustrating. I work best by outlining my book, usually in one sitting and scribbled on the back of whatever paper I can find at the most inconvenient time and place because that’s how my mind rolls. I then type it up so it’s legible and tend to add a lot to it then.
My outlines are pretty detailed but yet leave a lot of room to play. They also have a lot of dialog in them. Usually, I’m also in the middle of writing something else and probably have three or four other books already outlined waiting to be typed up or written.
Are you planning to attend any reader conferences in the next year? If so, which ones?
Yes! Unmask the Romance Author Event October 1st 2016 at the Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge, Phoenixville PA
Check it out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unmasktheromance/
What do you do when your well of inspiration runs dry to get it flowing again?
I don’t understand this question. LOL. If I am stuck on one series then I just pull out my notebook that has at least four other book ideas in it or one of the outlines I talked about above.
I can’t write two books at one time, the flip flopping back and forth makes me lose focus but if I’m ever well and truly stuck then I will put it aside and pick up something else and write that from start to finish and go back. That’s where shorter stories come in handy.
We all know that in order to be a successful author, a great deal of time has to go toward self-promotion. What is your favorite type of promotion, and why?
I’d have to say my mailing list. Facebook is frustrating because of limited visibility. I hate Twitter. Just…no. Ugh. I've signed up and cancelled Twitter so many times it's just sad.
Instagram and Pinterest are fun but I haven’t found a good way to use them for promotion.
My mailing list, though, that’s where it’s at. I LOVE opening my inbox after I send out newsletter and reading through all the responses. So much fun and so gratifying. I have some great conversations through email with readers that I never would have had on Facebook because they would have never seen the initial post.
What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome to become a successful author? Is writing easier, or harder than you expected it would be?
Writing is easy. It’s everything else that is hard. I had no idea how much time actually needed to go into marketing and promotion. If I could, I would do things totally different in the beginning. But I can’t. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and those made by others like me and move forward.
Right now the most challenging thing is writing fast enough to keep my books relevant to readers. The problem I face is that during the semester I can’t write much at all. My solution to this problem is that I write something shorter (usually around 20,000) and release it chapter by chapter on my mailing list. That usually takes the entire semester. This way I am happy because I am writing (just not a lot) and my readers are happy because they are getting something new in their inbox every week. I write my novels during winter and summer breaks and have them edited during the semester. It took me a while but I've got it down to a science now.
Can you tell us a little bit about the hero, an heroine for an upcoming release?
On the Edge features Lee. She did something really bad to her Alpha, Owen, in the last book (Fault Lines.) They used to date but because of her insecurities they broke up. However, they are like family. They grew up together and not even a break up would keep them from being friends. But Lee messes up when she sabotages Owen’s new and budding relationship. She doesn’t want him in a romantic way but she doesn’t want anyone else to have him either. The problem is that the girl who Owen has his eye on is her best friend’s younger sister. She manages to piss off everyone all in one go.
Right now you are all probably like “Uh, why is she your heroine? She sounds like the antagonist.” Well, Lee may have dug herself a hole too deep to get out of but she deserves to try. Lee is in a dark place at the start of the book and it gets darker as it goes on. She has alienated herself from all of her friends because she knows she messed up and is punishing herself. She is a gamer and her online persona is the only thing that is keeping her sane. This life online is one that no one has really understood. Her best friend in the game is also a pack member. Vince has no idea who she is. He wants to know, though. And that scares the crap out of her. Unfortunately, he is also getting frustrated with Lee for keeping her name hostage.
Vince is fairly new to the pack. He moved their a few years ago but had never found his place within the pack. He’s always been friendly but stayed on the outskirts of the pack functions. Owen ruins all that and tosses him in to train the newly changed pups. He is a natural. This, of course, attracts all of the single ladies. Who doesn’t like a handsome man who is good with kids?
What is it about them that will draw us into their story?
I think its Lee’s downward spiral and Vince’s persistence that makes them worth knowing. I wrote this book when I was in a dark spot so it was easy for me to feel the depression, anxiety and loneliness that Lee was feeling. It comes through. Vince is that one bright spot on her day, that one thing that keeps her moving even though he has no idea who she is and what he means to her.
And now for the silly… Do you see yourself as more of an alpha, beta, or omega? Why?
This is a hard question because definitions of beta and omega can differ pretty significantly. One thing is for sure, I'm definitely not an alpha.
Let's put it this way, I'm an introvert. I socialize because it's required in life. I do well in small groups but sink into myself in large ones. Just because I find it hard to converse in groups doesn't me I don't have an opinion. I won't follow the alpha blindly but I also don't make waves.
And now before you go, how about a snippet from one of your books that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
She kept emptying the dishwasher but glanced over her shoulder at Chuck. “Yeah?”
Her boss and owner of The Wick was a submissive wolf and couldn’t change form but Lee had only made the mistake once to assume he was submissive in personality too. Chuck was a protector, a mother hen. He cared for those who were his and his loyalty was stronger than anyone she knew. He was one of the only people who never put her inability to have children at the forefront of their relationship. He also didn’t choose sides in her fight with Owen and Sadie. Chuck treated her no differently and Lee knew that he never would.
“What do ya need?”
“Can you take over one of Zach’s tables?”
“Sure. Is he ok?” Zach was Chuck’s nephew and lived in a room above the restaurant. Chuck took him in after he left home at eighteen because of his submissive nature. His family was all dominate and Zach had suffered in the environment. He had been a common sight in the summers growing up, opting to spend it with his uncle rather than his family. Chuck didn’t have any kids of his own but Lee knew that he considered Zach his.
“Eh, he’ll live,” he shrugged. “Got a table that just walked in. Front window.”
Lee wiped her hands on her apron. “Got it.” She walked out of the kitchen and stopped at the sight of who she would be serving. Lee backed up one step right into Chuck. Fuming she turned and poked him. “You!”
He only smiled. “You’re table is waiting.”
“I can’t serve them!”
He crossed his arms, an unmovable figure. “Did you forget how to in the last few minutes?”
“Chuck,” she huffed out exasperated. “You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t think I do. Either you serve that table with a smile or you can leave.”
Her mouth dropped. “You’d fire me?” Suddenly none of the warm happy thoughts she had of him earlier could be found inside of her. Chuck was family. Maybe not by blood but in all the ways that mattered. How could he do this to her?
“I would. Go serve your table Lee. The world will still be standing when you’re done.”
No, he was wrong. Her world crumbled a long time ago. Lee turned and found Owen had been watching the entire altercation. His face was unreadable in the way only an alpha’s could be. She hated that look and had seen it many times since he stopped speaking to her. It was like a kick to her already trampled chest.
“I hate you,” she told Chuck with more anguish than anger.
“I know, but you’ll get over. Just like Owen got over his anger at you.” His hand patted her shoulder and gave her a squeeze of encouragement.
“You don’t know anything Chuck.” That look Owen had locked on her was not one of love and friendship, it was calculating indifference.
“Go on Lee. He doesn’t bite.”
She snorted at that. She knew for a fact that he did. Pulling what courage she could from the depths inside of her, she walked across the bar to her table. Owen, Mira, Tyson and Sadie all sat together with another woman. Just because she wasn’t in the cool kids group any more didn’t mean she hadn’t heard that Sadie and Mira’s mother was coming to town for a visit.
“Good evening. Can I get you all some drinks?” Lee brushed her eyes over every one but mostly kept her eyes trained on the older woman, the one who didn’t have any prejudices against her.
“Lee,” Owen said with enough command that she was compelled to turn her head. It was hard to keep a neutral face when she was burning alive inside, turning to ash with every passing day. What he saw in her eyes must have been enough to tell him that here and now was not the time. The right time to talk had passed a long time ago.
“Ah, god Lee. Don’t look at me like that. We are not here to gut you.”
He was mistaken. There was nothing left for them to gut. “Drinks?” she said again, her voice shaking.
“Waters all around,” Mira said from beside him. She held onto Owen’s hand and patted it gently. Lee avoided looking at Mira’s face altogether. She hadn’t been able to look her in the eye since she came back.
“I’ll be right back with your drinks.” Lee turned and made it back to where Chuck was waiting behind the bar having watched the whole embarrassing thing. She untied her apron and put it on top of the bar. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t serve them. Lee always knew it in her heart but this proved just how much of a coward she really was.
“Lee, don’t do this.” Chuck warned.
She shook her head. The tingle of tears warned her that she had seconds to get out of there or risk falling apart in a room full of people who were waiting for her to do just that.
“Go,” Chuck said and pushed her apron at her. “But come back tomorrow as scheduled. I was just trying to help, Lee.”
There was no helping her.
On the Edge Releases June 27th
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/Cxz6Qm
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/NEVvCo
Amazon AU: https://goo.gl/r4VTLt
Last but not least, where can our readers find you online?