“Careful, or you’ll end up in [Kaye Lynne Booth’s] novel”!
I recently met author Kaye Lynne Booth–virtually!–and we exchanged interview Q&As about our profession. It’s always fun discovering other authors who immerse themselves in multiple projects related to writing, publishing, and coaching . . . and this gal has done (and is doing) it all!
Check out her responses to my questions! I’ve included links to her books and contact info as well:
Kaye Lynne, please introduce yourself!
Writing is my passion, or maybe obsession is a better word. I’m an author, freelance writer and blogger, and I also do freelance editing. I’ve published articles, short stories and poetry in publications and anthologies, both online and in print, as well as my western novel, Delilah, a time travel short, Last Call, and a paranormal mystery novelette, Hidden Secrets. I hold a dual emphasis M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing and I’m currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. I keep up to my course work, hold down a day job, manage my Writing to be Read blog, and still find time to work on at least three WIPs. Somewhere in there, I even have a personal life, in which I enjoy camping, hiking, dirt bike and ATV riding, fishing, gold panning, bird watching, gardening and enjoying the great outdoors.
Writing is your “obsession”! Tell me about the first thing you remember writing.
The very first thing that I recall writing was Haiku in the fourth grade. From that point on I think I felt awe for the written word.
Was there a teacher/mentor who encouraged you?
I always had friends and family who were supportive of my writing. I the M.F.A. program, although all the instructors were top-notch, there was one who was always encouraging and helpful when he could be, and that would be Dr. Mark Todd. Not only was he supportive as I went through the program, but he was supportive of my writing outside of the course, and later was instrumental in my getting a temporary position at Western, teaching English. He has interviewed on my blog, and I’ve reviewed several of his books. He sort of transitioned from teacher/mentor to colleague to friend. It’s always nice to know he’s there for me.
Where do you go to find your inspiration?
I find inspiration just about anywhere. Sometimes, I find it in unexpected places, like sitting on a boulder watching the water flow from the dam near my home, in a collection of strange medical conditions, in movies and television shows, in birdwatching, in a news story… just about anywhere!
Your novel “Delilah: A Frontier Romance” is nitty and gritty and brings readers to Leadville. What gave you the idea to write this alternate history and why Leadville rather than any other mining town?
Ask Delilah. She was leading that party. Lol. She followed the trail of the two varmints that brutalized her and kidnapped the young girl, Sarah, who had been given to her care. Leadville has some colorful characters in its history and I used that to my advantage with Delilah. There are appearances by H.W. Tabor, Baby Doe, and even mention of Doc Holiday.
What was your biggest challenge in writing “Delilah” and were any of your characters/events based on real people/events?
I think one of the biggest challenges of writing western, or any other historical fiction, is making sure that items and events are true to the time period. There are a lot of western readers out there who know their stuff, and if you put a gun in your characters hand that hadn’t been made at the time, and I guarantee you that your readers will know, and they will let you know, too.
Also, when you are fictionalizing historical characters, it is often necessary to sort through a lot of conflicting information, because many historical characters have been fictionalized and blown up bigger than life, like the dime store novels about Billy the Kid, or the many versions of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. That one is funny, because the shoot-out didn’t actually occur at the O.K. Corral, but in the vacant lot between the corral and Fly’s Photography Studio, and it really depends on which side of the conflict the source of the story supports. Even today there are still proponents of the Earps and backers for the Clantons and McClourys, and the various versions of the story are colored accordingly. Most of my historical characters haven’t been so controversial, but there are always stories where the facts differ, and it’s the author’s job to sort it all out and portray the characters as true to the actual people as possible.
A lot of the story events in Delilah play around the grand opening of the Tabor Opera House. With the setting I tried to stay true to Leadville’s history, and many of the buildings really existed. Some still do today. It was a rowdy town, “The town that never sleeps”, with a rough element, and they had a tough time keeping Marshalls. I played off of that general atmosphere when staging fictional events, but I also included historical events that actually happened, like the hanging the night before the grand opening, although Delilah wasn’t really there.
What will Delilah do next?
I’m currently working on the sequel, “The Homecoming,” in which Delilah ends up back in San Luis, where she still has her family’s ranch, or what’s left of it. But, it’s another man hunt that leads her there, and things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to, and this homecoming is full of surprises.
Tell me about your recent award!
I was given a Motivational Strips Award of Excellence for my contributions, through my blog, Writing to be Read, to the world literary community. I do author interviews and book reviews to promote my fellow authors, and publish content that is of interest to the literary world. This award gave me an epiphany, because it made me realize that I have global influence.
Something else that recently came up that I’m pretty proud of is that I was asked to be a judge of the Western Romance category for the Western Spur Awards, by Western Writers of America. I’m honored to be offered the task. Plus I’ll get to read some great westerns. ?
How have you evolved as an author?
Slowly. The first thing I ever sold was a poem, in 1996, for $5. I wrote poetry and short stories, until in 2010, I started my blog, Writing to be Read. Inexperience held me back, as I didn’t know how to find publications to submit to or how to grow a following for my blog, so I wrote articles for content mills and became the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner for Examiner.com, writing book reviews and author profiles, and covering literary events. It didn’t really pay, but I met other authors and made connections.
In 2012, I enrolled in the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at Western State, and that was probably the best thing I ever did for myself. Through the M.F.A. program, I learned how to write longer, novel length works and I learned about the business of writing, publishers, agents, contracts, and to an extent, marketing. These were the skills I was lacking, and I emerged from the program with not one, but two manuscripts to peddle to publishers. I began submitting and got a few short stories and poems published, and a year and a half after I graduated, I found Dusty Saddle Publishing for Delilah.
But, something else happened as well during that time. I discovered some things that I hadn’t known about myself. I discovered that I like to write westerns and I’m pretty good at it. My first published novel was a western. Delilah sprang from my very first assignment, to write an excerpt in a genre outside of any I’d written in previously. I also discovered that I liked screenwriting. So much so, that I stayed enrolled an extra year to earn a dual emphasis in screenwriting, as well as my emphasis in genre fiction. I came away with a new appreciation for well-crafted writing, which I know affects my book reviews, as well as my own works.
Today, I have a published novel, and a science fantasy novel, which was my thesis project, that is near ready for publication. I also have a science fiction time travel short, Last Call, and a paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. I have numerous WIPs in various stages of creation, including a non-fiction book, which will one day be a memoir, two anthologies, and The Homecoming, the sequel to Delilah. It seems I’m always writing something. Even when I’m not in front of my laptop, I’m thinking about writing. As I think I’ve said, I’m obsessed.
What other genres have you published, and do you have a favorite? Is there an “easy” genre for you?
I’ve published a western novel (Delilah), a paranormal mystery novelette (Hidden Secrets), and a science fiction time travel short story, (Last Call) in the book realm. I’ve also had several short stories published in ezines and an anthologies, in several genres, including dystopian, western, and a strange combination of crime fiction and romance.
But I’ve also played around with other genres. My WIPs and as yet unpublished works include a science fantasy series (Playground for the Gods), memoir (Losing Michael: Teen Suicide and a Mother’s Grief), and western (Delilah: The Homecoming), as well as two paranormal short stories which will be published in the first anthology by WordCrafter Press (Whispers of the Past). I’ve got a whole library of short fiction that hasn’t found a publishing home yet, including a couple of vampire stories, and a twisted fairy tale, as well as a children’s book series, and also a couple of screenplays. I have fun with everything I write, but so far, western is probably my favorite. It’s the genre that seems to come most naturally to me.
Your author platform is expanding! What services do you offer other writers?
Yes, I am launching WordCrafter, even though I still can’t get the website up right. There will be five enterprises under the trade name: WordCrafter Press, WordCrafter Copywriting, WordCrafter Online Courses, Write it Right Editing Services and Writing to be Read. The editing and the blog already existed, but will fall under the WordCrafter umbrella. I’m excited to be expanding my horizons and being able to offer services to my fellow authors.
What writing goals do you have for this year . . . and for the next 5 years?
Before this year is out, I hope to have two anthologies published through WordCrafter, the paranormal one and an anthology of interviews compiled from my 2018 blog series, “Ask the Authors,” as well as the first book in my Playground for the Gods series, The Great Primordial Battle. I was hoping to have the second book in my western saga out, but recently, my publisher agreed to re-issue Delilah after I received feedback that there were several typos in the book, so I’m going to give it another edit, at some material to the front of the book, including a foreword supplied by the publisher, so that will undoubtedly delay the completion of the second book. Beyond that, I hope to see WordCrafter come together, I hope to be able to keep growing my reader following for both my books and my blog, I hope to one day sell one of my screenplays, and I pray I can do all of this and still keep my sanity.
Do you have any advice for writers who have not yet published?
Write the best piece of writing you are capable of, then edit and revise for as long as it takes to polish it until it sparkles. In book marketing, the book is the product, and you can have an outstanding cover made to sell the product, but if the writing inside is of poor quality, your book is not going to sell. This culture demands quality goods, and readers are no exception. There is no substitution for a well-written, well-crafted story.
Also, learn about book marketing and promotion, because in the world of publishing today, the author has to be able to do it all.
Would you like to give any shout-outs to people who have helped you along the way?
Absolutely. I’ve had many friends and family who supported me in my writing endeavors through the years, including my husband, Greg; my mother-in-law, Kinzi; my friend Linda; and my old boss, Sharon. And of course, my online writing family which keeps growing all the time: Robin Conley, who has to be the world’s best editor and beta reader; Dan Alatorre, who is always full of great ideas for my next writing project; DL Mullen of Sonoran Dawn Studios, who has helped me with covers and marketing; Art Rosch, who has encouraged me through the years and always knows the right thing to say, as well as making monthly contributions to my blog; and the other members of my blog team, Robbie Cheadle, Jeff Bowles and Jordan Elizabeth; and all of the authors who put up with all my interview questions and helped to make my blog what it is today. I couldn’t do it without them. ;)
How do people contact you?
I love hearing from readers! Unfortunately, I don’t hear from them as often as I’d like. They can leave a comment on Writing to be Read, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on social media. I’ve got four Facebook pages, and I’m on LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. I also have Author Pages on both Amazon and Goodreads.