Today, I have with me author Kelsey Miller. She has started on the path of being self published at a very young age and I can see her doing great things.
This is a really fun interview, and I loved some of her answers! So, without much delay, lets just right in!
Interview with Kelsey Miller,
Author of Retribution
Lets start with a question I always ask first. Describe your book and what genre would you classify it into?
My book is a paranormal thriller for young adults. It’s about a vampire who hates being a vampire and a werewolf who shifts into his human form when he’s around her.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
It’s funny, really. Somehow the topic of vampires wormed its way into my mind. I began thinking of all the vampire characters I had read who drank blood, even ones that only drank animal blood (I think you know which one I’m talking about). Yet, I had never come across a vampire who hated being one. And from there the idea snowballed.
When and why did you begin writing?
I first began writing when I was a little child. Before I could even write, actually. My mom kept all of these “books” that I wrote. They were just scribbles. But apparently those scribbles meant something to me because my mother remembers one day I while writing I stopped, shook my head, and said “The words, they aren’t right.” I guess so you could say writing is just what I do. 🙂
Who is you favourite character in the book?
By far, the Vampire. She has this really sassy attitude, and she’s very emotionally strong. Whenever people tell me they’ve finished my book, they always go on about her. I think one of the reasons for this is because she doesn’t let people push her around. But I also had a blast writing Hunter, the villain of the story. I mean, the guy is just so evil.
What was the hardest part of writing the book?
Staying focused. If you’re a book lover, I suggest you try writing a novel. It really made me appreciate my favourite authors more. I mean, writing is hard. It’s really hard to sit in a chair for hours a day, every day, alone. It is quite difficult to stay motivated at times. But the reward for finishing is amazing, so I guess I don’t have any complaints.
How has your journey from writing to getting published been?
Long. Well, kind of. I started RETRIBUTION five years ago, and worked on it off and on for about four years. After I had finished, it was another two years before I edited and published it. It didn’t take long to self-publish it after I was finally happy with my novel.
Who designed the cover of the book?
I did! And let me tell you, it was difficult, especially since I didn’t have a fancy program and had to use Microsoft Publisher (*shudders*). Hopefully it will be a lot easier to do it the second time around.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I definitely learned how to be patient. It can be hard because you know what exciting parts are going to happen, and you want to write those parts, but you have to get there first.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Hmm. That’s a really good question. The only thing I’ve heard people say a lot is that they liked the Vampire more than Faolan (the narrator). Sometimes I wonder if I should have tweaked his character a bit. But I don’t think I would, because his character development is one of the driving forces of the sequel. I’m really happy with the way RETRIBUTION turned out.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Like I said before, staying focused. It can be very challenging, especially in the summer (the time when I write) when it’s so nice out.
What are your current projects? When is your next book coming out? Can we get an excerpt?
After this semester, I’ll be writing the sequel to RETRIBUTION. I plan to publish it sometime by the end of the year. We’ll see. Everything gets crazy since I’m still in college. Unfortunately, I haven’t started it yet, so I am unable to give you an excerpt.
What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?
I’m always reading a bunch of things, but one book in particular is Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. I’m only on like chapter three, but so far it’s really, really good. My favourite author is John Green. I’m also a pretty rabid fan of Harry Potter, and my favourite book is Pride & Prejudice.
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.
- I’ve had horses my entire life.
- I speak French, and plan to study there.
- I am a business student.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
People are always saying that the best thing for young writers to do is keep plucking at it, because when you’re older, you’ll be good. I think that’s crap, and defeatist. Just write. Think of it as fun, pleasure, not something to do to get better.
About Writing in the Fantasy Genre
How and when did you start writing fantasy?
I guess I kind of fell into it. I mean, this is only if you consider paranormal to be fantasy. It seems to be becoming a genre of its own. Anyway, RETRIBUTION is my first novel, and I started it back in summer, 2007.
How do you come up with names for the characters and places in your books?
Research. Now that I think about it, naming characters is probably the hardest thing for me, although it was easier in RETRIBUTION than in other stories I’ve written (for reasons I’ll explain in a bit). Maybe I’m just a perfectionist, but I’ll frequently have a name for a character, and then half-way through the story will completely change it. A name is more than a name, you know? It has to feel right. Same goes for places.
Which do you think is more important, world building or character building?
Tough question. I think it depends on what kind of story you’re writing. For instance, if you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, the world building is definitely going to be more important than character building. If you’re writing something like contemporary fiction, the character building is more important, since it’s the characters that are extraordinary, whereas in SF/F the setting is extraordinary.
How easy is it for you to write non-human characters?
Well, unless you count vampires and werewolves as non-human characters, I would say my experience is pretty limited. However, I think that it shouldn’t be very difficult. When we read characters, we bring our everyday experiences with us. If the main character of a novel isn’t a human, it doesn’t really matter; we’re still going to view him like a human, because he’s the protagonist and we’re rooting for him. We wouldn’t want to root for a character who felt alien and wrong to us, would we?
If you could not write in the F/SF genres, what would you be writing?
To be honest, I’d write about anything. The only reason why my book was paranormal is because that was the first idea that took hold of me until I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I’ve had ideas for contemporary, mystery, science fiction, historical fiction. If there’s anything I know, it’s that I don’t want to limit myself to one genre. I want to be free to write about anything.
Can you tell us more about the world in your book?
The world in my book is pretty much like ours, really. I wanted to create this feeling that there was more to our world than we realized.
What was your writing process?
Well, when I say this I’m sure everyone is going to shake her head, but I actually wrote my book. Literally, WROTE it. By hand. All 500+ pages of it. You could say that I am crazy, and yeah, maybe that is true. But I wanted the experience of putting pen to paper and creating a novel. Will I ever do it again? Heck, no. But the experience was interesting. I’m glad we have computers.
How is your book different than other vampire stories?
It seems like these days YA vampire books go in this order: Girl goes to school. Cute new guy appears. He is SUCH a jerk. Girl suspects something is different with him. Cute guy is a vampire! Conflict ensues. The two wonder if they’ll ever be together.
And on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this isn’t entertaining. I like them just as much as the rest of us. But I knew that wasn’t the right fit for my book. I wanted my book to be in the form of a quest. So pretty much the entire length of my novel features two characters on the road. I think this might be because of all the Disney movies I watched as a kid, but there’s just something about a quest that I adore.
Why do all of your characters have such weird (and unpronounceable) names?
There is a definite reason for this. The werewolves in my book are a superstitious bunch and believe that a person becomes whatever his parents name him. So if a name means “courageous”, the person will become courageous. Also, they’re German descendants (as in from the great wolf in Norse mythology), so their names are all Anglo-Saxon. This actually made naming my characters easier, because I knew what the character was like, so all I needed to do was pick a name that meant that. Other times I found names that I liked and the character, well, became the name.
Your book is pretty violent. Why is there so much “blood and guts”?
I’ll be honest. If you don’t like or can’t handle gory stuff, my book probably isn’t for you. But at the same time, my novel doesn’t have gratuitous violence. I wanted my vampires to be just that—vampires. Vampire stories used to be scary. Terrifying. A lot of vampires these days are just humans who drink blood. I wanted to bring vampire stories back to their horrifying roots. All of the violence in my book drives the plot; there is no random killing.
Tell us about Hunter. Is he crazy?
He’s intelligent. Very, very intelligent. And brutal. At the same time, he’s very interested in religion. I found this dichotomy very interesting to write. Writing his dialogue was probably the most fun I had writing RETRIBUTION.
So is RETRIBUTION going to have a sequel?
Yep. I am planning a trilogy, actually. I’ll be writing book two this summer. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it before college resumes!
ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Probably paperback. It depends on how much I like the book.
Cats or dogs?
Coffee or tea?
Hmm. Probably something with chocolate (except with ice cream and cake batter).
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Wallet, phone, iPod, and of course a book
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Late at night (and I mean LATE), usually in a quiet place like a study or my room.
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you any why?
- John Green (my favourite author). I adore that man.
- Emma Stone, because she would keep me from going insane with boredom.
- Alex Pettyfer, because he would improve the view.
List 3 of your all-time favourite movies and 3 of your all-time favourite music bands.
- Movies: Midnight in Paris, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings
- Bands: Owl City, Adele and Young the Giant
Which is your all-time favourite song (only one song please)?
Letters from the Sky, by Civil Twilight
ABOUT KELSEY MILLER
She is finishing up her year as a college freshman, and plans to continue writing. RETRIBUTION is her first novel, and she is set to begin work on the sequel this summer.
You can keep up with her at
Find Kelsey on:
ABOUT RETRIBUTION BY KELSEY MILLER
More cunning and intuitive than the other wolves in his Family, Faolan has never had a problem killing their Vampire enemies. Yet even he is unprepared for the two Changelings–newly turned Vampires–who attack him one day during his patrol. The Changelings make no move to kill Faolan, and puzzled by their strange behavior, he flees. Before the wolves can determine the cause, Faolan is attacked again.
Faolan barely has time to parry the Vampire’s blows before he is ripped from his wolf form. Cowering as a human, Faolan waits for death, yet the Vampire inexplicably spares his life–but her action comes with a price.
The Vampire claims she does not drink blood. Instead, she has vowed to kill her nemesis, Hunter, an elusive vampyre with special abilities responsible for a tragedy the Vampire refuses to disclose. She compels Faolan into joining her on a week-long journey to acquire information from Hunter’s retired executioner. Faolan’s father forces him into going, and after the Vampire saves his life, Faolan realizes that the two of them will be partners for much longer than seven days.
Faolan and the Vampire are bound together by a force older than any of them can imagine, and only they can hope to defeat Hunter. However, the Vampire has not been entirely truthful. What is she keeping from Faolan? And will he be able to learn her secret before both of them are killed?
- Four Up-and-Coming Young Adult Authors Read from Their Books (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- The Brave New World of Paranormal Fiction (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- Giveaway of Retribution by Kelsey Miller (riteshkala.wordpress.com)