Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Kayelle Allen – writer of immortal gamers and warriors who purr, is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She’s also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.
Sign up for her newsletter and get free Sci-Fi stories, book recommendations, and become a Tarthian Empire citizen (and an immortal), among other reader exclusives: https://kayelleallen.com/immortality
Kayelle’s Keepers: http://facebook.com/groups/KayellesKeepers
Kayelle’s Immortals: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kayellesimmortals
Thanks so much, Kayelle, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Kayelle Allen: From the time I was a little girl. First day of school I suddenly realized that those marks on the board could be used to make words, and if I could write down words, I could tell stories. I was told throughout school that I had a “way with words”. But the most encouraging was a teacher in college who told me, “You write with rhythm and elegance.” I have always tried to live up to those words.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
KA: At the Mercy of Her Pleasure — a young male thief is hired by a beautiful woman to steal back something taken from her. They manage it but everything goes wrong. Just when they think it’s over, it turns out they stole back the wrong thing, and have to return for the real item. All this occurs with the requirement that they must not touch each other. She’s an enhanced human whose pheromones are addictive. Now you understand the title of the story! Lots of twists and humor in that book. I loved writing it.
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
KA: Start a newsletter and tell readers inside secrets about your world. Trust me, they will eat it up.
JSC: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
KA: I do, but to be honest, bad reviews are a bummer. The thing is, those reviews mean that a) this person was not the audience you were shooting for or they’d probably “get it.” And b) a bad review shows readers that someone other than your mother wrote them. It lends credibility. Think about it. If you saw an item with 10 five-star reviews and not a negative word, would you grab the thing, or would you give it another once-over? Now if you have 10 one-star reviews, you might want to take a good look at what they’re saying.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
KA: I used to have a 45 minute commute both ways 5 days a week. I started carrying a recorder that I could activate with one finger, and if I got an idea, I’d talk just enough about it be able to figure out what it was later. But in speaking about it, it cemented the idea in my mind enough that I recalled it without the recorder. I am retired now and love having the day to myself to work. But there are still times when I get ideas while away from my desk. I have a note app on my phone that is chock full of ideas and notes, and my husband has learned to always carry a pen that I can borrow. I rarely seem to have one. Maybe because his is always handy.
JSC: How long have you been writing?
KA: Nearly all my life, but professionally since 2004.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
KA: Plotter. I use Save the Cat and the Hero’s Journey, plus character arc ideas suggested by KM Weiland. Her books have been super helpful. I am neither right- nor left-brained. I’m methodical and organized, and I do things in order. At the same time, I’m highly creative and think way outside the box. Years ago I took the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator, which showed me I was an INFJ. We are pretty rare, but we are generally authors and counselors. On the Enneagram, I’m a solid nine. I use those qualities to put together a simple plot before I start writing. Once I do, my characters inevitably change things, but I start out with a decent plan.
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
KA: Character, usually. Though an idea can certainly be a big spark.
JSC: What advice do you wish you’d had before releasing your first story?
KA: To have a newsletter in place even before the book was anywhere near release. If you don’t already have followers, who are you going to tell?
JSC: What are you working on now?
KA: I’m working on several things. My coming soon page has a list, and there is a status bar on my website’s sidebar showing the progression of stories. I’ve been accepted into several sets that will be out next year and the following. A single dad story with two gay fathers who meet, one about elementals for a new series I’m plotting, and a few more. Anyone who’d like to know more can sign up for my newsletter and they’ll get two books right away. Then opt in for the Citizen’s Journey and you’ll get more along with inside secrets from the Empress of Tarth herself. After that, you can take the Immortal Journey and the immortal king himself will send you goodies and tell you secrets. It was a lot of fun putting these together for my readers. I hope yours will come over and try it out. https://kayelleallen.com/immortality
And now for Kayelle’s new book: Jawk:
The Chosen are Called to serve; Honored to protect; Obedient to the vow; Safeguards of the truth; Enablers of life; and Neutralizers of threats.
All Jawk has to do is seduce Luc, the most powerful man in the empire. And then betray him. Easy mission. Until he discovers that Luc has a heart…
Jawk spies on the enigmatic Luc Saint-Cyr, known empire-wide as the Harbinger. People who cross “the Man” tend to disappear.
Undercover as a waiter in Luc’s favorite haunt, Jawk gets a break when Luc seeks to hire him for a one-night ménage with his current lover, Wulf.
Jawk agrees, and things go well until Wulf and Luc fight, and Jawk is dismissed. He must get back in the man’s good graces.
When Luc seeks to make Wulf jealous by taking Jawk on a long trip, the means to gather intel is too good to pass up.
But meanwhile, a forbidden dalliance between Wulf and another Chosen tests the bounds of trust between the immortals and their humans.
The elicit affair threatens to rupture the eons-old alliance forever, and subject every last mortal and immortal to risk…