Monday, March 23, 2009
Author Spotlight on: Kimberley Troutte
Kimberley and I have lived in the same neighborhood for almost six years. But it wasn’t until we both showed up for a Writers Day event in Thousand Oaks last year that I realized we shared a common bond.
Kim’s first book, a nonfiction early development book called Kid’s Play, was published in 2001 under the name Kimberley T. Hernandez. She writes MG fiction under the name K.T. Hernandez, although she’s still pre-published in that arena. Her first romance novel came out last Tuesday as an e-book under the name Kimberley Troutte.
Confused? Her readers aren’t. After less than a week in circulation at the mybookstoreandmore.com web site, Soul Stealer has already climbed to #6. But it wasn’t just an overnight success for this hard-working writer.
How long did it take from when you started on this story until you found out it was going to be published?
Soul Stealer started out as a short story for a contest. We were given a one-liner prompt to start a 1,200 words short-story. No, I didn't win the contest, but the idea stuck in my head and grew over time. At the start of last year I went back to the idea. In about four months Soul Stealer was "done". [I need to interject here that I never really feel like I'm done. Eventually, I just suck it up, pry the manuscript from my fingers, and turn the thing in.]
In April, 2008 I submitted Soul Stealer to Samhain Publishing hoping it would be selected as one of three or four stories in an Anthology. It didn't happen, but the editor wrote to me and said she had liked it well enough to pass along to another editor. In July, 2008, Deborah Nemeth offered me a contract for a stand-alone book. On March 17th, 2009 Soul Stealer hit the cyber-streets and as an e-book.
How have you changed the story over that time?
Can I say everything changed? I had to grow the story, add depth and emotion to the characters, and better define their motivation and conflict. Plus I introduced many, shall we say, cameo characters. What didn't change was the fun factor. I had fun writing it from start to The End.
Do you have a writing schedule? How often do you write?
I write every day. Not because I have to, but because I love to write. It's my little bit of dark chocolate kind of pleasure. There's nothing like the feeling of characters coming to life. As to when I write, it's all over the clock. I have kids and another job, so I end up squeezing writing in when I can. I edit while sweating on the elliptical machine at the YMCA.
What was the writing prompt that became Soul Stealer?
The writing prompt was pretty...how to say this nicely...horrific. I don't remember the exact sentence we had to use but the gist was a man sees a beautiful woman and kills her. Ewww. Love stories with heart-swelling happy endings are more my thing. How could I write something like that? But the winners of the contest received scholarships to the Santa Barbara Writer's Conference and I REALLY wanted to go. What to do? Suddenly I had it. What if the man was Death and the woman he comes to kill is the only woman he can't live without? Ah-ha. I had the germ of an idea for Soul Stealer. (Click here to read the first chapter of Soul Stealer.)
Writing romance is quite different stylistically from writing middle grade novels. How did you do you manage to write such different genres?
I write middle grade novels because I want my two young boys to read mom's stuff. They'd be bored silly with the lovey-dovey stories. I am passionate about giving kids good stories to inspire them and teach them to love reading.
Do you outline or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I'm an in-betweener. The idea for the story begins first. I mull it over while trying on characters, settings, plot twists. Then, somewhat like an artist with a pencil, I sketch out the characters--their traits, flaws, strengths and how I think they will arc. Next I sketch the scenes I absolutely have to have in the story. I usually know how the story begins, the climax and the ending before I start writing. Somewhere around this point my creative side is so antsy to write that I have to start, or I'll explode. I pound out the story bit by bit until I have a rough draft that only a mother could love. The real work begins in the editing zone. On the elliptical machine.
You've been a finalist in several contests. Do you feel that helped you in any way with getting published?
I didn't sell any books from a contest. And truly, I don't know anyone who has. But contests can be helpful. They force you to refine your work, and get you thinking in the submit mode. There's nothing quite like knowing someone, anyone, is reading your words. Some of the contests offer feedback too. Word of caution here, I've been smacked with less than desirable feedback from contests. You have to take that stuff with a grain of salt. In one contest I scored a 98 from one judge and a 54 from another (all out of 100). How is that possible? I write stories that are a little out of the norm and cross into other genres. I think the judges didn't quite know what to do with me. :)
Samhain has purchased another one of your romance novels. When does that come out?
Every ounce of free time is going into editing Catch Me in Castile. It comes out in August as an e-book and then as a paperback 9 months later.
Congratulations, Kim! I'm so glad that your novella is doing well and I can't wait for the day that we're holding our MG novels together. Happy editing :^)
You can find out more about Kim and her books at her website: kimberleytroutte.com