Author Spotlight: K.J. Keller

The next instalment in my #IndieBooksBeSeen author spotlights is here! For any Indie authors looking to join in the interview fun, please fill out the form here.

Kathy Novel Three Final

Name
K. J. Keller

Tell us a brief summary of your book’s plot.
Brief Synopsis:
Cassandra avoids the Pagan practices of her ancestors which include Rune Divination, Tarot Card readings, and psychic dreams known as ‘The Threes’.
A series of bizarre dreams places Cassandra in life-threatening situations. The Threes is a tale of sexual abuse and murder, but ultimately, a tale of love and hope.

About the novel:
Cassandra Frost finds herself facing an emotional meltdown while dealing with her upcoming wedding anniversary; the second one that she will face as a widow. Since her husband’s death, Cassy has filled the void in her life with her work, family and friendships. But all this is about to change when, for three times, Cassy has a bizarre dream in which she witnesses the murder of a young woman. Convinced that she is being caught up in the family superstition known as ‘The Threes’, the only thing Cassy knows for certain is that she needs to have a plan that will give her a chance to survive the deadly night in the Arizona desert that she knows awaits her. She is prepared for everything―except for falling in love.

Although the novel is a romantic drama and a work of fiction, The Threes addresses the very real issues of domestic violence, sex crimes and internet pornography.
Many people are unaware of the magnitude of the Internet sex industry, which receives over seventy million hits per month worldwide, and includes over one hundred thousand websites of child pornography. The Threes has many strong messages for women: self-defence, dissolving toxic relationships and women helping women.

“The butterflies represented freedom. The fact that they were blue and that they were dancing to mariachi music was a reminder of Maria’s butterfly, symbolizing freedom for the oppressed women of the world. A freedom, we should all strive to create for our universal sisters.”

What was the inspiration for this story?
There were a series of unsolved murders in the late 1970’s. Always same ‘m/o’; young women and teenage girls were found buried in shallow graves in the Arizona desert.
They were from all over the USA, but somehow their life was taken in Arizona, in what appeared to be serial killer that subjected the women to horrible sex crimes and prior to the murders.
When I was attending London School of Journalism and was looking for a theme for my novel, it came to my attention that a similar killing spree was happening again in Arizona.
(I live in the Netherlands since 1999 and friends from Arizona visited in 2003 with the story idea.)

Do you have any writing habits you would like to tell us about?
I was quite fortunate for my first two novels, The Butterfly Clinic and Chapter Closed, as they were written for the most part during a three year writing sabbatical. (2004-2007)
As a reader, I want stories that are believable. So, I make sure that my novels are believable; this requires loads of research! So, the first thing I do before any creative writing process begins, is to research the technical aspects of the story: domestic violence statistics, psychological disorders, law enforcement and medical procedures, etc…
Then, for example, when my policemen or doctor characters are speaking, their dialog is believable. I even discussed scenes with a policeman and a doctor friend for feedback.
After research was finished, every weekday for three years I had a perfect routine of writing one chapter per month. Each day I wrote from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
When my husband came home from work, he would sometimes catch me at the computer arguing with myself, in the voice of my characters, which he found quite entertaining. 🙂
Also, if I had difficulty visualizing a scene, sometimes he would help me ‘act it out’, then I could take notes of certain expressions or movements to make the scene more real.
I spent several months with the editing and revisions process after finishing the last chapter.
After completing my personal revision process, I sent it to my editor in America, Mary Robey-A1 Editing Services (who has since retired), then it was a few months routine to implement the changes suggested by Mary.
Prior to sending each novel to the publisher, I sent it to my ‘First Reader Group’, who checked one last time for typos, and then off to the publisher.
The Threes, which will be released May 2015, is a modernized version of The Butterfly Clinic, which includes several deleted scenes from the original novel, as well as many setting and statistic changes to keep the novel topical.

What is the hardest thing to manage when you start writing?
TIME! Since becoming a high school English teacher in 2009, my writing habits have been reduced to holiday writing for novels. The moment the summer vacation bell rings, my creative brain kicks into gear and I map out characters for future novels.
What works best for me is to have large blocks of time, as I am not a disciplined enough writer to block out a few hours per day for creative writing. That is probably why although there are two half written novels on my shelf, it seems my writing priorities have taken a huge turn these past few years.
Since my focus at London School of Journalism was twofold, journalism and novelist, it has been most conducive to my teaching schedule to focus writing efforts on journalism and technical writing.
Since 2013, I’ve been quite successful as a Music Journalist, and have had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing 65 +/- fantastic musicians for my blog.
Since 2015, I have started working as a Public Relations Management consultant for musicians, with a focus on writing promotional documents and editing services.
Although I do feel there is at least two more novels that I want to write, as the stories and characters often dance around in my dreams, I will place novel writing on hold for awhile;
2015 will be devoted to promoting The Threes and Africa Bush Creatures – Safari Facts from A-Z. 50% of the profits from ABC book will be donated to Kristoffer Gildenlow’s #BabyElephantSong for David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
2016’s focus will be on publication of a second children’s book, Lost in the Serengeti, the second book in the Prance Africa animal series.
But, once again, time will be the determining factor here. 🙂

Name the three books currently topping your To Be Read list?
The Son, by Lois Lowry

The Keeper of the Wind, by Mark Shaw (Indie Author)

Crabchurch Conspiracy, by Mark Vine (Indie Author)

How important do you think a book’s cover is?
Very Important! The main reason that The Butterfly Clinic was misplaced in genre is due to the cover. This is a heavy theme book, that is dark and mysterious, and deals with topics of abuse and murder….yet the publisher created a cover with happy butterflies dancing on cover.
The Threes cover needed to be special, perfect! The advantage of being an Indie Author was that I had 100% control over the cover design.
I’ve always loved Progressive Rock music, and the album covers that went with the genre.
So, for my new cover, I employed services of musician/graphics design artist/photographer, Henk Bol (Philhelmon music). I am so happy with my beautiful cover. 🙂

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose?
My sister, Dr. Kerrie Savage! However, she is also a High School English teacher, and all her creative writing efforts are on hold due to time constraints.

Kat is also running #MyMusicMatters – a new site promoting Independent Artists and Bands. Catch her on Twitter @Kathtje_K, find her website here and her books here.

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