Katie: Tell us about your debut novel.
Kimberly: Itsy Bitsy Spider is the story of Claire McCallin, step-daughter of a powerful Boston mayor, who, with the help of Boston Globe reporter, takes her three-year-old daughter out of the mayor’s Belmont mansion and begins the dangerous journey of taking back her power. It is a political thriller I hope will keep the reader on edge. We hear the many stories of child abuse (like Oprah) who were poor and helpless, but rarely hear stories of the wealthy and powerful with mental illnesses. I thought about this for a long time before I started Itsy Bitsy Spider and knew there had to be many adult children out there who suffered abuse, but were too afraid of the person in power to come forward. Some secrets go to the grave. Mental illness is a family disease. Even if a secret is never divulged or, a family member suspects, everyone is affected. The book will be available in e-format very soon.
Katie: What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Kimberly: Both. The initial plot is in my head, but takes wings of its own after the main characters and plot are developed. I add characters and situations when they pop up into my mind and have a solid reason for adding to and moving the plot forward.
Katie: What about editing? I know you went several rounds on your edits. How do you tackle tough edits and how do you know when a book is truly ready?
Kimberly: For me, editing is as, or even more important, than developing the novel. To really narrow down and take a look at each sentence, each word, each passage and say “Is this what I want to say?” or “Are there words that could describe this better?” You, Katie French, are my writing partner and, when you make a comment like “Get to the point” on the review bar, it pulls me back into writing zone and keeps me focused. Especially on a first book, where you’re presenting yourself for the first time to readers, it is important to have a writing partner I trust and, after Katie’s input, I go back and ask myself before I start editing each chapter, “What is it I want the reader to remember in this chapter and, how can I build into the next chapter so readers don’t want to put my book down?” After these edits are complete, the novel goes to a professional editor which involves more re-writes.
Katie: What's on the docket next for you? What other writing projects do you have planned?
Kimberly: Hush, the present day courtroom drama that revisits the infamous Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion, is in the making. Hush is a courtroom drama, but has a sub-plot that offers a thriller edge. I’ve done a lot of research and also have a lawyer friend that I bounce the legal portion of the book off of. Abortion is a subject that has divided our nation. However, since l973, the law has not changed. There is also fact-based information many aren’t aware of on what happens to a fetus after it is aborted. The book is not a no-brainer – no matter if you’re an avid pro-lifer or pro-choicer. Hush is not predictable and I hope the reader will be as torn in their decision as the jury is. The book after this will revolve around a couple and elective euthanasia. All of my books will have a purpose; one I hope will not just entertain, but offer something to think about.
Katie: What made you decide to take the plunge and self-publish?
Kimberly: Oh, I went the journey of writing agents. I either received a form letter or nothing back. I think I did this for a couple of months and then watched author friends take the plunge which gave me the courage to just stop! Stop writing agents who seem to have no time to read or invest in the first book of a new author. I stopped putting hope and trust in others, took a breath and told myself it didn’t matter who published it.
Katie: You have a background in marketing. What are some of your best kept marketing secrets?
Kimberly: Everything under the sun has already been done. There is a fine line in over-marketing and marketing to get readers interested. I don’t know whether I have the key, but I started a gorilla marketing group and gathered thirty authors together. I interview one at a time and the other 29 authors market them. The author’s commitment is to post the interview twice a week for two weeks on all their social sites. Some of the authors have over 3,000 friends on Facebook or linked-in and also have their own blogs. I see posts of authors telling everyone to read their books over and over again as it’s the best book they’ll ever read. Readers tell us if we have a good book and there is no amount of paid reviews or marketing to get our book out there if it’s not well-written. I also invested in a press release using Piece of Cake PR. They have sent out over 2500 dynamite press releases they wrote at an affordable price.
Katie: When you aren't writing what will we find you doing?
You can find Kimberly on her website and Itsy Bitsy Spider on Amazon.