Friday, February 1, 2013

Interview with Kelly Creagh!

Please give a warm welcome to our guest author of the day
Kelly Creagh

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

Most of all, I want readers to walk away from the Nevermore trilogy with a new perspective. Whenever I start out writing a book, I never sit down and ask myself what’s the message. I let the story tell me as I go. And I think with Nevermore, the message is about looking past the masks we show the world, and the identities and social roles we hide behind. Isobel, my main character, is a cheerleader. But there’s so much more to her than being blond and athletic. Varen is a goth, but what he shows the world in his grim exterior is just an exoskeleton. Nevermore takes stereotypes and flips them. So, more than anything, I want to leave readers with a new depth of perception regarding the people in their world—those that they know well, and strangers they see at a glance. Also, if readers happen to come away with a deeper appreciation for Edgar Allan Poe, the man and his works, I’d be very pleased with that as well! ;)

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

She-Ra, Princess of Power. Then it was a baker. As a kid, I remember going to Win-Dixie with my mom and, while she shopped in the deli area, I would watch the bakers decorate cakes. I still love baking and pastry decorating today. Often, when I get stuck or I’m caught in a rut with my writing, I’ll bake cupcakes or cookies. I decorate them and send them off with one or more of my brothers. And if I wasn’t a writer, I think I’d love to open up a sweet shop! Actually, “Dessert Island,” the name of the shop where Varen works, was a name I was holding onto for that exact reason. As I grew older, I wanted to become an actress, and I went to a performing arts school in high school and got my undergrad degree in theatre as well. I feel as if my training in theatre has equipped me well for writing, particularly in composing dialogue.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was moment for you that?

My greatest joy as a writer is interacting directly with readers. I love speaking to young adults in schools and at signings. Their enthusiasm for my work is my greatest reward. The knowledge that I’m able to touch someone’s heart with my stories is why I do what I do, and what I work and strive for. As a personal standard, I remind myself daily that my readers are my priority. It’s the best feeling in the world to reach someone through my art. There isn’t a big specific moment that comes to mind, but lots of little encounters and run-ins that add up to a great feeling of personal satisfaction.

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

There are two. The first book that I fell deeply in love with was Phantom, by Susan Kay. I was seventeen when I read it, and I think I devoured it in a day. I have a vivid memory of having to leave the book to sit down to family dinner, and then rushing back to its pages directly after. That book still stands today as my all-time favorite. The second is The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. This book was recommended to me by a friend while I was having a tough time with my writing. I’ve since read the book a number of times and I recommend it to everyone who is pursuing an artistic life.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you!

All of my friends know this about me, of course, but I think it’s less well known among readers and the blog-sphere. I’m a professional bellydancer and instructor. Middle Eastern dance is a huge passion in my life and I love sharing this amazing art form with others. I also love educating audiences about the dance, and have high esteem for professional dance troupes like The Bellydance Superstars and The Indigo. My two favorite dancers are Delilah and the incredible Zoe Jakes.

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

I would love to have the ability to go back and visit myself during key points in my life. If I could zip back to certain points to have a quick and encouraging chat with myself, I think that would be a very valuable power indeed. That said, I do realize that, typically, in fiction and movies, this never tends to end too well, does it? Interruption of the space time continuum and all that…

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

Gah. I’ll often get caught up in the details of my research. A Google search often becomes a wild goose-chase. Lately, I have learned to turn the need for distraction into useful action. For example, if I have to step back from the work, something like painting a room can help me chill my mind out. Anything that involves repetition, like beading or sewing or driving or baking can help me achieve a sort of meditation and, while I’m concentrated on these tasks, answers come. Television is a big distraction for me, which is exactly why I don’t have it. I’ll watch a single show on my computer sometimes for a break, or I’ll go to my parent’s house to catch some Duck Dynasty or Say Yes to the Dress (Bridesmaids.) Those shows have an element of ridiculousness to them that I absolutely love, and laughing and gasping in shock at them is a great stress reliever, too!

Thank you Kelly for joining us today on The Writers Voice!

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