Featured Q&A With Author Missy Kirtley
Please welcome Author Missy Kirtley, to our Featured Q&A at Writer’s Fun Zone.
Missy Kirtley was awarded Third Place in the Genre Novel First Chapter contest, sponsored by me, Beth Barany, and run through the Literary Arts Stage of the San Mateo County Fair. (Congrats Missy!)
If you’d like to be considered for an interview, check out our guidelines here.
The Royal’s fortune came from the Royal Car, invented by Charles Royal. As close to American Royalty as possible, due to the fame of the Royal Car Company, his grandchildren grew in the spotlight. How much it affected them will be seen.
The eldest Royal child purchased a house in Burbank. His brother Eddie helps set up the home for his arrival. Eddie sees a beautiful, young woman in the window next door. He asks about her and is told only an old woman lives there. Who is the beautiful woman? Will Eddie get to the bottom of this mystery?
ABOUT MISSY KIRTLEY
Missy Kirtley, born in Marin, California, is a life-long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married with two young daughters. For four years running, Missy has won NaNoWriMo. The Royals, Volume 1: Eddie was published in June of 2014. The Royals, Volume 2: Lance, was published in August, 2014. Both are available on Amazon.com. The first chapter of Under, a Portal Fantasy novel in progress, placed in the 2015 San Mateo County Fair’s Literary contest, Genre Novelist First Chapter division. Missy currently resides in Castro Valley, California. She works diligently on a plethora of writing projects.
1. Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write in 100 words or less.
I am a writer and mother. I own cats. I believe in the power of storytelling. I am never at ease unless I have a notebook and pen with me. I can’t stop making up characters and inventing drama. I feel as if I’m not being productive unless I’m creating.
I strongly agree with “good writers borrow, great writers steal.” My characters are often inspired by characters from other works. I enjoy changing the setting or backstory of a particular character and having them interact with a character from another story. A lot of my stories are born this way.
2. How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
The first time I was published, was the fourth grade. Called “Santa Claus is Magic,” the editorial was published in our hometown newspaper. I knew I wanted to be a writer. I studied Creative Writing up through college. I planned to move to LA and become a screenwriter. Then I met my then-boyfriend-now-husband.
Funny how plans get derailed when love enters the picture.
Flash forward: my husband and I have beautiful children and a mortgage. My passion for writing has never faltered, though I haven’t pursued a writing career until recently. The last ten years I’ve spent honing my skills.
3. What are you most passionate about?
One of the things I’m most passionate about is preventing limits being put on my children, or anyone’s children. Whether the limits are caused by misogyny, racism, bigotry, fear or hate of any kind. I believe in teaching the future generations that anything’s possible–to keep them reaching for the stars. I’m neck deep in nerd culture, and proud of it. I am a woman who unapologetically loves tabletop roleplaying games, comic books, cosplay, and building robots. It gives me a thrill to share my Lego obsession and video game skills with my beautiful daughters. It’s important to me that they understand science fiction is not just for boys, that girls can be jedi, too, and Spider-Man is a legitimate Halloween costume for a child of any gender.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
For the last couple of years I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo, which I believe is wonderful in that it promotes excellent writing habits. The downside is writing to the word count often means more editing is necessary to hack away the excess words and discover the well-written pearls underneath. Editing has never been my strong suit.
When it comes to “plotter vs pantser” I’m definitely a plotter. My characters are fleshed out, my chapters outlined, and bits of action and dialogue noted before I start writing Chapter One. I use three-by-five index cards, post-it notes, and different colors of pen and highlighter as I outline. I’m definitely an auditory learner (I do my best “reading” via audiobook) but I love to see my characters, settings, plot points and action in different colors on index cards in front of me. I can manipulate them and rearrange the cards as I see fit. It also helps with brainstorming.
I take a notebook and pen with me wherever I go, and hand-write a lot of my stories. This forces the first round of editing when I transcribe into the computer. I do all of my editing on paper rather than on screen.
5. What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
I’m not a marketer. I have two self-published novelettes available through Amazon, but my sales are fairly abysmal. It’s not because the work is bad. On the contrary, I have some really good reviews. It’s that I’m a terrible salesperson when it comes to my own work. This is something that I’ve been struggling with and working on. Attending writer’s conferences and meeting and speaking with other writers, publishers, agents and marketers has really helped me to overcome some of my hurdles in this department.
Another challenge I face is the lack of time in which to work. I have two small children, and I’m near constantly chasing them, cleaning up after them, or taxiing them to different activities. The only saving grace that I have with them is the loving support of my husband and family, who help me out with babysitting when I have a deadline.
I have to put my work away for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes. This can also pose a problem, as I’ve found sometimes in absence I will lose interest in a project, and new muses will start to grow. I haven’t found a cure for this yet.
6. What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
It’s hard for me to remember a time before I was a fiction writer. I’m not one of those writers who started in poetry or memoir and moved to another genre. My passions for the craft have been fuelled by years of creating characters and worlds in which they can interact. That being said, there are a few things that I’m glad I’ve learned along the way:
A writer can write about absolutely anything–there are no limits. This is both freeing and overwhelming at the same time. The most important step is to start writing. It’s not possible to edit words that have never been written. The second most important step is to finish writing. Whatever the story is, make sure it’s finished. Perfection is unachievable, we’re not striving for perfection. We simply want to finish, polish, and move on. Just make sure to finish and polish before actually moving on.
7. What’s next for you in your creative work?
Right now I’m working heavily on “Three Tiers,” which is a Young Adult Science Fiction (Space Opera) Novel. I’ve received a lot of wonderful feedback about this story, and I’ve been workshopping, editing, and re-writing the piece. It’s a Romeo and Juliet story set on a Casino Space Station thousands of generations after human beings left Earth. I have a sequel planned (which is customary for YA Fiction now-a-days, right?) and can possibly turn it into a series of Young Adult Space Adventure books.
After I’ve finished Three Tiers, I’ll turn my attention back to my Portal Fantasy novel “Under”–the first chapter of which just placed in the “Genre Novelist First Chapter” Division through the San Mateo County Fair’s Literary Contest. I wrote the start of Under during NaNoWriMo 2014, but it needs a good deal of work.
I will have to come back to The Royals eventually. The first two in my The Royals series are available on Amazon. I have a total of seven novelettes planned–all re-tellings of classic fairy tales in a contemporary, real-world setting.
I have no shortage of projects clamoring for my attention!
8. Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
This has been a very thorough interview! I’ve enjoyed writing my responses, too. Thank you in advance for your attention! Hopefully I wasn’t boring. 😉
To connect with Missy, check out her Author Links:
Site Link: http://blog.missykirtley.com/