If I had to think back to every time I've ever talked with a reader or someone who has learned I'm an author and come up with the 'Most Asked' question...it really wouldn't be that hard. That's because the one question I get asked nearly every time I tell someone I write is simple: where do you get your ideas?
The answer is never simple and nothing I can explain in a three-minute conversation. So, I thought my latest blog post should be about exactly that.
Where does my inspiration come from? Where do I get my ideas?
If you're curious...this is for you!
The short answer is: anywhere and everywhere. Conversations, people-watching, dreams, random thoughts, other books, movies, etc.
But, since we have a bit more than three minutes, I thought I'd go a bit more in detail by telling you the inspiration for each of my books thus far.
So, here we go...
If It Walks Like A Killer: The idea for If It Walks came to me as a simple question. What would happen if someone came to me and accused me of something, something serious, that I hadn't done? What if a knock on the door that I assumed was the pizza guy, was actually the police? What would I do? How would I react?
And from that idea, came another idea...what if they had enough evidence to make me believe I had done it? From there, I began trying to plot out who my characters were and just what they were being accused of.
Fun Fact: when I wrote the first outline, the murderer didn't even exist!
The List: The List came to me in a *vision* of sorts. I had this scene in my head...of "The Listmaker" closing their laptop at the end of the book, revealing themselves to the reader but never to the other characters. I planned for that to be the end of the book...can you imagine? I knew The Listmaker was tormenting the town, but I hadn't figured out why or how. So, I set out to discover his secrets.
Fun Fact: When I began writing, I had no idea who The Listmaker was going to be.
Another Fun Fact: When I finished the first draft, none of the "HIM" scenes were in the book. I had planned to end the book just like I said, with only the last chapter allowing any insight into who the killer was. But, the book was missing something. It was after the first draft that I decided we needed to hear from the killer a bit more.
The Truth About My Scratches: I've always been fascinated by books and movies that centered around characters with memory loss. The idea for the book came to be because of my interest in the mind and memory and how it all works. I wanted to write a book about a girl who had very few memories of who she used to be. And so, Jaicey's story began unfolding.
Fun Fact: I wrote the first draft of The Truth About My Scratches when I was fifteen!
Playing Jenna: The inspiration for Monroe's story came to me when I was writing If It Walks. I wanted to tell a story of a woman who's husband left her rather abruptly...and discover the secrets of why. However, I couldn't figure it out. This was a difficult story for me to plot and so I went on to write The List. After finishing it, I began hearing a new character in my head. The only thing I really knew about her was that she and her father used to watch Jeopardy. One day, after trying to figure her out for a few days, that infamous line from Playing Jenna came to me: Disappear. It was what she wanted more than anything else...well, besides revenge. The line was originally going to play into the Jeopardy theme. Something like, Answer: It was what she had wanted more than anything else. Question: What is disappear? Or wait, was it revenge? But I could never get it worded how I wanted, so the line was shortened and the Jeopardy stuff was cut out. It was then that I realized Monroe's story was the story I'd wanted to tell with my idea from If It Walks.
Fun Fact: Playing Jenna was the first book where I invited readers to enter a contest to play characters in my stories. Tiffany and Kim were the winning readers!
The Beginning After: The Beginning After came to me when my publisher invited me to submit a Security story to an anthology they were working on. I loved the idea of writing a character who worked in private security and so, I began to craft Frank. In the beginning, the story was supposed to center around him. But, as I began working, I realized this story was going to be much longer than what would work for an anthology. When I decided to make it full length, I took a few weeks off and started plotting the story surrounding Frank and the family he protected. That's when the tangled webs began weaving.
Fun Fact: I named Clay 'Clay' because I had just finished watching the series Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. It was one of my favorite books as a teenager and I felt it was a great way to honor that story.
The Cleaner: When I was writing The Beginning After, I had to do a lot of research about the decaying process of dead bodies. (I"m pretty sure I'm on an FBI watchlist somewhere). While I was doing that, I came across an article about crime scene cleaners. While I guess, somehow, I always knew crime scene cleaners were a thing...I just assumed they were people who came with the police. I never knew the family actually had to hire someone, and pay out of pocket most of the time, themselves! I was intrigued by that idea. I wondered what the cleaners would be like. Would they be cold and rude to the grieving families? Would they be kind and helpful? I wondered what would make someone choose a profession so gruesome. I wondered what they would do, how they would do it, and how they would learn how to do it. And suddenly, there was Gunner. Man, was he persistent. I had finished The Beginning After by the time he showed up and I had begun writing what I thought would be my next story. But I couldn't focus. Gunner needed his story to be told.
About five chapters into my unnamed work, I gave up and gave in to Gunner and Reagan's story. And now that it's finished, I'm so glad I did.
Fun Fact: The name Nora is a name I'd always wanted for my daughter, but Hubby vetoed it! So, I saved it for a book-baby!
So, what do you think of my inspiration? Writers, what gives you inspiration? Readers, do you often wonder what made writers write your favorite stories?
I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time,
So, you know that old commercial with the slogan that says something like 'Bet you can't eat just one?" Well, I'm hoping that's how you'll all feel about my novels!!!
That's right: novels. As in, there's going to be more than one.
In fact, there's going to be more than two!
The past few weeks have been a blur of emails, marketing, edits, endless forms, interviews, contracts, and of course writing. But...with a lot of hardwork, I have successfully received contracts for THREE of my novels!
Can you believe it? I know I can't.
My first book, as you all know, will come out August 16th. The other two will follow closely behind, hopefully coming out by the end of this year or early next year. I seriously can't wait for you all to read them and let me know what you think. This is all so surreal and amazing.
I am filming my book trailer this weekend, and I have the most amazing, talented cast I could've ever dreamed of. So, be on the lookout for that.
I will also be preparing for my #CoverReveal sometime in the next month or so, so you guys will finally be able to see a sneak peek into my world. Of course, as always, my newsletter subscribers will see the cover and trailer a week sooner than everyone else, so please make sure you are subscribed so you don't miss anything! (Because seriously, fashionably late does not apply here)
Anyway, I've got a ton of work to do, but I wanted to update everyone.
I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to anyone and everyone who has reached out to me over the past few months. This process has been a trying one, one so full of stress and hectic-ness. It's nothing at all like I imagined.
Despite all of the late nights, rushed emails, frantic phone calls, last minute stresses, meals eaten in my car as I rushed to my latest meeting-- I wouldn't want it any other way. These two months, and the coming months I'm sure, have been the most insane, stressful, and amazing months of my life. Sometimes I think I forget to let the people around me know how grateful I am for everything they have done, and are doing, for me. I have the most amazing support team: family, friends, colleagues, fellow authors, #TeamLimitless, and even people who I don't know that well who have offered a kind word or a congratulations when they hear my news.
I wished for this. I wished for all of this so long ago, and finally...finally it's coming true. I am so so blessed and grateful and completely humbled by this experience and it wouldn't be possible without each of you. So, seriously, from the bottom of my (ice cold, thriller writing) heart- thank you.
Until next time,
So, as I have said in previous posts, I am a reader first and foremost. My genre of choice? Thrillers of course! I love books that will keep me up in the night and send my mind racing.
I am currently reading a novel, The Ten, that was released TODAY by up and coming author Luke Swanson.
To give you a little insight, here is a little about his book:
Thou shall not steal.
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Thou shall not kill...unless it’s torture.
Abel believes he is chosen by God to rid the world of the unrighteous. One by one, he hunts down those who break the Ten Commandments and plots heinous deaths.
Abel’s goal is to smite one sinner per commandment, and with that, start a revolution. Others will follow. Others, who are equally as loyal and subservient to God’s wrathful side as he. Up until now there has been no one smart or brave enough to stop him…that is, until Jason Flynn.
Jason has been to more crime scenes than he can count, but the recent string of homicides has been extraordinarily gruesome. As the bodies continue to surface, Jason knows he is out of time.
He has only two choices…
Track down the elusive serial killer and save the next target from a grisly demise, or wait for Abel—the self-proclaimed assassin of God—to trigger the most horrifying religious war of his time.
Okay seriously, don't you want to dig in already? I know I do! I love the book's premise and I'm not finished with it yet, but I'm already so in love with the characters and Jason Flynn's sense of humor. I know first hand how hard it is to write comedy into a suspenseful book, but Swanson pulls it off flawlessly.
Speaking of Luke Swanson, I was lucky enough to get him to squeeze me into his schedule for a little last minute interview today and I wanted to share that with you guys.
Me: So, Luke tell us what made you decide you wanted to become an author? What inspires you to write?
Luke: Storytelling has always been a huge interest of mine. Using your words to hold someone’s attention is a unique experience, and it is a very important one—it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. While I certainly love entertaining people with twists and turns, I ultimately hope to teach people something about themselves.
Me: I love it. That's such an important part of our job as writers. Why did you choose to write thrillers particularly?
Luke: I love stretching the imagination, massaging the mind, trying to keep the reader one step ahead of me. Keeping the reader engaged is my goal, and there are few occurrences as fulfilling as truly engrossing another person in a story. Plus, thrillers and mysteries are my preferred novels. If I can’t be engaged in a story, how can I expect someone else to be?
Me: So, cliche question here, who are your all time favorite authors?
Luke: Steven James is far and away my favorite author, and he doesn’t get near the credit he deserves. I also enjoy Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Anthony Horowitz, and Stephen King. I love history books too, so, in terms of authors, I would throw Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough, and James Swanson (no relation) in the mix. And I hate to sound pretentious, but you can’t beat Twain, Faulkner, and Hemingway.
Me: *mentally adding these names to my #ToBeRead list* Out of all of your favorite books, is there a quote or passage that stands out to you? One that you could narrow down as your favorite?
Luke: While not exactly inspiring or life-changing, this passage from Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” is, I think, genius and perfectly written: “He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.”
Now come on, who doesn't love The Great Gatsby? And seriously, props to Luke for even coming up with a favorite quote. If I were asked, I'd have to run and hide... in a mountain of my favorite books. How could I ever choose?
Me: What's your writing routine?
Luke:: I tend to work and think best in momentum. I don’t really have a schedule or routine—when things get going, they keep going. Until acted upon by an outside force, of course.
Me: So, when I've finished The Ten I'm sure I'll be ready to devour more of your work...what can your readers expect from you next?
Luke: They say comedy is harder to write than drama, and I’m finding this to be very true. I’m trying to crack the code on my own version of “Forrest Gump.” It’s difficult to explain and strange in concept, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
(I love this concept- how cool! Let's hope there's an adorable catch phrase in this version, like in the original)
Me: So, spill...what was the VERY first thing you did when you found out your book was going to be published?
Luke: I high-fived my roommate, who had suggested I send “The Ten” to Limitless Publishing in the first place.
Me: What would you like to say to everyone who inspired your writing?
Luke: To all the authors and filmmakers whose stories I have absorbed over the course of my life, I would say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Their works and talents have inspired me immensely.
Me: If you could sit down and discuss your book with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
Luke: Although this man is in a different medium, it would have to be Christopher Nolan, writer/director of some of my favorite movies. His grasp on complex storytelling is unparalleled.
Me: What is one thing you wish people knew about you or your writing?
Luke: To quote Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to take seriously.” Writing stories isn’t the most important thing in life. While I certainly enjoy it, relationships and experiences take the top spot.
(How sweet! This guy's got his priorities in line!)
Me: So, admit it...you've thought about your dream cast, right? If your book were ever to be turned into a movie, tell us who you'd want front and center.
Luke: Oh man, I’ve thought about this. (Because you're an author. And that's what we do with our spare time) I would put Ryan Gosling as Jason, Rachel McAdams as Cheyenne, Oscar Isaac as Garth, Aaron Eckhart as Jack, David Oyelowo as Chris, and John Goodman as Captain Jones
I'll just sit here and try not to swoon over the idea of another movie with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Give me a second. Geeze.
Okay, I'm back.
Me: Last question, before I let you get back to your amazing #ReleaseDay celebration: What book are you reading now?
Luke: Currently, I’m re-reading one of the best novels I’ve ever read, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling, the sort of thing that makes me wish I’d thought of it—but I immediately take it back because Zusak pulled it off flawlessly.
Luke, I just want to say thank you again for taking the time to talk with me. I enjoyed discussing your book with you and can't wait to find out all of the secrets it holds. I wish you so much luck with your career and will be following your success every step of the way!
Thanks for joining me this week guys.
Until next time,
So, what are you waiting for? Check out Luke's new book, The Ten, on Amazon & order your copy today: http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Luke-Swanson-ebook/dp/B01EK2LY80
Just a quick post this evening since this isn't my usual night to blog. I received the first draft of my blurb for my upcoming novel today and I am OVER THE MOON excited about it. I can not wait for you all to see it!!
Of course, that'll have to wait for sometime... but when it does come out, guess who'll see it first? If you guessed my newsletter subscribers you would be right!
My newsletter subscribers receive all of my big news first (and sometimes exclusively)! Cover reveals, blurb reveals, pre-order links, bonus material and so so much more. That's because they're AWESOME! (Don't you want to be awesome too?)
Well, I want you to be awesome... so as an extra incentive I am offering you the chance to be featured in the new novel that I am working on. I should be finished with this one this fall, so hopefully it will be out next spring & you could be in it!!
Well, all you have to do is subscribe to my newsletter! Everyone who is subscribed already or who subscribes between now and May 25th will be entered into a drawing to be featured as one of my new characters! On May 25th, I'll draw two names and those lucky two people will find themselves somewhere in my new, fabulous novel!
All you have to do is subscribe! I promise I won't drive you crazy or fill your inbox with junk- you'll only get the most exciting news. PLUS, once my novel comes out (Releasing August 16th!) you'll get exclusive content and bonus material that will never be seen by anyone not receiving my newsletter. Trust me when I say you do NOT want to miss out.
So hurry on over and subscribe now to be entered to win an appearance in my new novel.
I can't wait to see who wins!!
I have some HUGE news! Ginormous! The biggest news yet!
Can you guess?
Okay, I guess the title gave me away a little. Today, I officially received word that my novel will be released August 16th!
August 16th! That's only 16 weeks away! 117 days! 2,808 hours! 168,480 minutes... give or take a few.
(Did I do that right? Oh, come on... I'm a writer not a mathematician, give me a break. :) )
Now that my release date is official, I can start working even harder on getting my schedule cram-packed with lots and lots of exciting release-centered things. Of course you guys will get to hear all about everything I'm working on. I have a release party to plan, a book trailer to make, bookstores to contact, and so much more.
I am so thrilled about this news- it just makes it all so much more real to me. Soon I will hold my own novel. Those are words I have been dreaming of typing/saying my entire life. I just can't believe this is happening!
Okay, I need to go happy dance off some of this adrenaline. As always, thank you all for coming back week after week. I appreciate each of you so much.
I can't wait to share more with you next week.
While most of my posts are to help other writers or just to entertain you (and myself) through the tedious and stressful process that is publishing, today my post is strictly directed towards readers.
I myself am a reader first and foremost. Reading is my escape from everyday life and it is something that has gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life. I am forever grateful to authors who've written books that have spoken to me and helped me push forward, or just given me a laugh when I've so desperately needed one.
While I have always been an avid reader, I never took the time to think about what my actions were doing to help (or even hurt) my favorite authors. As I am now networking and connecting with several amazing authors and am soon to be in their shoes I've been doing some research on just what I can do to further their careers and make sure they are able to continue writing the books I love so much.
Before I began my publishing journey, I was under the impression (as so many people are) that when authors finally receive their publishing deal their hard work is done. I believed that they did some editing and from there the publishing house promoted the book, placed it in all of the bookstores you can imagine, and made sure it would end up in the hands of every reader possible.
Boy was I wrong.
Now, don't get me wrong: my publisher is amazing. They honestly do so much more for their authors than most publishing houses. In this day and age, unless you already have a huge name for yourself in the publishing industry, and a guaranteed market with already established fans, (Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, JK Rowling) publishers just aren't able to place the money into marketing your book and your brand like they used to be. That being said, it's up to us, the readers, to help our favorite authors in any way we can. But... how do we do that?
I was relieved to find out helping my favorite authors is going to be easier than I thought. Here are a few ideas I've discovered:
1. Buy the book. Okay, Captain Obvious. I know this one seems redundant, but it's the best way to help the author. The most important thing to authors is that you read the book, so don't let money stop you from reading their story- but if it's at all possible, avoid checking out their book from the library (sometimes I'll check out books as a test run and then if I like it, I'll buy a copy. I think that's fair), borrowing from a friend, or (EEEK) illegally downloading the book. Whether you go to a book store and pick up the actual book or download it on your E-Reader, actually buying the book is so important. This shows publishers what sells, it increases the author's chance of having a larger marketing budget for their next novel, and of course it allows the author to continue doing what they love to do- write.
2. Review. In this digital era we've all become accustomed to, reviews mean everything to authors! When potential new fans are looking for new books, myself included, we look at reviews. If a book has no reviews, or worse- several awful ones, chances of them buying the book decrease. Even if you can just write a short review, it could help convince someone to take a chance on an unknown author. (Of course, please keep the reviews honest. If you write three paragraphs on how the author changed your life and how you will name your children after the author- it may seem a bit forced :P) Review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble.com, Audible, even video review if you feel so inclined!
3. Social Media. Okay, so you're reading a blog- chances are you're pretty tech-y. In today's world, even most grandparents have several types of social media (Shoutout my super cool Nannie!) When you receive the book, take a picture of it. Take a picture of yourself with it, reading it, laying in a hammock, on a beach, in a diner. Just take a picture! Post it online so that your friends can see how much fun your having reading this great new book. This is an AMAZING way to spread the news about your new favorite story without being overly sales-y.
4. Buy books as gifts. Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, Anniversaries. Whatever the occasion, if you have a friend/friends who love reading as much as you do, buy them a book and introduce them into the world of an amazing new author.
5. Book Club. If you have a book club or are a member of one, ask your favorite author to come speak or even just attend a meeting. Authors love this and most will be glad to join you. If nothing else, introduce the book club to the book and suggest it as your next read.
6. Blog. If you have a blog, ask the author if they'd like to be featured on it. Give them a link and let them check out what you do. Share a review with your fans and they may just take a chance on the book as well. If you don't have a blog, twitter and facebook are still great places to share a quick recommendation.
7. Talk about it. Talk about the book or the author. Tell your friends about it. Tell your coworkers. Tell your great aunt. Tell your neighbor and your bus driver. Tell your doctor. Tell your customers at work. Just tell people. This one is one I have no problem with- once I've found a great book, I can't stop talking about it. If any of those people go out and buy the author's book- or even better, multiple books from that author- I have just contributed to the author's success.
8. Ask bookstores if they carry it. It seems crazy, but most authors books aren't carried in bookstores right away, in fact some never are. One way to make sure your favorite author's books are placed into stores and in front of thousands of customers? Ask about it. Whenever bookstores get requests for books that they don't carry, they can typically order it for you. But if they have enough requests, and lose enough business to Amazon because they didn't carry it in store, book store managers will become curious and most will eventually consider stocking it. If they are searching for the same book several times a month, or even week, they're going to take notice.
9. Bookmarks. Most authors order book marks as a way of promoting their work. As a reader, we obviously need bookmarks all the time. Ask the author if they wouldn't mind sending you a stack. While some may say no, most authors would be happy to. Drop the bookmarks off at your doctors office or local library, leave them in your tanning salon or anywhere else you can. This just helps spread the word.
10. Use your connections. If you know have connections with anyone in your local media- newspapers, radio stations, libraries, etc. who you feel may consider helping you spread the word, ask them. Authors spend a lot of time setting up events in their communities and most use every chance they can get to get in front of new potential fans.
11. Pre-order their upcoming novels. Pre-orders of an upcoming work are so important to authors and publishers alike. Publishers look at "pre-orders" to determine an authors worth & potential success in a lot of cases. If a novel receives a lot of pre-orders, publishers will take it into account and they could spend a lot more time and money promoting the work. Pre-ordering an upcoming novel also ensures you will have it the first day possible.
12. "Like" the book. "Like" the novel on Amazon and Facebook. "Like" the author's page if they have one. Vote "up" positive reviews on Amazon. Share news that the author posts via Facebook and Twitter.
13. Read. Most importantly, putting aside all of the sales and business side of this, the best thing you can do to help an author is read. Read the work that they have poured their heart and soul into in the hopes that it would speak to someone out there. Read the work and enjoy it. And continue to read. Continue to read every single day and never let it lose it's magic. Because that's what books are- a small piece of magic handed down from author to reader.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some great ideas. Let me know what you think and if I left anything out. I can't wait to start helping some of my favorite authors and I hope that you will to! :)
Until next week.
Thanks for checking back with me this week. As you all know, last week I announced that I have now signed my first publishing contract with Limitless Publishing. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind & I have so much to share with you today!
So, Limitless doesn't play around! I'm so pleased with their process so far. Already, I have:
1. Been introduced to everyone I will be working with throughout the publishing process.
2. Worked on a cover art questionnaire
3. Written surprise bonus material (that only my newsletter subscribers will ever see!)
4. Been assigned an editor
5. Gone through the first round of pre-edits with the managing editor
6. Filled out all of my pay & tax information
7. Began building my author platform with Limitless' help.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting (cyber-meeting anyway) so many amazing authors that are also published through Limitless. It is wonderful to see how supportive they are of each other and to see them promote, pass around ideas, and genuinely care about each others lives and careers. I feel so blessed to have become a part of this author family and I can't wait to grow and learn from and with each of them.
Also, as I now wait for my next round of editing to come through, I have started working on my new novel! This'll be number 4! I'm literally staring at the notebook it'll be written in right now. I can't wait to share this, and all of my stories, with you!
I'll be back next week with more updates!
Hey guys, I'm back this week with a few updates: first of all, in January I decided that it was time to part ways with my agent. Though she is a wonderful person and tremendously talented, we no longer had the same ideas about my novel's path in this industry and it was time to go our separate ways. I wish her nothing but the best in her career.
Now, on to some GREAT news, I have recently signed a contract with Limitless Publishing for the publication of my first novel! Yes, you read that right, I am officially going to be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. I have spent most of my life dreaming of this moment and it's surreal that it's finally here. Limitless has a great team and I am so thrilled and humbled to be working with them alongside some very talented authors. My novel should be out sometime this summer or fall, (I'll get back to you all as soon as my official release date is confirmed) but for now I have a lot of work to do in preparation.
The next few weeks, and even months, of posts should be very exciting as I will get to share with all of you my journey through the publishing process and exactly what I'm working on each week.
As time passes and more work is done I'm sure I will have exciting surprises for you. I can't wait to share this journey with you, and I'm so thankful for each of you who have played any part in the process so far.
Please keep following my blog, instagram, facebook author page, twitter, and consider joining my newsletter so that you can get the quickest, most exciting updates delivered right to you.
I hope you'll all be reading my novel one day very soon, and many more after that.
Until next time,
Kiersten J Modglin is an author of suspense & mystery novels. Lover of books, blogs, and Boston Terriers.