Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Kelly. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Well, it all began on an early summer morning back in 19–… wait, you probably just mean writing background, eh?
My wheelhouse is actually horror and fantasy, and I continue projects in those genres on the sidelines of the romance. I won my first writing contest when I was nine, which placed an essay I wrote into a magazine for children/young adults. I made my first “world” when I was eleven. I taped together computer paper into a sort of octagon and spent a couple of days drawing out the landscapes on our kitchen table. I was published for the first time when I was fourteen — a poem in an anthology of dark poetry. Much to everyone’s relief, I no longer write poetry, but I do enjoy short stories. I’ve had a couple published in horror magazines and anthologies, and in 2009, I was approached after an online writing contest to publish some of my pieces into a collection, which came out in 2010.
I got fascinated with male/male romance in college, actually, but didn’t try my hand at writing it until some years later. I started with fanfiction, created a world for various anime/manga characters, and somewhere along the line I ran into my writing partner, Raine. We hit it off, started plotting what was going to be a role-play story that morphed, eventually and after much editing, into our first book, Hearts Under Fire.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
Well, the first book was the short stories, which I suppose technically took the duration of the online contest plus time for contract/edits, etc. Hearts was accepted by Torquere on the first try, God bless them, and after a rewrite it was even reasonably readable. Raine and I were still getting the hang of writing together, though each of us have written solo for years.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
After the writing contest, I wanted something to keep me writing all the time, as I could see how my style and general craft was improving with constant activity. A friend of mine suggested I try fanfiction to keep me occupied, though I suspect the suggestion was heavily influenced by her desire to see what I could do with her favorite anime couple. I gave it a shot, had so much fun I continued, and I fell in love with the range of possibilities to be had in male/male romance. I’ve always been comfortable writing men, and I enjoyed the challenge of getting men together into romantic relationships despite the odds I set before them.
I also have a sincere and personal interest in the GLBT and BDSM communities, and getting to write fiction that somehow, in any small part, supported them or did away with stereotypes was at once fascinating and inspiring.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
Not very long and too many. *laughs* Let’s see… Raine and I just had our second book published by Torquere, Winter’s Knight. She and I have written two other novels that we’re working on editing. Alone I’ve written probably half a dozen novel-length fanfiction stories, probably a few more novels if you combine short stories, and at least one full-length book for a friend of mine. I always work on multiple projects at once, and at the moment I am in the middle of my own novel, two books with Raine, a short story or two, some fanfiction here and there, and probably something else I’m forgetting.
Do you write full time?
I do, yes.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I don’t remember “deciding” to become a writer. I just know the stories have always been there and that putting them to paper got the chaos out of my head and allowed me to rest. I recall the conscious choice to try to write something when I was eleven. I’d been reading an Emily Dickinson collection and wondered if I had it in me to write a poem. I wasn’t even sure how to do such a thing, but I ended up with a stack of carefully scribbled nonsense. The rest sort of flowed from there, and so I suppose it’s suffice to say that I was and am continually granted the honor of writing the characters who choose me to pen them.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Well… writing. Usually after breakfast, still with coffee, and in my office.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I revise as I go, usually reading the last thing I wrote and making edits to recall the flow and pick up where I left off.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I do a bit of both.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
Any that’s required by the plot and character needs.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I’m honestly not sure, and you’d probably have to ask my friends who read my work how much of me or them show up in the things I do. I never consciously write a character to resemble anyone I actually know, as I prefer to use whole cloth and fill in quirks and details with little things I’ve encountered in people.
As for development of characters, that happens several ways, but my favorite is when a new one walks into my mental space, sits down, and says they have a story to tell me. My second favorite is when I have a plotline that needs a particular type of character and I get to do a kind of casting call to the nether. I love crafting a person to fit the needs of a story, and I love crafting a story to fit the needs of the people it involves.
My writing partner would tell you I have no lines or boundaries, and I’d probably agree after a drink or two.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
That depends. I have some stories that have been ongoing for years, and others I get done in a matter of weeks. Raine and I wrote the first draft of Hearts in three weeks, and it was 140,000 words long. Winter’s Knight was a matter of about four or five weeks, with some heavy character development beforehand. We like to think we learned our lessons from HUF, and we apply outlines, character development, plot talks, and all manner of things to new projects to save us from having to spend weeks or months on the editing floor.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I don’t believe in blocks. I think there are times when we need more input to serve our output, times when we need to mourn a story’s ending or gather courage for the next one’s beginning, but I think spending too much time talking about being “blocked” is a self-fulfilling prophecy that I want no part of. When in doubt or fear or self-esteem lows or negativity, just write. The people in your head and the stories they have will not abandon you, and the only failure any of us should truly fear is the failure to do our best.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope they make new friends and are emotionally moved by the words.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
I can do more than three, though they’re more a culmination of what I’ve discovered since I started trying to write with purpose.
Understand where you want to live: are you a genre writer or literary master? Entertainment or education? Wish to be loved by a few or adored by millions? Know what each of those choices means and be careful what you wish for.
Outlines matter: know where you’re going and worry about the path along the way.
Character sheets are useful: knowing who you’re writing about is paramount to understanding what they do in the situations you put them in. References are even more useful, as they give artists, partners, and you touchstones for comfort or plot.
Research, editing, and learning about your trade are not optional: they are required. Treat what you do with respect.
If the story feels smarter than you are, catch up to its level. Don’t bring the story down to you.
Sometimes your craft has to catch up to the stories you want to tell. Don’t get impatient with yourself, but don’t get lazy in your offerings to the altar of self-improvement.
Fear is the goblin on your back. It profits you nothing and should be slayed with prejudice daily.
Write for yourself. Writing for anyone else will drive you swiftly insane.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
Depends. I’ve had both happen.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I’d describe it as immediate, off-beat, and colorful. I love Robin Williams, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Chris Rock, John Pinette, Erma Bombeck, and dozens of others.
What is the most frequently asked Kelly Wyre question?
If you mean asked of me, then I’d say, “How did you get published” or “Where do you get your ideas?” I usually answer, “The Universe owed me one” and “From the portal to other dimensions beneath my bed,” respectively.
What are you working on now?
The next New Amsterdam novel, my own series, various projects with Raine, and a partridge in a prickly pear tree.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
Don’t write what you know, write what you love. I implement it by loving everything I do with abject, unbridled, and uninhibited passion.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I maintain two personas online in the form of blogs, Facebook, and various websites. My background is in marketing and advertising, and I enjoy guerilla warfare.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
Never stop learning and never stop exploring. I love watching movies and TV, reading, diving into rabbit holes on the Internet, talking to new people, exploring new avenues of music, and doing things that surprise myself and my preformed boundaries of self. As my partner likes to say, “Everything is compost.” I prefer to say, “Everything is canon fodder.”
What kind of books do you like to read?
I read everything… except romance. *laughing*
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Marketing director of a local theater.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
From journeys through the portal to other dimensions that exists beneath my bed.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I’m a huge typeface nerd. I blame it on my background in design layout. As such, I’m hard to please, though the individual who managed the text on the cover of Winter’s Knight did a delightful job.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I adore movies. I enjoy gaming, have dived into Warcraft and other MMOs in the past. I like playing cards and drinking with friends, particularly Spades. I travel as much as possible. I love to dance, and took up ballet and pointe in my early twenties. My addiction to endorphins keeps me at the gym several times a week. I have a healthy interest in alternative kinky lifestyles, and enjoy engaging in them as time and partners allow. I also love guns and the range.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
If you’ve not picked up Winter’s Knight, yet, then I recommend it. We’re working on a sip for Torquere that we hope to have in by end of April.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
Keep writing. No excuses, no regrets.
What future projects do you have in the works?
Other than the ones I’ve mentioned, I plan on starting my own religion, writing a BDSM reference book, and meeting an alien race sometime in the next twenty years or so. Stay tuned.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
Also, we really enjoy our extras & side stories: