I am thrilled to say that the wonderful Kim Rylee (https://kimryleewriter.wixsite.com/author-blog) has set time from her busy schedule to answer my questions about writing, publishing, advice, fairy garden and other hobbies.
I have met Kim a few times now – and although it wasn’t writing that brought us together, it was Kim who encouraged me to start putting pen to paper and for that, I am very grateful.
Reading the answers below, I feel the passion and drive that Kim has for writing..
I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I have. I hope that reading it inspires you as much as it inspires me.
Let the inspiration begin…….
1. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing when my mother said to me: “Wouldn’t it be nice, if you write a poem for aunties’ birthday?“
That was at the age of 11. So I started writing poems every time when we celebrated family anniversaries. And believe me, I have a big family … 😉
I began my first Novel 2 years later, but stopped it immediately, after some of my friends had read it without asking me. I felt ashamed, that somebody just read the story…
After all, it contained feelings and the fantasy of a teenager, about first love etc.
Although all of them loved it, they encouraged me to finish it, which I never did.
Nevertheless, I always had stories in my head.
My first novel I started during the 90‘s. I love Science Fiction, but there was no good movie or series on TV anymore. Therefore I started writing one. This story is still in my drawer …
Alongside I wrote short stories and started taking part in several competitions. By the time, some of my short stories landed on the podium, I was ready for releasing novels.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
I know authors who publish 2 books in a year.
For me, this is impossible, as I am also working full time in order to feed the fridge.
My very first novel the thriller “Kalte Gefühle“ (Cold Feelings) took 8 months. Originally it was supposed to be a short story which should have taken part in a short-story-competition.
During my research about a psychological disease called Alexithymia, I found so many interesting things, that I skipped the competition and decided to turn it into a novel. I was very surprised that it won a prize called “Planet Award“ and became “Crime novel of the year 2016“.
“Fated Shadow – Die Jagd“ (Fated Shadow – The Chase) took much longer. About 15 months. Though in Fantasy you have more freedom, as you may play god, you want the readers to get the same images, that you have in mind. So as a writer you have to explain the story in a magical way in order to tie up the readers.
Generally speaking, for me it takes about 1 year to publish a book.
3. Who were your favourite authors as a child or teen and why?
When I was a child I loved comics! Especially Lucky Luke and Asterix were my favourites.
Nowadays I love reading Cody McFadyen, Chris Carter, John Katzenbach, Sebastian Fitzek, Markus Heitz, to name a few. Mainly thriller and fantasy 😉
4. What are the key points that can make good storytelling?
That is a very good question. I suppose, nowadays there is no story that has not been told.
Each author has his own style of storytelling. This is what makes the writer unique. Some readers love stories where the author explains how green the grass is and its length, others have a faster way where the reader has to put the book aside for a moment, in order to catch breath – all independently from the genre.
This is what makes writing so exciting! And also for the readers to provide a vast range of possibilities for them to adventure.
5. What are the biggest mistakes that an author can make in their book?
Loosing the storyline or having faceless characters.
But if you work with an editor who is not your best buddy … than you may be on the safe side. It always needs a critical eye, because as an author, you are too much involved, so that you oversee important things. It does not help to ask a good friend or family member for his opinion, as they are more or less subjective. Normally they like, what you have written and want to encourage you and not hurt your feelings.
But the script needs an impartial stranger to turn it into a story that makes sense and be interesting for readers.
6. What advice would you give to someone who would like to start writing?
Not everybody is straight away a Jessica Fletcher, Jane Austin or a Ken Follet, so that a publishing company knocks your door down in order to publish your book. Often, you need a long breath and abundance of patience! Success rarely comes over night, as there are too many books published every month.
Especially, if you take the decision to become a selfpublisher. In any case, you have to find a conspicuous way to approach readers to make your book seen and that readers take interest in it.
But when you are passionate about it, you will find your way to attract the public.
7. What preparations do you make when you get an idea for a story?
First of all I make some notes. Either in my ultrabook while on the move, record it on my smartphone or type it in my laptop at home.
This is not a guarantee, that I will start the story. I have about 7 ideas in the drawer, which are waiting. When the time is right, I will take them out and start finishing them.
8. Do you like to read in your spare time?
I like reading. But even more I love listening to audio books. They are my favourites.
9. What is the easiest part of writing for you?
To be honest, there is no easy part in writing. Believe it or not, writing is craftmanship. It consumes a lot of time and a lot of yourself.
But what I love is to develop the characters which are evolving during the process.
10. And the hardest?
To give the script into the capable hands of an editor. It is the first time, that the script leaves you – and you’ll never know the outcome, when you get it back.
11. How do you come up with the ideas for all of your books?
It may sound dull, but the whole world is my inspiration. It may be a house that attracts my attention, or some kind of clothes, up to sitting in the tube, listening to people’s conversation …
12. Do you have to do research for your books?
Definitely yes! As I am writing thriller, there is a lot of research to do in advance and during the writing process. Same applies for my urban fantasy stories, as they are based at real places.
Research takes up to one third of the time.
13. How do you structure or build your stories to make them into a book?
Many people say, that you have to plot a story. This is something I defenitly don’t do.
I write from the gut. I have an idea and how the story will end. During the writing process my characters develop more and more. So does the story. Many times I have to skip a chapter, as the story goes into another direction than originally planned. My characters are starting to become almost alive – well, in my head of course. They act on their own accord. This is why writing is so exciting. It is like a seed you put into the earth, hardly knowing, what may come out of it until it blossoms.
14. How do you decide on design covers and artwork for your books?
This is the reason, why I love selfpublishing!
I have the control over the whole process. Starting with the research – over writing and finally chosing the cover until it is released.
I work with @vercodesign. Andrea is a wonderful cover designer. We have been on the same wavelength right from the beginning. She knows, what I like – meets my taste – and, if I have no idea, she comes up with brilliant proposals, so that I often spoiled for choice.
My favourite covers made by her are “Fated Shadow III – Kreuzgang“ (Fated Shadow III – Crosspath) and “Bring mich ans Licht“ (Unearth the truth). She did magnificent artwork!
15. Once you have finished a book – how do you get it published?
As a selfpublisher, I have to think of a strategy before publishing it. A few months before, I distribute some hints via my homepage and social media channels.
My ebooks are distributed via ‘Bookrix’. They take care, that the ebooks are available in every on-line store including Amazon.
My prints are released via ‘Books on Demand’. They to the same for the prints as Bookrix does for my ebooks.
I also have prints at home, in case, somebody wants to order directly from me. If requested, in this case it can also be signed without a problem. 🙂
I could do the distribution of ebooks by myself, but this would eaten up even more time. Time, that I want to spare for writing and promoting the books with i.e. on-line readings or organising book tables and readings on conventions, bookshops and other possibilities that cross my way.
16. Do you have a specific writing space?
Usually I sit at home in the livingroom at my desk with a wonderful view into my garden.
At work, I use my lunch break for writing, while eating in a Restaurant or having a coffee in a coffee shop. When it is warm and sunny outside, I take a walk at the river Elbe and sit at the stairs writing.
17. Do you have a routine or a specific piece of music you like to listen to while you write?
If I would listen to Music while I am writing, my concentration would follow the Music rather than the words 😉
As I am writing thrilling stories, I have to keep my senses together, especially by writing fighting sequences or chapters with many characters in order not to lose the thread.
No, I am not following any routine. In a routine you repeat things. For me that equals standstill, but I like to move on.
18. You have written children’s, thrillers and fantasy books – which is your favourite to write?
I love thrilling stories. Therefore thriller and thrilling fantasy are my favourites to write.
The children’s book was more an ‘accident’. 😉 For “Jimmy – verzweifelt gesucht“ (Desperately seeking Jimmy) it took me more time to publish, than for a novel. Mainly because I had to find an illustrator, who was affordable.
19. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I like gardening. It feels just so good, when you can go into your garden and get your own salad, herbs and vegetables for the meal.
My latest project is a Mini-Fairy-Garden. 😉
It is also nice going out for dinner with my husband, trying new restaurants.
And I also love sewing fancy clothes.
20. All of your work is currently published in German. How would you go about getting your work published in English so that it would be available to a wider reading audience?
I would love to have my books published in English! But my literary English is non existant. And to find somebody who is able to translate it, costs a lot of money. At least for me – who selfpublishes the novels while some of my short-stories are released by a publisher.
But if there is anybody out there, who is able to do the translation, please get in contact with me. We might find a solution together, if you are an idealist, as I am. 🙂
21. Netflix are great for doing tv series these days. If they chose to make your Fated Shadow books into a series – what actors would you like to see portray the main characters?
LOL – You should have asked me that question for Cold Feelings! For the part of Viktoria Stern I would love to have Eva Green as the leading character.
For the Fated Shadow books … let me think …
Aveline … hm … Cara Delevingne would be a nice choice.
Azrael … I would go for Chris Hemsworth .
And for Samael … I think Johnny Depp would be smashing in this role. 😀
22. Now that the 3rd Fated Shadow book is on sale. have you started working on a new book?
My storytelling brain never rests. Sometimes not even at night …
As a matter of fact, I am working on two projects.
One is a thriller and the other one is a fantasy/dystopia story.
I am not sure, which one will be next on the market. This depends on the inspiration and the mood … 😉