Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a 24-year-old author based out of New Jersey. I grew up in this area after moving from Maryland at 4 years old with my family. I am the youngest of four children, so the house was always busy. It was in the moments when I had to entertain myself that I found my creativity. Growing up with the woods as my backyard was akin to growing up with the world at my fingertips. In an instant, I could be lost in a fairytale or a nightmare. It only depended on how I chose to view my scenery. I graduated from college with a degree in communications and journalism, and after spending years in DC working for Congress and non-profits, I came home to Jersey to chase a dream of being a writer.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
My day is not structured much at all when it comes to writing. I typically write best at night, as I am a night owl, but can find inspiration anywhere at any time. I have been known to rush out of the bathroom after a shower because an idea hit me while I was shampooing my hair and I didn’t want to lose it. My notes app on my phone is full of all the ramblings bouncing around my skull, but I couldn’t imagine writing any other way.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing exhausts me, it’s as simple as that. It takes a lot of my creative energy to put words to paper, and everything I write is so personal and vulnerable to me, that it is an emotional outlet when I write. I like to say that I leave pieces of myself in everything I do creatively, so I always need time to recharge after spending long stretches behind a computer. There are moments when I get so excited about a scene that I can’t stop writing until I have all my thoughts written out, but always need to decompress after.
What are your current projects?
I have just finished my first draft of my second book and am moving into the editing stages of it before starting the querying process. I don’t think I have ever believed in a project as much as I believe in this one, so I can’t wait to get to the point where I can start sharing it with people.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. I also believe that there are steps we can take as writers to overcome it quicker than just waiting it out. I have spent months unable to find the motivation to add to my works but have also found that putting energy into other creative projects has helped remedy it quicker. I like to dabble in photography and have an Instagram where I post poetry that I put a lot of effort into when working on my novel writing becomes strained. I also believe that writers put far too much pressure on themselves to hit certain word counts or finish projects by unrealistic deadlines, which leads to burnout. When writing isn’t fun anymore, it is best to just take a step back and breathe. Take notes when scenes come to your head, but don’t try to force yourself to put pen to paper when you have nothing left to give.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Daydreaming. I get lost in my head so easily and am always coming up with new ideas for books and stories. I have so many unfinished projects that I am working through but have found that I cannot write linearly. I need to bounce around from scene to scene and project to project in order to write effectively. It is just the way my mind works, and while it has become an effective method, the constant daydreams do take away from time actually spent working on current works.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have always loved wolves. White Fang by Jack London was the first book I remember reading as a child, and I have re-read it hundreds of times since. I have always loved the bond wolves share with each other and how they rely on not only their instincts but also their family. It’s a beautiful relationship, and I have always been one to romanticize the wild in my work, so the wolf fits that bill perfectly.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Don’t listen to those that can’t instill life into you. Don’t measure your success by the success of others. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, my English teacher gave my class a narrative project. This was the moment in my life where things became real for me. He was an odd character. He reminded me of a cross between Jack Black and Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society, and he drove an atrocious lime green car that I would see every morning when my mom dropped me off at school. For this narrative project, instead of writing a pithy short story, I just let my mind wander and ended up with a piece about a haunted United States soldier who was fighting overseas. It wasn’t written in story format and was structured in stanzas. It was not a poem though and was told in (the) first person. I didn’t know what to call it when I handed it to my teacher, but five minutes after handing him the page, he shouted to the class about how great it was and gave me an A on my rough draft, then and there. He taught me something that day that I have carried with me ever since. Words don’t need a box. Your writing does not need a definition, and everyone will interpret your writing differently. A year later I gave the same piece to another teacher who I liked more as a person, and she tore the piece apart. She told me it needed to conform to a certain style of writing and that she could not grade it because she did not know what it was. It took me a while, but eventually, I decided that I would listen to my sophomore teacher’s opinion of my work because that was what spoke life into me and my creativity. It was what fueled me to continue telling stories, and that was what I needed to cling to as I chased my dream.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I have my website that has a link to my social media and book on it (www.bykimberlymarie.com).
My debut novel, a historical women’s fiction titled The Sun at Dawn, is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. I am also on Instagram (@by.kimberlymarie), Twitter (@bykimberlymarie), and Pinterest (bykimberlymarie). I’d love to connect with fellow readers and writers on Goodreads as well!
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is (a quote) from Chapter 14 of my debut novel The Sun at Dawn.
“Remember little one, love can solve many problems that logic cannot. The heart is much smarter than the head.”The Sun at Dawn by Kimberly Marie
I’m over at Writer Zen Garden finishing up the second to last #atoz challenge post. If you haven’t read these come over and browse. And if you are looking for a writing group to join. Check out the tabs above. We’d love to share your writing journey.
So I’ve finally started submitting The Courtesan of Constantinople to Publishers. I’d spent six months looking for an Agent and didn’t get feedback – positive or negative steering me in a direction that required changes to the manuscript.
I got a lot of letters saying, “I like this and that, but don’t feel I’m right for this project.” So started to wonder if I missed the boat on Steampunk. Hard to say. I did a couple Twitter parties and nothing there either.
While I submitted to Agents 5-10 at a time. I was doing large batch by January. 🙂 For Publishers, I only do about 3 at a time. I don’t expect to hear back from any of them until May. Because they are larger houses I may not hear back at all. I think I’ve been spoiled by the almost instant responses of small presses 🙂
In the meantime, I’ll work on Alchemists of Archangel and maybe Ryder Hard if I get blocked, just to keep moving. Also, I have this book about writing I want to do, so plenty to keep me busy while I hurry up and wait.
There comes a time when you have to quit editing and declare a project done. Move on to the next one. I’ve reached that point with Courtesan.
I’ve done all I can with the novel.
I’ve layered and cut producing a novel of 54,333 words.
Does it mean there aren’t corrections to make? Of Course not but I need another set of eyes at this point. I’ve asked for some BETA help, to get that big picture feel, but I can’t continue edits without wrecking voice.
The good news. This is ready to get looked at by an agent or editor. In my opinion, any changes that need to be made will be to satisfy the readership, not me. And that’s okay, I’m used to working with editors to make appropriate changes. That’s part of meeting reader expectation.
Now its time to move on to Book 2: The Alchemists of Archangel.
Hopefully, The Courtesan of Constantinople doesn’t sit too long on my virtual shelf, trying to find a home.~Tina