So, Kelly, let's get to those questions:
1) What were your favorite books growing up?
I struggled with reading in my early years. So much so, I was under the misguided impression that I hated books. My fourth grade teacher told me that it was not the fact that I hated books; I just hadn’t read or felt for characters in the books I was choosing. He handed me The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander—I was hooked. From that moment on, I devoured books. I think I read almost every Nancy Drew book and I became (still am) a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan having read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so many times. Terry Brooks’s Sword of Shannara Series is another favorite. My foster mother, having very little money, had a hard time keeping up with my appetite for new books. One summer she found an old library that was closing and bought over 100 Harlequin romance books for 10 cents each, which I then read over and over again.
2) Now that you have, let’s say—some life experience, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her to relax. I look back at my younger self now and realize she was a very uptight, insecure person. I would tell her that it all works out in the end whether she worries or not. Life is too short to wait for anything.
3) Describe your typical day.
My days start early and are long. I am up between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. It starts first and foremost with the coffee—then the pets (they know that until they small coffee, Mom won’t talk to them.) Coffee in hand, I answer emails and check the social media sites—then I write. My laptop is always on and open, so that I literally find pockets in my day to put fingers to keyboard. Not the most productive but with three extremely active kids and a household to run, that is how I work. I would love to go to bed by 9:00 but usually it is around 11:00.
4) Who is your favorite character in your books?
Aaron Reynell in Dragan’s Redemption/Aaron’s Revenge/The Legacy. He is the most confused character, yet he has the courage to be open enough to “find himself.”
5) What do you do when writer’s block shows up, settles in, and makes itself comfortable?
Knock on wood, it has never happened. My issue has been finding the time to get the voices out of my head and onto paper.
6) Do you find yourself pulling details from “real life” or does your imagination rule the roost?
I am so into my writing and some of the characters have a bit of the world around me, but not always with the intent of being there. I am not sure if an author can separate themselves completely, can they? It is the life experiences that we live and breathe that breathe the life onto those blank pages.
7) What was the first manuscript you wrote (even if it never saw the light of day)?
The Messenger (the first book in a trilogy) that I started to write for my children. It is officially done but I consider it still in the works, and now my oldest daughter is helping me fine tune it.
8) Have you ever pursued traditional publishing? Or did you go straight for indie publishing?
Ah, the wide, wonderful dream of traditional publishing. After more than one hundred query letters (the majority with no response), I chose to go the self-publishing route as Indie publishing was my Plan B. It was nerve wracking in the beginning but now, no regrets what so ever.
9) What Works In Progress are brewing? Any target dates for publication?
Kelly and the Angel – The Flight of the Sparrow; October 2014
10) How can fans reach you?
Facebook: Kelly Ilebode, Author