Hello to all : )
Today I have a glimpse into author KC Sprayberry’s novel Softly Say Goodbye along with an exclusive interview. Please continue reading to find out more about KC and her work.
Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake – decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.
To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extracurricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this…
But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.
Solstice Publishing: http://store.solsticepublishing.com/softly-say-goodbye/
The sound of liquid gurgling and a thunk distracts me as my art teacher, Mr. Janks, says he has a major announcement. An overwhelming urge prods me to confront the offender, but she’ll deny my accusation, even though everyone in the vicinity knows she just chugged some vodka.
Do it! My hands clench into fists. Tell Laura to quit!
High school drunks totally piss me off. The urge to deal with the offender overcomes common sense. I start to turn around to give her a piece of my mind but stare in shock at my teacher instead.
A week before Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, I want to throw my books into the nearest trashcan and run until my legs give out. Here I am, sitting in my art class, and Mr. Janks announces we have to do a term project but not just any term project. Oh no! We have to develop a major project like cleaning up the Rec Center’s playground and painting a mural on the huge cylinders kids climb all over. Worse, I swear I heard something about a video. Who has time to do all that and a video?
“Tell me Mr. J didn’t say that,” I cry.
The now protesting students echo my feelings. The new issue drives all other thoughts out of my head. Oh yeah, I heard right, and the timing is rotten.
KC was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me and here’s what she had to say,
1) Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
KC Sprayberry pens her latest work from her home office in LaFayette, Georgia, fueling her long days with cream and honey charged coffee. She runs a crazy schedule between her teenager’s band schedule and writing, using every opportunity to jot down ideas, or edit her current work in progress. No day is complete unless her Black Labrador puppy interrupts the flow with a cold nose to the elbow, reminding her it is time to play. She also manages two online critique groups, The Path We Follow and Flying Wagons, and is the SCBWI local representative for Northwest Georgia.
2) Which project are you currently promoting?
Softly Say Goodbye.
3) Can you tell us what the book is about?
A teenager takes a stand against teen drinking in her high school.
4) How did you come up with the title for this book?
Originally, I saw a Facebook post that inspired me – take a breath and softly say goodbye. Later, I learned this was a quote from Breaking Benjamin’s Here We Are.
5) What inspired you to write this book?
The Facebook quote, and some characters who had been invading my work, and then an article about an auto accident involving teens and drinking. These three factors led to the story, but it wasn’t easy … there were four major rewrites before I came up with what I have now.
6) Did you have the main character’s names already picked out before you began to write?
Yes, somewhat. Erin evolved into who she is now as I planned the story.
7) What can you tell us about your main characters?
Bill and Erin are in love. They’re also dedicated to their futures, well planned for after high school. He plans to join the Marines, and finish college there. She wants to attend UCLA with a major in graphic arts, and learn to surf. They’re also dead set against teen drinking – because of his dad, who is an unrepentant drunk.
8) Did you have to do any research in order to help you with the writing of this book?
Yes, a whole lot of research into teen drinking, the consequences, and how it’s growing each year. At first, I wasn’t really into this as a theme for the book. I mean, everyone has stories about getting drunk as a teenager. My initial thought was to make it not such a big deal, but then as I learned more, I discovered how bad the problem is and my characters weren’t satisfied with their original roles. It took a long time to bring out this story in a way where people connect with it.
9) What made you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, from my first diary and school papers, to just jotting down things I’ve come up for one reason or another. The decision to make writing a full-time job came after the birth of our now seventeen-year-old, when my husband encouraged me to apply to The Institute of Children’s Literature. I sold my first story before I finished their second course, and I was hooked for life.
10) What genre do you generally write?
There are four genres where I work – romantic suspense, westerns, young adult, and middle grade stories.
11) Are you interested in writing other genres?
I’d love to get more involved in paranormal and historical writing.
12) Do you follow a routine when you begin to write a scene or chapter?
I usually do a light outline of a chapter – the events I want to happen within it, how to move the plot forward, what my characters will be doing. This can be anywhere from a sentence or two to full paragraphs, depending on how much detail I don’t want to forget.
13) How long does it usually take for you to write a book?
Again, it depends on the book. I recently finished a romantic suspense in ten days. But that isn’t the norm. I usually take a month to six weeks on a book, before I feel I’m ready to edit and revise.
Up until this year, I’ve been an active NaNoWriMo participant, but the promotion for Softly Say Goodbye didn’t leave me the time to tackle a new project to be done in 30 days with at least 50,000 words. As an aside, Softly Say Goodbye was a NaNoWriMo project in 2010, and a winner!
14) Do you have a general idea of what direction you want the plot to take ahead of time or does it come to you once you’ve started writing?
Sometimes. Other times, I’ll toss what I have and start all over several times, before I hit on the pace I want.
15) What character out of your most recent work do you admire the most and why?
Erin. Not only because she’s the main character, but because she’s strong. Erin doesn’t realize her strength comes within, and this is a secondary plot as she deals with not one but three tragic losses because of the teenage drunks in her world.
16) Have you ever had second doubts about a story you’ve written? If so, have you wanted to rewrite some parts of it?
Oh, yes, I have had second thoughts. Always. Rewriting is very much a part of what I do. Occasionally, the direction changes, but there’s always the chance tweaking a few parts of the story will work.
17) Are there any authors you admire?
Many, but those who come to mind are Penny Estelle, Stephen King, and Robert Jordan. With every one of those, the story jumps off the page right from the beginning.
18) What are your favorite titles from this or other authors?
I recently read Penny Estelle’s At What Price?, which she wrote under the name of P.A. Estelle. This story struck a chord with me, the grandmother’s having to deal with raising a child in her golden years while also dealing with a daughter hooked on drugs. Estelle gives ordinary events importance throughout the whole story.
Another book I recently enjoyed was Stephen King’s 11/23/63. He took his trademark horror into time travel, and he also took a look at what happens when the past is changed, and how it might not be how we envisioned it.
Finally, I’m biting my nails awaiting the release of Robert Jordan’s last book in the Wheel of Time series. I’ve been hooked on that since 1991.
19) Have you written any series? If not, are you planning to write any in the future?
Not as of yet, but there’s always the next story. Maybe. A series requires a lot more work into the characters than I’ve done in the past, but there is an idea germinating …
20) What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently editing Starlight, an adult romantic suspense, and Take Chances, a YA story about a teenage girl trying to get out from the control of her narcissistic mother. Take Chances also has school violence in it, but while the violence seems to be part of the story, it’s more of a pivotal point for the main character. There is another story about a tween dealing with a school bully I’m revising now.
21) When you begin a new MS, does it start with an idea, concept, or both?
There’s always an idea. The concept comes within either moments or a few days. At times, it seems as if they come at the same moment.
22) Once you begin to work on a new MS, do you have the ending already mapped out or do you envision it as the story progresses?
Both. It really depends on the story, and the characters, how they evolve.
23) Are there any writing styles you prefer?
My own, a hybrid of many styles. Again, the story becomes the dependent point of what style I use. I can say I usually jump right into the action, but sometimes a narrative about things going on around the main characters is a better way to begin.
24) Did you self-publish? If not, is that something you will be willing to consider in the future?
I’m very old school here. To me, self-publishing means basically I’m paying myself to do all the work. So, no I didn’t self-publish Softly Say Goodbye. I find having a publisher to deal with the cover art, editing process, and publication works well. Also, I get promotion from the publisher themselves in addition to what I do. The relationship between an author and publisher is a good one, where both benefit in the long run. I don’t really think I’ll consider self-publishing in the future at this point.
25) What is your least favorite part about getting published?
The waiting. It was almost a year from the time I got the contract to the actual publication date. There were a lot of factors that held up the publication, including one lesson I learned the hard way – never use lyrics unless you have the artist’s permission first, and never use lyrics from a band associated with Disney. They simply never give permission.
26) Was the road to publication a long one for you?
I guess it depends on what you mean by long. My first short story was accepted and printed within two years of when I started writing. I have less than twenty short stories in magazines, but I also have four stories included in anthologies that have come out between 2010 to 2012. My first book took fifteen years from the time I started writing, but the wait was well worth it. I learned so much in that time.
27) Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
Yes. I live in a small town in Georgia. People know me, some know my pen name, but I’m a very private person and this was one way to protect my privacy.
28) Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still hitting the computer at five AM and pounding away on my stories. Hopefully, with a few more books – my dream is to have a lot more books, but the market determines that.
29) What is the best advice you can give to a new author?
Read. Read anything you can get your hands on, not just books, but also the labels on cans, news sources, anything you can read. This is the first step in the learning process. Without reading, an author can’t really connect with their readers.
30) Where can the readers find more information about you?
About the author:
I am happily married to a man I met while in the Air Force. We recently celebrated 19 years of marriage. Our teen, the youngest of 8, keeps us on our toes with his band activities. Writing is something I’ve done since I was very young. At first, it was in a diary and then I poured all my energies into English compositions, earning praise from my Advanced Composition teacher in high school for an extremely visual project. While in the Air Force, I placed second in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge’s annual contest and from then on, was hooked. However, the reality of a military career and raising children forced me to put off attempting publication until my husband and I moved to Georgia. It was after the birth of our now teen that I began taking courses through The Institute of Children’s Literature, Long Ridge Writer’s Group, and Writers Digest in an effort to make my life’s dream come true.
We live in Northwest Georgia, in a small town, where I write Romance, Westerns, Young Adult, and Middle Grade stories, both short and book length. More than a dozen of my short stories have appeared in magazines such as Listen Magazine, Brio, and The Pink Chameleon website. I also have four short stories in anthologies, Passionate Hearts Anthology, Mystery Times Ten, The Best of Frontier Tales, Vol 1, and Mystery Times Nine. My westerns have garnered interest by avid readers and appear on The Western Online and Frontier Tales.
My work appears under the pen names of KC Sprayberry and Kathi Sprayberry.
~~~~ *** ~~~~
I will be reviewing Sadly Say Goodbye in the nearby future so check back for more info.