I got to “sit down” and talk with Kelly Edwards, author of Scorcher, and ask her what it’s like to have a book out, how and why she chose the route she did, and a lot of other things that have absolutely nothing to do with writing at all. She was a fantastic sport and great fun to talk to.
Nerdmobile: So, Kelly, tell everybody what the book and series are about.
Kelly: Scorcher explores the concept that supervillains are people too.
They’re not always megalomaniacs with dreams of world domination.
Sometimes they’re just people doing whatever they must to get by.
Aidan Grey is a college student with goals for the future, a drive to
succeed, and little time for romance. She’s also a woman with a
secret. At eleven, she was orphaned due to the accidental use of her
pyrokinetic abilities. She was taken in by the secret criminal
organization known as Iris and trained to use her abilities for the
organization’s profit. Marty Knox is a police detective who loves his
family, tries to genuinely make a difference in the world and falls
hard for Aidan. He shows up just as Aidan is starting to question her
loyalties to Iris and she’s surprised to find that she can’t resist
him, even if it would be dangerous to get involved with someone on the
right side of the law. What Aidan doesn’t realize is that Marty has a
secret of his own, one that would endanger both their lives if
discovered by Iris.
The series itself expands on this topic as Aidan struggles with
figuring out where her loyalties lie and fights for the freedom to
make that choice for herself, as opposed to allowing the organization
that’s owned her for half her life to continue to make all of her
Nerdmobile: You are a brand spanking new author, but that doesn’t mean you just now picked up writing. How long have you been at it?
Kelly: I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. I used to write plays to perform for my parents. In middle school and high school, that morphed
into poetry and short stories. And I must say, thank goodness the
internet wasn’t really a thing back then. Or else there might be some
of that middle school poetry coming back to haunt me.
Nerdmobile: What drove you to the method of publishing you used?
Kelly: I’m a control freak. Seriously though, I really liked the idea
of getting my book out there on my terms and spending time building my
audience instead of spending time trying to sell my novel to
publishers. I also enjoy some of the other things that have come with
marketing, from working closely with my cover artist to designing my
own website and running my own promotions on Facebook and Twitter.
Nerdmobile: Will you continue with self publish, or are you hoping to be picked up by a publishing house?
Kelly: At this point, I’m really enjoying the self-publishing process
but I wouldn’t say no if the right offer came along. Right now, I
think that my books fall into a niche market as they are unabashedly
genre fiction. While genre fiction can and does sell to traditional
publishing houses, it is a tougher sell.
Nerdmobile: In your opinion, what is the difference between the two?
Kelly: The biggest difference between the two is the degree of control
an author has over the finished book. With a traditional publishing
house most authors have very little, if any, say in what the cover or
layout look like. They are also under deadlines from the publishing
house instead of self-imposed deadlines. Of course, with a traditional
publishing house there is a chance for wider distribution so if that’s
what you’re interested in, there are many times when it’s worthwhile
to give up some of your creative control so you have the chance to get
your story out there to a wider audience.
Nerdmobile: Is writing your first love?
Kelly: Actually, my first love was a boy named Jimmy who was the He-Man to my She-Ra. Sadly, no one told us that they were brother and sister. But
after Jimmy, telling stories was my first long-lasting love.
Nerdmobile: Would you marry writing?
Kelly: No, I’ve already got a wonderful husband. Writing is just the sexy,
alluring mistress that I lavish with gifts and spend most of my free
time with. (Sorry, honey!)
Nerdmobile: If you and writing had babies, … oh wait. That would be your
book. What was your inspiration for this particular story?
Kelly: This story, like most of my stories, started with the characters.
Aidan came to me first. I really liked the idea of a character who has
reasons for being a villain and who might not be looking for
redemption at the start of the story but isn’t fully evil either. The
story evolved naturally from there. I had help from a dear friend,
Paul Leone, in developing Marty as someone who is both the anithesis
of what Aidan is but is similar enough to forget a strange sort of
Nerdmobile: So you’re a character driven writer, have you ever attempted to write a story that focuses not on the people but on the situation?
Kelly: I’m working on a story now where I came up with a basic sketch of
an idea first and then started filling in the characters. I would say
that the plot or situation tends to feed and inform the characters and
Nerdmobile: Do you fall in love with your characters?
Kelly: All the time. It’s getting rather full in my heart because every
character I’ve ever written has carved out a spot. If I don’t write
with them for awhile, I will start to miss certain characters. I also
frequently feel guilty if I’m not writing often enough to get their
Nerdmobile: Writers read, that’s a given. Who is your favorite author?
Kelly: I have a confession. I am a book slut. My favorite author changes on a semi-regular basis and I’ve never committed to just one favorite.
Authors I’m loving quite a lot currently are Seanan Mcguire, Jim
Butcher, and Jim C Hines. Susan Ee is also my new favorite up and
comer to watch.
Nerdmobile: So there’s not one author that you’ve read since you were younger that still holds up for you today?
Kelly: Lois Lowry and J.R.R. Tolkien both stand out, though it’s been
awhile since I’ve reread either author. Unfortunately, my reading time
is very limited now so I usually try to seek out books that I haven’t
read yet and don’t have as much time as I would like for reading the
Nerdmobile: What is your favorite book of all time? How many times have you read it?
Kelly: See above, re: book slut. The Harry Potter books are my go-to comfort books for when I just want to read something familiar. I’ve lost count
of how many times I’ve read those. I’ve also lost count of how many
times I’ve read the Dresden Files.
Nerdmobile: Do you have other nerdly pursuits?
Kelly: Aside from the standards: reading comics and sci-fi and fantasy books, watching sci-fi and fantasy TV shows and debating them online, I’m
also really into making superhero costumes and of course, wearing them
to conventions and charity events.
Nerdmobile: What was the first comic you read?
Kelly: While I have loved superheroes for most of my life, I’m actually
relatively new to reading actual comics. I started reading them about
7 or 8 years ago. The very first comic I read was the trade of Batman:
Nerdmobile: Who is your favorite superhero? Why?
Kelly: There are a lot of superheroes that I absolutely adore, but I
would have to say that Black Canary (II, ie Dinah Laurel Lance) is my
all-time favorite. I could write an essay or two on why I love her but
I’ll try to spare you all the reading. I love her because her
backstory includes a mother-daughter relationship that is complicated
and not cut-and-dry. Dinah took up her mother’s mantle against Dinah
Sr’s wishes, and so you have both an act of rebellion and following in
her mother’s footsteps in one. In the best comics where Dinah is
featured, this informs her character beautifully. Dinah is also a
character who has a great power (her sonic cry, which can knock people
out, shatter just about anything, etc) but chooses to rely on the
abilities that’s she’s gone out and learned as opposed to simply
relying on the fact that she has a superpower. She was also
essentially ‘fridged’ in that she lost her superpower in a heinous,
violent way and yet instead of ceasing to be a hero, she continued on
and became even stronger for working through that loss and finding
ways to thrive without her superpower. And for all my good intentions,
I’ve still written you a novelette so I’ll leave it at that.
Nerdmobile: What is your must watch show currently?
Kelly: Once Upon a Time is currently my must-watch show. I’m a sucker
for fairytales and especially when they’re told in an interesting way.
Nerdmobile: Do you have a show that you go back to a lot? Rewatch again and again?
Kelly: Buffy and Firefly are two of them. I adore Joss Whedon because he
is always pushing the limits of the genres he works within and he
writes some of the most well-rounded female characters around. Even
today, that’s still something that’s harder to find than well-rounded
Nerdmobile: Batman or Superman?
Kelly: I love them both, but for me it will always be Superman. Why? Because he is unabashedly a square. He has his morals and he sticks by them,
in spite of the fact that he has the powers of a god and could simply
pummel people until they had no choice but to see things his way.
Nerdmobile: If you were able to choose a superpower, what would it be? Why?
Kelly: Is the ability to run on no sleep considered a superpower? If so, I
would definitely choose that because there are not enough hours in the
day. Otherwise, I would choose teleportation because I’m impatient and
hate waiting to get places.
Thanks to Kelly for taking the time out of her schedule to chat! I wish her luck in her future ventures and hope she enjoyed the interview as much as I did. I’m still curious as to her favorite villain, but maybe that’s a closely guarded secret for a reason.
Maybe she’s her own favorite villain…
DUN DUN DUN!