Author Interview: Kristina Circelli

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What’s your story? How did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s the one thing I’ve always gone back to, even when I grew bored of other activities. And I tried them all – sports, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, etc. Writing is what calls to me, makes me feel at least a little bit sane, gives me an outlet for the chaos inside my head. There are few things I enjoy more than putting words to paper.

Writing also led me to my other, side business – editing for indie authors. It’s so much fun getting to see other writers’ works and help meet their vision for making their manuscript shine.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Always be yourself. Write what you love, what you want to write, not what people tell you is popular, or what you should be writing. Every author has his or her own unique voice, so find the style that suits you and have fun with it.

Further, never let anyone tell you it can’t be done for this reason or that, or that it’s a ridiculous pipe dream to believe people will enjoy your book. Sure, anyone can be published, but not everyone can write a book they are proud to call their own. When you write that book, embrace it and never look back.

What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m taking a slightly different direction from my other books, which primarily have a fantasy element to them. I’ve had the story in my head for a while and wanted to get it out. Despite the darker subject matter, this is actually a “fun” book for me since it delves so much away from my usual genres.

That being said, the book is about a woman who is abducted from her home and locked away in a small basement cell to await her fate at the hands of “the boss,” an unnamed, unseen man who has sinister plans for her. The book takes readers deep into the mind of a kidnapped woman, one who is terrified of the dark, relies on her love of movies to create an escape plan, and must overcome her fears to outwit the enemy.

What has been the most challenging part of publishing or marketing your book?
Writing and publishing are the easy parts for me. Marketing is what challenges me the most, because I’m a pretty quiet and private person. I don’t like talking, or talking about myself, and I’m an absolutely terrible self-bragger.

So, the hard part for me has been putting myself out there and convincing people to buy my books. I’ve gotten better at faking confidence, and the more I fake it, the more I actually start to feel it. I’m still working on better explaining my books, but it’s far easier now to get up in front of a bunch of people and talk about myself.

What has been your favorite part?
I love hearing from readers. Whether they just want to say they liked a book or actually want to have a discussion about it, I think it’s all pretty damn cool. Everyone who has known me longer than five minutes knows I love to talk about writing, so getting to chat about my own books is a lot of fun.

Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, I have a lot. I’m a huge fan of W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear for their books on Native Americans. I also am crazy about Anne Bishop and Rick Riordan. All completely different types of books, but what can I say, I have eclectic interests :).

I’ve recently become a big fan of some indie authors as well, most notably Kristi Strong, Christie Rich, and M.r. Polish.

What gave you the idea for your current work?
Frustration, mainly. I watch a lot of movies (kind of a movie addict) and I get so annoyed by stupid female characters that eventually I started creating my own bad-ass chick who gets kidnapped and fights her way free. I don’t want to say more in case of spoilers, but she is basically my version of what I want to happen to the bad guys every time I see a movie or TV show where the girl gets taken advantage of.

In general though, my ideas kind of come from nowhere. I’ll just be walking along minding my own business, then bam, accosted by a character in my head. The ones that stick with me, I keep. The ones who are just fleeting thoughts, I tend to let go.

If you could be any character in the book, which one would you be?
In this particular book? None of them. Out of all of my books, definitely Arianna from The Never. I basically am her, in the daydreaming fantasy world sense, not so much the medication and flying part.

What other books have you written and/or are working on for the future?
Oh, I’m working on plenty, enough to keep me up all night writing, that’s for sure. What I’ve written so far:

The Whisper Legacy (Beyond the Western Sun, Walk the Red Road, Into the Shadow Realm)
This series centers on Whisper, a Cherokee woman who leads a man into the Land of the Dead to save his son’s soul from the evil Raven-Eater. Along the way, they encounter various creatures from Native American legends that come to life in the spirit realms.

The Helping Hands (The Helping Hands, Shadows in the Night, The Iron Fist)
This realistic fiction series focuses on five friends and their fight to save children suffering from child abuse. Led by rough-and-tough Melanie O’Conner, the gang kidnaps abused kids and takes them to a secluded hideaway, all while dealing with their own personal issues – not to mention the cops and reporters hot on their trail.

The Sour Orange Derby
Inspired by true events and people, this novel tells the story of how the Standridge family came to be, and how one game, The Sour Orange Derby, holds the family together after a tragedy claims one of their own. It is inspired by my own family, the relationship between my grandpa and little brother, and the many ways that our Papa made childhood magical.

The Never
The Never takes readers on a journey into one woman’s broken mind. Inspired by the beloved tale of Peter Pan, this book tells the story of what happens when everyone grows up, and childhood imagination is threatened with destruction. It’s a dark take on a classic, focusing on Arianna’s fight to prove her fantasies are real, and not delusions crafted by a mind trying to forget traumas of the past.

What I’m working on (aside from my current WIP):

2 New Whisper Legacy Books
The fourth book in the series is a prequel to the first three, telling the story of how Whisper came to be. The other is a spin-off of characters introduced in Book Three.

4 Helping Hands Books
It’s a long series! All books focus on Melanie O’Conner and her gang as they not only save children, but rebuild their own lives with or without one another.

New Fantasy Series
It’s a secret :). But I can tell you, it’s gonna be spectacular (see, getting better at self-bragging already).

What’s your favorite quote?
I have two:

1) “To live will be an awfully big adventure” – from Peter Pan (the book!). This one has always been important to me, as it reminds me to always have a passion for life. That’s not a feeling I’ve always felt, so looking at life as an adventure keeps me eager for each new day. The phrase means enough that it’s even tattooed on me.

2) “Let me walk in beauty, and may my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.” – This is a Native American saying that is special to me. I’ve used it in past books and think it often. I don’t know that I fully believe in an afterlife, and to be honest, I don’t ever really give it much thought, but I love the concept behind the phrase. I also am passionate about my Cherokee/Creek heritage, so this phrase has always stuck with me as something to potentially look forward to when my time on earth is done.

What’s your favorite supernatural creature?
Do mermaids count? If so, mermaids. If we’re talking a creature with actual magic, then elves. My version of elves, that is, which are basically straight out of The Lord of the Rings. If I could be an elf, my life would be complete. Well, that or if I could take a ride on Falcor and meet Atreyu.

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