Super big welcomes to author Kelli Landon who is stopping by today!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 41 years old, married for the first time, three years ago, and live in a really small old house in Illinois.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
Yes! I work full time for the U.S. Postal Service in Peoria IL, plus I am treasurer for our union.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing Sudden Moves when I was on a two week vacation from work July 1, 2010, finishing in the middle of September. Everyday for two months.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always been a fan of mysteries – they keep me on edge while reading and writing. I have to know what happens next.
Where do you get your ideas? Do you ever experience writer’s block? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I get my ideas from life. For example, Sudden Moves was inspired by a girl I went to high school with. She actually left for Orlando, never to return. We were all told she moved there. We never found out why. This sparked a mystery. I do experience writer’s block! I have a writing exercise called The Writer’s Toolbox which helps spark an idea though creative games. I also have a book called The Writer’s Book of Matches that’s filled with writer’s prompts. Then I build my ideas from a single prompt. I do not do outlines! I can’t plan a story or book – it has to come naturally. I write as I go.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark. My mother gave it to me while I was a teen. It was the first novel I ever read. The mystery drew me in right off the bat and I was instantly hooked. A new fan of Mary Higgins Clark was born!
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I couldn’t find a publisher who would accept a manuscript without an agent. This is sad, because so many great stories don’t see the light of day because of this requirement. I talked it over with my husband and decided to self publish. I had the money and it was something I always wanted to do. You know how most people say they want to have a big wedding and a family one day? Well, I always wanted to have a book!
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
The only thing I would change is that I would go through my second publisher (Outskirts Press) ONLY. I went through two publishers because I couldn’t decide. Outskirts was much better, offering more for my money. I would also have someone edit the book better before sending it in. I was misinformed with my first publisher, thinking that I would have an automatic editing service. That didn’t happen.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Mostly on the internet – Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. I also placed ads in my local newspapers with the words “Local Author”. I am planning on having a book signing at a local bookstore soon. Dropping off printed bookmarks or postcards to the library is a good idea – so they can hand them out to customers as they check out books. I plan to do this as soon as they come in!
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, Sudden Moves is my first one! I’ve always done short stories.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
It’s called Nightmare at Camp Forrestwood. A teen slasher story with a classic whodunit twist!
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The mother/daughter relationship comes from my life. I could relate to Michelle and her mother so well from my own life. I cannot get along with my mother for a long period of time! We get on each others nerves. To this day, my mother will not tell me how she feels about the book. I don’t know if she enjoyed it or not. There are parts of the book where affairs come in and I took that from my best friend, Tammy, (the character of Tami comes from me, but with her name) and her rocky marriage.
What project are you working on now? Will you have a new book coming out soon? Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I always wanted to do a whodunit and I just finished that with Nightmare at Camp Forrestwood. That book should be out around May, if I chose to self publish again – which is very likely! I will then have one book set in the spring and one in the fall. My next one will be in the summer, probably two teens vacationing at a beach house – the trip is a graduation gift. When they arrive, not many people are staying in the other beach houses (which is not normal) because of news of bizarre murders in the area. Both girls’ parents were not aware of this and they don’t want to tell them (by calling home) or they might make them end the vacation. The theme of this story is unknown right now, so we’ll see where it goes. I like to write about different topics and people, so a series is out right now.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep on writing – every day! Keep at it, even if you are just jotting down notes, not being able to get to a computer. I would write down anything that came to mind while I was at work, then I would go home and get right to it. If I was stuck, I’d ask myself, “How can I make this better? What would they do next?” Or “Now what?” That question always seemed to help me when I put myself in Michelle Martin’s shoes from Sudden Moves. Most important – keep the story in your mind! I lived and breathed this story every day and night (while awake in bed, staring at the ceiling). This is how I got the book written so fast.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I just hope everybody enjoys the book and hopefully my next one! I appreciate everyone who is interested in the book, even if they just click “like” on my Sudden Moves Facebook fan page. That means alot to me! Oh, and please, tell your friends!! There’s more to come!
Katie Brashers announced to her friends that she was taking a trip to Florida for Spring Break, but when class resumes, Katie isn’t in attendance. The school staff claims that the family moved there. Katie’s friend Michelle Martin grows suspicious, especially since she let Katie borrow a treasured family book that she failed to return.
Not to mention, Katie never said goodbye to her devoted boyfriend, Brad. Michelle confides in her best friend, Tami. Dodging Michelle’s demanding mother, they team up with Brad and form their own investigation by talking to neighbors and looking inside Katie’s house. Michelle is about ready to give up until she takes her dog on his
daily walk and uncovers a clue that leads her closer to the truth, but also throws her into circumstances beyond her control.
The book is available in hardback and paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders, as well as other booksellers. Publisher – Outskirts Press.
About the Author, Kelli Sue Landon
Kelli Sue Landon was born in Peoria, Illinois. Her published short stories include The
Diary, Pizza Night, and Campfire Dreams. She is employed by the United States
Postal Service in Peoria. Sudden Moves is her first novel.
For more information, visit http://outskirtspress.com/kellisuelandon and her website www.kellisuelandon.com