Author on the Couch: Kayelle Allen
Today I’m conducting a session with…Kayelle!
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Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Kayelle: When I was a girl, I had the privilege of seeing President John F Kennedy in person (yes, I’m that old). Only a few months later, he was assassinated. To this day, I can hear the sound of the flag being lowered on the flagpole outside my classroom and see the face of my teacher when she told the class he’d been shot and killed. We didn’t have a TV at home, so my parents went out and bought one. My father set it up and turned it on. One of the first things we saw was Lee Harvey Oswald being shot. There was no time delay back then and the incident happened on live TV. Those incidents are indelibly etched into my mind.
Me: It’s so special that you got to see JFK in person. Wow. And for your first images on the TV to be of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot… Whoa.
My mom always said she would never forget where she was when she heard the news of JFK’s assassination. Pierced ears had just become popular. My grandma and mom weren’t brave enough to use an ice cube and needle so they were at the doctor getting their ears pierced (my mom passed out when she saw my grandma get hers done). The receptionist heard about the assassination and told all the patients. It was a profoundly sad day my mom says.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Kayelle: I’m dogged and determined. I do not give up easily. When I want something I find a way to get it. That pays off big time for an author.
Me: We must be sisters from another mister. I’m the same way!
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Kayelle: I’m probably my own worst enemy with details. I am extremely detail-oriented. I constantly have to remind myself that sometimes, good enough is good enough. I don’t have to be perfect. Perfection can be the enemy of creativity.
Me: Lol–I haven’t gotten over the perfectionism yet… But you give me hope!
What was your high point as a writer?
Kayelle: When readers emailed me with their observations about my characters and theirs matched my own. I’d communicated with them on a deep level. Nothing could make me happier than to hear that one of my characters is lovable (or irritating!) because of (fill in the blank).
Me: That is such a great feeling!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
Kayelle: I write huge sagas and sweeping stories that cover enormous swaths of time. When I signed with a small publisher, they wanted a “first look” at my work. If I let them see what I was currently writing, it would mean I’d be tied to them for the rest of my life. At the time, I had no plans to write outside my current universe. (I have since.) I was afraid to submit anything so I stopped writing altogether and waited out my contract. But for a couple of years I wondered if it was worth all the hassle and if I should stop writing altogether. The problem with that is that I swear my characters are the ones who refused to let me quit when I wanted to. They hounded me with “You have to tell my story!” until I finally relented. I’m glad I didn’t give in and hand over my best work, but it was a very dark time for me.
Me: Kudos to you for following your gut. I feel like too many writers are so desperate to be published that they aren’t thinking about the consequences of signing their books over.
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Kayelle: Thinking of the book I’m sharing today, I’d like to say I’m like Senth because I’m fun-loving. I’m also like Luc because when I want something I find a way to get it. I’m like NarrAy because she is intelligent and resourceful. I’m like Khyff because he is steadfastly loyal even when it hurts him.
Me: Who is your book boyfriend? Why?
Kayelle: Easy answer here. I’m totally gone over Roarke in JD Robb’s In Death series. He’s supportive, sexy, resourceful, fun, and okay, it’s last but not least: he’s gorgeous. If I could pick one of my own characters I’d have a really hard time. I know all their secrets, including the ones they wish I would hide forever, good and bad.
Me: Roarke <sigh> is a classic choice. And that reminds me… I need to get caught up on that series!
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you were ever given? How did you get beyond it?
Kayelle: That I was too old to write. I should not try to start something like that at my age. After all, I was over fifty. I let it set me back for a little while before I started noticing other writers who had begun their careers when my age or older. My first book came out when I was fifty-three, and now at sixty-five, I have more than a dozen books and many more on the way. I got over it because I looked beyond what was being said and checked it out for myself. Don’t believe everything you hear. Anyone who tells you that you can’t do something is telling you their limits. Not yours.
Me: Amen Sista! Preach it! You are so true!
Tell me about your military science fiction romance, At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.
Hired to steal back a prototype taken by the imperial armada, Senth Antonello retrieves it, but his brother is kidnapped to force Senth to surrender the device.
Now he has to rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. He must do it in the company of NarrAy Jorlan, a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.
He’s a thief. She’s a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release,At the Mercy of Her Pleasure .
When At the Mercy of Her Pleasure came out, my readers clamored for the story of the hero’s brother. I told it in the next book, For Women Only. I love this scene because it lets us see inside his aching heart. It occurs moments before he’s kidnapped to force Senth to return what he’d taken. It begins with him looking in the window at a display of crystals. Khyff had been forced to mine crystals like them as a child.
Khyff pressed his fingers against the glass of the window and remembered the scrape of jagged crystals splitting open his scalp. The blinding sting of stitches in raw skin. It was the only time anyone had held him as a child, to keep him from thrashing too hard while they sewed him up. No one wasted anesthetics on slaves. He winced at the memory of cramps in his neck, back, and legs from long hours hunched over or squatting, laboring in the dim light reflected from uncut gems. The burn in his muscles from reaching overhead with a drill, sweat stinging his eyes behind dirty goggles.
Sometimes when he closed his eyes at night, he could still smell the sweat of the other kids. Feel the grit on the floor where they slept in a huddle. They took turns being at the center, so everyone got a chance to be warm once in a while. Even now, when he showered, he washed and rinsed again and again, trying to erase the memory of black dirt crusting every pore.
You can find Kayelle here:
Leave a comment for Kayelle and then enjoy your free copy of Who’s Who on Tarth–a reference book with characters from books set in the Tarthian Empire.
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.