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Interview with KC Sprayberry   3 comments

Today’s interview is with K.C. Sprayberry. Welcome to the blog.  Tell us something about yourself.

Sprayberry EyesI currently live in Northwest Georgia, but that will be changing soon. We’re in the process of selling our home and relocating to Alabama. Not only am I an author, I’m also the editor-in-chief of Summer Solstice Publishing, an imprint of Solstice Publishing. My significant other is my husband of nearly twenty-two years and the only child remaining in our almost empty nest is our youngest, who will be returning to college in a year.

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As far back as I can remember, I have loved reading. I think that came from my mom, who in an effort to control six unruly children over school holidays, was wont to sit us down with a book in our hands and order us to read. We all developed a deep-seated passion for those books and many others that continues to this day. Sometime during this process, I began to create stories in my head. At first, I put these tales into my diary, until one of my brothers discovered it and blabbed. After that, I kept the stories in my head, until high school, where a very good creative writing teacher pulled that magical string and let them loose. Since then, I’ve been jotting down stories on pieces of paper, napkins, even my hand when I was without a piece of paper. It’s like the faucet will never close, and I aim to make the most of this journey.

Sprayberry callchronicleskindlecoverThat’s a common history for many of us writers … that tap that cannot be turned off.  Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process generally consists of me yelling at the characters demanding to be heard while I attempt to do those normal things—prepare meals, tote the child here and there, and clean the house. They won’t shut up, so I’ll plop down and pound out their stories, until the dust bunnies are of Jurassic size, and then do the normal things until the characters are too loud again. It’s a vicious circle I can’t, and don’t want to escape.

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

It might be easier to ask what is my least favorite genre. I will read a book as long as it’s good. It’s that simple. Be it fantasy, contemporary, romance, sci-fi, or any of the other genres, as long as the author has created a wonderful, consuming story that I can’t walk away from. There are exceptions though. I don’t read porn, have no use for it, and literary fiction leaves me cold. Most literary fiction I’ve attempted to read bored me to tears within the first ten pages.

Sprayberry lost and scared cover artWhat are you passionate about?

Writing, reading, photography, nature, honesty in politics. Yes, I know the last one is a bit of a laugh, but I feel that politicians should be honest with those who have elected them. That’s probably why I’m not too popular with that group.

What is something you cannot live without?

A quiet place to write… my books (we have close to 3,000 print and ebooks)… my kitchen—cooking is my way of relaxing. As one of my children recently described it, “I don’t know how much she puts of what into the pot. She just tosses this and that, and it all comes out great.”

Sprayberry Softly Say GoodbyeWhen you are not writing, what do you do?

Visit the library… a park… smell the flowers outside… meet up with people I like. I’m a simple person. There’s no need for a fancy meal, or an elite gathering. Give me down home folks and good food, and I’m enjoying myself.

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

My most recent novel, Lost & Scared, and my latest collection, Soar High 1 Standing Strong.

The novel, Lost & Scared, is about non-custodial parental abduction told from the viewpoint of twins, a brother and sister, with an almost mystical connection. One of them is left behind, while the other is taken in the abduction with three of their younger siblings. It’s intense, explores a lot of emotions and actions I’ve avoided in my other teen novels, and as my editor put it, is a darned good book.

Soar High 1 Standing Strong is a series of stories about abuse. It’s about overcoming abuse more than about the actions themselves. Freeing those being abused from their situation is more than mouthing words, it’s about action, doing what others may say is wrong, but still taking that step to walk away from the pattern so it doesn’t hold onto you forever.

Sprayberry Where U @Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Things happening around me, news stories, situations I experienced growing up and as an adult. Sometimes a character will appear in my head and demand that I tell a story I’ve never considered. Those are harder to write, but far more satisfying, especially the research I do to find out more about the situation I’m crafting.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Newspapers, the internet, talking to people who have experienced what I’m writing about, or who know someone who has gone through it. Sometimes, to craft a great story, you have to step away from the characters and envision things how their friends see them. That’s why it’s important to get the opinion of bystanders.

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I’m intense and approach subjects that aren’t comfortable. Things like underage drinking, school violence, texting and driving, non-custodial parental abduction, and bullying to name a few. Some say those are hot subjects, but I try to look at them from a viewpoint that hasn’t been done before.

Do you have a special place where you write?

I have a writing cave. It’s a private place, where those in the house know they can’t wander into at will. I’ll also write in a notebook at the park, or sitting in the bleachers before a game, or even at the grocery store if the muse strikes.

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Currently, I’m returning to the non-custodial parental abduction theme. Lost & Scared 2 is in the early planning stages. There are a couple of chapters written, but I’m still researching a few elements that I don’t really know well, so those characters are well rounded. I have to say this book will portray the original twins in a completely different way as the first book, which is why I’m having so much trouble getting it to work. They’ve matured, are getting ready for college, and still dealing with the near past. And that’s all I can say about that book at the moment.

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Character driven, definitely. My characters are very much a part of my life. They feel the same as my kids. I care about them. I cry when they do, laugh with them, and fight for the same things they believe in. Well-developed characters can move a plot so well, and I strive hard to do that with mine.

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I’m a panster through and through. I’ve tried writing from an outline, but it never works. Before I reach chapter eight, I’m tossing everything out the window and listening to my characters, switching up situations, letting the plot take off on its own.

Sprayberry Take Chances (683x1024)What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

For my teen books, I prefer first person, present tense. It’s more alive, contains more a feeling of immediacy. Romance, military fiction, and westerns are all third person, past tense. That’s how the story wants to be told, and I learned long ago not to ignore the story.

Do you head-hop?

I try not to. Some of my stories have that happen accidentally, but mostly I stick to the point of view I’m working with at the moment. Do I have multiple POV stories? Yes. Two of my teen books, my romantic suspense novel, and my western are all multiple POV, but I work hard to ensure the reader isn’t confused about whose story they’re reading.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Better be some really good mosquito spray. I’m a magnet for those critters, and I hear the ones in Alaska are huge!

The huge ones are easy. They’ve very slow, so you can smack them before they get to you. It’s the smaller ones that attack with ferocity and by the millions. But we have great bug spray.

You’ll supply the food too? Will it be food I don’t have to prepare? Because if so, I’ll be spending that whole month doing a NaNoWriMo type writing marathon with one major difference. I won’t have to stop to grocery shop, or make meals, or clean the house. You might have to use a shoehorn to boot me out after a month.

Tell us about your books.

We’ll start with the first. Softly Say Goodbye was inspired by a Breaking Benjamin song, Here We Are. The moment I heard that song, the characters came alive in my head. The plot and theme were a lot slower, until I settled on underage drinking and one girl’s passion to stop teens in her school from going down that road.

Take Chances is probably the second most emotional book for me. This idea began right after Columbine. That really hit home for my family. We knew people there, people I’d worked with before we moved to Georgia. Watching the news stories, seeing the terror drove home just how awful this is. The main character, Julie, is a military brat, and proud of it. She has her secrets, one of which is revealed the day before horror visits her at a school a second time.

Sprayberry The Wrong One 2 (427x640)The Wrong One is my first multiple viewpoint story. Two children are ripped apart in a night of terror when they are four. Fourteen years later, the boy, Kyle, stands by his vow to bring Lyssa home. Lyssa doesn’t even know who she really is, due to a threat made in the early hours after she was taken from her home. This book is my first psychological thriller, but not my last. The Wrong One placed #7 in the 2013 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

Inits—it’s all in a name, or as Alex puts it in this book, the inits, initials, of your name. And his are a curse word. He’s tried for years to stop punching people who use his inits, but now that he’s starting high school, he knows he has to find a peaceful way to stop the teasing. Only one person stands in his way, the school bully, who is determined to make Alex get over his inits and let people use them.

Texting and driving is the theme for Where U @, but the book is much more than that. It also explores some racism, where the main character, Trea, must put up with harassment because she’s one quarter Cherokee. As she discovers, it’s easy to say don’t text and drive, but the temptation might prove too strong at certain moments.

Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates is the first in a planned 6 book series about a group of teens living on a space station. It’s irreverent, funny, and full of all kinds of dangerous situations—the perfect book for adventuresome boys and girls. Oh, and there are space pirates, with one big surprise for BD Bradford, the main character.

Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule, there’s a new gang making trouble on Canoples Station, along with a lot of hatred for the Canoples Investigations crew. Can they overcome all of that to protect the station from dangerous animals and… gasp!… gas?

Paradox Lost: Their Path is a time travel fantasy novel. What starts out as a prophecy that will happen sometime in the future, turns into a fight for their lives for triplets DJ, Matt, and Elisa. To compound the problems, each of them must make the choice to save their father, trapped in the debris of 1906 San Francisco after the earthquake, thereby changing history and causing more problems. Or will they put their personal concerns aside and work for the more important issue, stopping Rogues from destroying the world? Paradox Lost: Their Path placed #3 in the 2014 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

The Curse of Grungy Gulley, a tale that has been with me for a long time. It originally started out as another “dead mother” book, but evolved into a good versus evil fight spanning 144 years, with four viewpoints. Three teens must overcome a Bewitcher who has been harrying their families since the time of The Black Plague in fourteenth century Europe.

How do you stop a stalker who is determined to possess you? That’s what Lisa faces in Evil Eyes. This book is also about teens experiencing new feelings of closeness with their significant other once they’re off in college, away from a protective home environment.

Lost & Scared is my most recent YA novel, and the most intense writing experience I’ve ever had. The theme is non-custodial parental abduction from the viewpoint of twins, a boy and a girl. Each of them originally has the same reason to exhibit disgust for their dad, but they find themselves being tested beyond what they thought were their limits as the story unfolds. This book isn’t for the faint of heart.

What if you had a chance to ride in the Pony Express? What if you were a girl and this was your dream? That’s the theme of Pony Dreams, a book set in mid-nineteenth century Nevada. Abby will do anything to get near the ponies, even thinks about sneaking away from home to join the new mail venture.

Westerns have always had a special place in my heart. The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang was an experiment that I suggested to The Western Online. This book was actually first published on their website as a serialized novel, much like the penny dreadfuls of the nineteenth century. It’s about a family who has a duty to find and bring to the justice the men who burned their home and murdered their parents.

What would you do if your daughter allegedly committed suicide but you are certain she didn’t? That’s what Jayme and Brad face in Starlight, a romantic suspense novel about corruption.

*** I do have short stories, collections, and anthologies along with my novels, but in the interest of space, I didn’t include them. ***

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

It never starts out that way, but the subject matter I deal with usually ends with a message. Honestly, I really try hard to avoid being preachy about those messages.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want them to get mad, to cry, to laugh, to think of my characters as they would their family or friends. I would love my readers to be so involved in the book that they are screaming for a win during a game, beating the armrest of their chair when things go wrong, or hiccupping from sobbing at a very intense moment.

Social Media Links:

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/KC-Sprayberry/e/B005DI1YOU

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Website: http://www.kcsprayberry.com/

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/

Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=18984155&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdb: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

Amazon Book List: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=k.c.%20sprayberry&sprefix=k.c.+%2Cdigital-text

Book Links:

Softly Say Goodbye: getBook.at/B00I10UNY4

Take Chances: getBook.at/B00FIOX1MW

The Wrong One: getBook.at/B00GSSW5T2

Inits: getBook.at/B00M4RQ74K

Where U @ myBook.to/B00HZTT4LK

Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates: myBook.to/B00HZTT4LK

Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule: getBook.at/B00RBVDC4C

Paradox Lost: Their Path: getBook.at/B00PB735LI

The Curse of Grungy Gulley: getBook.at/B00O29F6AE

Evil Eyes: getBook.at/B00J1QC3V8

Lost & Scared: getBook.at/B00TXJ48FC

Pony Dreams: getBook.at/B00HTQNE7Y

The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang: getBook.at/B00NAA7GXG

Starlight: viewBook.at/B00K2IMHOM

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