* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Author interview no.470 with poet Kimberly Gray (revisited)
Back in August 2012, I interviewed author Kimberly Gray for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the four hundred and seventieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with poet and article writer Kimberly Gray. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Kimberly.
Kimberly: Hello. Morgen, first let me thank you again so much, what a tremendous service you offer authors and I for one really appreciate it.
Morgen: :*) Oh you’re very welcome. Thank you for being here. I’ve said this before but this blog wouldn’t be what it is without my guests. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Kimberly: My name is Kimberly Gray and I find the fun in everything I do, suppose like a child. Life can be too serious at times and sometimes I need to just let loose. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as a Navy Baby, it was there I would start my multitude of moves landing me where I am living now in Toronto, back in Canada. I am 45 years old and have not stepped into a classroom since the age of 14. I am learning how to write like me everyday with a clearer message. I also seem everyday that I have just begun. I have been writing on my own, since the age of 14 as well.
I started to write because of a wonderful man who told me it could help me cope and heal, where doctors could not. PTSD and severe ADD certainly gave me some interesting challenges. That man, Earl, didn’t let me down, and writing does heal. This over time, is how I grew to start and love writing, and since then have done so everyday.
Morgen: Writing is incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes we just want to get something out of our head and seeing something written down is like sharing with someone, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Kimberly: I have written poetry since the age of fourteen, and 2 years ago decided to write about my struggles in hopes to help others. My current book is a new pool of water for me, being a thriller. My other current book is educational, about drugs and drug dealing. Currently I am also entertaining the prospect of Journalism in the print medium.
Morgen: So plenty of variety. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Kimberly: I write under the name Kimberly and have just published two e-books and was featured in five poetry books as the Editors Choice. I have published over 230 articles on HubPages, some under different names, including preY a vampire.
Morgen: HubPages has been mentioned a few times. I’ve looked at the site occasionally but never contributed, maybe I should. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Kimberly: No rejections to date, I am blessed with the feedback I have received.
Morgen: That’s great. Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions?
Kimberly: I just won a “Hubbie” for best poet from 430,000 other writers, and again Editors choice awards as featured poetry. http://blog.hubpages.com/2011/08/fifth-birthday At this site I have also been awarded with one of the years top 200 writers, and gifted with a few dozen articles written about myself as a person and a writer. Lastly, been rewarded with inspiring over 500 articles as a direct result of my input. http://sunnieday50.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/introducing-kimberlyslyrics-otherwise-known-as-kimberly-gray
Morgen: Having written so many articles (not wishing to belittle your abilities for a second) it must help that you’ve written so many. Life is practice, isn’t it (or is it 42 like Douglas Adams said). Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Kimberly: No agent as of yet but will be searching soon, as I would like my two novels in hardcover upon completion. Without the experience of an Agent, it is hard for me to tell how integral a part of the process they would be. I find my Editor helps so immensely above and beyond his responsibilities, it is just as though I have one already. More research to be done here!
Morgen: We have the Writers & Artists Yearbook and Writers Handbook in the UK which are the usual places to go to. http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.htm is also a great guide. I read only this morning (in the October edition of Writers’ Forum magazine) that Amazon are now selling more eBooks than hardbacks and paperbacks combined, are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all?
Kimberly: Yes, both books are eBooks. Unnecessarypoetry and moreunnecessarypoetry. I worked with smashwords, myself. One of the largest learning curves I could not have predicted but persevered and am in the Premium catalogue.
Morgen: I found the most daunting prospect with Smashwords was going through the 70+-page style guide but it turns out that it’s so user-friendly that I flew through it and once you have the template you can just work from that. Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way? And do you have a favourite?
Kimberly: I have never read eBooks until now. I do love the comfort from a hardcover book and enjoy the format much better. Now in the medium of eBooks, I am constantly scouting for new ones and am quickly enjoying reading them on my Mac Kindle. My favourite book is Jonathon Living Seagull. My stepfather, recently deceased, gave it to me as a teenager and would remind me to read it again, from time to time. It’s message of hope and the fact we can accomplish anything gave me tools he had understood were critical to lead a life of your own desires. He taught me nothing was impossible. That book means more to me now than I could have ever imagined.
Morgen: I was given it as a leaving present from a temp job years ago and have only read it once (some months later) but can see why it’s so popular. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Kimberly: This is where I find I am ‘stuck on stupid’ LOL. Funny thing is I have worked globally for the past 25 years in Advertising / Communications as a print and broadcast producer as well as an Account Manager. Primarily thinking of creative and new ideas to execute my Client’s message.
Possibly because this is my work or not, I am indeed finding it hard to find free creative outlets to market me as a brand, pen name Kimberly, and my books for sales. I still however am joined to all the social sites and use their leverage the best I can.
Morgen: Marketing is usually the answer to ‘least favourite aspect of writing’ and I’m sure 99% of those reading this will feel the same as you but persevere. It’s time-consuming and takes us away from writing but the upside is that we get to meet our readers. :) If any of your books were made into films, whom would you have as the leading actor/s?
Kimberly: May he RIP, I believe 2pac was one of the greatest poets of our time, and shot dead at 26, while helping Inner City kids. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do5MMmEygsY&feature=player_detailpage
In particular, the soon to be released novel ‘my life as a white, female, drug dealer’ I would definitely see made into a film. It is growing into something that could become that. I would cast Denzel Washington, 50 cent and for the female role, Natalie Portman.
Morgen: Tell us about the titles / covers of your books… How important do you think they are?
Kimberly: I believe to the core, if the name of your book is intriguing and the cover is attractive to the eye, you have already got half a sale. I used graphics in the creative means by having the design be within its title.
I feel these two elements combined work well. The titles are one words and lower case. They are designed to read at once with my author name as just Kimberly, no last name. Utilizing appropriate colour brings the type to life. The names in sarcasm have fun with the content. Both books in their entirety are presented in lower case.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Kimberly: I am currently juggling three novels, a line of Greeting Cards for prisoners and families, a column celebrating women and a fun eBook. I am also working on a soon to be published ‘inventors humour book’ for which has not been created. My imagination might have gone into over drive on this one. LOL
Morgen: Oh but if it’s fun to do it won’t seem like ‘work’. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Kimberly: I do write everyday. I write my novels and blogs, commenting on author’s work, greeting cards, and articles for HubPages and poetry, along with journaling for myself privately. I get frustrated from the opposite of writers block. I have yet to experience it yet. However, I am cycling ideas to write but when I begin writing a concept I have thought of my ADD kicks in, with a new idea resulting in many unfinished pieces to which I so badly hope I am able to finish one day.
Morgen: I’m the same, so many ideas swarming around… which is another great reason for writing a story a day. :) Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Kimberly: I just get an idea and run with it. My imagination gifts me with ideas, and off I go. Sadly too slow, much more so than the speed would like to work at. I can be very impatient.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Kimberly: My method is simple; I pull from my own experiences and write very simply, in the most complicated of ways. Character names I pull from people I have known. First name one person, then last name from someone else. The majority of time I just create my own. If ever stuck with character names, I heard the phone book is a great reference. LOL
In order for a character to be believable, it must have a vulnerable characteristic. Or vice versa. Pulling from real emotions and thoughts. It’s believable when it comes in a form from within
Morgen: The phone book and baby books, yes, although a recent interviewee John Wills uses the Random Name Generator http://www.kleimo.com/random/name.cfm. You write poetry, why do you think it’s such a difficult market to break into? Are there any tips you could give to someone wishing to write poetry?
Kimberly: I write poetry everyday. It just flows from me and I have no idea why. I find it elementary in content, yet I have a large following and have won awards for it.
The market for poetry is so oversaturated, unless your content is original and well written, it’s doubtful it will get read. Having said that, my two books of poetry that I just published, are getting some sales, but I have no expectations of being read by many people. Despite it’s solid content, people just don’t seem to buy poetry books, especially in the eBook medium.
Advice I would give someone wanted to break into poetry is to first, write everyday, don’t fear it and aggressively continue to push the envelope. Write from that spot within that is the scariest. No one has to know where your inspiration comes from; they just need to be emotionally pulled in by as many words you wish to convey your song [I prefer to call it]. Lastly, don’t revise and revise, don’t doubt your words. They came to paper the first time the way they did, for a reason.
Morgen: I love that. :) Do you write any non-fiction or short stories?
Kimberly: Yes, many. Primarily of my own struggles and pain. Always remaining positive and pray it will reach someone else who needs it to.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully formed?
Kimberly: I have an editor. He is my savoir, and worth his weight in gold. Given I am 45 years old and have no education at all since the age of 14, I do struggle at times. He is patient and smart. I wouldn’t know how to edit. However writing everyday has continued to help my grammar and am amazed how much I do learn just from this.
Morgen: I’m sure you read as well which must help. Do you have to do much research?
Kimberly: Depending on the project and what information I need to deliver, it is important it is accurate.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Kimberly: I write 90% of the time in first person. Could be an ego disease LOL. Yes I have tried writing in the second person but do find it most difficult.
Morgen: It’s not easy. I love it but I’ve written a fair amount, and it can be quite dark which suits me. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Kimberly: Truthfully, many. I struggle with completing projects. My finished work will always see the light of day, I will insist on it.
Morgen: :) What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Kimberly: I am not bulletproof. Like most creative people, insecurities and doubt are consistently taunting me. My favourite aspect of my writing life is typing away and then a great idea is triggered. That trigger ignites me and I love the chase to type it out before the passion and thought vanish from a bad short-term memory.
My least favourite aspect of writing is it is very lonely. It is an art form, like others where it must be done alone. I am not alone when my writing is pouring out of me, rather all the other moments.
Morgen: Absolutely. We have characters to keep us company. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Kimberly: To aspiring writers I would ask if this is without doubt something they wanted to do. If so know there are no limitations to where your words can take you. Embrace your dreams and write as though the world will love it. Worry about getting read later. If you write it, they will come.
Morgen: :) If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, whom would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Kimberly: LOL, I would invite, Audrey Hepburn, Kid Rock and my Sister. Sadly I am sure they would have to leave from food poisoning after cooking them Kraft Dinner.
Morgen: Oh dear. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Kimberly: Let’s switch our focus from world peace to helping the war for our kids on the streets.
Morgen: That’s true. I find here in the UK that we have enough going on at home that we should be focusing our attention yet we spend millions sorting out other countries… OK enough politics. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Kimberly: photography, pillow fights, now reading eBooks, brushing my hair, bareback riding, collecting B/W photographs, acting, dancing, sifting through endless Victoria Secrets catalogues, taking naps, eating, and long bubble baths. Also, standing in the middle of the train station, closing my eyes, and just listening to the chaos.
Morgen: I’ve not tried that but I love the thought of it. Are there any writing-related websites that you find useful?
Kimberly: Writing related websites I enjoy are Hubpages, Squido, Experience project, The rooms, Elite group workshop on Facebook, Blogs, Ning, Yahoo Associated content, Infobarrell, Rubecom, Ehow, Eye on Life Magazine and Redgage.
Morgen: Wow. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Kimberly: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Stumbleupon, Vimeo, Digg, Reddit, Google, Hubpages forums, Smashwords and Linkedin. With respect to finding these social networks useful, I really don’t find they are. Of course, obviously some more than others. With the ongoing, never-ending flow of traffic to these sites, only few posts are seen. It does bring me traffic but not near the amount it should, given the large target audience they carry.
Morgen: I soon realised with Twitter that you have to post the same thing semi-regularly to get noticed (although some authors bombard with “buy my book” and wonder why they get de-followed). Fortunately I’m in a couple of Triberr groups who retweet my blog posts (and I theirs) so that helps. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Kimberly: I wish I knew. Regardless I will continue to write. Write by pen. Technology is scary for a writer; everyone is publishing any content on the net. There are no editors on writing sites that monitor the quality of content. Mine included. We cannot judge the quality of our work ourselves, as we get lost in a school of fish, never to be seen again. I make my income writing online. Google and others while they control my income also control how well I do. Let’s hope it even stays as it now. Better would be great but how? Sigh.
Morgen: The $64,000 question. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Kimberly: Sunnie Day’s feature, Smashwords, Prey, Dear addict, lyricsingray, Hubbie, Top 200, 800 days 1st feature, 2nd feature, one of four blogs, SligoBay and bbnix.
I have been very fortunate to have many blogs and articles written so kindly about me, those are a few.
I can also be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morgen: Me too. :) Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Kimberly: In my struggles to come up with ideas to help spread the word about my work, I stumbled upon you. This is very important to me and you are doing such a tremendous service to writers and authors. I’m signed up and looking forward to following. Thank You.
I would also like to add to new writers, if I can do this with no education, you could soar with education. Writing is another language I find. I quite frankly, love it. Money or not it is the real chicken soup for the soul.
Morgen: I’ve heard many people say that Dan Brown and EL James (to name just two) aren’t great writers but tell a great story. We started as storytellers and that’s what it boils down to. If we have something to say we just have to say it the best way we can. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Kimberly: What inspired you to do these interviews and blogs? It must take tremendous effort and a great deal of time. Oh, and do you have a pet? :)
Morgen: Short answer is that I started the blog late March 2011 and shortly after was asked to do an interview and enjoyed it so much that I started doing them here. It kind of bloomed from there. And yes, it’s almost a full-time job… actually more than that; much more than a 40-hours-a-week job but I enjoy it. I have a dog, an 11-year-old Jack Russell / Cairn Cross who thinks he’s a child but then I treat him like one so he got that idea from somewhere. :) His picture’s on my blog’s podcast page. Thank you, Kimberly.
I then invited Kimberly to include an extract of her writing…
Writing terrifies me. Writing drives me. Writing excites me. Writing intimidates me. Writing exposes me. Writing fulfils me. Writing defines me. Writing laughs with me. Writing pushes me. Writing succumbs me. Writing teaches me. Writing surprises me. Writing flows from me. Writing engrosses me. Writing doubts me. Writing possesses me. Writing competes with me. Writing comforts me. Writing never ends. Writing lets me keep a secret or expose anything.
Writing gives me ink hands. Writing strengthens me. Writing takes the loneliness away. Writing allows me to communicate. Writing allows me to hide. Writing lets me whomever I want. Writing is Showtime. Writing is home. Writing is my voice.
Above all else, writing heals me and I have much writing to do.
I then invited Kimberly to include more details of her books…
2 eBooks just published namely unnecessarypoetry and moreunnecessarypoetry each contain 30 poems. Various formats and topics, and pulled from some form, of truth from within. With such a variety, giving them tags was difficult and summed it up with; inspirational, imagination, female writers, Canadian writer, erotic, truth, poetry, series, and various. I have sold 126 books as of today and that’s not bad given its poetry. I have had 60 sample downloads, which could also be looked at as a bad sign. With so many samples, downloaded after calculating sales, people are not buying them. However I will stay optimistic and listen to people when they say wait and be patient and continue to write your novels. The cover design is from Chris Harrison and my genie of an editor is Mike Friedman.
Kimberly possesses such a strong desire to reach people. To reach them in a capacity people will trust she is sincere. That brought on the donation of time she spends donating much of her writing to charity and the time consuming column of dear addict. Quite insecure about the quality of her work, she finds it is improving so much over the years the awards were well deserved.
It is not easy for her and at times, mental illness can take over and not allow her to write. She always says it is the mental illness that gifts her with the imagination to be able to write. She certainly is determined and has much fun working hard, regardless of the task. Still loving being the best pillow fighter, holding the best title for champion, 3 years running now.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.