Author Interview with Kelly Blanchard

It’s been an interesting time. How have you been, and how has lockdown been treating you?

Interesting times for sure. For the most part, my life is rather normal because everything I do is from home anyway. The main difference is having my husband home more, which has actually been very great since he and I like to co-write.

Very cool…I’ve always wondered how co-writing teams do it. What’s the process like?

Everyone has different methods of how to co-write. The way my husband and I do it is, we know how the story is going to go, we know the major scenes that need to happen, and then we have a certain set of characters, and we write scene-by-scene, having those characters interact. We always know what needs to happen in each scene, but we never really know HOW it’s going to happen. It’s a lot of fun, very addictive. We can literally write all day if we didn’t have anything else to do!

Brilliant…and this is a new series which I’ll get back to but in the meantime you’ve just signed your first series The Chronicles of Lorrek over to Fallbrandt Press. Talk a bit about that series, and why you decided to make that jump.

The Chronicles of Lorrek is a strong mix of fantasy/scifi. There is magic, medieval kingdoms, dragons, and then there’s high tech, space ships, and stuff like that. It’s a fun blend for sure!

The series follows Lorrek, sorcerer prince of Cuskelom. He has been missing for ten years and presumed dead, so when he suddenly returns, he has a lot of catching up to do. It doesn’t help that there’s war on the horizon. Basically, he’s trying to help those he cares about, but nothing is ever simple and things go wrong, and he keeps getting blamed then bad things happen. This really starts pushing him to more of a darker edge.

It’s a fun series for sure. Lorrek is a different kind of protagonist.

As for my decision to go with Fallbrandt with my series. They came to me and offered me a deal. At first I wasn’t sure about taking it because I’m just used to doing it all by myself, but they were very willing to listen to my questions and address them directly. It was very reassuring. They would do all the hard work of promoting my books, and that was time and money I wouldn’t have to spend, which meant I would have more time to write. That’s always a good deal! I’m very happy with my decision to go with Fallbrandt.

And we’re very happy to have you. I’ve enjoyed your work and the way you mix genres immensely. Can you talk a bit about some of the influences that shaped the characters in the Chronicles of Lorrek ?

Sometimes certain characters in TV shows or movies give me ideas for characters of my own. For instance, Lorrek, he’s inspiration came from Loki from the Thor movie. When watching the movie, I always loved Loki but he was the bad guy, so I asked myself, “What if he is actually the good guy but just misunderstood?” So I took that core idea and created Lorrek. Of course, Lorrek’s story is absolutely nothing like Loki’s, and there is nothing about norse mythology in the books, but the core idea of Loki is in Lorrek. He has this flamboyant attitude at times, which can get him into trouble, but it’s fun all the same.

What do you hope readers take from your series when they no doubt binge read it in May? Is there a message in the overall story that you wanted to convey?

There is a lot that can be taken from the books. It really depends on each reader. For some, it could be the message of ‘not to judge one another’. For others, it may be ‘you can’t save everyone’, and so forth. It really depends on the reader. I just hope they enjoy the books!

The world building in the series is absolutely spectacular? Where did you come up with the idea for all the different “continents”, and what made you decide to mix magic with technology creating this Fantasy/Sci-Fi blend?

Honestly I don’t remember! I’ve always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction, and when I was creating my own fictional world, I was like, “Why not throw everything in together and see what happens?” It’s been a lot of fun making it work. Some people have asked me, “How can you have one kingdom with high tech and it NOT invade the other medieval kingdoms?” and I tell them, “Don’t worry, that’s actually addressed in one of the books. There’s a very good reason.”

Each kingdom has a unique trait, and I can honestly say I don’t remember where I got the idea to make them unique like that. I just wanted something different.

I had that exact same question and I am awaiting the answer so I know that writing is a huge part of your life but what takes up most of your non writing time?

Practicing graphic design, loving on my cats, baking cookies, brownies, or cakes, cleaning the house, running errands–you know, basic stuff.

I spend a lot of time online too, interacting with my writing community and my fans. Always so much fun. Sometimes while they’re reading my books, when they get to a scene where I killed a fan favorite character, they message me to rant, and I just laugh. Always fun!

Which leads right in to my next question. You have a large fan group on Facebook called The Realm of the Muse. Talk a bit about the group, the Muse concept and what it’s all about

Ah yes, my realm! It’s a fun place where I interact with my fans. I like to post beautiful pictures there too. A lot of people in the group are also writers, and sometimes pictures I post spark an idea for stories or characters for their stories. It’s a lot of fun!

It’s a great group. I was drawn to your ability to just be real and connect with people. I’m sure some of your group content has helped many people

While the group isn’t limited to writers, what amazes me is how some people are inspired to begin writing because of the group. That is amazing, and I love it! I always like to encourage people to tackle their dreams and not to let fear or the unknown to hold them back.

That’s incredible. And as far as writing goes you’ve not only written a nine book series with CoL but you have more ready to go. Talk about what your plans are for work in progress

Well, right now I have a completed five-book series waiting in the wings to be published along with another completed three-book series. Then my husband and I are currently co-writing yet another series that may be four or five books long. Then I have at least three or four more series planned to write. Each time I write a new series, I come up with another idea for a new series, so I’m not going to run out of writing material for a long time. And yes, ALL these different series take place in the same story universe, often with familiar characters. It’s a lot of fun!

That’s awesome. Without getting in to a cliche “what’s your writing day like?” question, how are you able to maintain such prolificacy?

With the lockdown, my usual writing routine has been thrown for a loop. It’s different every day. However, ideally, I wake up, take care of my cats, and then I write 2k words. Once I’m done with that, I’ll eat breakfast and see what else I need to do for the day. If I have the time, I’ll write more. If I’m co-writing with my husband, we tend to write all day long while still getting different projects done around the house since only one of us can be writing at a time.

As for my prolificacy, I say that just comes from pure determination to get writing done. Some people depend on inspiration to write, others depend on motivation, but for me, it’s determination. Sure, there are days I don’t write, but that’s mainly because the day did NOT go as I had planned, and I got tired and had a headache, but writing every day is a goal of mine, so I try my best to do that.

Words of inspiration by The Muse herself. Now from what I understand you got you start writing Star Wars fan fiction which is super awesome! How did that begin and how did it influence the direction of your writing career ?

Star Wars! Of course, I watched the original trilogy and was very intrigued by it, but my imagination wasn’t really sparked until the Phantom Menace was released. Qui-Gon Jinn was killed! He was my favorite character! That was unfair, so I discovered fan fiction, and wanted to read stories where he lived. Well, that’s one rabbit hole I disappeared into, and I fell in love with reading fan fiction, so I began to writing some! Most of my writing style comes from me studying other people’s techniques in fan fiction because I absolutely loved their stories and had to ask myself, “WHAT is it that I love about their stories?”

So I began to write and form my writing style, finding my voice in writing. I always view fan fiction as a ‘playground’ where you can play in someone else’s universe that’s already established, and you can learn how to write strong characters, dialogue, description, worldbuilding, and how to handle plot and so forth. All of that can be so overwhelming when you are just starting writing and have to make up everything on you own, but if you write fan fiction initially, you don’t have to create a whole new universe with sets of rules and characters. You can just borrow someone else’s, play around with it until you’re confident in your own abilities, and go from there.

What’s your advice for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring authors is not to rush into publishing. A lot of beginning writers start by saying, “I want to publish THIS book!” but it’s literally their first book. I always say, “That’s great and ambitious, but…maybe hold off on the whole publishing side of things for now.” By reasoning is, if they’ve never written a book before, then they need to first figure out how they write dialogue, description, how to build unique characters, and how they handle plots and build their worlds. That’s a lot of work! It can be very intimidating and daunting for someone just starting off, so that’s why I always say, just focus on writing first. Once you’ve gotten a good handle on that, then you can write something to publish. Does this mean you can’t ever publish anything you wrote up to that point? No, not at all! All that older stuff can be revised and rewritten into new material!

As for authors who are trying to figure out the publishing world, my recommendation is to get active in the writing community. Find writing groups to participate in. When someone asks a question, if you know the answer, then answer it. If you don’t know the answer but you know someone who does, then tag that person so everyone can learn the answer. By doing this, you become more visible, and you gain people’s trust. All writers are readers too, so when you build your own group, they’d be happy to flock to it.

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/MusesRealm

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorKellyBlanchard

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kellannetta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kellannetta

Website: www.kellannetta.com

Box Set 1: Chronicles of Lorrek Books 1-3: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Z3YLXH

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