Interview with Kelly Risser - YA Author
I’m so happy to feature fellow YA Author Kelly Risser in my blog today. (I knew I found a kindred spirit when I realized we both incorporate Celtic myths and legends into our novels.)
Kelly, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I live in Muskego, Wisconsin with my two kids, my husband, and our dog, Clyde. While I work full time as an Instructional Designer, creating eLearning courses for a bank, writing is my passion and my biggest hobby. Coming in a close second would be reading. I prefer books to TV, and yes, I prefer the book to the movie, too. I’m the type of reader who vividly pictures the story in my head. Since it already plays out like a personal movie for me, I often find myself disappointed at either the casting choices or the actors’ performances.
I am a huge Disney and Harry Potter fan. This summer, we took our family vacation at Universal and went to both theme parks. I absolutely adore what they have done with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The details are stunning. If you go, make a point to try the butter beer!
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I wrote a lot of creative fiction when I was young, but once I went to college, then graduated and started my “career”, I just didn’t seem to have the time. Once in a while, an idea would come to me and I’d write it down, but nothing drove me to complete a story. Never Forgotten was one idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. Although it is a fantasy story, it has elements of my own life experiences in it. It also helped that I joined a writing workshop. Discussing your work with other writers is intimidating at first, but when you have a supportive community, it makes all the difference.
Your first two novels come to us via Clean Teen Publishing. Can you tell us a little what Clean Teen is all about?
Clean Teen Publishing focuses on representing young adult and new adult novels. They have a very interesting model where they rate books based on the levels of language, romance, violence, and drug/alcohol use. These levels, not unlike movie ratings, help parents of younger teens determine if a book’s content is appropriate. Clean Teen Publishing is a young, but growing company. They currently have 65 book titles, but they continue to add new ones on a regular basis. The books are available as eBooks on all platforms, as well as paperbacks. Crimson Tree Publishing is their adult book division.
Your Never Forgotten series has captured my fascination because I love all things Celtic. What inspired you to incorporate Celtic mythology into your stories?
I am about two-thirds Irish by heritage, and I have always been fascinated by Celtic mythology. While I also love Greek and Roman mythology, they have been done by many. You don’t hear about Celtic mythology that much, and the creatures I incorporate might be new to some of my readers.
The other reason I like to write about this area? It’s gorgeous. I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’ve traveled through Scotland and fell in love with it.
The Never Forgotten Series will get a third installment in 2015. Do you know the publication date? Will that conclude the series?
I don’t have a publication date! I won’t get one until I turn in my final manuscript to my publisher, and I’m just not there yet. I can say that I have completed my revisions and the book is now with my beta readers. I should hopefully be able to send it to my publisher soon! And yes, it will conclude Meara’s story, although I may write about other characters in this world at a later date.
What will you work on next?
The next book I have coming out is an anthology with four other authors. The book is called Fractured Glass, and believe me, it is unlike anything you have read before. We each wrote a section in our genre (mine was magic) and wove the story together. It was so fun, and it’s hard to explain, but I think readers are going to love it! (I’m going to interject here and make sure readers know that they can pre-order this uniquely creative anthology starting this weekend. I have it on my reminder list!! Also there is a fab giveway on Goodreads that you can enter by clicking HERE!)
I plan to take a little reading break, then I plan to enlist my daughter’s help in my next series. She’s almost twelve years old, and she loves to read. I want to write something that she is excited about too, so I asked her to help me. I will be for a younger audience than Never Forgotten, but remain in the young adult genre.
Who is your favorite author, and what do you like most about their work?
Just one? I love authors who can incorporate humor into their stories. I try to, but honestly, I don’t think I’m that funny. Right now, one of my favorites is Rainbow Rowell. Her stories are so unique and make me laugh out loud. I met her when she toured for Eleanor and Park, and she was just as awesome in person (as most authors are!) (I just finished reading Eleanor and Park and love, love, loved it! It’s so cool you got to meet her and I’m not surprised she’s an awesome person!)
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Fall of Icarus, book two in the Brink of Distinction series, by Jon Messenger. He is a Clean Teen Publishing author too. I have read a lot of great books from fellow authors. It’s fun to see the types of stories that they write. We’re all very different in subject matter and writing style. Next on my TBR pile is Unhinged by A.G. Howard. I love her portrayal of Wonderland in Splintered, and can’t wait to return to that world.
What’s your favorite crayon color? (Offbeat question which has to do with my current work in progress.)
Green. When I was little, my parents painted my room green (Kelly Green, get it?) and I hated it. As an adult, green is my favorite color. It has been for many years.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview!