Monday, August 16, 2021


I want to first thank Kara Kelley for agreeing to this interview!

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have!

Make sure to give Kara a shout-out and  FOLLOW her on social media!


Kara Kelley, a USA Today and #1 International Bestselling Author, is a naughty Canuck (that’s a Canadian for those of you that don’t know), who loves spanks, a little bondage, tantalizing creative sex (trust me, honey, this sh*t is gonna rock our world) and TIM HORTONS.

She’s full of playful mischief, loyalty, and maybe some stubbornness, but she’ll never admit it. And she believes living in a secluded cabin in the woods (including good WIFI, a stocked Kindle, and plenty of chocolate) with her husband would be absolute bliss.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was never an actual decision.  It’s who I am.

I was writing stories and making my friends read them in grade school.  The key word being ‘making.’ LOL.

The decision to attempt to become an actual published author came after I had my first child.  And naturally I wanted to write for children.

Boy did that go sideways.  Ha!  Although my first few published works were in a teen magazine. 

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

While I’m sure many of the books I read influenced me, I wrote from my heart - I wrote the stories I wanted to read.

My first books were Beverly Cleary’s, several Judy Blume’s, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Later RL Stine’s Fear Street novels, an embarrassing amount of Sweet Valley High books and then I discovered VC Andrews which led to my adult love of romance and an urge to visit the Bayou. 

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Two.  Both elderly, a man and a woman that were so colourful and quirky (and sometimes maddening) I couldn’t resist.

But it was a long time ago and not under my current pen name.   All my characters are purely fictional now.

Although years of working with the elderly has given me a lot of inspiration for those quirky side characters – like Annie from Mountain Man Daddy.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Mountain Man Daddy was born of a long 17-hour drive to my parent’s house, a real-life dangerous road with no cell service on the way, and my wild imagination.

But mostly my ideas are character-driven.  I dream up a character and maybe one scene and it comes to life from there.

There’s a pretty steady stream of weird scenes that pop into my head, what triggers them is a mystery even to me.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I’m a pantser – write by the seat of my pants.

I go where the characters take me and learn about them as a reader would, on the journey, as the story unfolds.

I’m even often surprised by the ending or the twists that arise.  They sort of hit me like a lightning strike when I least expect it.  (Often while I'm driving to work which leads to a frantic need to pull over and write notes. LOL.)

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

I don’t.  I have an image in mind and go from there.

It’s actually quite frustrating later when searching for a cover model.  LOL

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.   What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I love to read too - especially outdoors in something that swings, my hammock, my rocking camp chair, my parent's porch swing.

But I also enjoy nature hikes, learning about nature, watching documentaries about nature/animals.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

My current obsession reads are everything by Sarina Bowen and Penny Reid.  They definitely aren't the only ones, but I'm eating through everything of theirs right now. 

What are your favorite books by others?

I’ll list some of the books that I’ve read many, many times and love to the point they should be buried with me.

General fiction and Romance à Lady Be Good Nobody’s Baby But Mine, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rememberance by Jude Deveraux, Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts. The Story Teller by Jodi Picoult. If Tomorrow Never Comes by Sidney Sheldon.

Fantasy/Paranormalà The Harry Potter series, A Spell For Chameleon by Piers Anthony. The Graveyard Book & Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The whole Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz, (Canadian author shout out! à) Every single book from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series.

Other Canadian faves: Anne of Green Gables & The Blue Castle by Lucy Maude Montgomery. 

In my genre à Return To Big Sky by Jade Cary. Varden’s Lady & The Next Ex by Maren Smith, Fetching Charlotte Rose by Amelia Smarts, and The Boston Doms series by Jane Henry and Maisy Archer.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

I try to write books that are based in Canada because I love my beautiful country and it’s underrepresented in books.

Plus I’m always inspired by the natural beauty around me.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

I have written both ways.  It depends on whether both characters are telling me the story or one.

What do you find to be your best research tool?

No one method is best.  I use the internet, talk to people, read books. 

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

I do use a pen name.  And yes, I also have another pen name, although it’s no longer active. 

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write contemporary romantic suspense.

My books are character-driven, and always include stern, protective alpha males that care deeply but aren't perfect.

I write what uniquely thrills me.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.   Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky traits....what led to you being you?

I’m a walking contradiction. LOL. 

I’m adopted and have many siblings (adopted/step/would-be-half *if I shared DNA with my parents*/ and half-blood sibs who I’ve never met) but mostly I consider myself an only child. 

Essentially, I have two sisters and five brothers but spent most of my childhood living alone with my mom.

I love my winter vacations in the Caribbean, all-inclusive style, but hate summer/hot weather.

I love travel/adventure but am a total homebody and have to push myself through my anxiety to do these things.

I dislike coffee but drink it anyway… because energy is serious business.

I’m an introvert, have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue but my day job is extroverted, very high energy, and physically/mentally demanding.

And finally, and this has nothing to do with contradiction, but my favourite gift from my husband EVER is a heart-shaped rock he found on a beach in Newfoundland, Canada. 💖

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

1.    Keep at it. Every sentence you write makes you better.

2.    Accept that your process may be different from other's and that’s okay.

3.    Never leave a coffee beside your laptop with a cat in the house.


And bonus, the best advice I was ever given…

Never go back in your first draft to make changes.  If you decide to change something make a note of where and what the change was and continue on as if you made the change.  Fix it in the second draft otherwise you’ll keep going back and never finish.

How do you deal with and process negative book reviews?

I’ve definitely grown a thicker skin over the years.  But I’ve also learned that I can’t please everyone—no one can.

Our brains are wired differently and what one person relates/connects to another might not. 

It also helps to remember reviews aren’t for authors, they’re for readers and the truly cruel reviews, the ones that personally attack the author, well they say more about the reviewer than they do about the book.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Um, everything. LOL.

Okay the first few chapters are easy-peasy.  After that, everything. Seriously. 

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

More like what I don’t need… I find clutter very distracting, a cat on my keyboard is always difficult and happens too often, and I should put my cell on do not disturb because texts are writing session killers.

Especially texts from my mom.  LOL.  She's the Ferrari of texters - zero to sixty in 2.1 seconds.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

I wish I could say something cool like wine, French bonbons, or writing in the buff, but sigh, there’s nothing.  I’m boring. 

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Popular?  If you mean like Nora Roberts popular… Um, no, no, no.  That would make me super anxious.

I’d much rather be with one of my regular author friends and do sprints, plot, and talk shop.

I’ve been lucky enough to do that with some great author friends at the Romantic Times Convention.

A group of us actually snuck into an empty conference room in a Reno hotel and hung out with our laptops, sprinting, munching snacks, and chatting.  It’s one of my favourite author memories.

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

Schedule?  Um, what’s that?

I actually spend a few hours writing in the early morning when most of the world is still sleeping, then work my day job and come home too tired to think.

I usually have a tea or coffee nearby but it always gets cold because once I’m in writing mode, I’m in deep.

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Okay here goes my cool points again.

If I’m going to listen to something, which isn’t often, it’s ocean sounds. 

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

All. The. Time. 

Cue my cat, Bear, who is constantly lying on my arm as I type on my keyboard or using my keyboard as a pillow.  He is also the brat that spilled an XL Tim Horton's coffee all over my Mac (named McMacster) and KILLED him.  It was murder, I swear it! 

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Being tired.  If I’m tired I’m useless.

And procrastination - it's a sickness... its symptoms include, obsessive cleaning of things that do not need to be cleaned, organizing sock drawers, colour-coordinating ponytail elastics, alphabetizing the pantry...

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

What cruelty is this that you speak of?  I did make my readers think a very loveable animal character was dead but he wasn’t – I could never kill him.

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

Blink at my screen wondering if it’s actually true.

Then go about the rest of my day secretly psyched and super proud of myself while feeling equally lost/grief stricken - what now?

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