I recently discovered the work of fantasy and paranormal author L.A. Kelley. Having enjoyed her latest work The Naughty List and found out she was a Florida girl, I asked her for an interview. She graciously accepted, so here, again, the latest in our Conversations series….
A Conversation with romance author L.A. Kelley.
Hi, Linda. Thanks for spending time with us. Why don't you tell our readers a little about yourself.
L.A. Kelley: I’m married with three grown kids, live in Florida and now write full time. Don’t look under my sofa. I haven’t cleaned there in years.
We recently enjoyed The Naughty List, loved David, not to mention, it was nice to see a story like this set in Florida. Care to tell us a little something readers might not know about your novella?
L.A. Kelley: The idea came from a visit to a Barnes & Noble store during the Christmas rush. I noticed the employees on the floor all wore Santa hats. When I got to the cashier I asked if the managers had to wear them, too. She rolled her eyes, leaned over, and whispered, “Of course not, it was their idea.” Her reaction brought to mind the heroine, a hard working employee forced to cheerfully implement stupid management decisions. Retail workers are the unsung heroes of the holiday. I figured if anyone deserved a little yuletide magic, it was one of them. Incorporating a re-imagining of the Santa legend fit perfectly.
Here’s a blurb from The Naughty List that incorporated that original inspiration:
Stephanie rounded the corner and plopped a large cardboard box down on the counter. “I’ve decided on more festive attire for the staff to increase holiday spirit and, thereby, increase customer spending.” She pulled off the cover.
Rosalie’s mouth dropped open. “What the hell is that?”
“An elf hat, of course. It’s festive.”
“It’s butt ugly.”
Stephanie glowered. “No one asked your opinion, Rosalie. No one cares about your opinion. Attitudes such as yours prove me right. You need more holiday spirit.” She shoved the hat in her face. “Everyone wears one. Put it on.”
The cone-shaped hat, fashioned out of bright green felt, had Penrose’s written in glittery gold paint smack dab in the middle. On top dangled a pom-pom the size of her fist that jingled annoyingly with the slightest movement. The rim, trimmed with bushy fake white fur, did nothing to offset the huge elf ears stitched in as giant flaps on either side. Rosalie begrudgingly slipped on the hat. Immediately, her head began to sweat. The ears itched like crazy.
Stephanie beamed. “Perfect. I told all the assistant managers to stop by customer service and pick up hats for their departments.” She turned on her heel.
“You forgot yours,” Rosalie snidely called out. Of course, Stephanie ignored her.
The Naughty List is quite unique in its mixture mythological elements and the humor is a fun touch. I love how you made the gods names titles, instead of names. What inspired you to include and tweak all those mythologies?
L.A. Kelley: Once I decided to bring Santa to the present, it seemed like fun to add mythologies from other cultures and update them, too. Instead of making them all-powerful, each demon or deity have only one or two supernatural abilities. Some are dangerous, but most are benign. In history, mythologies often clash causing bloody conflict among followers. The Integrals, as they’re called in The Naughty List, have had to band together and live in secret to keep from being discovered and hunted down. They have a highly structured and rigidly formalized organization, but don’t always get along. They’re in turmoil at the moment trying to decide how to change their organization to adjust to the modern world. The conflict between the old ways and the new adds to the fun.
You have a few books you’ve self-published through Smashwords: what made you jump into self-publishing and have you been pleased with the results? Did it live up to your expectation? Do you have any advice on self-publishing for authors who may be thinking about it?
L.A. Kelley: I offered two free short stories samples on Smashwords just to see if I could do it. Publishing was easy and painless. Within the next few months I’m starting on a new phase of self-publishing with full-length works and hope to have several titles out by the end of the year. I’m excited about having more control over what goes into print. I can’t give any advice because I don’t know how it’ll work out. I hope to find that elusive mixture of artistic satisfaction coupled with a modest economic return, but I may go up in flames like the Hindenburg. Check back with me next year at this time and I’ll let you know.
What's on tap next for you? Any new manuscripts in the works, currently?
L.A. Kelley: Several. I have a new novelette called One Enchanted Evening that my editor is keen on. It was written for the Lobster Cove series, developed by The Wild Rose Press, about a fictional resort town set on the coast of Maine. It’s with the series editor now-fingers crossed-awaiting approval. I have several other titles to self-publish once I finish the edits. They are all one form of fantasy or another. I like to think of myself as a writer of fantasy adventure with a dollop of humor, romance, and sass. (I also like to think of myself as the long-lost queen of Cyrene, but that’s neither here or there.)
I can see it, totally. : Lastly, where can my readers find out more about you?
L.A. Kelley: Visit my blog: http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com/
You’re one busy lady and we wish you the best with everything, Linda. We’ll be looking forward to it. Thanks for speaking with us today! Best of luck with The Naughty List and all you do. Folks if you’d like to find out more about L.A. Kelley, see her website. You can find all her books at Amazon, and The Naughty List is also available at All Romance Ebooks, Barnes and Noble, and at The Wild Rose Press. Enjoy and keep reading!