kaelia stevensA half-Hawaiian, half-Spanish, half-Italian, half-Filipino, K. Stevens is 4’6″ of sarcasm and introverted weirdness. She enjoys time spent communing with local flora and fauna. She hopes to one day be considered one of the greats in literature, but will settle for people at least knowing her name.

Author Interview

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

I usually wait until I’m so tired I can’t see straight, drink a full glass of Coca-Cola, sit down at my desk, start up either a “white-noise” movie or some inspirational music, and start writing. I’m at my best when writing at 10Pm or later…I often feel a bit crazy but, eh…Writer’s life. Can’t get away from it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. ) I used to take a break and think long and hard about it, and if I was still stuck, I’d switch stories. But after going through Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School, I now am able to sit down and mind-map my way out of the block.

What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

I could use a bunch of inspirational quotes, but really the bottom line is find a good supportive group of other writers and never give up on your craft.

What are your current/future projects?

Current projects Finishing up this accidental series about Layla and her family. It’s got at least two or three more books in it, I think.

Future projects A friend and I were working on an idea combining horror monsters. We’ve also got a few zombie-related stories, one about an alien, and I’ve got some older stories that could use some refurbishing. So, you know…Only time will tell.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I was fed a fairly steady diet of High Fantasy and classic Sci-fi when I was little. It’s the most ‘at home’ genre for me, plus I just like the imagination behind well-done Sci-fi and Fantasy.

What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

That would be easier to answer if I could see the future. ) I can hope that Indie Authors and Self-pubbers will continue to raise the bar and eventually break the stigma that Self-published works are garbage. As for it being easy to be a published author…Ahaha…Really?


Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

Self-published. Currently publishing through Amazon’s Create Space. Again, though, I also went through Self-Publishing School with “Jules” and, while they’re not a publisher, Chandler Bolt’s school gave me action steps and contacts that helped the process along.

What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

Haha, I’m still working those out. So far I’m trying to work out dates for Book Tours, trying to see about Author Interviews, and hitting social media exposure places. I did a free giveaway at the start of my book’s launch, and that got a good number of hits, but because I didn’t keep on top of it, purchases dwindled. So right now, my most valuable promotion tip would be that once you start the production monkey, you have to keep feeding it and keep on top of it.

If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?

I enjoyed Smashwords because I felt a certain amount of freedom with my book’s files. I can post them anywhere I want to and Smashwords won’t fine me. I haven’t tried Lulu or Author House, and Amazon hasn’t treated me too badly, although to get the most bang for your buck it seems that you need to subscribe to Prime, which means you can’t put the file up anywhere else. Then again, I haven’t had my stuff anywhere else while trying all this marketing, so I can’t quite compare platforms completely. Not just yet.

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

Magical Realism/Urban Fantasy. I think I’ve always been trying to write in that genre, I just never knew it.

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

Say it to myself. Jot it down on my phone. Grab a napkin and madly scribble using the pencil that always seems to be tucked behind my ear. Tell someone else. Do a voice memo.

Plus I tell myself that it might seem good in the moment, but if I seriously can’t remember it at the end of the day, it probably wasn’t as good as I thought it was.

Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?

I try to shoot for between 25k and 50k, just as a rough starting number. But I also know when enough is enough, so even if I never reach my target, I’m more satisfied with a good ending than a specific word count.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?

I think reviews help. I think they help a great deal. But only when people can look at them objectively. Reviews can tell you a lot about the book, and assuming the reviewers aren’t a bunch of — er…Assuming the reviewers are actually intending to leave a review of the book (and not the author) or use it as a soap box, then a review can tell a potential reader more about the book than the blurb…For instance, my reviews for Jules have mentioned paranormal elements, dry humor and sarcasm. If you don’t like those things in a book, don’t buy it. If those things are something you often enjoy, then that review just gave you an insight into Jules that you may not have had before.

So…Bottom line, while I don’t think reviews are the end-all be-all, they certainly can help.

What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?

I don’t like fake reviews. If an author is going to beg for reviews (having done a bit of both, I can say I still count it as begging) at least try for honest reviews. The few times I have gone out for reviews specifically, I contact people that promise honest reviews. If my work is as good as I think it is, then I shouldn’t have to ask for ‘good’ reviews, my reviews will simply be good. And if honest reviews turn out to be low-star reviews, then I know that I still have things to work on.

Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?

Thankfully, I have not experienced this yet. And while I cannot say what is in someone else’s mind or heart…I can say that people are people, and sabotage doesn’t surprise me.

What is your biggest fear about having a book published?

People reading it, hahaha.

If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?

Well Jules is my second, and since it’s a step up from what Olyvia ended up looking like, I’d have to say that Jules is my greatest work thus far.

What is the intended audience for you book?

Young adults to Adults. I think I was aiming for those that enjoyed the era of High-fantasy style, even though what I’ve ended up with isn’t really High Fantasy.

Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?

Jules pretty much wrote her own story. Apparently I was just along for the ride.

If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

Do what you need to do in order to follow your dream, don’t let people discourage you from it, and don’t be a baby when they do.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I like to read all my reviews. It helps me determine if the intent of my writing is coming across. So far I haven’t responded to them, but I’ve been told that it’s better when you do, so I’ll try to be better about it in the future, good or bad.

Only advice I can give is to not take the bad reviews personally, even if they’re written to be taken that way. Check them over for anything that can be applicable, take a deep breath, and move along. Use the good bits of bad reviews, discard the rest.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School. And his Success Summit. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously. It’s because I loved going through his program.

Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?

I think a bit of everyone I know managed to make it into one character or another.

What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

Most important elements vary from person to person. As for must-have tools…Fearlessness.

What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?

Lloyd Alexander’s books got me started. Jim Butcher’s books reminded me why I love story-telling. Specifically, however, my dad’s passing is what made me launch Olyvia. We had begun to work on it together and after he passed away, I felt I owed it to him to finish what we started.

What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?

I like print books better, but both of them hold merit. Ebooks are more convenient, but nothing beats the smell of books. Plus you look like a complete loony if you try to sniff a tablet.

Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

Yes. Except the hobby. Treat writing like a hobby, it will only ever be a hobby.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

Yes. Olyvia was completely my own proofreading, and Jules went through three personal read-throughs and a professional editor. I sent it out through Fiverr, and Jules came back pretty well-edited.

Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?

Erotica. I can’t stand it. That’s not a slap to people that do write it. I just personally can’t stand erotica and thus, I will never write it.

What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from everywhere. Every experience can be used as inspiration for something, good and bad. I once got kicked in the ribs by a two-year-old horse and after I got the hang of breathing again, my first thought was “Now I know what a hit to the ribs feels like…I need to remember this for my next fight scene.”

What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

Least favorite is the beginning. The planning, the mind-mapping, the wobbly beginning that will most likely get cut because you and your character aren’t quite on the same page…Ugh. It all feels so tedious, but you have to go through it to get to the good part.

Most favorite part has to be about the middle, that part you get to when you know where you’re going, you get on a roll that lasts three or four days, you’re never really out of ideas or words…And you’re nowhere near the end, so you don’t have to worry about it too much.

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