Thank you so much Monique for having me on your blog. I’m delighted to write for you and your followers about my inspiration, my favourite characters and how I write.
Four years ago I started writing a short story when I was diagnosed with MS. It caused severe pain, and eventually permanent damage in my hands, which stopped me from typing. I had to teach myself how to use voice software and a good friend gave me an opening line to get me started on a short story.
I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction and found myself gravitating to it. I shared pieces of the story with my sister and a small number of friends, received positive feedback and encouragement, and I just kept going with it. By the time I was let go from work, I had 35,000 words written and several ideas on how to take it to novel length!
The short story morphed and became my debut novel Path Unchosen.
That opening line is no longer in the story … but the chapter it inspired is.
Setting is very important to me. In fact I wrote a blog post on this subject a while back – “The importance of being Welsh”. The setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in a context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I’ve achieved that!
I love all my characters! But if I had to choose my absolute favourites I’d have to name my dragon Aymon, and my imp Lyken … erm I mean Meagan’s dragon and imp!
The best writing advice I was ever given … is to write, rewrite, and ship the finished product. I can’t work very quickly, but I write every day, and I employ the best professionals I can afford to make sure the book design is good, and my writing is as polished as it can be.
Morning seems to be my most productive writing time, but I’m also woken up by brilliant ideas at 4am. My muse doesn’t keep to a regular schedule!
I’ve never liked plotting, but my editor has convinced me to use an outline to keep myself focused on the main theme, and a cause and effect plot progression from beginning to end. I use Scrivener and love the way it lets me create an outline, use cards to summarise scenes, and work on the text at the same time.
I’m currently working with my editor on the final revisions to Truth Unveiled, book two in the Daughter of Ravenswood series. I’m also writing the first draft of book three, and preparing an outline for a brand new book …
Resigned to dutiful spinsterhood after the death of her fiancé, Harriet obediently accompanies her father to Australia in 1857. Still grieving, she turns to Spiritualism to find her fiancé and say one last goodbye. But when she uncovers a mysterious disappearance and a cold-blooded murder, she has to shrug off Victorian conventions and risk everything that matters to her.
It’s a work in progress titled Harriet’s Hiatus. What a terrible name! I’m currently addicted to historical mystery and absolutely loving:
The Victorian San Francisco Mysteries by Louisa M Locke,
The Captain Lacey series by Ashley Gardner, and
The Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber
I advice all fledging writers to keep writing. To be brave and share your work with other writers in writing groups and online forums. To be resilient and listen to feedback that will help you, shrug off criticism that won’t. And most importantly to stop tinkering and finish the book!
Thanks again Monique
About Kim Cleary
Kim writes urban fantasy for anyone who longs to discover they are extraordinary. She writes about hopefulness and determination, and about heroes who push through extraordinary situations and obstacles, one step at a time. Magical friends and gorgeous guys help, or hinder, in one adventure after another.
When not writing, revising, or thinking about writing, Kim gardens, plays with her dog, chats on social media, catches up with friends or cooks an Indian feast. She is a member of Writers Victoria, Romance Writers of Australia, The Alliance of Independent Authors, and a certified chocoholic.
Kim grew up in Birmingham, UK, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in South Australia and has worked all over Australia and in London. She now lives with her husband, an adorable Cocker Spaniel, and a crazy Moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.
Path Unchosen – Daughter of Ravenswood, Book 1
When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees first-hand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she just wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, but that’s a challenge when a beautiful otherworldly man, who claims to be her guardian, saves her life.
Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on a spirit she raised, but new zombies attack—zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he’s not trying to set anything right. To save her own life, and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy has to figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her—a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.
Path Unchosen Daughter of Ravenswood, Book 1 – Excerpt
I shouldn’t still be here.
The sisters find jobs for everyone before their eighteenth birthdays, but mine came and went, unnoticed, two weeks ago. I blew hot breath on my hands and crunched across the frost-covered ground. Chickens clucked and pecked at my heels until I filled all the feeding troughs. There was no point in pestering the sisters about why they’d forgotten me. They would just try to find even worse punishments for me. I would have to leave and find work on my own. I couldn’t bear spending the rest of my life doing mundane chores around St. Stephen’s Orphanage. I picked the eggs out of the laying baskets, wiped them clean, and placed them in the bucket. Twenty-three eggs today. At least Cook would be pleased. In the last basket, instead of an egg, a lump of brown fur nestled amongst the hay. I groaned so loud the noise would have scared a healthy rabbit away. I lowered the egg bucket and leaned forward. My breath formed a cloud of white air that hung over the limp body. I carefully lifted the rabbit from the prickly straw bed, but it sagged, glassy-eyed and dead in my hand. I stroked its silky fur and whispered to the cold body. Butterflies squirmed in my stomach, and an army of tiny feet danced across my skin. I rubbed my finger gently where I thought the rabbit’s heart might be. It felt right, as if I had to do it. A heavy weight pushed against my chest. What was happening to me? I forced myself to focus, but the effort drained me. I sank to my knees and sagged against the bowed shelf. The rabbit twitched and seemed to whisper back to me. Its eyes flicked open and looked right into mine, and its back feet kicked into my wrist as it squirmed to get free. I jerked up straight, then eased back onto my heels and sucked deep breaths into tight lungs.
“Judy!” Sister Margaret hurried across the shed. “What are you doing? Are you hurt?” I couldn’t let her catch me again. This happened once before, a month ago when a dead otter wriggled off my lap right in front of Sister Beatrice. I’d ended up locked in the library for the rest of the day and overnight. I let the rabbit go. It darted under a pile of hay and, I hoped, out through the hole at the bottom of the shed. I scrambled to my feet and grabbed the bucket. “No, Sister, I’m fine.” “Then why are you dilly-dallying? You’ll be late for the guest speaker. Give me that.” She snatched the bucket from my hand. “No time for breakfast. Go directly to the hall.”
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And you can buy Path Unchosen here