Kimberley Shead: Interview of an Author
In this crazy process of becoming an author, I was very fortunate to have found someone to take the journey with. Kimberley Shead is a writer of urban fantasy who lives in South East London.
Kimberley took some time out of her busy full time schedule to share with us about her own writing path. It is a very insightful look into why she's written her novels and how she's gotten to the place where she's sharing her stories with the world.
This is the first part of a two part interview. I hope you enjoy!
Q1. How would you describe your writing journey so far to readers?
If I had to describe my writing journey in one word I would choose fragmented. My first foray into writing was as a child, I wrote play scripts with a friend which we then performed to anyone who would indulge us. From my early teens I kept a journals intermittently, depending on how angst I felt at the time.
I married young and spent my twenties bringing up my family, during this time I had an idea for a crime story and DS Albie Edwards jumped onto the page. Well, the first three chapters were born. I spent the next seven years working towards a degree in Literature and Art History with The Open University plus a PGCE, followed by a teaching career.
Over the next few years, my day job and family kept me busy but all the time while Albie Edward’s story gnawed away at me, begging to be told. The first draft was completed in August 2015 and was put away in a draw. I attempted a self edit but instead decided to continue writing the series as I had ideas for the next three books.
I began the first draft of Isla’s Game, the second in the DS Albie Edwards series, in November 2015 which joined the first in the top draw. Can you see a pattern emerging?
If you ask an author how they gather ideas for a story, they may well tell you that ideas come from many different sources and often bubble away in the back of their mind for many months or even years.
The World’s Collide Series is a product of years of fermentation, of fragmented ideas that I started jotting down a few years ago.
In fact I was so excited about the story I decided to write a first draft of the first book in the series as a project for NaNoWrMo and I was a winner. Over 50,000 words of the novel was completed in November 2016. I have a deadline to complete Misty Magic (draft) by Easter and have plans to publish all three books in 2017.
I would like to give my sister a mention at this point, she is my accountability partner and has supported me over the last few years. After a recent discussion in a quaint country pub, she suggested she read the two crime drafts that were stuck in the drawer. I am waiting to find out if she feels there is anything worth salvaging.
So back to the word fragmented…How do I move forward from a fragmented writing history to a career in writing? I have a written a business plan and am immersing myself in learning the trade.
It is apparent from information shared by established authors that to be a prominent self published author you have to work hard, learn as much as possible and write, write, write.
Q2. What has influenced your choice of genre?
As I alluded to earlier, I am writing a Crime series and an Urban Fantasy series (which I describe as urban fantasy with a generous helping of crime and a sprinkle of romance).
I have always been intrigued by the art of the Surrealists. Dali’s work is amazing, especially his illustrations for the first edition of Alice in Wonderland, my favourite novel as a child.
David Lynch as a director and the creator of Twin Peaks held my attention for many reasons, his explorations into the depths of human psyche (the beast within) as well as his individuality as an artist.
I am also a real vampire groupie, first reading An Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and then I later became lost in the world of Sookie Stackhouse living in Bon Temps Louisiana written by Charlaine Harris.
Music also influences my writing, it helps determine the mood I try to emulate in the story. At the moment I am listening to Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran.
Q3. To whom do you aspire?
Role models are so important regardless of your path in life. I admire people who influence my thinking in some way.
Mark Billingham is a crime writer I admire, his first novel Sleepyhead was drafted on a family holiday in the evenings. I’ve read every Tom Thorne novel and wait eagerly for each release.
That is my aim, to build a fan base who are impatient for my next novel.
Stacy Claflin is also someone I follow closely, as a self published author who became a full time writer in 2015. Her writing journey fascinates me because of the number of novels she has produced within a few years and the variety of genres in which she writes.
I have followed Joanna Penn for about five years now and find her so inspiring. She has a wealth of knowledge and truly loves writing, publishing and marketing.
Her enthusiasm is contagious and she always has time for her followers. As a writer entrepreneur she is someone that all self published writers would benefit from following.
Q4. When are you at your most productive?
I am actually still experimenting with writing time. Like all writers with full time jobs it can sometimes feel that there is no time in the day to write.
If I think back over the last three years I was most prolific during November 2016 when I participated in NaNoWrMo (National novel writing month). I worked each weekday morning at 5.15am and wrote 500 words before going to work.
At work I would try to hand write 200 words during lunch break. In the evening I would type the words and continue until I reached 1667 target for the day.
Writing daily helped me immerse myself in the story so each time I wrote it was easy to pick up the pace and let the characters take over the story telling.
Perhaps I should go back to that routine!
Q5. What can you tell us about your present project?
The novel I am writing at the moment is called Misty Magic it is the first book in the Worlds Collide Series.
The main character Misty Clarity Frost is an apprentice in the United Supernatural Crime Unit, and is new to Earth. Her mentor Gabriella Mantini and the team are in a race against time to identify and locate a murderer before he kills again.
Although the press report the crimes as violent murders, the Unit knows the killer takes more than just their victims lives. Pursued by Riley, the guilt ridden partner of the latest victim, Misty begins a journey to find the killer as she tries to identify the magic within her and discover her true identity.
The story is set in an unsettled London where supernaturals lived in harmony with humans for years before The Confusion. This revolution resulted in a magical ban in the city which forced the tainted to re-evaluate their true heritage and strive to find a place to belong.
If you are interested in my Crime series you can find a basic description of both novels on my crime page.
These beautiful book covers were designed by Melody Simmons at Ebook Indie Covers. Please visit her website to learn more about her designs.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of the two part interview with Kimberley! Click here for the second half of the interview. If you would like to have email notifications, please sign up for my newsletter.
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About Kimberley Shead:
Kimberley Shead is in the process of writing her first novel in the ‘Worlds Collide’ Urban Fantasy series.
A wife and mother of six grown up children, she has been a native of South East London, England her whole life.
As a child she was an avid listener of oral story telling shared by her Father, most evenings, when he returned from work. This led to a love of writing and performing plays with her childhood friend, to their long suffering families.
Reading became an interest in her early teens. Firstly, through her obsession with teen magazines then tackling the classics. Later it was fantasy and crime novels that kept her awake half the night, in excitement and anticipation of a new world, fascinating characters or suspenseful plots.
Finally, and with much rebellion, Kimberley had to grow up. She achieved a BA Hons in English Literature and now works in Education.
On Twitter https://twitter.com/kimberleyshead
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kimberleyshead/
On Pintrest https://uk.pinterest.com/kimberleyshead/
On Goodreads Kimberley Shead Goodreads
Or visit her website to explore and indulge your imagination at www.kimberleyshead.com