You’ve written 90 short stories, 17 romance novels (for Amber Quill Press and Medallion Press) and four non-fiction books. Are you focusing on one project at a time or working on multiple projects?
When I’m writing, I focus on one project at a time. As I write the first draft (whether it’s a short story or a romance novel), I divert all my attention and energy into the story until it’s finished. After that, I set it aside and work on other projects, such as submissions, promotions, blogging, updating my site, or outlining another story. After a few weeks or so, I go back to the new project with fresh eyes and start making revisions.
What romance genres do you prefer to write? Do the characters or the plot come first?
Although I have written romances in contemporary, gay, and paranormal genres, most of my romances are historical or historical/fantasy. I like writing historicals because I can explore different settings and time periods, but I’m not “married” to one particular genre.
Each book comes to me in a different way – sometimes I’ll have an entire story “jump” into my head, and I’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with Dangerous Indenture, A Perfect Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Trust with Hearts, and The Viking’s Witch.)
Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and once I get to “know” and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Then the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Wilderness Bride, Four Days with Jack, Beauty & the Bigfoot, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)
Before I start a book, I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline/list. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure for me and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.
When is the best time for you to write?
I don’t have a set time or place devoted to writing. Basically, I write anytime, anywhere. I like to write outside, so if I’m working on a book and the weather’s nice, I’ll sit in my yard and write or edit, or outline a new book. Otherwise, I find a quiet spot in the house and write.
One of your latest novels is a historical romance entitled Dangerous Indenture. Can you tell us about Shauna Farrow’s need to escape her past in Ireland?
Shauna is an independent young woman who was forced to fend for herself at a young age. Without giving too much of the story away, she trusted the wrong person and got herself into a bad situation in Ireland. She was given an option to leave the country and decided to start over in the Colonies.
What does she agree to as an alternative to her life now?
Shauna agreed to become an indentured servant as a condition of her passage to the Colonies. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but soon after she arrives, she wonders if she made the right choice.
But she soon learns that what she signed on to do may be as difficult as her past. Is there any way she can flee her employment and start over?
No. There’s no way for Shauna to get out of her indenture to Joshua Stewart. She is legally bound to stay at Stewart House for five years. If she tried to run away, she would be arrested and thrown in jail.
When Shauna meets Ashton Bailey, she sees that she has an ally in the house. Ashton is her master’s illegitimate son who is also being forced to work off a debt. They’re both stranded at Stewart House and rely on each other for support. (Of course, this also draws them closer together and they begin a secret relationship.)
But then things start getting mysterious. Why is Shauna afraid for her life?
A previous servant died under mysterious circumstances and everyone thinks someone at Stewart House murdered the girl. Shauna suspects Joshua’s other son, Colin, or his mentally unbalanced wife, Minerva, is the killer. When another servant vanishes, Shauna starts investigating and risks her life to find out the truth.
What is it you love about this book?
I love the characters, the setting, and the fact that it’s a romance blended with mystery. When I created the characters, I gave them all interesting backstories and unusual quirks. I had never written a romance set in Colonial times before and blending the romance with suspense/mystery was a lot of fun.
What inspired you to write it?
Dangerous Indenture is one of those books that jumped into my head. One day, I overheard the name Shawna Farrell, but I thought I’d heard Shauna Farrow. The name stuck with me and I wrote it down. A few minutes later, I knew all about her: she was an Irish indentured servant who came to Pennsylvania Colony and worked at a house where another servant was murdered. Once I knew that, I started outlining the book.
Did you do a lot of research for the book? Did you find the Internet or books on the time period more helpful?
Yes, I had to do a lot of research! I was starting from a good place with the book – I knew where I wanted to set the story and approximately what time frame. I spent a lot of time in the library going through history books, reading up on Colonial times, and indentured servants in general. I did some Internet research, too. As I wrote the book, I incorporated my research in as background details.
What formats is it available in and where can we buy a copy?
Dangerous Indenture is available exclusively as an ebook. It’s available from:
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with readers. I invite everyone to visit my site to catch up on my other romances, sign up for my newsletter, and email me with questions or comments. If you’ve read the book, I’d love to know what you think!
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT KELLI A. WILKINS
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, seventeen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Kelli had two historical romances published in spring 2014: Wilderness Bride from Amber Quill Press: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/1941-Wilderness-Bride.aspx) and Dangerous Indenture from Medallion Press: http://medallionmediagroup.com/books/dangerous-indenture/.
Kelli publishes a blog: (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com) filled with excerpts, interviews, writing prompts, and whatever else pops into her head. She also writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli’s Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Kelli invites readers to visit her website, http://www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
Catch up with Kelli on the Web:
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/