Today I'm happy to introduce Kay LaLone, author of the middle grade mystery "Ghostly Clues." Welcome, Kay!
When did you discover you had a “sense of fiction?”
I have always enjoyed reading fiction. I’ve tried my hand at writing non-fiction, but it comes off as boring, not very entertaining.
What was your favorite book as a child? As an adult? How did those influence you as a writer?
I remember my mother reading picture books to me as a child, just like I did with my own kids, but I don’t remember having a favorite book. Growing up I loved reading mysteries. One of my favorite authors was Agatha Christie. I remember after reading Halloween Party is when I wanted to become a writer. As an adult, I still read mystery and paranormal books. Nora Roberts is my favorite author now. I love how she makes her characters come to life, makes them individuals. I love reading MG and YA novels in different genres because it helps me see what readers of that age group are interested in reading. Also helps me develop characters and build a plot that young people will be interested in.
What inspired you to write this book?
I would have to say my Grandma Tufts. She died when I was about the same age as Sarah Kay, the main character in Ghostly Clues. Shortly after my grandma passed away, I remember seeing a ghost hand claw up on my bed and take a doll I had been sleeping with. That idea has always haunted me and I always wanted to use that in a story. So over the years I asked ‘what if’ questions to help create Ghostly Clues.
How would you describe your writing process? What must you always have while writing?
I am not an outline type person. So my writing process starts with an idea and slowly develops from there. I use a character sketch to get to know my characters. I ask ‘what if’ questions to develop a plot. I just sit at the computer and let the characters tell me their story. After I have a rough draft done then I go through and outline to make sure things make sense. Then after that revise, revise, and revise. There are two things I must have while writing--my imagination and an open mind.
What has proven to be your most successful marketing tool?
Marketing is very new to me, but I’d have to say the most successful marketing tool would be the internet. Shortly after Ghostly Clues was published I asked a writer friend if she had any advice for me and her advice was to network. Join as many groups, websites as you can. So that is what I have done. I started a blog, website, twitter, facebook page, goodreads, anything to get my name out there.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
I think the best piece of writing advice that I have received is the same advice I tell anyone who wants to write and that is to sit down and just write. Let the words flow out of your mind. In my writing career that has been the hardest thing to do is to find the time to sit down and write. You can learn how to construct a sentence or paragraph, plot a story, and develop characters, but unless you find the time to sit down and write then that knowledge is useless.
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.
Pictures drifted in and out of my head while I slept. I woke up sneezing my head off because the room was filled with the scent of lilacs. Grandma? The flowery smell vanished. The room felt creepy, cloaked in darkness, and shadows crept across the walls. I hugged Allison tightly and closed my eyes again. Just as I did a faint squeak coming from under the dresser grew louder and louder. My eyes flew open. I stared in the direction of the noise in the far corner of the room. My heartbeat echoed in my ears drowning out the squeaking. A strange, creepy feeling came over me. My skin prickled with goosebumps and my whole body tingled.
Something tugged at the bedspread. Holy smokes. My heartbeat quickened. I scooted up against the wall. The thing inched up toward my pillow. I moved as far away from the ghostly hand as I could get. It was transparent and the pink of the bedspread was visible through it. I screamed, but the sound caught in my throat. It crept toward me, only a hand with no arm, closer-closer-the thing turned whitish, resembling a puff of smoke, and disappeared. I took a deep breath.
Where can readers find you and your book?
Also available on Amazon.com
I LOVE this excerpt! As a fellow middle grade writer, this one is going on my to read list! Thanks for being here today, Kay!