Welcome to my monthly blog. On the first Monday of every month I feature an Indie Author and ask them to tell us a little about their working process. My guest today is Kirsten McKenzie, who lives in New Zealand. So make yourself a cuppa, get comfy and let’s get chatting to Kirsten.
Welcome, Kirsten. It’s a pleasure to talk to you today. Can you tell me if you have ever been traditionally published? If so, can you explain to us the main difference to you as an author, between the two?
Yes, I was traditionally published in 2015 by a Cardiff based publisher who is no longer in business. The difference between being traditionally published and independently published, is that I have complete control over my covers, my interior files, my editing, and my marketing. My marketing doesn’t get swamped by new releases coming after mine. I can also see where all the sales occur, meaning that I can tailor my marketing up or down depending on where I need to focus my marketing. You don’t get this data from a traditional publisher.
That’s really interesting to know, Kirsten. And how do you decide on the cover and title for your books?
This is my favourite part of the process. First I start researching the best selling books in the genre, and then go from there. Then I start looking through stock photo sites, using keywords like ‘antique’ or ‘flood’ or ‘oil painting’. This usually takes the longest time. After I’ve selected half a dozen or so photos, I whittle them down, usually refining my thoughts at the same time. Then I pitch everything to my cover designer – giving her the theme, the colour palette, the title, the tag line, the blurb, the ISBN, the page count. She comes up with a design, I either approve it or ask for amendments. After six books, we have this down to a good comfortable process now.
What was the inspiration for your latest book?
The inspiration behind The Forger and the Thief was one line in a book I’ve long forgotten the title of. That line mentioned the ‘Mud Angels’ of Florence during the 1966 floods. I’d never heard of the floods, so I looked them up. What a disaster and tragedy. Then we visited Florence, and I researched the floods more. Just seeing the high water markers was enough to solidify the story in my mind.
Have you ever been to any of the countries featured in your books?
Yes. We visited Florence, Italy to research The Forger and the Thief. When I was writing Fifteen Postcards, it helped that I had spent a lot of time in London. But I still asked a friend who was traveling there to visit a particular pub and take photos for me so I could accurately describe the inside of the pub! One of the weirdest requests I’ve made from my friends. It was a pub Charles Dickens used to drink at.
What social media platforms do you prefer?
I have always loved Facebook, but I probably spend more time on Twitter these days. I enjoy the social interaction online, given that I spend all day writing at home alone. I liken social media to the coffee station in a traditional office. I go there to gossip over a coffee, before returning to my desk to work. I have recently entered the world of TikTok, although I am paying my teenage daughters to do my TikToks for me. After all, I am a middle aged woman! I just don’t have the bandwidth to navigate a new platform properly.
How much of your day does writing and writing-related activities take up?
The actual writing takes very little time. I do word sprints to meet my target of 1,000 words a day. The rest of the day is spent procrastinating online, looking at my Amazon ads, writing new copy for BookBub ads etc etc.
What are your hobbies when not writing?
I used to travel to England once a year to volunteer at Vindolanda Roman Fort for two weeks, working alongside archaeologists. But of course I haven’t been for two years now. Roman history is a passion, which is why I am currently writing my new time travel trilogy set in Northumberland around a fictional Roman fort.
That sounds really interesting. Thanks so much for talking to us today, Kirsten. I hope your new book soars. 😊
Kirsten’s latest book: The Forger and the Thief.
FIVE STRANGERS IN FLORENCE, EACH WITH A DANGEROUS SECRET, AND AN APOCALYPTIC FLOOD THREATENING TO REVEAL EVERYTHING.
A wife on the run, a student searching for stolen art, a cleaner who has lined more than his pockets, a policeman whose career is almost over, and a guest who should never have received a wedding invite. Five strangers, entangled in the forger’s wicked web.
In a race against time, and desperate to save themselves and all they hold dear, will their secrets prove more treacherous than the ominous floodwaters swallowing the historic city?
Dive into a world of lies and deceit, where nothing is as it seems on the surface…
Buy Links for The Forger and the Thief :
More of Kirsten’s books:
You can find out more about Kirsten and her books at https://www.kirstenmckenzie.com/
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y2q5audb