Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Author Interview: Keely Brooke Keith

by Iola Goulton


Today I'd like to welcome author Keely Brooke Keith to Australasian Christian Writers, to share some of her writing journey. Over the last year, Keely has self-published the Uncharted Trilogy, a unique mix of historical and science fiction (you can read my reviews here, here and here). She's now working on "what came before" the Uncharted, and for those of you who haven't read Uncharted, there's the chance below to enter win the series.

You chose to self-publish the Uncharted series. Why did you choose to self-publish? Did you originally submit to publishers, or was it always your intention to self-publish?

Originally, The Land Uncharted was signed with a publisher, but before the release date, they dropped almost all of their authors including me. I submitted to a few other publishers, but while my book was out on submission, I studied everything I could about publishing and talked with friends in the industry. I ended up getting other offers for The Land Uncharted, but by then I wanted to publish it.


You've released three books since October 2014, which is pretty fast. What have been the advantages of releasing three books in just eight months? The disadvantages?


The voraciousness of series readers is an advantage! Many readers tell me they read all three books in a week. The only disadvantage was that it took a massive amount of focused dedication to release three books that quickly.

The basic concept of the Uncharted series is fascinating. What prompted the idea of the people and the Land?

I’ve always loved maps. When I was a kid, I papered my bedroom walls with them. I often stared at the wide blue swaths of ocean on the maps and wondered if there were any islands there that we just didn’t know about. Then as an adult, I researched my family history. Most of my ancestors moved west in the middle of the 19th Century. They traveled in groups like so many Americans at the time, and it made me wonder: what if instead of going west a group of families wanted to find a whole new land and got on a ship. I wondered what their settlement would be like several generations later and decided to drop a modern man into the middle of it to find out.

I love maps as well. It still bugs me when I can't "see" the geography in a novel!


You said a lot of readers have been asking you about how the founders left 1860's America and came to the Land. You've now sold this book to CrossRiver Media - congratulations! Can you tell us a little more about this next story? How many books is it? When will we be able to read the first instalment?

Thanks! The founders’ story begins with Aboard Providence, which will be released late 2016 by CrossRiver Media. It’s a standalone and tells the complete story of how they arrived in the Land, but there is definitely series potential as the founders build the settlement and encounter the challenges that shape their culture. The number of books depends largely on reader demand. As long as people keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them!

Argh! So long!

What prompted you to move from self-publishing to signing with a traditional publisher? Did you submit to them, or did they approach you? What do you anticipate will be different about working with a publisher?


The Uncharted books are set in the future in an imaginary land, but based on a romanticized version of pioneer culture. Blending such a unique mix of Science Fiction and Historical Fiction gave me a lot of artistic freedom with genre rules. But the founders’ story is set in 1860 and begins in America, so I wanted to shape the story with a more traditional Historical Fiction approach.

As soon as I started writing Aboard Providence, I knew I wanted an experienced publisher to produce this book. I researched several ACFW Recognized Publishers to find out what they were publishing and what their authors thought of them. CrossRiver Media quickly became my first choice. Not only are they publishing award-winning Christian books, they also pray over every decision and see the ministry and the art as well as the business.

So as soon as Aboard Providence was ready, I submitted it to CrossRiver Media and I’m thrilled it found a home with them!

Congratulations!

Like many writers, you wear several hats. You're a wife, mother, and bass guitarist. How does writing fit into all this? Do you find the creativity of music and writing are linked? What are the similarities? The differences?


No one says I want to write professionally and is magically granted a full-time paycheck and bountiful free time. Writing is one of those professions a person comes to by squeezing every spare minute out of their day. It took time for me to learn where to carve out those minutes and how to immediately jump into the story when I had the chance. It’s a matter of getting up an hour early every day, giving up television, closing all the messaging apps while working, and having a supportive family.

As far as the similarities of music and writing, one gives me clarity and inspiration for the other. I’ve often found myself in the middle of a song on stage when a plot point will pop into my mind and I wasn’t even thinking about my story. While writing, I try to use the musical techniques of rhythm, dynamics, and flow to give my stories the emotional balance of a concerto or a great album. One difference in music and writing for me is that as soon as I play a note, the sound goes out the audience then dissipates, but when writing a story I can hammer out a first draft then go back and polish it again and again before it reaches the reader. Another difference is that writing feels more like a legacy to me. No matter what technology exists 200 years from now, my descendants can read physical copies of my books and, hopefully, hear my voice in the stories.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter draw to win the Uncharted series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 comments:

  1. Hi Keely, what a wonderful publishing story to read first thing in the morning. God honours faith and persistence. Congratulations on both your indie experience and now being signed to Cross Media.

    Who knew a love of maps would be able to be incorporated into a fiction writing career.

    Thanks Iola for introducing us to Keely and for running the promo.

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  2. Sounds like you are going to be a very prolific writer! Way to go! I wish you great success!. sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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  3. Thanks for visiting, Keely. I've enjoyed your books, and look forward to the prequel!

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    1. I'm happy to visit, Iola! Thanks for the interview!

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  4. Loved The Land Uncharted and looking forward to reading the other books. Congrats on your success!

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  5. Keely and Iola, great interview! Keely, thanks for sharing your writing journey with us :)

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