Today I’d like to introduce my fellow CIR author, Kelsey Gietl.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Kelsey Gietl grew up with a love of books and excessive use of her library card. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Graphic Design from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and has made a career in fields from event planning and proposal writing to product management and communications. Her novels stem from her belief that the present reflects the past, and always involve a healthy dose of romance and a dash of intrigue. In her free time–when she’s not writing, reading, or researching–she enjoys yoga, musical theatre, beach vacations, and gallivanting around St. Louis with her amazing husband and two beautiful children.
Welcome, Kelsey! I like the sound of that … a dash of intrigue! So, before we learn about your books, I’ve got three questions for you! Firstly, what three things would you say are the most important for an aspiring author to keep in mind as they being their writing journey?
Go out and experience things. You can improve your writing skills by writing more and your storytelling skills will improve by reading, but there’s only so much you can learn from books. Leave the house and have an adventure. Travel, try a new skill, take an interesting class. Listen to how people interact, and find stories in the world around you.
The road can be long and daunting, but it’s worth it. Not everyone will like your work, but someone will. Write for those who need to hear what you have to say. Consider criticism along with praise, and make sure your work is as perfectly polished as it can be before publishing.
Have fun. Make friends with your characters, even your antagonists; they will tell you where they want to go. And more importantly, never give up.
Great advice to aspiring writers! Now, next question, do you write from your own experiences, or do you simply sit down and make stuff up?
Both. Personally, I think I write better when I am able to draw at least a bit of inspiration from my own life. Does that mean my characters are based on specific people or that I’ve actually done everything in my books? Of course not; it would scare me if I had. Sometimes my characters craft the story as we go, and I couldn’t even tell you where it came from. But I will say that first-hand experience makes it much easier to write about it. See item one in the question before this—go out and experience things.
How true–I find the same thing when I’m writing about an experience I’ve actually had it can be so much easier, but not nearly as much fun as making stuff up! Now, for one last question–how much time per week would you spend writing? Or are you a full-time author?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. I think writers are always writing, even when we don’t have a pen to paper or fingers on the keyboard. We’re world building on the drive to work, brainstorming ways to get past a tough plot point while in line at the store, and constantly taking in the world around us to fuel new ideas. We analyze character development in movies and draw scene emotions from songs on the radio. We might not even realize that we’re doing it. For me personally though, I dedicate at least one hour each day to physically sitting down and writing, editing, or researching for my novels.
You’ve said that so eloquently! Yes, even standing in the long queue at the post office, waiting to post a Christmas parcel, there is inspiration to be had from the people around you!
So, how about telling us a bit about your books, and where to find them.
Set during the 1910’s, the Hope or High Water series will take readers on an emotional voyage through the lives of its characters, charting a course from Edwardian England to St. Louis, Missouri in a journey they won’t soon forget. Across Oceans and Twisted River, the first two books in the series, examine the fine line between what makes us and what breaks us and the happiness we all must find in the most unexpected of places. Book three, Broken Lines (in progress), continues the story leading up to America’s entrance into World War I, when words like love and loyalty become enough to divide a nation, divide a family, even divide oneself.
The books can be found on my website, or on Amazon.
Excellent interview! Indeed, I sometimes feel that I walk around in a daze – thoughts are always percolating in my cranium.