Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres (contemporary, paranormal, gay, and historical) and heat levels. Today, she answers a few questions about herself, her books, and her writing.

Welcome, Kelli! Let’s get started…

What’s the last book that made you cry like a fire sprinkler system?

I don’t usually cry when I read, but a few books have gotten me teary-eyed when a main character dies. I was moved to tears when I was younger and read books like Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller.

Is there a place you have never been to that you always longed to go?

Yes. I want to go to Easter Island and see the moai in person. I collect moai statues and think it would be a fantastic experience to visit the most remote place on earth!

What makes you smile?

Lots of things: my husband, my cats, and the beauty of nature.

Has anyone ever told you that you couldn’t write, or that you just couldn’t do it?  If so how did you handle that?

YES. I’ve had lots of rejections for my novels and short stories. A few were particularly harsh, but the worst “feedback” I ever received was a vicious, scathing review for one of my books. It was unprofessional and I was personally attacked and told that I couldn’t write, etc. (Other reviewers didn’t have a problem with the book, so I knew it was just this “reviewer” being an obnoxious %$^&!)

Not liking a book or criticizing a story is one thing, but to come right out and hurl insults at an author… that says something about the “reviewer” and her personality. I was really shaken up by it and it bothered me for days. Then I decided that I had to set that aside, not dwell on it, and move on. It’s really all you can do. That experience has put me off to reviews in general.
So… after that, how do you react to good and bad reviews?

Someone once told me: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, review.” I was then advised never to read any reviews, because they will upset you. (See previous question for more on that.)

Then I heard that you should read the good ones and ignore the bad ones. After having my share of excellent 5-star reviews and hideous, nasty ones (for the same books, no less!) here’s what I think: If you got a great review for a book or a short story, by all means, share it with everyone. If you got a bad review (or a nasty personal attack, like I did) ignore it. Don’t comment on it, and don’t react to it. Curse the person out in the privacy of your own home and then move on.

Do you have a favorite of all the books you wrote?

I love all my books! (They’re like my children.) There are a few that stand out in my mind as one of my favorites to write. My two favorite historicals are The Viking’s Witch and Lies, Love & Redemption. My favorite contemporary is A Deceptive Match, and in gay romance A Secret Match is a favorite. Everett was a great character to write.

Is writing in many genres difficult to keep track of?

Not really. When I get an idea for a book, I already know who the characters are and when/where the story is taking place. That’s all settled before I start writing. When I write a historical romance, I have to do a lot of research on the time period and learn all about what life was like back then, so that makes writing historical romances a bit time-consuming.

I like switching up genres within romance, because I can explore different plots and characters in contemporaries that I can’t in a historical. The same goes for my horror stories. Writing horror lets me stretch my imagination in ways that I’m not allowed to do in a romance. After I finish a few romances, I like to take a break and write a horror story for a change. I think it helps keep the writing fresh.

Any words or advice for upcoming writers?

Upcoming writers should be prepared for rejection and keep in mind that even when you get a short story or a book published that not everyone is going to like it. Writers need to have a thick skin and keep writing, no matter what anyone says. I’d also advise writers to take classes (either online or in person) to learn the basic mechanics of storytelling and get feedback from other writers.

I’ve been asked for writing advice and tips so often, that I finally compiled everything I’ve learned about writing and getting published into a book. You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use. Each chapter talks about a different aspect of writing and takes the writer step-by-step through the process of creating a story. (Visit my site or blog for the book links.)

Do you read as much as you write?

Yes. I’m always reading a book, or writing one. I read a lot of different genres and my shelves are filled with mysteries, detective stories, thrillers, horror books, anthologies and all kinds of non-fiction.

Your biggest pet peeve?

I have lots of pet peeves… my top two are people who are nasty to other people for no reason, and people who abuse animals.

A few favorites: number, color, song, place to escape to, smell.

My favorite number is 3.

Color: Green.

Song: Yikes! I have so many… One of my Top 10 is “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richards.
Place to escape to: My house or my backyard.

Smell: Lilacs or peonies.

Do you have any bad habits?

Of course, everyone does. One is that I’m not a neat person. I tend to not put things away after I use them. (I joke with my husband that you can follow a trail of stuff to find me.) And I procrastinate. I can always put stuff away “later” or get to things “tomorrow” ‒ but sometimes that “tomorrow” turns into a week!

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

I’d give some to animal rescue organizations and other charities, save a large portion for retirement, and buy the house next door and put in a pool. Then I’d travel. Easter Island would be the first trip!

Why should readers give your books a try? What do your books offer that another might not?

Readers may be a little surprised by my romances and the characters I create. Although they follow the traditional romance formula (two people overcome obstacles and fall in love), they’re far from typical. My historicals are a bit more realistic and gritty than most others. (Let’s face it, the world was a dirty and harsh place 200 years ago.) I try to portray how things were back then, and I don’t shy away from controversial subjects.

My heroines are strong, independent women who (in most cases) have to overcome personal issues and fight for their survival, and/or the survival of their lover. The heroes have their share of secrets and bad habits, and sometimes need a bit of rehabilitation in the story. All of my romances include elements of danger, adventure, suspense, comedy, tragedy, and sensual love scenes that readers will enjoy.

What is your latest work?

In June, I released my third gay romance, Four Days with Jack. In this contemporary novella, best friends David and Jack embark on a sexual relationship. David has always loved Jack and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

Here’s the summary:

Four Days with Jack

When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?

Will David come out and start a new life with Jack?  Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

Order Four Days with Jack here:

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo | Scribd | Page Foundry | 24 Symbols

It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes that will heat up your summer!

What is in the works?

Right now, I’m editing an as-of-yet untitled historical romance, and toying with outlines and ideas for another contemporary gay romance, another historical, a straight contemporary, and a paranormal.

Do you have a newsletter? Where can readers find you?

Yes. I send out my newsletter (Kelli’s Quill) once a month. It includes news about my books, links to blogs, Q/A, and writing prompts and advice. Everyone can read back issues and sign up via this link: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Here are a few links to find me and my writings on the web:

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com

Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with Coffee Time Romance. I welcome questions and feedback from readers, so drop me a line via social media.

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.

Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.

Kelli’s third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.

Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.

Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

Happy Reading!