Kelly Siskind is one of those rare people you meet in life, that with one single conversation you know that they are doing in life what they were meant to do. When Kelly mentored me in Pitch Wars, we had a few telephone conversations. During one, she suggested a change in my main male character’s motivation. But I was concerned that his behavior in another scene would no longer make sense. Without a moment’s hesitation, she was able to explain what drove his every decision. Kelly Siskind is a great writer because she understands human behaviour, what pumps your heart faster at the sound of a car door slam, or what makes a woman want to go from punching a smirk off a guy’s face to sucking it off with a searing kiss faster than you can take a shot of tequila.
It is a gift.
But I wanted to get a glimpse into the steel cables that guide the gondola of her thoughts (a reference to her next book release). Today, in my interview with Kelly Siskind, we talk writing process, character development, and of course, hot sex.
- You’ve written three books in the last year. That’s very impressive. What is your writing routine or schedule?
My husband and I own our own business, so I write whenever I can. If I have half an hour in the morning, I savor those minutes. If I have free time in the afternoon, I dive in. Mondays are my full writing days, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Other than that, it’s about making the most of the time I can eek out.
- How long does it take you to complete a manuscript to the point where you give it to CPs for feedback?
It takes me about two and a half months to draft a manuscript. I work with one critique partner during that time, who reads as I go. This process allows me to catch issues before they get out of control. The continued feedback helps me develop the story. Once it’s done, I work with two or three other CPs to revise and a couple of Beta readers afterward.
- Tell us about your writing process from outlining to drafting.
I’m a plotter. To begin, I write a short blurb to define the story, like what you’d find on the back cover of a book. Then I flesh that out into a synopsis, usually two to three pages. Then I write chapter outlines. These outlines consist of the purpose of each chapter as well as the scenes that make them up. As I write, I stray from the structure at times, but having it in place helps keep me on track.
- How long does the plotting process take you before you’re ready to start writing the MS?
About a week.
- Where do you get your inspiration from?
This changes for me. When I wrote CHASING CRAZY, I had just finished drafting a novel with a very snarky main character. I wanted to push myself in the other extreme with Nina, making her more shy and awkward. I’d also backpacked to New Zealand a lifetime ago and wanted to relive that experience through my writing. Similarly, the first book in my Over the Top series—MY PERFECT MISTAKE—begins in Aspen. The idea for the novel sparked while on vacation there.
- Chasing Crazy made me laugh out loud and swoon. Sam and Nina had tremendous depth and were so relatable. I felt I was on the journey with them. How do you develop your characters?
I don’t fill out questionnaires about my characters the way some authors do, but I do jot things down on a page. Some basic background information. The rest develops as I write. I try to work snippets of their history into their inner monologues to give readers insight into who they are and why they make the choices they do.
- In my last post, I asked Brighton Walsh about things to avoid when writing sex scenes. What is your advice to authors about writing an effective and hot sex scene?
Writing hot sex, for me, is about injecting emotion into the scene. It’s not a paint-by-numbers exercise where you describe the actions; it’s about moving the plot and emotion forward. My aim is to inject elements of my characters personalities and struggles into the intimacy of the moment.
- Tell us about your next project.
I am so freaking excited about my next project! As it is a secret, I can’t divulge too much, but I will say that the first novel in the series has a cringe-worthy event that starts it off with a bang.
Kelly is the author of CHASING CRAZY and the soon to-be-released Over the Top series, all published through Grand Central’s Forever Yours. A small-town girl at heart, she moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.
2015 Golden Heart® Finalist
“Chasing Crazy is an entertaining and compelling story about owning who you are. With an endearingly awkward female protagonist, a swoon-worthy male love interest, and Siskind’s superb storytelling, this is one of the best New Adult contemporary romances I’ve read to date.” ~ USA Today Bestselling author, K.A. Tucker
Dear Mom & Dad, I dropped out of school. I’m going backpacking. Sorry. Love you both.
At nineteen, Nina has endured two lifetime’s worth of humiliation. Tired of waiting for it to get better, she decides to get going—across the globe to New Zealand. There she faces what she fears most: a super sexy guy ready to be Nina’s next mistake.
Once Sam’s life was all about having fun. That was before the accident. Now his friends have bailed and his world has tipped sideways. But when a gorgeous girl on his flight looks at him with passion instead of pity, Sam feels his old self resurfacing.
Now traveling together, Nina and Sam fall fast, hard, and deep. More than anything, Sam wants Nina to forget her fears. But to help her do that he must reveal his own painful secret—and risk Nina never seeing him the same way again.