About K. J. Klemme:
A computer-geek by day, Karlie spends her evenings and weekends murdering and maiming. She inflicts torture and a myriad of miseries…on paper. Karlie believes the only good character is a tormented one.
In her youth, while growing up in Central Wisconsin, Karlie didn’t exhibit signs of protagonist abuse. Instead, friends admired the finesse with which she threw gutter balls while bowling, and how she could spin on the playground merry-go-round for hours without tossing her cookies.
Realizing the talents of her adolescence wouldn’t provide her with a viable occupation, Karlie chose a career in computers. But the writer in her wouldn’t be quiet. Finally, a few years into the new millennium, she capitulated and started writing.
In November of 2012, Karlie began work on the suspense novel TOURIST TRAPPED, which debuted in September of 2014.
When she’s not working her “day job” or hammering on her keyboard, Karlie enjoys kayaking, gardening, skiing, and joyrides in her roadster. She lives in Southeastern Wisconsin with a Westie and a Scottie-mix who allow Karlie to cohabit with them…as long as the treats cupboard remains well stocked.
What inspires you to write?
It’s in my DNA. Writing is what I do. At times an idea will pop into my head and rattle around, pestering me until I put it down on paper, but most of the time the pull is far deeper. An entire cast of characters camps out in my psyche, twiddling their thumbs while they wait for me to write scenes that bring them to life in the minds of readers.
With the publication of my first book in the Trapped Trilogy, I think I’ve given readers characters they care about. They want to see what happens next for Amanda and Chad. I, too, love my characters and the stories I create for them. That’s what drives me to return to the keyboard, day after day.
In my “real job,” I spend long days focused on computer systems, performance and up-time, team best practices, etc. Writing gives me the opportunity to balance that part of my life with evenings and weekends where I can I let loose my imagination and see where it takes me.
Tell us about your writing process.
It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg. Sometimes characters show up in my head first, other times a premise for a story is the starting point. Either way, soon I’m thinking about the main characters for a story and the central question.
I’m a believer in a lot of back story. I write pages and pages for my major characters, and oftentimes some of the plot will come out in that effort. I usually select an actor or find a picture of someone to personify each character. That person becomes the character in my head.
To write my first draft, I drop my characters in a scene with the inciting incident and let the scene unfold, recording it as I watch it play out in my head. Once that scene is done, it helps me determine what scene should take place next. As I let the story unfold, I make sure that I’m headed the right direction.
As I get deeper into the manuscript, I’ll begin some serious outlining–I use whiteboards, colored markers, and Post-it Notes in the process, then record my efforts in Word documents, spreadsheets and flowcharts.
Once I complete the first draft, I transfer my manuscript to Scrivener to speed up the editing process. As a suspense writer, I find it so much easier to move around my novel when it’s laid out in Scrivener.
After about five rounds of revisions, I’ll send the novel off to beta readers and my editor to make sure the story works. Then another few rounds of revisions before experiencing that exquisite joy of clicking the “Publish” button!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I usually don’t have conversations with my characters. Instead, once I’ve determined the point of view for a scene, I’ll mentally shift gears to look at the world through the eyes of that character. Thanks to my extensive back story, I’ll know how the character will react in the scene.
What advice would you give other writers?
If anyone tells you that writing is easy, they’re lying or hired a ghost writer! To become a good writer, you need to work at it. Find a couple of strong mentors, attend writing classes and conferences, and work at it! Stop surfing Facebook and start writing. Now!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wanted to keep the rights to my work and maintain control over the entire publishing process, so I decided to self-publish. I also didn’t have the patience to go through months of searching for an agent and then a publisher. I wanted to share my work with the world more quickly.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. I’d urge every writer to research both options and determine the approach he or she is most comfortable with.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
For those of us who choose to bypass the traditional publishing route, we now have a wonderful way to share our stories directly with readers. But with the loss of the gatekeeper, we’ve unleashed a torrent of books–and not all of them are quality works. It’s challenging to connect with readers, and I see the challenge increasing as more writers self-publish.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Suspense/Thriller
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print