A first generation American born to a European family, Kevin Sterling writes from a rich perspective on relationships, culture and sensuality to create characters with uncommon depth and appealing vulnerability. Combine that with a history of world travel and a successful former business career in structured finance, and it’s easy to see how his books resonate with authentic situations, engaging conflict, and stimulating eroticism.
Then there’s the lighter side of the man, who can do a killer impression of Sean Connery (amongst other famous personalities) and thinks everyone wants to hear his never-ending repertoire of corny jokes. That has yet to be proven, of course, so readers should be thankful he has one of the best editors in the industry (Mary Moran) to keep that under control.
Sterling and his wife travel extensively and live at their mountain ranch in Colorado.
What inspires you to write?
So many things, really. But the biggest inspiration is the prospect of bringing joy and entertainment to other people’s lives. The author/reader connection is incredibly intimate, and it’s thrilling to share that with so many people. Then there’s the creative process of forming stories, inventing characters and bringing it all to life through fun writing, all of which gets me so excited that I can hardly wait to get to my study every morning. I know, in my heart, that it’s truly what I’m meant to do.
Tell us about your writing process.
First of all, I use what I call a “short outline”. It includes a number for each chapter followed by one or two sentences summarizing what happens in it so I can always refresh my memory on the storyline and where I’m headed. I usually complete about two-thirds of the outline prior to starting on the book, which gives me an initial course to follow, but it doesn’t take long before the story takes on its own life and strays from the outline. So, before I’m done for the day, I always make sure the book and the outline are completely in-sync. Otherwise, as I found with my first two books, it doesn’t take long before I lose where I am, the story gets convoluted, and it’s a brain-numbing mess trying to get back on track. Also, when I add or change something that results in a domino-effect throughout the rest of the book, I make sure to immediately fix everything that’s impacted rather than keep a list of changes to make later. That keeps the book tight and consistent at all times, which I really need to keep my mind clear of distractions and focused on the story. So, in a nutshell, I start off with a clear vision of the plot and storyline, but I allow the characters to take the story where they want, and I make adjustments accordingly.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters, but I certainly do listen to them. In fact, I have an intimate knowledge and understanding of every one of them, hence why I find it unnecessary to write character bios. My approach is to turn them loose and let them do whatever they want (whether I like it or not) while I find an entertaining way of describing it all. Sometimes it feels like I have no control over what’s going on because they are who they are, and I have to let them be true to themselves.
What advice would you give other writers?
Treat your writing like a business, whether you have the luxury of a full-time gig or just write during the evenings and weekends. That means setting regimented times to write, to market, to blog, etc. Make to-do lists, set specific goals and achieve them one by one. No one will ever finish a book by writing whenever they get around to it. There are so many distractions in life, and because writing and creating is hard work, it’s so easy to gravitate toward other things and “get to the writing later”. Discipline is the key.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried the traditional route with the first book I published in 1996 because that was the only option back then. But the market has changed dramatically over the last few years, and in my opinion, there are so many advantages to self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace on-demand paperback publishing and other outlets that I don’t see why authors go the traditional route anymore.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The trend is clearly moving toward self-publishing, as evidenced by the number of traditional publishers merging, consolidating and/or outright going out of business. There are so many big, traditionally-published authors who have moved to self-publishing because of the freedom, speed and higher royalty sharing. How cool is it that you can put the finishing touches on a book with your editor and have it out in the market in 24 hours instead of 6 months?
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Action, mystery, suspense, thrillers and romance.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print