Author Interview with Kim Chance

Hello there. My name is M.A.Greene a writer reaching for publication. I am revising a YA Sci-fi/Fantasy novel and write short stories and poems. You can follow my writing journey on twitter at https://twitter.com/MAGreene96.

Keeper cover

  • M.A.Greene: So first can you tell us when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Kim Chance: I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t realize I wanted to pursue fiction writer as a career until I was in my 20s. It all started in 2008. I was recently married, and my husband was deployed. I was living in a brand new city without any friends or family nearby. I spent most of my free time reading. One day, I had an idea for a story and I just started writing it, not thinking anything would come of it. I realized very quickly, however, how much I loved creating my worlds and developing my own characters.

Over the next few years, I tried to write as much as possible, but life was pretty busy. During that time, I went to grad school and got my masters degree, and I also got pregnant and gave birth to twins. I wasn’t able to devote as much time to writing as I’d had in earlier days, but once my twins were a little older, I decided I really wanted to pursue writing with more gusto. I’ve never looked back since!

  • M.A.Greene: When did the initial idea for Keeper come to you?

Kim Chance: It was very organic, really.  I was working on a completely different storyline when a certain plot element popped into my head. It was unique and exciting, but it didn’t fit into my current WIP. I tried to brush it aside, but that little element just wouldn’t go away, so I spent a lot of time thinking about the characters and the world that would go along with it. Thus, KEEPER was born!

  • M.A.Greene: How long did it take you to write Keeper’s first draft, then to finish the book?

Kim Chance: I wrote multiple versions of Keeper, but the draft that eventually became the published book took 3 and ½ years to complete.

  • M.A.Greene: I first found out about Keeper and your writing advice from your YouTube videos. When did you decide to make a YouTube channel?

Kim Chance: I created my channel almost three years ago. My first video was published on October 15th, 2015. I wanted a place to chronicle my publishing journey, and I also wanted a forum to share everything I’ve learned with other writers.

  • M.A.Greene: What was your publishing journey like for Keeper from the initial idea to publication?

Kim Chance: I started writing the draft that would late become the published book on June 17th, 2012. I finished that draft on August 8th, 2015. It was one of the coolest moments of my journey so far. I was sitting in a public library with tears pouring down my face because I was so proud of myself for finally finishing.

After that, I did multiple rounds of revising and editing. I recruited two freelance editors to help me whip the manuscript into shape and their feedback was so helpful! They are the reason KEEPER is what it is today. After I had a draft that I was really proud of and felt good about, I began the beta reading process and started entering writing contests. Both of those things lead to even more rounds of R & E. Finally, in March of 2016, I began to query literary agents. I received an R&R from Caitlen Rubino-Bradway (LKG Agency) on May 24th, 2016 and then on September 16th, 2016 after I had sent her the (yet again!) revised manuscript, she offered me representation. BEST. DAY. EVER!!  From there, we did—yup! You guessed it!— ANOTHER round of revisions and then took the manuscript on submission. It took several months, but on February 8th, 2017 I was offered a publishing contract!

  • M.A.Greene: Lainey is a refreshing heroine. She is studious, loyal, kind and intellectual. Where you like her as a teenager? How did you develop her character?

Kim Chance: Thank you! There are definitely parts of me in Lainey, but she is her own person for sure! I was a good student, but not nearly as focused and dedicated to my studies as she is. In terms of development, I did a character profile on her and spent a lot of time getting to know her before I started writing.

  • M.A.Greene: One aspect I love is the positive friendship sisterhood bond Lainey has with her best friend Maggie. How did you decide to have Maggie as her best friend? What was the character development for her like?

Kim Chance: I knew Lainey needed a partner in crime, someone who could help her deal with everything that happens. Since Lainey is so serious, I wanted her best friend to be spunky and funny. Maggie is actually based off of my real life best friend, Carrie. Carrie has been there for through the best and worst parts of my life and I can’t imagine life without her. It wasn’t hard to develop Maggie as a character because I have a living example of such a friend in my own life.

  • M.A.Greene: Do you think the Young Adult genre needs more novels where strong female friendships preserve?

Kim Chance: Absolutely! I think it’s refreshing to see healthy female relationships. I plan to include them in all of my future novels, and I would love to see more and more strong female friendships in fiction!

  • M.A.Greene: In your novel Keeper, Lainey discovers she is a witch. Did you like books and movies about witches? Did you research myths and beliefs of witchcraft for your novel? If so what did you use and intentionally leave out and why?

Kim Chance: Yes! I’m a child of the 90s, so I grew up watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Charmed, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve always had a thing for the paranormal, and witches in particular. I’m also a huge fan of Harry Potter & The Chronicles of Narnia. Those were big sources of inspiration for me as well. No, I didn’t really do a lot of research, mainly because I had a pretty good idea already of how I wanted my witches to operate.

  • M.A.Greene: (minor spoiler alert) I am so happy this book did not involve a love triangle between the friends and the guy who shows up. (I will not say who so people have to read Keeper to find out) Did you ever consider love triangles or Maggy and Lainey being jealous over guys or was that never the nature of their friendship.

Kim Chance: Well, I LOVE love triangles (don’t judge me, people!), but I never considered including one in this story. It wouldn’t have been a good fit. While there is a slightly romantic subplot, this book is NOT a paranormal romance.

  • M.A.Greene: It was wonderful the way you made many references to comic book superheroes as Lainey discovers she is a witch and what that entails, was that on purpose?

Kim Chance: Yes! Maggie is a huge comic book fan and so she always used references to compare what Lainey is going through to the heroes in her comics. I’m a big nerd myself, so this was a lot of fun!

  • M.A.Greene: Are you a comic book/ Marvel/DC/ anime fan?

Kim Chance: Yes! I love the Marvel universe!

  • M.A.Greene: Are you only interesting in writing for Young Adults or other age groups as well?

m.Kim Chance: My heart is with Young Adult, so I don’t see myself writing for any other age group any time soon. You never know though!

  • M.A.Greene: What are your favorite genres and least favorite genres and why?

Kim Chance: My favorites are fantasy, historical, and re-tellings! I don’t really have a least favorite, though I tend to steer clear of horror—I’m a big chicken!

  • M.A.Greene: What is your favorite book and least favorite book and why?

Kim Chance: My favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve read it a million times and I will never be sick of it. I don’t have a least favorite book.

  • M.A.Greene: Do you write with music? And if so what songs helped lightening keep shining in your story as you stormed through when writing Keeper?

Kim Chance: I do! I write to movie scores—I find lyrics distracting. You can find my Keeper playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/user/22mm3tbaxzept6feoi3nkdkkq/playlist/0Mh8UX4ZJQRgz5OC0geA34?si=2PIbqu5NTEet7_6ZKPNmyQ

You can find my playlist for Seeker, here: https://open.spotify.com/user/22mm3tbaxzept6feoi3nkdkkq/playlist/2yBkzHIRVFlbQ61ZV4zOiK?si=lQPgMuuXQya51CM395nYZw

  • M.A.Greene: Watching your YouTube videos, you mentioned you are a teacher, mother and wife. How you do balance so many obligations and how did you learn to balance your obligations with writing?

Kim Chance: It’s definitely not without effort, and I’ve certainly not completely mastered it yet. In order for me to juggle it all, I have to follow a pretty strict schedule. Not just when it comes to writing, but life in general. I have a planner that I take with me everywhere, and I literally have to schedule my life down to the hour. I set long-term and short-term goals for myself and then I do my best to schedule the amount of time necessary to achieve those goals. It doesn’t always work out that way—life is messy after all!—but I really try to hold myself accountable.

Most of my writing time is scheduled for the evenings after my children are in bed. It’s not ideal; I do my best writing during the day when my brain is fresh, but my children are my priority and when I’m with them, my mom hat is the most important one I wear. I’m also pretty tough on myself, and I try not to get bogged down with excuses as to why I can’t write. This often means I write when I’m exhausted or sick or just generally don’t feel like writing. It’s not easy, and sometimes I only get a few paragraphs written, but I firmly believe that dreams don’t work unless you do. I’m certainly not one of those writers who can write every day, but I do my best to get at least 2-3 writing sessions in a week. I also work on my lunch breaks whenever I can.

I won’t lie, juggling writer life with real life is incredibly challenging, and I don’t always feel like I’m successful at it. However, writing is important to me, so I do everything I can to make sure it remains a priority, in spite of my crazy schedule.

  • M.A.Greene: I follow you on twitter and have participated in #chance2connect, a twitter session where you ask writers/aspiring writers questions and they have a chance to connect with each other writers in environment that fosters respect and kindness. How did you come up with the concept of #chance2connect?

Kim Chance: Writing was a very lonely experience for me when I first started, and once I got plugged into the writing community, I wanted to help other writers do the same. Twitter has a pretty active writing community, so I figured it would be a great place to make some connections. I’d participated in other twitter chats before and really enjoyed them, so I thought it would be a great way to help my fellow writers make friends!

  • M.A.Greene: Often in your YouTube videos and on twitter you often say the phrase “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” I even remember when you were promoting people being able to buy shirts with the phrase on it. How did you first realize that slogan could apply to writing and when did the slogan reside with you on a personal level?

Kim Chance: I came across the quote early on in my writing career and it’s just been something that has stuck with me ever since. While I can’t take credit for it, it’s definitely become my personal mantra and something I believe very strongly in.

  • M.A.Greene:The cover of Keeper is beautiful and intriguing. Did you have any influence in the cover design and if so what was that process like?

Kim Chance: I did, which is not usually the case with traditional publishing. I’m very lucky! I did a video all about the process and my experience with it. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/h9CjyAK-cOA

  • M.A.Greene: Does it ever feel surreal being interviewed about your book and writing process? Did it in the beginning?

Kim Chance: YES! Even with a published book, there are times when I don’t feel like a real author. It’s always very exciting to be asked for an interview!

  • M.A.Greene: Keeper has a sequel you are working on Seeker, without too many spoilers what can tell us about the process for that book? Is it easier writing a sequel? What challenges are different writing Seeker compared to Keeper?

Kim Chance: Writing a sequel is incredibly difficult, and since I’m on deadline for this book, there’s even more stress and pressure to deal with. I wrote Keeper in a vacuum with no deadlines or even any expectations. The exact opposite is true of Seeker. It’s a much different experience and there have been a lot of highs and lows. I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end, but it’s pretty challenging so far. Time will tell! Also, I’m chronicling my experience with Seeker in a video series called The WIP Diaries on my channel. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTi-b65qDGLsRDvso8R3xAPZlVrWJda94

  • M.A.Greene: What advice would you give aspiring writers in regards to staying motivated, the publishing journey, or so forth?

Kim Chance: My biggest piece of advice for aspiring writers is don’t compare your writing journey with anyone else’s journey. It is so easy to look at others’ success and take it an indication that your own will never come. Writing is an emotional journey, and when we start asking the question of “Why them? Why not me?” it not only affects our writing, but it affects who we are as people. Don’t put yourself in the position. Success is not measured by how many book contracts you’re offered or how many times your name hits that NYT bestseller list. Figure out what your definition of success is and don’t let anyone or anything make you feel like you can’t achieve it. You can, and you will!

You can read Kim Chance’s Keeper on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Keeper-Kim-Chance/dp/1635830125/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542915445&sr=1-2&keywords=keeper

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