With her new book coming out later this month, and the big cover reveal happening here on Monday, I wanted to take a minute to talk to Lee about writing, stretching genres, and traveling internationally. I also wanted to get a feel for what we can expect next from Lee, because it's always something fun!
Welcome to my blog, and thank you so much for sharing some insight with my readers today. Let's jump right in!
CMA: You write in a variety of genres: fantasy, poetry, and recently romance. Do you have a favorite so far? Any genres you've wanted to tackle but haven't tried yet?
KNL: Fantasy is my favorite, and I doubt that will ever change. Fantasy was what started my obsession with books and writing, and it is where I am most creative and comfortable. I’ve always wanted to venture out and try a little mystery. Once things die down with my current projects, I’m going to give it a shot!
CMA: You have two poetry books published. What inspires your poetry?
KNL: My poetry is inspired by dreams and the emotions we experience throughout life. Somehow my poems end up being kind of dark. Which is odd…because I’m such a bubbly and happy person. I suppose it’s my darker side trying to come out!
CMA: You recently participated in a writing collective, creating an online novella with seven other writers. Was this the first time you wrote in a "collective?" What was the experience like? What was your favorite part of writing in the romance genre (or was it difficult)?
KNL: I’ve written for a few anthologies, but this was my first collective, where we each had a chapter that created a cohesive story. It was so much fun! I was certainly challenged by this collective, because it entailed writing romance and got a little fiery during my chapter with the main couple of the story. I have to tell you, I blushed the entire time I wrote their ‘hot scenes.’ It was liberating though, and actually helped me write a steamy scene in Dark Prophet, my latest fantasy novel.
CMA: I know you have a new book coming out, and we'll get to more on that soon. But I've been privileged to watch the organic creation of your book cover: from model, to backgrounds, to final version. What's your favorite part of the cover design process? When do you know you're "done?"
KNL: The cover design process is so much fun! It can also be stressful, especially if you are determined to produce ‘the perfect cover’ that will stand out from the rest. My favorite part of the process is finding the model and transforming them into my character! I actually found my latest model at a party…and she’s a physician assistant! Something about her eyes told me that she was Koa. On photo shoot day, once she was in hair and makeup, it was a stunning result! I’m very pleased. The moment you look at the cover and feel emotionally attached to it, and it encompasses your vision, that’s when I know I’m done!
CMA: You released your first full length fiction novel last year, The Chronicles of Koa. What's the biggest thing you learned from your first fiction release?
KNL: The biggest thing I learned from my first release was that you cannot please everyone. Some people want things to be super descriptive, while others like more action and less exposition. Nonetheless, the positive reviews brought validation that the story I’d produced was as cool as I thought it was! I’m pleased with the result.
CMA: You have the second book in the series coming out SOON, later this month, correct? What's its title, and what was your favorite part about writing book two?
KNL: Yes! Dark Prophet, The Chronicles of Koa Book Two, will be released on February 26. How exciting! I really enjoyed watching my characters grow, and building upon their stories. I also loved showing off my darker side in this installment of the series. I gave myself nightmares after writing some of the scenes. All in all, I think the fans will be very pleased.
CMA: I know you also have another completed novel or two up your sleeve and are holding out for an agent or publisher for those. I love the flexibility we have these days to mix & match! For you, what drives self-pubbing some, and going the traditional route with others?
KNL: Well, for me, I wanted to self-publish at first in order to add some credits to my author platform and develop a fan base. Also, I knew that the search for an agent or publisher would be a time consuming one…and I can be a bit impatient. So, while I queried agents and submitted Rise of the Flame to publishers, I figured The Chronicles of Koa would keep my impatience at bay. So far it’s worked out quite well.
I think some authors like to have the creative control over their titles. Not only that, but you get to keep most of your profits. Others want to have the support and marketing that comes from traditional publication.
CMA: You've become very well-traveled after the release of Koa, hitting the World Fantasy Con and doing global book signings. What was your favorite destination? Did any of these locales inspire your writing and creative bug?
KNL: My biggest travels last year were San Diego, California, London, England, and Morocco. London was easily my favorite destination! I look forward to moving there someday. Soon I hope! Visiting London was not only a lot of fun, but The Chronicles of Koa is set in London. Now that I’ve actually walked its streets, drank in its pubs, and viewed its castles, I can use that experience to enrich my story.
CMA: After this newest book release (Dark Prophet), what can readers expect to see from K.N. Lee?
KNL: You can expect to see Rise of the Flame, my high-fantasy trilogy, this summer! I’ll be working on a dystopian/sci-fi novel named Freya’s Bridge as well. I’m excited to work on something new, but rest assured, the third book of The Chronicles of Koa series will be completed as well!
CMA: Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing career?
KNL: I see myself with a book deal and traveling the world. I have too many ideas for cool stories in my head that I know I’ll be producing a lot of titles within that time frame. Oh, and I’d like to add that I plan to have a quaint cottage like Koa’s in the countryside of England.
CMA: What's one piece of advice you'd like to give aspiring authors?
KNL: Never give up!
Thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing some of your experience with us. I can't wait to watch your career grow over the years. I know your writing will soar even further in the future, because every time I read a piece, I am blown away by your creativity, and also love your willingness to go "dark" and not have everything be perfect. It adds just the right amount of tension to your stories that I think my readers will love!
Stay tuned for a guest blog post from Lee, on her experience with pitching agents, both in person and while following up via e-mail. She'll share some of her lessons learned, and tips to (hopefully) get it right!
Also, come back on Monday for the big cover reveal of the Dark Prophet! I'll be giving away an e-Book of The Chronicles of Koa, so be on the look out for how you can win!
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