MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIM BRIGGS♥️
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi Amy, I’m Kim Briggs, the author of the STARR FALL Series, AND THEN HE, and AVALANCHE, which is part of the VALENTINE KISSES: A KISS TO LAST A LIFETIME COLLECTION, a chocoholic, and an overall enthusiast. The STARR FALL Series falls into Young Adult Contemporary Romance and Action & Adventure. AND THEN HE is a New Adult dark thriller, and AVALANCHE is Adult Romance with a whole lotta steamy. I write the gamut of categories and genres, but my voice often falls into the YA category. Who knows why. I think maybe I’m a seventeen-year-old trapped in a definitely-not seventeen-year-old body.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Every summer, my family and I load up the camper and go on a month long adventure. We’ve been to some amazing places all over the United States. The incredible sites and brilliant people inspire me both creatively and mentally. One of our favorite places to visit is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, specifically the southern section that borders the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Nation. Most of the STARR FALL Series takes place in around the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Nation and Asheville, North Carolina. Starr’s grandparents mansion is based on the Biltmore Estate. So I guess you could say I’m a huge fan of first-hand accounts.
Aside from traveling, I love researching too. My first dash of research begins and often ends with Google. I can find pretty much everything I need from the comfort of my own home. After I Google something particularly questionable, I always worry that men in black suits with dark sunglasses will show up at my door. I’d like to imagine that there’s a little post-it note above my name that says: Writer, guilty of an overactive imagination, and indefatigable desire for accuracy, but mostly harmless. Mostly.
Can you tell me about your STARR FALL Series?
Of course, I love talking about all my books, especially the STARR FALL Series. June 4 is STARR GONE’s Book Birthday!! Instead of a present, leave a review! Okay, shameless promotion over…
When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr Bishop needs to escape the island and disappear. While in hiding, she meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. He’s the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster High’s social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isn’t the Goth loner he pretends to be, he’s a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starr’s hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.
When Starr and Christian realize just how far the Organization will go to get her back, they form their own team. Their friends are just as stubborn and determined as Starr, but you never know who your true friends are until a gun’s pointed at you. One will take a bullet, and the other will pull the trigger.
Who betrays her? Who will stay true to her?
I’ll never tell.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Honestly no. One begins where the other leaves off. I love Starr’s story so much, and it just keeps getting better and better. Fans adore STARR GONE though—Iwill admit that.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
The inspiration for STARR FALL came in the form of a dream. I’m always chased by bad guys while I sleep—I blame an overactive imagination combined with consuming one too many action and adventure movies. One night I woke up in a cold sweat. A secret organization wanted me as an assassin. Me? No one wants to read about me, but Starr Bishop? That’s a character readers can get behind. I added Christian, because who doesn’t need some kissing and a dreamy hero in their life? However, Starr Bishop is not your typical damsel in distress. She can take care of herself, thank you very much.
I love nonstop action, epic battles, sweeping romances, and cliffhangers. Since I began reading, I’ve always wanted ‘more.’ I mourn the end of a series—the thought that my beloved characters just end doesn’t sit well with me, so I write series fiction. My brain thinks in terms of individual book arcs and overall storyline arcs. All the book series I consumed, those To-Be-Continued movies and TV shows they keep me coming back for more, they all fed my penchant for series fiction.
Now as a writer, I understand why an author ends a series. While there is so much joy in creating characters readers love, a writer lives with those characters with all their wonderful personality traits, along with all their hang-ups, bang-ups, and mood swings for years. Sometimes a new character pops into your head, and he or she is all shiny and new and demands your attention. You start to think about moving on from your beloved story and your adored characters into something different. You experiment with the new story line and character arc. You figure out if you can keep the tone and pace of the idea going for the length of a novel, and if you can, you run with it. That’s not to say you don’t love your old characters or that you won’t return to them again, but sometimes you need a break.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes, I adore series. Adore them I tell you. When I sat down to write Starr Fall, the story poured out of my veins and onto the page. 500,000 words later, it was “finished” or so I thought. Can anyone say, “Vomit?”
A tad long and a bit unwieldly to edit (heavily laced with sarcasm here), I broke the story into three chunks and focused my attention on the first one. After some minors edits, I submitted to agents quite certain that I’d be offered a six-figurecontract, and life as I knew it would be over. Ha, ha, ha!! I committed a crime all too common to beginner writers—I submitted my work before it was ready. I wrote and rewrote. Worked on my writing craft. Changed POV. Changed tense. Worked on my writing craft some more. Rewrote again and again and again. Wrote a new young adult. Wrote AND THEN HE, my new adult dark thriller, but Starr kept speaking to me. She wanted her story told, so I went back and rewrote some more. Came up with twenty-three possible beginnings, then began a new round of submissions. I received many full requests, and the day after Christmas I received an offer of publication.
STARR FALL, STARR LOST, and STARR GONE came out in fast succession. I need to write the fourth one—it’s on my June To Do.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
My typical working day resembles a complicated puzzle. I get up sometime between 5:15 and 5:45 am, check into #5amwritersclub, make myself a chai, light a candle, turn up my salt lamp, and get to work. I take a break around 6:20 to wake up my kids for school. Sometimes I get them breakfast. Sometimes I just say, “Get yourself something to eat,” and I leap back into my writing. Once they leave with my husband at 6:50, I work for another forty minutes if I’m substitute teaching or another hour if I’m not. Then I get my daughter up, eat breakfast, drive to the barn and take care of our horse, then either drop off my daughter at school or walk in with her and work the rest of the day as a teacher. If I’m not subbing, I hit the gym and listen to either one of my books I’m working on or a client’s manuscript. Then I go home, shower, and dive into my own manuscripts for a couple hours. (Sometimes longer if I just can’t break away—READ: don’t want to leave.) After which, I work nonstop on my client’s manuscripts or create copy for the real estate company I freelance for, schedule social media for them as well, or work on customer outreach for the Highlights Foundation, until I either have to pick up my youngest and head to a game or to the barn to ride or to a meeting and then dinner, clean up (hahaha) until eventually I crawl into bed exhausted. Read for a few minutes, then fall asleep. And repeat.
So busy, but productive. Most of the time. Sometimes I really am the hamster caught in the wheel.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Loaded question. Rubbing my hands together feeling awfully saucy.
I’m finishing up a YA Contemporary that explores the issue of consent from the male POV. The protag considers the moral implications of his actions and realizes he may have committed the great crime of all which is the act of doing nothing.
My YA Contemporary Fantasy combines Celtic Mythology with an original werewolf mythology I created in a modern setting. It starts in Vernal Falls, PA and journeys to Ireland. I’m pitching it as Vampire Diaries meets The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater. Here’s the pitch:
Druids live among us.
They worship the forgotten Celtic gods that once ruled the Earth. For centuries, they’ve practiced in Vernal Falls without incident.
Gigi knows nothing of Druids or Celtic gods, and frankly, she doesn’t care. She only knows the visions began when Breas, the new foreign exchange student, moved in next door. She also knows her best friend Lizzie is obsessed with the spell book they found in her attic. And someone is following her, which she finds oddly comforting.
Breas provokes her. Her friends protect her. And a mysterious stranger wants her. But evil forces are at work—forces far greater than afterschool detention. When Gigi reverses the spell her mom died casting, she discovers that werewolves, gods and goddess, and magic aren’t just bedtime stories.
They’re her story.
Did I peek your interest?
Good. It will probably come out this fall.
Where do your ideas come from?
Lightning bolts. I might be working on a manuscript, I might be driving down the road, I might be sitting in on a lecture or reading a book or eating, sleeping, walking or well…, you get the idea. When a new idea hits, I stop what I’m doing and scribble down notes or talk into my voice app. If I find myself returning to the new idea often, I know it’s something that sticks, and I should explore pursuing it.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Well, I am something of an explorer. My first book AND THEN HE, is a New Adult psychological thriller, though as I said it wasn’t the first book I wrote. The STARR FALL series is a YA Contemporary with nonstop action and adventure, with a side of romance, because I do love kissing. AVALANCHE, is a Adult Romance novella. The book that might come out this fall is a YA Contemporary Fantasy, and I adore writing nonfiction picture books—though I haven’t begun submitting them yet.
My reading choices are even more diverse, so, no genre or category is off the table.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time. I call myself a thief because I steal time in the early mornings, late at night, and maybe a mid-morning session. When my kids were young, I used to defend my writing time like a ninja warrior, but the last year or so, I got away from it for a variety of reasons, but I’m slowly honing my warrior skills to protect my time. I need to make Me count. One of Me moves (see what I did there;) I participate in the #5amwritersclub. We are a supportive bunch, offering support and cyber donuts on Fridays. It’s a nice check-in every morning, and it’s comforting to know that there are other sleep-deprived writers sucking down caffeine and moving their fingers as fast as they can to get the words down before real life knocks on the door. Another thing I do is make an appointment with my writer BFF during the day. We text, “GO!” to each other and write for about an hour. I’ve also cut back on social media. Periodically, I have a very difficult time writing creatively when there’s so much devastation and conflict going on in the world, and I fall into a slump, as do most creatives. We are a sensitive bunch. It’s also very easy to get addicted to social media—the algorithms, the newsfeeds, they know how to suck you in, so I put on the airplane mode at night and don’t look at anything until I’ve written each morning. I also turn off the Wi-Fi and open my doc on the Mac at night, so I can get write to it without any playing around.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer, or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love trailers. Absolutely adore them. I don’t have a trailer yet. With the first three books of the series coming out so close together and a full-time job with full-time kids, I just didn’t have the time to create a trailer (or the money), but readers, if you want to, I would love it! Let’s talk about it!
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Well, that’s easy. My readers. Every single one of them. I love when they send me emails about STARR FALL. I love when they post pictures of STARR FALL on IG. I love it when they creep up in line anticipating getting their book signed from me. It is humbling and awesome rolled into one.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Well, to be honest, I’m planning some pretty radical changes in the next year—writing related. Sign up for my newsletter (KimBriggsWrite.com) to find out about the major announcements in the future.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, I’ve always scribbled on pieces of paper, napkins, magazine inserts since I was a wee lass. Piece of advice, buy yourself a journal and take it with you EVERYWHERE, because you never know when a story will hit.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Work your butt off and don’t give up. If writing is something you really, I mean, really really want to do, you will make it a reality. Most books do not become NY Times Best Sellers, most writers don’t make a living from book advances and book sales alone, so if you want to get rich quick find another career. Writing is a passion. Writers don’t write because they want to. Writers exist to put words on the page.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read reviews, but I don’t check often, and I don’t respond to them. The reviews for STARR FALL, STARR LOST, and STARR GONE have all been really good. The most critical reviewers complain about too much kissing in STARR FALL, but hey, I like kissing and Starr and Christian are adorable. Most readers want to know more about the Organization in STARR FALL, but that’s what a series is for, and the readers discover who or what is behind the Organization fairly early on in STARR LOST.
Oh wait, I do respond to reviews on IG because I love pictures of the STARR FALL series, and I freak out about the pictures.
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
Not having the time to write as much as I’d like.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
This is from my YA Contemporary Fantasy…
I lie. I cheat. I steal.
Parents don’t trust me with their daughters. Or their sons.
I’m the student all the teachers know before I step one blue Doc into the classroom.
The desk shoved next to the teacher’s desk? Mine.
The hint of smoke in the bathroom when you apply your lipgloss? That’s me.
The “inappropriate” language scrawled across the fifty-seven million posters advertising the “biggest” game of the year pep rally? You’re welcome.
The lovely work of art comparing the mating habits of Kensey, the prom hog, and her frat house boyfriend with hairy apes? Yep, you got it. Did you find my use of color particularly intriguing?
Excellent. I’m glad we agree, but don’t get too comfortable because if I find you in my seat at the principal’s office, I’ll wrap my black tipped daggers around your designer label shirt and make you realize after school detention for skipping class is the least of your worries.
“Freak,” you’ll mutter to yourself as you stumble away from me, and you’ll be right.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me. The more I write. The greedier I get and want to write more. My creativity zings when I’m able to cruise along at a good clip without having to stop for real life. However, I write in forty-five minute to one-hour clips and take a stretch/water/food/walk outside break to rest my brain—I don’t look at social media. That’s my time to recharge my creative juices before the next round.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
When someone tells me what to write. I’m not talking about an editor or an agent. I mean writing instructors who give you a writing prompt and then ask you to share it. As soon as the assignment is given, my brain freezes and I write gibberish, and I try to write non-gibberish, but then I know the instructor is going to ask for volunteers, and I’m going to need to keep my head down, or she’ll call on me, and I get to be the moron who shares her crap after Emily Dickinson/JK Rowling just went. Perhaps a bit of self-doubt there too;)
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write what comes to me and just hope my readers will like it. I’m unique, and my books are too.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a ton of author friends and pre-published author friends. I love reading their work. I enjoy listening to their thought process or their writing process. We talk about our favorite books, we talk about not so great books, we talk about our hopes and dreams, and we push ourselves to put out the best quality product we possibly can. Plus they get me because they listen to the voices in their head too.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Type KimBriggWrite into any social media platform and Google, and you’ll find me. Drop a comment, and I’