MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIRSTY DALLAS!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Kirsty Dallas, I write in the genre of romance and in the sub-genre of comedy, contemporary, dystopia and dark/horror.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’ve got 12 published books to date, with three set for release in early 2019. Ideas come to me from different places. My Mercy’s Series is dedicated to the subject of violence against women and that’s inspired by the fact I am a domestic abuse survivor myself. Zombie Playlist is due out in March of 2019, and it came to me whilst listening to the song ‘Zombie’ by the Bad Wolves on my radio in the car. I thought to myself “this is such an iconic song for a zombie playlist, OH, hey, that would make a great book title”, then the magic just happened and I wrote a book.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
My first story was written when I was 14 and it was a young adult fantasy romance. I don’t know why it happened to be ‘romance’, it was never a conscious decision, it just came to me with ease, which is weird because in real life I’m not very romantic and I absolutely hate romance movies.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
All of my books require some form of research, whether it be medical, law enforcement, geography, cars, weapons etc etc. I find most of my research through the beautiful beast that is Google, but then I also have real living contacts in different fields that I reach out to from time to time.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Mercy’s Angels is a contemporary romance series that deals with the subject of violence against women (from assault, to domestic violence, to rape, to trafficking, it has it all). Each book can be read as a standalone, but a more rewarding reading experience is found by reading in order. Each book is packed with action, romance, and healing. There is no insta-love, the characters forced to develop their relationships in a real and meaningful manner. This series is only just now available in Kindle Unlimited.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Saving Ella owns my heart, it was my debut novel that kicked off this awesome career.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
From my own personal experience in a difficult and frightening relationship. That, and at the time of writing Saving Ella I’d discovered Maya Banks KGI series, and while I didn’t want to replicate that, I wanted the same fast packed action with a beautiful cast of characters who reappear through all the books.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Oddly enough, very little. My editor lives in Texas and she helped me with the US terminology, as I’m Australian. Her husband is in law enforcement so he helped with some information there, and that was basically it. There is however a stack of personal experience within those pages that is drawn on to create true emotion.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Nope. I wrote this book out of the blue and I think it was really to prove to myself I could do it. It was released without any book world help, there was no PR company or blogger support, and somehow people still bought it and loved it. I was bombarded with emails and messages asking me “Is Rebecca and Charlie getting a story”, and eventually I was like, well, why the hell not?
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I still have a real-day job which I’m too scared to leave in case the writing career turns pear shaped. I work three days a week, but my boss is all sorts of awesome and he lets me write from my office. I try to write within normal business hours, 9-5, as I have a ten year old daughter who I prefer to give my full attention to when she’s around. My computer is literally set up in my bedroom, so sometimes, once she’s in bed, I kick back and write for a couple of hours. I never set word goals, I’m lazy like that, but the words usually come to me without much effort.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’ve always got books in the making. I have three set for release early 2019. Beauty Part I&II is part of Anita Gray’s Blaire’s World dark romance series. Zombie Playlist is my horror/suspense/comedy romance and it will release in March, right after Beauty. I hate to play favourites, but ,whispers I think Zombie Playlist is my favourite book-baby to date.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Character names are so freaking hard! I use baby name websites A LOT. In Beauty my femme fatale is called ‘Beauty’, and it has poignant meaning. She can’t remember her real name because of the atrocities she’s been through and her master calls her Beauty in a disparaging way. Her savior, Hart, continued to call her Beauty as a way for her to take back her life and destroy the fear and control her master had over her. Hart was inspired by the poet, Hart Crane. I saw the name in a writing forum and I wanted it, badly!
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere, art life, personal experiences, but mostly music.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Oh hell yeah baby…horror! I was ghost writer on a horror/slasher book a few years ago and it was so much fun. Then I worked in a co-writer/editor capacity on an Australian horror feature film called BOAR, which was released by Universal Pictures a couple of months ago. I also LOVE horror movies, so a horror book or script is something I definitely want to do in the next few years.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I had writers block earlier this year, there was a 3 month period where I didn’t write. It was the first time I’ve experienced that kind of loss of creativity. It was scary, like a piece of me disappeared and I wasn’t sure if I’d get it back.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I did a few in the early days. I think a really good trailer can help find readers, but I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s also hard to create a really epic trailer without spending big dollars, and sometimes that money is better spent in other areas.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Decker’s Wood was a best seller for me, hitting the top 100 on Amazon, iBooks and Kobo. But, the most memorable moment of my career was co-writing and co-producing a song for my novel, Violet Addiction. That was freaking awesome and something I’ll probably never do again (I should never say never though). On that occasion the stars aligned and beautiful people came forward to help me, and I don’t think I could ever replicate that experience. The song is my favourite song of all time. (A Shade of Violet, you can find it on iTunes)
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Having a creative outlet, being able to create worlds and stories and having people read them. It’s humbling and exciting.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully retired from that damn day job I’m too scared to let go of, and writing full time.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, I was definitely born to be a writer. My mum has my first ever written work in an album, 8 short lines about how much I love my brother.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Master your craft. I spent a year just learning how to structure a novel before even looking at publishing. It’s one thing to have a great idea for a story, but it’s another thing entirely to actually create a plot, develop characters and write a flowing story. Invest in marketing, it’s the ONLY way to get exposure these days, don’t rely on other people to share your work and expect to see results from it. That may sound harsh, but that’s this industry and it’s not because we don’t support each other. It’s usually because we are so busy worrying about our own projects that we don’t even see Author ‘A’ release a book or author ‘B’ release her latest cover. And bloggers are hammered relentlessly with new releases, so getting through to them is sometimes tricky. Also, get a good editor, and make sure you cover POPS!!
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’ve been in the optical industry as a dispenser/assistant/technician for 20 years now, but I’d like to think that if writing never happened for me that I’d have the guts to quit and study. I love forensic science and psychology.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I rarely read reviews. I have bloggers who send me links to their reviews on release day and I always read them. I’ve even had the odd blogger reach out and confess they haven’t been able to read and enjoy my work, which I absolutely don’t mind at all. I hold no grudges against those who don’t like my work, we are a species of diversity, I would never expect everyone to like my books. I don’t go to Goodreads though and torture myself with looking through the reviews. Goodreads is a reader community, and as an author I stay well clear, because even though I know and expect bad reviews, keyboard warriors can be stark, raving, mad goobers!
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Marketing and promoting, because I’m not very good at it and can’t quite ‘crack the code’. Seriously, there is a wicked, whacky science behind nailing a great promotion, and I’m yet to figure it out.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just about got Beauty Part I and Zombie Playlist ready to go for 2019, and now I’m hammering out Beauty Part II, after which I plan on taking a couple of months off to recharge. I’ve written somewhere in the vicinity of 130,000 words in 4 months, my brain needs a holiday.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
How about I give you the entire prologue for Zombie Playlist?
Unedited © Kirsty Dallas 2018
Isaiah 13:9 “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.”
Prologue – The beginning
Silver, grey tendrils of smoke drifted upwards, dancing lazily as it twisted and spiraled through the air. The cigarette that hung between my long fingers shook precariously. The ash at the opposite end was a delicate combination of grey and black flecks, attached loosely to the white paper yet to burn. My trembling hand lifted the cigarette to my lips, and I inhaled, dragging the warm smoke into my lungs where I held it for a few seconds before blowing it back out on a long exhale.
I’d been accused of being ignorant to the world around me more than once, and it was a fair accusation. I found it easy to become lost in my own mind which was a place of chaos, a chaos that could only be silenced with music. As lead guitarist for the band, Rifts of Destruction, it was a dream job that pandered to my love for all things music and helped quiet my frenzied thoughts. I didn’t watch TV and rarely listened to the radio, preferring the eclectic and ever-changing playlists on my iPhone. That’s probably why I now sat shocked and unable to drag my eyes from the large, wall-mounted TV screen before me. The sound was low, but I could still hear the words spilling from the speakers with mind-numbing statistics and medical terminology that left me reeling. State of Emergency filtered through my ears and sunk into my mind. Stay at home, avoid public places, don’t come to the hospital…Red Rage, it all tapped into that disbelieving place in my brain that shocked me literally speechless. How poetic, the bedlam in my mind had been effectively silenced, and it wasn’t by music. The only reason I’d put the television on in the first place was that I’d dialed 911 and was greeted by an automated recording. It said much the same thing as the grave reporter on the screen in front of me.
Reluctantly my gaze returned to the body that lay only a few feet away, and I shuddered. Dirty blond hair lay sprawled around his head, matted with blood and chunks of something I didn’t care to examine closer. His skin was a waxy gray, an unusual webbing of hemorrhaged veins covered his flesh, the white of his eyes such a deep red it was almost black. His lips were blue and lifeless, lips I had once kissed, lips that sang with such a gravely power that the music industry had pretty much devoured him whole, leaving behind a man I barely recognized. Cullen Creed and I had a rocky relationship at best. Being strong-minded and extroverted people came with its own set of relationship issues but throw in the chaos that came with being part of a band that had seen global fame, and we were bound to fail. Our on again, off again relationship had been currently off again after I caught him screwing my best friend and band manager, Sylvie. It sucked because I really thought he’d finally changed, that the fame and fortune had lost its sparkle and he’d settle down happily with the one person who had been at his side since the beginning of this whole crazy train ride. It also sucked because we lived in the same damned apartment. I’d spent a week at a hotel and only made the trip home to gather more of my shit, having decided I was done with him for good, or so I told myself. I’d blown into the apartment with my anger and bluster, ready to yet again let out my hurt in a screaming rant only to find Cullen sick as a dog. It started out pretty trivial, with headaches, aching muscles and a weird itch that I accused him of catching from Sylvie. The symptoms quickly got worse though, and over the course of twenty-four hours, his mood plummeted to short tempered and violent, his speech began to slur and then the veins under his skin began to hemorrhage giving him the weird, purple like webbing all over his body. This was the point I decided to call 911, and you know how that went. From that moment on Cullen’s decline was rapid. He’d never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but his familiar absent-mindedness became something altogether fucking weird, to the point where he no longer talked and didn’t acknowledge my presence at all. He would just lie there, like a vegetable, staring at the ceiling. Eventually, his breathing became labored and he slipped into a coma and died. Well, I thought he died. I’d been sitting in this very same spot, dragging the tangy smoke of a cigarette into my lungs while mourning the loss of a man who treated me like shit, when the man in question staggered down the hallway, his body moving sluggishly at first. Upon seeing me sitting there with fresh tears on my face and my jaw hanging open in shock, he ran at me…fast. Scurrying off the sofa I avoided his frantic hands and the animalistic growl that accompanied his bared teeth and searched for something to protect myself with. I pleaded with him to stop, throwing my hands out before me in an attempt to keep him at bay. Cullen’s fist wrapped around my wrist so tight I was left with deep marks that would soon turn from red to purple. He hadn’t listened, instead, the fucker tried to bite me. As my flailing hand found my Dodgers baseball bat, I awkwardly swung it at his head. The consequent ‘thwack’ with a little bit of splatter made me want to vomit. At least he released my wrist which gave me better leverage when the still standing bastard tried to grab at my hair. The snarling that came from his mouth was terrifying and the strength with which he attacked was staggering, especially since he had supposedly died less than half an hour ago. I swung again and again, ignoring the brains and blood that sprayed our apartment until Cullen stopped moving and lay twitching on the cream wool carpet that was now stained a deep shade of red. So, I killed my cheating ex-boyfriend and I had to admit…it fucked me up a little. Perhaps if the world hadn’t been in the throes of the apocalypse I’d have checked myself into a self-help group. “Hi, my name is Shiloh Summers and I killed my ex-boyfriend with a baseball bat.” Instead, I buried the guilt and horror of what I’d done so deep all I felt was resounding detachment.
Apparently, the world was disintegrating into some ‘B’ grade horror movie. If only I’d watched The Walking Dead, then I might have a clue about what to do. An unimpressed snort fell from my lips as I thought of all the times my parents promised the end of days. Their con-artist of a pastor who’d spent years sucking their bank account dry often preached about the apocalypse. The fact of the matter was, the world was screwed, my parents and crazy Pastor Dillweed were right, Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon didn’t really exist, and I was on my own. The only thing I was prepared for was music. And on my iPhone ready and raring to go was a Zombie Apocalypse playlist. Track one, The Animals, ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’.
Where did your love of books come from?
My mum tells me it came from her. She read out loud to me while in utero for most of the pregnancy, then after I was born from day one she continued. I’ve loved books since always, but she didn’t do it with my younger brother and he’s not particularly a book person. This is her scientific evidence.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
So, so many. Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Paullina Simons, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Pepper Winters, Tillie Cole. They are my top picks. Acheron, Styx, Lothaire and The Bronze Horseman are some of my favourite books, period.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Shiloh Summers, who I just created for Zombie Playlist. She’s so freaking cool. She’s a hard-ass rocker, she’s cynical, sarcastic, cranky, smokes too much, and is a kleptomaniac, but she is so damn loyal to her sister. She’s just so beautifully flawed and human. I loved creating her and all my BETA’s fell in love with her instantly.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I think I’m on a bit of a roller coaster when I write. Sometimes I start out slow, then I find my rhythm and get a bit excited as things start to move forward, and then eventually I burn out and just have to stop and walk away, by which time I’m completely buggered.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Social Media. Damn you Zuckerberg and Systrom!! Facebook and Instagram can be such a distraction for me. Oh, and Pinterest, damn you Pinterest and all your beautiful photos.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am a writer who absolutely writes from the heart. I don’t follow market trends and while that may be my downfall, I couldn’t do it any other way. I’m also not afraid to kill a character off. #sorrynotsorry
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve made so many friends in the industry. Ummm, Emma James is my go-to girl to bounce things off. Carmen Jenner, Jennifer Ryder, Kate McCarthy, BJ Harvey, Kylie Scott, they are all girls I go to for advice. I guess they’re my Aussie Crew (yes BJ, you too), and we all kind of stick together. I’ve made plenty of friends with overseas authors and bloggers, but these girls are the ones that have been with me since day dot. We help each other with ideas, trying to think outside the box for promoting and marketing, and they’re all people I can go to in confidence if I need to vent. We all get each other, and we’re human, we need to whine too.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Kirsty Dallas – B.B.B (Boring Bloody Biography). LOL, Honestly, it would be so freaking dull.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Hmmm, I had to think hard and deep for this, because I couldn’t really think of anything. I guess “Your writing pet peeve?”, and my answer would be, badly constructed plots with way too many plot holes and badly edited manuscripts. The only book I’ve ever returned on Amazon happened to be a read that was without a doubt the worst edited book EVER. Actually, it probably wasn’t even edited. The spelling was atrocious and there were times the author didn’t even use full stops or commas. It made me cranky that someone was so bloody lazy and released a book like that expecting people to pay for it. It made me wish that Amazon would bring in some form of quality control.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Facebook – https://goo.gl/QC2H4T
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kirstydallasauthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/kirstydallas
KDs Lit Squad Reader Group – https://goo.gl/QJs78D
KD’s Newsletter – https://goo.gl/PKjjEr
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️