Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am introducing you to my friend Abigail Keam. Abigail and I met in a Kentucky writers group six or seven years ago. I have enjoyed spending time with her any chance I get to see her and I’m thrilled that she’s my guest today. Abigail writes mysteries set in Kentucky and romances set in Florida – two of my favorite states! Abigail is giving away a copy of the first book in her latest series – so read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello, I am an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author who writes the Josiah Reynolds Mystery Series about a Southern beekeeper turned amateur female sleuth in the Bluegrass. In addition to Josiah Reynolds, I have a new heroine— Mona Moon. I just released my new Mona Moon Mysteries—1930s mystery series. I love this era and the research was a joy. I combined real events and people into the storyline giving the stories an additional richness.
I also have written The Last Chance For Love Series where strangers from all walks of life come to the Last Chance Motel in Key Largo and get a second chance at rebuilding their lives and The Princess Maura Fantasy Series.
My first mystery novel, Death By A HoneyBee, won the 2010 Gold Medal Award for Women’s Lit from Readers’ Favorite and was a Finalist of the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011.
Death By Drowning won the 2011 Gold Medal Award for Best Mystery Sleuth from Readers’ Favorite and also was placed on the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist.
I am an award-winning beekeeper who has won 16 honey awards at the Kentucky State Fair including the Barbara Horn Award, which is given to beekeepers who rate a perfect 100 in a honey competition. So when I write about beekeeping in my Josiah Reynolds Mysteries, I know what I’m talking about.
I currently live on the Kentucky River in a metal house with my husband and various critters.
Tell us about your current release. My current release is Murder Under A Blue Moon—a 1930s Mona Moon Mystery series. It’s a rags-to-riches story about Mona Moon who is an out-of-work cartographer and pinching pennies when she receives the news that her uncle had died and left her a fortune plus a Thoroughbred horse farm. Mona relocates from New York to the Moon estate in Kentucky only to discover her uncle has been murdered. Now she has to find out who did the dastardly deed or she might be next!
To make matters more complicated, her next door neighbor is English nobility, Lord Farley, who is too smooth, too charming, and too handsome. Mona doesn’t like him. So why does Mona’s heart beat faster when she sees him?
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? It takes me about three months to write each book. In today’s market that is not fast enough, but I want to put out a good story, and one that will outlast reading fads. I am hoping readers will be enjoying my novels long after I’m gone.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? I have seen poorly written novels make the New York Times list and excellent books bite the dust. There is no rhyme or reason to success sometimes. I think some writers must be sprinkled with pixie dust. I write the best I can and hope for the best with sales. I love my characters and my stories. I think it shows in the writing.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I remember being in the second grade and wanting to be a writer. I wrote my first story in the second grade. It was titled Bobby Bobo Got Baptized At The Big Bone Baptist Church. My teacher showed it to my mother and told her to encourage me to write. However, my mother was already on top of it. It was my mother who imparted the love of the written word. She and I would take the public bus to the Cincinnati Library every month and bring home a shopping bag full of books. I would read them all, and she would take me back to the library. We did this for years. She thought education was very important and pushed, pushed, and pushed. I’m so thankful she did. I rewrote Bobby Bobo several years ago and published it as well as several other autobiographical short stories.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? If it were 2010, I would advise to self-publish. However, things have changed, and I tell newbies to get a deal with a publishing house if they can. The new self-publishing authors are struggling because the writing field is glutted, and a self-publishing author must spend sixty percent of her/his time marketing. If the author doesn’t know what she is doing then she will fail. I know several New York Time best-selling authors who are throwing in the towel because they can’t make a living anymore. My advice—keep your day job.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I have a vague outline, but I let the characters guide me. I don’t keep notebooks or do charts. Somehow it seems to work out all right.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? I like short, tight books. I rarely write over 45K words. I keep description and adjectives at a minimum. Less is more with me. It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I hate reading a book with long wordy narratives and pages of description that don’t push the story forward. An author should be able to present a mood or depiction of a character, location, or object in a few short lines.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Stay away from “publishing businesses” which promise success in return for a large fee. It’s most probably a scam. I saw one such business advertising on FB which guaranteed a 100K salary in the first year for new authors. The asking fee for their magic formula was $10,000. Not going to happen, folks. Also get rid of toxic people in your life. They will sabotage you and your work.
Here is where you can find Abigail online:
Official Site www.abigailkeam.com
Abigail is giving away a copy of Under a Blue Moon to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:
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