Debut Author Interview: Kimberly Killion

kimkillionThis is the second of our monthly debut author interviews. We are excited to have Kimberly Killion, who has sold two books to Kensington’s Zebra imprint, taking time out of her edits to answer our questions.

I heard a little of the story behind your sale on the Pro-Org loop. Would you like to share?

The subject on the Pro-Org loop was ‘Pitching at National’, which is where I ultimately sold. I went to the 2007 RWA National conference in Texas with one goal; To sell. I had one completed manuscript, Highland Dragon, and one manuscript partially written, Her One Desire. I spent a year writing Highland Dragon and had entered it in several RWA sponsored contests. To my benefit, I won first place in the historical category of six of those contests and had that to take with me to National. I had two interviews set up, and luckily one was with Hilary Sares of Kensington. Though she perked up when I mentioned my contest wins, I didn’t have her full attention until I started talking about the book I had in the works. At the time, I only had five chapters written on Her One Desire. Hilary was very interested in the premise of this particular story and asked to see everything I had written on it to date, in addition to Highland Dragon. Ten days after National I got ‘THE CALL’. Hilary wanted to buy both books from me. The catch…she wanted Her One Desire to hit the shelves first. Of course, I was exhilarated, excited, but I only had five chapters written. Long story short…I had to write 80,000 words in three months. 😯 I called my dear friend, Erin McClune, for support and she made me focus. The following weeks were a whirlwind of chaos. I set myself on a schedule of 1,000 words a day and 5,000 on the weekends in order to meet my deadline. I got up at 4:00 a.m. to write before work and then wrote at night until 10:00, 11:00, sometimes midnight. I locked myself in the closet with my laptop for privacy and when that didn’t work, I went to the ‘shed’. But, I DID IT! 😀 By October 25th, I had 103,000 words written. I mailed it off and am currently awaiting edits. Whew!

Did you have an agent? If not, did you send this to agents previously?

I did not have an agent at the time, but had the full manuscript of Highland Dragon with five editors and agents from cold queries and contest requests. After I made the sale, getting an agent wasn’t all that difficult. I had four to choose from and went with the remarkable Meredith Bernstein. She has been in the biz for years and I adore her.

hodsmallHow long were you writing and how many books did you write before you sold?

I started writing a Regency in 1997, but my writing quickly went on hold after the birth of my son in 1998. It wasn’t until 2005 when my television broke, and I started writing again. I joined RWA and my local chapter, Missouri RWA, and also Heart Through History Online Chapter of RWA. I became interested in writing Scottish Medievals and joined a few critique groups at which point I realized I’d written my first book all wrong. 🙁 Highland Dragon, as we will tentatively call it, was my second book and is set in 1502 in the Highlands of Scotland, followed by Her One Desire which begins in 1483 England.

We’d love to know about the types of books you write.

My passion has always been for historicals. I love the idea of being swept away in time and place. My favorite books to read are Scottish Medievals, hence the reason I write Scottish Medievals. I like the alpha hero, but I also enjoy a bit of humor. And yes, even an executioner’s daughter laughs from time to time. 😀

Can you tell us about your debut book? What is it about and what genre?

Her One Desire will be released as a Zebra Debut by Kensington in July 2008. The story is set in 1483 England, a time when the nobles would do anything to gain King Edward’s crown. My blurb says it best:

    Astride a stolen horse, encircled by the shackled arms of Broderick Maxwell, a Scottish spy escaping certain death in the Tower of London, Lizbeth Ives rides to the north, hidden by the merciful darkness. By stealth and by cunning, the daughter of the Lord High Executioner has undone her father’s cruel work, compelled to save the innocent man with her. There is no turning back—they are bound as one in his iron chains. Consumed by mortal fear, driven by passion, they disappear into the night…

    A single raven follows them. Is it an omen? Or only the first of those who would capture them? They must ride on. If captured, they will face death together. But if they reach Scotland, he will claim her for his own…forever.

What are your plans for the future? What can we look forward to from you?

Since sending in Her One Desire, I have started research on a new book. I’m going to Italy, or rather my hero is. 😀 I’m an artist by trade and have always been a lover of the Renaissance era. I’m a fan of incorporating actual figures into my books and am looking into the life of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Your website is great! And so is your trailer for Her One Desire. It looks very professional, but it appears you’ve done it all by yourself. Do you have any insights you want to share?

Thank you. As I mentioned, I am an artist. I have my degree in fine arts and work as a graphic/web design instructor for a business college in St. Louis. I’ve always been a natural with computers and am finding this works to my benefit when it comes to the promotional side of writing. As far as insights…it is my opinion that every author—published and unpublished—needs a website. Writers are professionals like anyone else, and what professional doesn’t have a website? If you are computer illiterate then hire someone to put you on the web. It is never too early to start networking and there is no better place to network than the internet.

I want to thank Edie for the opportunity to tell my story and invite all of you to visit me:
My website: www.kimberlykillion.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/kimberlykillion
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/KimberlyKillion
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=kimberlykillion

And here’s the trailer for Her One Desire. Enjoy!

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22 Responses to Debut Author Interview: Kimberly Killion

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Kim, thank you again for joining us. How funny that you started writing again when your television broke. Think of what we could accomplish in this world if more televisions broke!

    I read your excerpt of Her One Desire and see why Hilary snapped it up. I’m looking forward to reading it in July. 🙂

  2. Liz Kreger says:

    Great debut story and congratulations on writing an entire book in three months, Kim. Wow! That’s an accomplishment.

    I’ll have to check out your trailer when I get home since I don’t have access on my work ‘puter, but I’m looking forward to it. Just read your excerpt. Excellent. I’m not a reader of historicals, but I get the feelin’ I’ll be picking up “Her One Desire”.

  3. Michelle says:

    Congrats on a great sale story, Kimberley! I love historicals, so I’ll keep an eye out for HOD.

  4. LaDonna says:

    Kimberly, I love hearing about first sale stories. This one is amazing, and I wish you much success. I love that you focused, and got the job done on that unfinished manuscript. Bravo to you! 🙂 Sounds like your career has been launched beautifully. You go!!!

    Great having you at Magical too.

  5. spyscribbler says:

    You do have a really awesome website! Good luck on your debut!

  6. Wow!!! You are all so nice. I just got home from work and was surprised at the response. This is my first interview, and I’m delighted to be a guest at Magical Musings!

    Yes, it was a tough three months, but I somehow mananged to get through it. Turning off the emails and going no-mail on my yahoo loops was probably the hardest thing to do. On the flipside, putting laundry on hold for three month was, in fact, quit glorious. 😆

    Edie, thank you so much for the opportunity to tell my ‘Got the Call’ story. I hope it might be an inspiration to some aspiring authors.

    My MOTTO: If perseverance fails you, then take a sledgehammer to the television. :mrgreen:

  7. Jan says:

    Hey Kim!

    I’m happy to see you guest blogging here at MM. Edie and crew are good friends of mine. 🙂

    FYI- I read Kim’s work before she got the call, and as I was critiquing, I knew she’d sell and sell soon. And she did! To my editor! How cool is that?

  8. Karin says:

    Hey, Kim, congrats on the sales to Hilary. She’s a keeper.

  9. Ahem. My sweet sweet friend, Kim. HELLO! *waving* Awesome interview:) I have read some of each of Kim’s stories (we’re in the same critique group) and let me tell you, we all knew it was just a matter of time before Kim’s stuff got bought. She is a fabulous writer. And this one she’s writing/researching right now…I can’t wait. Squee!

    Annmarie

  10. Edie Ramer says:

    Kim, it was a first for me too, and it turned out great. I love your sale story. 🙂

    LOL about taking a sledgehammer to the TV. But it would be easier for me to do that than to stop looking at my emails. 😈

  11. Lori says:

    What a great interview and wonderful story! I was so inspired by your determination to sell. Good luck with everything. Your cover, your website and trailer are beautiful!

  12. You are all so sweet!
    *waves* Annmarie! Thanks, Jan…I have had more critique partners than I care to admit.
    And, Edie, I have the same problem with emails. Not to mention, myspace, loops, and all the other great blogs…and let’s not forget the kids (who are standing in front on me with their puppy dog eyes right now. I guess I will go feed them. : oops : )

  13. Amy says:

    Hey Kimberly, loved reading your call story! Congrats on your sale. 🙂 (I didn’t realize you were a Midwesterner too. We’re in Kansas.)

  14. Virginia says:

    Great job Kim. By the way Highlander books are my favorite of all books to read, so bring them on.

  15. Theresa says:

    Congratulations on your sale, Kim– I think your first sale story is one of the best I’ve read. And a big WOW on finishing the book in three months, with that kind of determination, there’s no doubt these two books are going to be just the first of many that will be hitting the shelves.

    Loved the trailer.

  16. Megan Kelly says:

    Kimberly: I love your writing and feel privileged to have heard some of each of these stories. I can’t wait to get the complete books in my hands! Your determination to finish HOD on time (jeez what a schedule!) really shows your professionalism. Good luck with these two and the rest of your career.

  17. Amy, I went to college near Kansas City, so we are practically neighbors. Thanks for stopping by.

    Virginia, Ditto! I rarely read anything else. I hear Scottish Medievals are on the rise. I hope that true for both of us. : 😉 :

    Theresa, Thank you so much for the compliments and encouragement. Glad you liked the trailer. THose are such tedious little things. It’s only a 1:35, but took me two weeks to build.

    Meagan, *HUGS* You have been a great motivator for me. There is a little voice in my head constantly telling me to write and that little voice belongs to you. : 🙂 :

  18. Polly says:

    Kimberly,

    Congratulations on your accomplishments. I look forward to reading your book as historicals are near and dear to my heart also. And I have to give you kudos on a beautiful website and a hundred thanks for the absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving Day greeting card! Where in this world are men that look like he does??!!!!

  19. Stella says:

    I am so proud of you Kim!! I can’t wait to read your book(s). You are so much more than an instructor at a business college in St. Louis…you have truly been an inspiration to me and all of the graphics students who’s lives you have touched. I am so blessed to know you!

  20. Donna Ross says:

    Hi Kim,

    Ever since our junket to Poplar Bluff, I’ve known you had the drive and the talent to zoom into romance. You go, girl.

    Donna Ross

  21. Always nice to be best friends with a proud sister of a “celebrity”. Jill is your #1 fan.
    Very impressive work, Kim. I look forward to keeping up with your journey. Your professionalism and creativity will take you where-ever you DESIRE to go.

  22. Wanda Groppel says:

    Kim, I’m inpressed, but the road ahead leaves me gasping for what you will accomplish Wanda G.

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