Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing best-selling author K J Waters of Stealing Time and short story Blow.
Hi KJ, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Lawrence, thank you so much for having me on your blog. What an honor. I spent most of my adult life as a marketing professional and in the past four years I’ve switched over to being an author.
I’ve lived through 20 or so hurricanes or tropical storms in my life and this has inspired my Stealing Time series revolving around the storms that hit Florida in the summer of 2004. Each book in the series focuses on one of the storms mixing in time travel and historical fiction in the process.
I am also a mom, some claim I’m a mermaid but I have legs, I just really enjoy the water. I’m also an entrepreneur with two startup ideas brought to fruition: Blondie’s Custom Book Covers and Blondie and the Brit Podcast. Both focus on helping authors promote and market their books.
What were you like at school?
I was an A student (mostly) and really loved science, art, English classes, track and softball seasons, and the time with my friends. I was in the marching band and played the flute and piccolo, and went to states for track for the ½ mile relay, and was the starting pitcher for the high school softball team.
Were you good at English?
I enjoyed English class and although I wasn’t much of a writer back then I had a great imagination and enjoyed the writing assignments.
So, what have you written?
I started writing with the first book in my series, Stealing Time, and I recently released a short story called Blow. My blog is Blondie in the Water (firstname.lastname@example.org) where I started focusing on water adventures I’d been on as therapy for moving to the middle of the US in a lovely little town I call Dirtville.
Where can we buy or see them?
My books are anywhere you purchase books, for the most part: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and everywhere D2D and Smashwords distribute.
What are you working on at the minute?
Right now I’m working on Shattering Time, the second book in the Stealing Time series.
What’s it about?
This continues the story of Ronnie Andrews in the true to life summer of 2004 where 4 major hurricanes hit Florida. The first book covers Hurricane Charley, and this second book catches Ronnie just after she returns from travelling back in time to 1752 London. In Shattering Time Ronnie is faced with Hurricane Francis that is the size of Texas and evacuations up and down the coast are blocking roads, preventing her from escaping the wrath of Francis and the potential for going back in time again.
With no explanation of why or how she went back in time, Ronnie’s fears are realized during the storm where she finds herself in peril once again.
What genre are your books?
My books are time travel, thriller, suspense, mystery and a dash of historical fiction. The short story is thriller, suspense, mystery and crime.
What draws you to this genre?
I love books that keep you on the edge of your seat and take you to realistic but slightly futuristic places. The time travel stories of Diana Gabaldon and Michael Criton have inspired me to write similar stories using time travel to add a layer of suspense.
How much research do you do?
For Stealing Time there was an enormous amount of research needed to fully capture the nuances of 1752 including clothing, customs, households, and the legal and criminal systems.
Why do you write?
I started writing years ago for marketing materials in the jobs I had. When I quit working to stay home with my children I needed a creative outlet and endured the hurricanes in Florida in 2004. This sparked the idea to write a novel with hurricane and time travel.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I run a weekly podcast, called Blondie and the Brit, and run a book cover business called Blondie’s Custom Book Covers and have a part time job while raising children. The hardest part about writing for me is finding the time with such a busy schedule.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I’ve gotten to the point in my writing that I can sit down, read a few paragraphs and begin writing something worth keeping. It didn’t used to be like that. I also seem to have an endless supply of ideas, so I rarely get writer’s block. I do have to pause writing sometimes until I work out what happens next.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
So far it took me 9 years to write the Stealing Time Series, but most of that time was writing the entire series in an outline. It took me two years to polish off book one once I got serious about it. I think now that I know what I’m doing it will take less and less time with each novel. I started polishing book two in last summer and I hope to have it published in October this year.
This book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
The series covers the summer of 2004 where in the first book, Stealing Time, Ronnie Andrews moves to central Florida and three days later she is hit by Hurricane Charley. During the storm she inexplicable goes back in time to 1752 London where she is accused of being a witch. She has the help from her sister-in-law’s cousin, Mathias, who does everything he can to help her escape the iron fist of the law.
The second book, Shattering Time, starts just before Hurricane Francis hits where Ronnie is back in Florida and not sure if her trip back in time was real or there is something else at play. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey Brennan, manipulates her into staying in Orlando for the storm the size of Texas. Ronnie is dangerously send back in time during the storm multiple times risking her health and life.
The third book joins Ronnie just after Hurricane Francis where Ronnie is questioning her sanity. Adding to her angst her mother reveals that her father’s death five years ago was not from natural causes. She escapes Florida and the seemly never ending storms to join her boss, Mike Walsh, on a business trip in Puerto Rico. She is running away from her time travel experiences, and straight into the eye of Hurricane Jeanne as it forms off the coast of Puerto Rico. Trapped on the island with mudslides, a severely damaged power grid, and Mike Walsh, who on the surface seems to be a nice guy but something Jeffrey has unearthed has left Ronnie fearful of her safety around Mike. With no one else to turn to, she must rely on Mike to help her survive the storm and is forced to make a life and death choice forever changing her path.
Book four, Fractured Time, leaves Mike in a coma in Puerto Rico and Ronnie heading back to the States. Ronnie’s loyalty is tested when circumstances brought about in Puerto Rico begin to haunt her, literally. Strange things happen around her and there seems to be only one explanation connected to her father’s death. With Hurricane Jeanne poised to make landfall in the same location as Hurricane Francis only a few weeks before can Ronnie solve the mystery, prove her sanity and rescue Mike before it is too late?
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I’ve had a great time writing the series. I think if you’ve developed the characters in a way that bring them to life the readers are drawn to the next book. I make an effort to leave enough of a dilemma for the main character to carry over to the next story pulling the reader along for the ride.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I proofread my own books but then pay an editor to do a development edit and later a proofread edit. I’ve also paid editors for language and historical fact checking for those portions of the books.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
Jeri Walker edited my first book and my short story and I’ve arranged for her to edit the second book as well. I met Jeri through the social media networks and we’ve worked closely on several book covers for her short stories and travel memoirs.
Tell us about the covers and how they came about?
I asked a photographer friend, Jody Smyers, to help me with my cover. He loves to take pictures of lightning and it was a lot of fun sitting down with him and creating the cover for Stealing Time. I had so many people complement me on it and ask me if I knew someone who did quality covers I decided to create a book cover business with Jody. The next year we started Blondie’s Custom Book Covers. We recently created a cover for Blow, my short story using the one from Stealing Time as the base.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
The cover is the first thing a reader learns about your book. If you can’t get their attention in the first few seconds with the cover you’re probably going to miss out on a sale. I think the cover is a crucial piece of your marketing materials, and you should put a good amount of time and effort into creating one that appeals to your target market, and represents your book in a clear and convincing way.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
You can find me here:
Barnes and Noble
Stealing Time is a “Breathtakingly original” time travel adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Florida, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house.
During the peak of the storm Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time.
Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything. Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Trilogy.
Barnes and Noble
Caught between a hurricane and a deadly secret, Rick Harris struggles against a ticking clock when the wrong people show up at his door looking for shelter. As the storm closes in wreaking havoc on Pensacola, Florida, he has to make a choice between saving their lives and exposing a secret that could cost him everything.
K J Waters is the best-selling author of the time travel series Stealing Time and short story called Blow. The second book in the series, Shattering Time, is in development and is slated to be released in the fall of 2016.
K J is the CEO of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers and the co-host of the popular podcast, Blondie and the Brit.
Coming Fall 2016 – Shattering Time
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.