How old were you when you started writing?
I was 38 when I started my first book. I had no intention of being an author
when I started; I simply wanted to see if I could finish a book. I found a
community of like-minded people and learned a ton about the creative process and
the business side of writing. Once I finished that first book, I wondered if it
was publish-worthy. It wasn't. So I wrote another and another. My third
book—after being rewritten a half-dozen times—finally sold. I didn't enjoy
writing in high school and college. My teachers had a way of destroying the
pleasure of putting words on paper. I wrote to please them, not myself.
What's the most difficult part of being a full-time writer? What's the
Self-discipline. I write a novel every six months. I plan out my weeks of
research, writing, and editing. I must stick to my schedule, or else I find
myself in a stressful rush for the last month or two. The current book is always
hanging over my head—it's a cloud that never leaves. When I turn the book in,
it's immediately replaced by the next book. I schedule vacation time where I
give myself permission to not write or else I feel guilty for not writing.
The most rewarding is that I did it; I finished a book, and it doesn't suck. I
write to prove to myself that I can do it over and over. And because I did it,
I'm able to support my family, pay for three kids' college, and fund my
retirement. I don't write for praise or because I have a million stories in my
head. I do it because it's my version of a marathon; I will finish the damned thing.
To get your writing to 'flow', do you have any habits or rituals?
I spend about three hours in a coffee shop every weekday morning. I've found I
am most efficient when I'm out of the house and not distracted by laundry or
dishes. I can't get up and wander around. It's a sit-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard
situation that works for me.
If you had to choose one career highlight what would it be? What are
some of your goals for the future?
A career highlight was being nominated for the International Thriller award for
my book, BURIED. My
publisher flew me to NY for the conference and awards ceremony. I didn't win,
but I was honored to be recognized. I felt like I could compete with the big guys.
Recently my publisher told me I'd sold over five million books. Then in the same
breath, she asked me what my future goals were. I stared at her; I had no
answer. How do you follow something like that? My goals aren't number or award
or list based. My goals are to continue to support my family, travel, and retire
early. I've got a kid applying to medical school…can I help her graduate
debt-free? These are goals I consider.
You have focused your career on writing romantic suspense and thrillers.
Are there any other genres you might consider writing? Or are there genres that
you know without a doubt aren't right for you?
I write in these genres because they are what I like to read. I originally tried
writing contemporary romance, but the characters kept getting murdered. I don't
think I'll write in any other genres. I love to read historicals, but I'm not
interested in writing them. I can't see me writing paranormal, UF, or young
I wanted to write a book about my experience when my daughter went through a
life-threatening illness a year and a half ago. I lost about three months of my
life during this time—so did she. I started to keep a diary, knowing I could
help parents whose child had the same illness. The chapters wrote themselves in
my head, but I realized there was too much of me in it. My marriage, my
struggles with my ex-husband, my daughter's life, and my own mental health were
all deeply intertwined with the story. It was too personal to expose to the public.
When you aren't reading are you a reader? Do you have any favorite
authors? Do you have a book you would like to recommend?
Every author is a reader first. Most of us are voracious readers. On my auto-buy
list are Michael Connelly, Harlen Coben, Tami Hoag, Robert Crais, Tess
Gerritsen, and Lee Child. Recently I read THE GLASS CASTLE, a memoir
about growing up dirt poor with absolutely nutty parents, but the author emerges
as very successful. I read with my jaw hanging open most of the time. The kids
slept in cardboard boxes, their parents barely staying one step ahead of the
police, moved without a moment's notice, and had no possessions. I'm currently
reading THE ALICE
NETWORK is historical fiction about a French female spy. I can't put it down.
For FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick, returning to rural Oregon has meant coming to
terms with her roots. Raised as a prepper, Mercy is now relying on her
survivalist instincts to defend her town from the people the law can't reach.
But this time, an investigation calling up a dark past for her and police chief
Truman Daly may be hitting too close to home.
A rainstorm has uncovered the remains of five people—a reprise of the
distinctive slaughter of two families twenty years ago. Except the convicted
killer is in prison. Is this the case of a sick copycat, or is the wrong man
behind bars? One person might have the answer. The lone survivor of the
decades-old crimes has returned to town still claiming that she can't remember a
thing about the night she was left for dead. As the search for the truth becomes
more dangerous, Mercy fears that the traumatized woman may not have buried her
memories at all. She might be keeping them a secret. And there's a price to be
paid for revealing them.
[Montlake Romance, On Sale: June 19, 2018, Trade
Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781503901315 / ]
Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list
multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan
& McLane series, as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels: A Merciful
Death, A Merciful Truth, and A Merciful Secret. Kendra is
a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller
Writers finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious
reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie
Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born, raised, and still lives in the rainy
Pacific Northwest with her husband and three daughters, but she looks forward to
the day she can live in flip-flops.
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