Hi Kay. Welcome to my blog. I want to talk about your latest book, Family Secret, but I also want my readers to learn more about you.
JC: I noticed that you write ghost stories, paranormal and mysteries. Tell me what attracts you to those genre?
Kay: I’ve always loved to read mysteries. When I was a teenager, I was hooked on Agatha Christie books. I think I have a copy of all her books. After reading Halloween Party is when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I like trying to solve the mystery that the characters are facing. Sometimes that mystery involves the paranormal. The paranormal and ghost stories help me to see the world in a different way.
JC: On your website, you have a great photo of a Writer’s Clock. It says, write, revise, revise, start over, write, submit, revise… I love that because it shows how much goes into the writing. Things just don’t appear perfectly on the page. Tell me about your writing process.
I wished my first drafts were perfect and I didn’t need to revise them. My first drafts are always a mess. Writing the first draft is my favorite stage in writing. That is where I get introduced to my characters, find out more about them, and get to have fun with them, putting them in all kinds of problems and watch how they get out of them. Then comes the hard part of revising because that is when I need to get serious about the story and what will happen to them. Once I go through several revisions, it is nice to see how the story and characters have grown. When I feel like the story is where I want it to be, I’ll let it set for a weeks, sometime months before I will look at it again. While that story is out of my mind, I’ll start another project and the process continues with different characters and a different story.
JC: You sound like me–a pantser writer who is very character driven. Tell us about that and how you come up with the stories and the plots?
Kay: I am a pantser. I don’t outline until I have the first draft of the story written. Stories are everywhere. Everyone has a story. I like to read books where I can connect with the characters, so characters are important. Usually I come up with a character and start asking what if questions. Like I said above, my first drafts are a mess because I will usually place my characters in many situations.
JC: Tell me about the characters in Family Secret. Who is the protagonist and what conflicts is he facing?
Kay: Tom is the protagonist and the first conflict he faces is the death of his mom. After that he is thrown into this paranormal world where he discovers secrets both parents kept from him. Finds out he and his friends are in danger. He solves the mystery of his mother’s murder.
JC: Sounds intriguing. Before we go on with the interview, let’s insert the back cover of Family Secret to whet the appetite of my readers.
Sixteen-year-old Thomas Patrick Henry is thrown into a web of secrets and demons after his mother’s murder.
On the road to solving his mother’s murder, sixteen-year-old Thomas Patrick Henry discovers a secret his father has kept from him for years. Tom thought Dad’s secret put him in danger, Mom’s secret is far worse. Magic. Witches. Ancient Book of Spells. Magical Amulet. Ghosts. Demons. Tom never thought these things existed until he is face to face with them. There is nothing else to do but destroy the demons before someone else Tom love dies. He already lost his mom and a close friend because this secret was kept from him. No one else will die. No one else will be possessed. Tom faces his demons. A mother’s love gives Tom the strength to slay his demons.
JC: Wow! That sounds great. Thank you for sharing. Now, how in the world did you come up with the idea for this book?
Kay: Family Secret is not based on a secret from my past or from my family. The idea for Family Secret came from a picture I saw for a writing class. The writing assignment was to look at a picture and develop a story from it. In the picture were a train and a boy and girl.
I asked the question, What if? What if this boy was running away from something? What if he felt like he wasn’t wanted? What if a secret was being kept from him? Asking what if gets the imagination flowing. Over the years (it took fifteen years before Family Secret became published) I just let my imagination run wild and soon it developed into the book it is today.
JC: That creative path sounds very similar to what I went through with my first mystery, The Clock Strikes Midnight. I, too, wrote it over a long period of time and asked lots f what if questions, writing and re-writing all along the way. Usually the finished product turns out better than ever. I’m sure that’s true with Family Secret.
Allow me to change the subject slightly because readers are very curious about their favorite writers. I noticed that you are a big animal lover. How do animals play a role in your stories?
Kay: I like to try and include animals in my stories. I believe every boy needs a dog. In Family Secret, Tom wants a dog, but his mother won’t let him have one. But one of his best friends has a dog. Lots of cats live at the farmhouse where Tom lives. In Ghostly Clues, Sarah Kay doesn’t have a pet of any kind. I don’t know why I didn’t give her a dog or a cat. I’ve always had a pet dog or cat growing up.
JC: Give our readers an idea of what they can expect when they read your books, e.g., suspense, horror, conflict, love, mysterious? And, btw, Kay has another book, Ghostly Cues. Take a look at that one as well.
Kay: Paranormal and mystery. My characters are faced with a problem and need to solve the problem or mystery. I do have love in my stories. In Ghostly Clues it is the love of family that drives Sarah Kay. In Family Secret there is love for family, but also a romantic love is developing for Tom.
Here’s a sneak peek at Ghostly Clues by Kay Lalone
The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave.
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