Chatting with Kerry Watts!
My Interview with KERRY WATTS!
The world of literary publishing is at an amazing time in its history. There are options available to writers and readers that never existed before. With the vast array of experiences people have, I love to interview authors in order to learn more about them while helping them to connect to readers. That being said, I want to thank you for allowing me to introduce you to my audience!
1. I always kick off my interviews with the same question – please, tell us how you’d describe yourself?
I guess I’m a quiet soul with a huge imagination. Writing is my way of exploring this imagination. Nowadays, though, I inflict these ideas on the world through my books. I am passionate about dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds and colours – old and young. My other great passion is horse racing, which is an obsession I have inherited from my dad. Grand National Day was always a big event in our house.
2. Every writer has a unique process they use while creating the stories readers love. I find this to be interesting and I like to share author preferences with my audience. Therefore, this first set of questions will be focused on your writing style.
· Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have a specific muse?
oUsually, it’s a character that pops into my head first. They grow and develop, and introduce me to their family and friends. Before I know it, they’ve told me what to say. I always listen to music while I write too, so that helps the thought process.
§ Having a background as a psychiatric nurse, have you drawn any inspiration from your experiences in this field for your crime stories?
· Absolutely. I find psychiatric conditions fascinating, and the link between trauma and psychological disorders intrigues me.
· Do you sketch an outline to work from or do you just let the story develop as you go?
oOnce the first character and his story appear, then I am always jotting notes in my notebook. I keep one upstairs and downstairs so that I am always close to one of them.
§ Do you create your characters around the plot or does the plot evolve with the characters?
· Character comes first, always, then the story evolves with them.
§ Do you have a set writing time each day? Why, or why not?
· I try to write every day even if it’s just a few words.
§ Do you write a chapter at a time or do you jump around, writing specific scenes that you weave together later?
· It’s one chapter at a time from start to finish. I can’t do jumping around.
· I know you enjoy writing in your kitchen while listening to music. What artist(s) do you listen to?
oMostly, Richard Marx, if I’m honest. I’ve been a fan for thirty years and find his music has everything I need to work to. That’s not to say I don’t listen to other artists. I also love Jason Derulo, Bruno Mars and Heart.
§ I read you have a rex rabbit that likes to hop around you while you write. Would you say Domino is a distraction or is he one of your muses?
· Domino has been less active recently because he’s getting quite old now. I have moved my work upstairs and have a wee writing corner in my bedroom now.
· He was never a distraction though. He was adorable.
· Do you ever get writer’s block, and if so, how do you deal with it?
oHave a cup of tea!!
§ I know you enjoy gardening with your husband. Do you find that creatively therapeutic?
· Yes, I guess it is – Fresh air and the freedom to create are therapeutic.
3. Publishing used to be a closed business, requiring a literary agent to gain contracts with big publishing houses, but that has changed. There are more options to writers now, giving them more avenues to publish their work and reach readers more easily. In this next set of questions, I would like to discuss your pathway to publication.
· What made you decide to publish your writing?
o I’d been scribbling for 20 years and just wanted to take the leap into sharing it with the world, even if the thought did terrify me at first.
· Did you attempt to go the traditional route or have you always been an indie author? Why did you feel this was the best road for you to take?
o I began with self-publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing, which was fun but it taught me how much I don’t know about publishing. A book can be great, but if you don’t have a great cover, blurb and marketing budget then it’s hard to succeed.
§ I know you tried to submit pieces to Women’s magazines; you even tried your hand at screen plays. You said you gave up quickly. Why do you think that is, and after feeling rejected, what made you decide to self-publish your work?
· It was just a leap of faith or maybe a moment of madness!
§ I know you have several books published, but only your latest, Addicted to Death, is with your publisher, Creativia. What drew you to a small press, and why did you decide to sign with them instead of someone else?
· All of my books are now published and republished by Creativia.
· This is a difficult business, no doubt. How did you overcome your fears of rejection to self-pub, and how do you deal with reviews, whether good or bad?
o I just felt the fear and did it anyway. I had some wonderful advice from another author who, without that, I wouldn’t be where I am, and for that, I will be eternally grateful to Louise Mullins.
· What was the best advice you received along the road to publishing? How did this impact you?
o Best advice I ever had was the introduction to KDP. It helped launch my writing career.
· What advice would you give to a novice looking to publish, and why?
o Get a good editor because reviewers can be brutal.
4. There is a huge debate about Indie vs Traditional Publishing. What are your thoughts about this topic? Does it really matter; why, or why not? Did anything regarding this debate effect your decisions to publish, and if so, how?
If you can edit well and market well, it doesn’t matter whether it’s self-published or traditionally published. If you get these things right, then the reader doesn’t care either way.
5. I would like to tailor the next set of questions toward marketing, promotion, and advertising. I imagine you will have a refreshing view regarding these areas of publishing, especially since you have been both self-pubbed and signed with a small press.
· Before you signed with Creativia, what methods of advertising did you implement for promoting your books?
o I really only used social media and kindle promotions, like free days. I was very inexperienced.
· Did you find one marketing platform to be more effective than others? If so, what is it, and why do you believe it was so beneficial?
o Free promos on kindle got me downloads, but didn’t really help.
§ What role does social media play when it comes to promotions, and what platform do you think is most helpful in reaching readers?
· I’m now in more Facebook groups than I can count and can target the promotion accordingly.
· Knowing your readers is important.
· How do reviews weigh in when it comes to advertising? Why do you believe this, and has your opinion changed since you signed with a small press? Why, or why not?
o I have mixed feeling about reviews. I don’t usually use them when I choose to purchase a book, but I’m always being told how important they are to the writer. I find them difficult to get, if I’m totally honest. If anyone can fill me in on their secret, I would be delighted!!
· How has your marketing strategies changed since you signed with Creativia?
o I am more visible on social media than I was as a self-published author, and have the support of the other Creativia authors behind me.
§ Do you feel as though you can promote less now that you have a publisher? Why, or why not?
· No, I still promote where I can. It’s important to be as visible as possible.
§ What benefits do you feel you receive from having a publisher when it comes to marketing?
· They have access to markets I don’t, and obviously, they have much more experience than me. I’ve found my work on websites I’ve never even heard of!
§ Do you think your answer would be different if you were with a large publishing house? Why, or why not?
· It’s hard to say because I’ve never been in that position
6. What can we expect to see from you over the coming year?
Soon Creativia will be publishing my first ever women’s/romance novella, which I’m very nervous about. It’s called, Homecoming Queen, and it’s about the main character’s return to the Highland village she grew up in after leaving it suddenly 20 years before under a cloud of tragic scandal. I guess nervous and excited is how I would describe my feelings about it. On top of that, I have some other irons in the fire I’m also excited about in the form of crime/suspense without a serial killer this time. I’m dabbling with a script too, but taking my time over that.
· What is your current WIP?
oMy WIPis the first DI Grant Noble crime thriller and it’s a bit grim, so don’t read it while you’re eating…..
· Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years; do you see yourself continuing to write? Why, or why not?
oI will continue to write because it’s a passion, and like I told my mother-in-law when I gave her copies of my books, I know that I’m not Agatha Christie or Stephen King, but it makes me happy. Hopefully, I can continue to improve and continue to entertain my readers. Seeing one of my books on screen is something I would love too.
Once again, I want to thank you for sharing your valuable time with us. It is much appreciated, and I wish you the best in all you do!
You’re welcome and thanks for giving me the opportunity to reach out to readers x