Guest interview: Inez Kelley

Our special guest today is Inez Kelley!

Inez Kelley writes what she reads, which is pretty much anything with a romantic flair. Smack in the middle of a Midwest state, she lives with her hero and three spin-offs. They make finding a time to write a challenge but she’s never bored with life. She has too many imaginary friends talking to her all the time. Now, if only she could train them to do the laundry, she’d have it made.

Welcome to Fierce Romance, Inez. Please tell us about Sweet as Sin.

Every author has that story that wouldn’t let them sleep, that festered in their head day and night until it was told. SWEET AS SIN was that story for me. I breathed, slept and ate this tale. I could not do anything but get it down. I wrote the rough draft of 120 THOUSAND WORDS(!!!) in only 60 days while working full time and raising a family.

I often joke and say it was like John Murphy, the main male character, pulled up a chair and said “Start writing because when I’m done, I’m outta here.” That is so close to the truth it is scary. I literally HEARD him talking to me.

The story is John’s, no two ways about it. He’s a victim of his creation. A gentle artist’s soul that was shaped and formed into a hard man by his youth. He doesn’t candy-coat himself. He’s a bastard in every way, has broken every commandment out there and has a fast temper. But he has a tiny little thing called hope buried in his soul. He lets that goodness out through his writing. America’s answer to Harry Potter, his Jondi series of monster stories have captivated readers.
He moves into a new house and his next door neighbor is one sin-sweet lady named Livvy. John just has to sample the red-haired pastry chef. But Livvy is no crème puff. She’s as sweet as he is bitter. A summer fling turns red-hot and then dips into scorching as their heart get closer and are bare to each other. She’s willing to face the demons in John’s soul but the price just might be too high.

Sounds fascinating! I love it when characters come to life so vividly. Please tell us about your characters' unusual or interesting quirks.

John is a YA writer and his monster story features in SWEET AS SIN. His two main characters are Jondi, a blue monster prince, and Thorn, a six-foot bat with razor fangs and glowing red eyes. A new character is introduced after he meets Livvy. Vory is a pink monster with lilac eyes who flirts from the page and enchants John. Their story is told alongside John and Livvy’s, so it is almost a two-fer deal.

Livvy owns a bakery that specializes in ‘Adult Cravings’. Her best sellers include Chocolate Orgasms and Lemon Lick-her Bars. That streak of playfulness is just what John needs but she’s sassy and strong and doesn’t take his crap for a minute. She makes him work for it. But she takes his inspiration and creates a new, more youthful, funky line that incorporates some of his twisted outlook on things.

The retelling of John’s story touched me so much. Like Livvy, I wanted to take his pain away. But you can’t do that. It’s the fire that forged him and made him who he is. As any cook knows, sometimes you have to add a bit of salt to the sweet to bring out the flavor. John and Livvy do that for each other.

Fascinating! Which element of story creation is your favorite and why?

Characterization. The characters I write are real to me. I see them, know them before I write a single word, the good and the bad. Which makes the whole process easier. I already know how they are going to react to any situation that crops up because I know them. Most of my plot issues stem from something core in the character themselves.

The individual traits are what make a character unique. I write a lot of dark haired men. I like them *shrug* but they are all different. I have a jokester and a somber, quiet man, a rough-n-ready redneck and a naughty professor. They might all have the same hair color (or similar) but they are very, very different men. Same for my women. It is what is under their skin, what makes them tick that I find fascinating.

Please tell us about one of your other books.

Can I do two?
MYLA BY MOONLIGHT was my toe dipped in the fantasy water. I saw this story in my head and wrote it, never thinking about the fact that I was stepping out of my comfortable contemporary boots. It was a beautiful tale of enchanted never-ending love. When it sold, I was thrilled. The reviews have blown me away and it has been nominated for an EPIC award.
Reader sent such lovely emails asking for more. They loved the world and wanted to know the rest of the story. There was no rest of the story. Until I thought about it. Then yeah, there was more to tell. So I followed it with SALOME AT SUNRISE.

Although both are stand alone, they are in the same world and have over lapping characters and themes. I hate sitting down to read a book and realizing it is in the middle of a series. I don’t get half the story line then. So I made sure that didn’t happen with mine. Yes, they are better read in order just because I give spoilers away from one book to the next but the stories themselves are not dependent on the other.

And I got more email asking for even more! So yeah…

That has to be very rewarding! What is your writing process or method?

Feast or Famine mostly. I get this driving urge and will pound out twenty-thousand words in a week then for several days do nothing but go over those words, polish and edit and smooth them. Then I repeat that. And repeat that. When I think a story is done, I then go back to the beginning and smooth some more. Then I cut out the flat stuff and polish it again.
Since I edit as I go, the final polish is not too bad, more grammar and checking for repetitive words, etc. I can’t do things like NANO or write a set amount every day. I might only write 100 words. Maybe I’ll write 8K (my record) but nine times out of ten, if I write it, it stays in the book.

I suffer from insomnia a lot (hazards of working midnight shift for decades) so I often write at night, in silence and just let it go. That frees me up from worrying about when to stop and pick up the kids or fix dinner.

Sounds like a great process! Whatever gets the words down, right? Please describe your journey to publication.

It was a long and a short one. Long in that I have written full stories since age eleven. I wanted to be a writer and wrote all through school. But those who should have encouraged me didn’t. I was told to stop dreaming and focus on a real job and let the pipe dream of writing go. So I did.

I wrote in secret, for my pleasure, the stories I wanted to read. Then after my twins were born, my husband asked me what I was going to do with all those stories. I said nothing, I wasn’t good enough to sell anything. He got very quiet and asked me if that was what I wanted our children to grow up thinking about themselves.

So I dug out the story I loved the most, joined a writer’s group on-line and set out to learn how I could make it good enough. I learned a MAJOR lesson about head-hopping. (Yeah, I was really bad about that). I fixed that and sent my story to Samhain Publishing. In eleven days I was offered my first contract. So it was a short haul a long time in the making.

Wow, that's inspiring! Kudos to your husband for giving you that push you needed! What was the most important thing you learned just before you made your first sale?

Other than that head-hopping thing? That you have to find the right people to listen to in taking criticism. The everyday friend is great as a cheering squad but probably isn’t the best judge of how your story pacing flows. A good critique partner is worth more than gold. I found a small group of writers I still use today and they know me, know my weaknesses and my strengths. They are great for telling me to stop tweaking the damned thing and send it out or to examine that last chapter more because it is flat.

What’s next for you?

What isn’t? I am finishing up writing the final in a self-called trilogy (really three stand alone full-length fantasy stories in the same world) called DARACH IN DARKNESS. I have a new full length comedy romance coming out with Carina Press in late summer and am halfway through a different romantic comedy. Then there is this other darker contemporary that is niggling in my brain and well, let’s just say my days and nights are full.

Would you like to win a copy of SWEET AS SIN? Tell me your favorite sinfully sweet dessert and you might. One random commenter selected. Happy Reading!

Inez Kelley is a multi-published author of various romance genres. You can visit her at her website Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at
Thanks so much for being our guest today, Inez!!


Renee Vincent said...

Inez, this was a fabulous interview! I am still trying to wrap my head around this statement: "I wrote the rough draft of 120 THOUSAND WORDS(!!!) in only 60 days while working full time and raising a family."

How is the world did you do that?!

Anyway...I am wishing you all the best and your SWEET AS SIN sounds divine!
Thanks for sharing with us!

Sarah Hoss said...

I am so happy that you have the support of your husband. I, too, have a husband that pushes me to succeed. It makes what we do that much better and easier.

Your books sound wonderful! Congratulations on your success!! Good luck in your future endeavors!

Chicks of Characterization said...

What a wonderful interview!!! Sweet as sin sounds like a great read!

And your husband was so right! Isn't nice to have his support?

Cheesecake is SWEET as SIN to me!!! Love it!!

Wishing you the best Inez!

Andrea :O)

Sherry said...

Your books sounds very good and I'm looking forward to reading it.

I would have to say that my favorite dessert is a chocolate cake that my Aunt makes I'm not sure what it's called but it's rich and delicious.

Miranda Baker said...

I just finished Sweet As Sin last night, and I'm Inez's newest fangirl! I can't wait to read more.

Inez Kelley said...

Renee, it is like being possessed. I couldn't NOT write. The words flew from my fingers.

Heather said...

What a wonderful interview. I really enjoyed reading it.

I can't say enough how much I love this book. It was so well done I didn't want to stop reading it.

Don't enter me (I already have my copy), just stopped by to support Inez and this awesome book!!

Carly Carson said...

I really enjoyed the interview and I like the book title a lot.

Let's see, I have a dark chocolate mousse cake, rich, not the light fluffy kind. It's so good I have to bring it to every holiday and parcel out any leftovers to the other guests.

RFTC Blog said...

I really want to read this book. It looks so good. My favorite dessert is chocolate covered strawberries.

Natasha Moore said...

I devoured this book! It was soooo good! Don't enter me in the contest either, just wanted to welcome you to Fierce Romance and say how much I loved John and Livvy's story!

Babette James said...

Great interview! And a great story! My favorite desert? I'm craving lemon meringue at the moment. (Don't enter me. I already have my copy :) )

Maeve Greyson said...

Oh my. SWEET AS SIN sounds like a definite must read to me. Sassy, sexy and a refreshing twist on romance. What more could a reader ask for?

Nicole North said...

Thanks so much for joining us today, Inez!

Julie Robinson said...

Yum, I'm feeling a bit cavity-prone with these Adult Cravings . .. Sweet as Sin sounds yummy. :-)

Great interview questions and answers, Nicole and Inez. 120,000 words in 60 days??! Definitely feasting.