15 June 2015

Interview: Lee Kelly author of City of Savages

City of Savages by Lee Kelly
Synopsis: It has been nearly two decades since the breakout of the Third World War, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp ruled by island native Rolladin, who controls the city’s survivors with an iron fist. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the Central Park POW camp is the only home she’d ever want.

When strangers arrive in the park, carrying a shocking message, Sky and Phee discover there’s more to Manhattan—and their family—than either of them had imagined. As disturbing secrets about the island begin to surface, Sky and Phee have no choice but to break the rules to uncover the full truth of their long-shrouded history. When their search for answers erupts into violence, the girls must flee into Manhattan’s depths, where their quest for a better future will force them to confront the island’s dark and shocking past.

Lee Kelly’s gripping debut novel is a pulse-pounding journey through a city that’s as strange as it is familiar, where nothing is black-and-white and buried secrets can haunt.

Meet Lee, (Taken From Goodreads)
 Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper.

An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York.

She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker.

City of Savages is her first novel. Visit her at NewWriteCity.com. 

 The Interview:
What are the hardest/most rewarding parts about being a writer?

I think there are two most rewarding parts for me: the first is at the writing stage, when I have a second or third draft done and the story is in good shape, and I'm in the polishing stages -- the heavy lifting is finished and I can really sit back and embellish the language or go deeper with the characters -- that might be the most fun part of the writing process for me.  The second most rewarding part is at the end of the publishing process: getting to connect with readers and hear what they liked about my novel, and hear them talk about my characters as real people (I still am not fully over that, it's such a cool feeling!)  I think the hardest part might be the flip side of that coin -- getting reviews (whether professional trade reviews or reader reviews) that aren't so positive, and trying to not internalize them or let them paralyze me concerning other projects.

What advice can you give new writers just starting out?

Two pieces of advice, and they are very simple: the first is read every day (it keeps you invested and engaged with storytelling, keeps you learning in terms of craft and informs what genres and styles YOU like and ultimately might want to write about) and write every day, even if only a sentence or two.  It's amazing how time can get away from us, and just spending a few minutes each day in front of your computer will get you into a rhythm, and help the words start adding up.

What made you want to write young adult?

Ooh, great question.  I think the “young adult” years are by nature a really complicated and tumultuous time where you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want, and yet you’re also beginning to be saddled with the expectations of your community, family and society as you mature into an adult (work, responsibility, college, life choices, etc. etc.). It’s a constant push and pull between independence and conformity, identity and duty, freedom and responsibility.  It's such a rich time to write about, and I can't seem to make my protagonists anything but teenagers recently :)!

What motivates you to sit down and write?

At this point, I almost have to write -- if I don't, I feel REALLY guilty and like my day isn't complete.  So by the end of the day, if I haven't had a real session, I usually sit down before bed and spend twenty or thirty minutes trying to focus on the story I'm working on, or freestyle write.  I once heard this piece of advice: "you can create a habit after doing something for 21 days straight.  But it takes 21 days before your body (or mind) accepts something as necessary."  And I think the goal for any writer is to make writing necessary -- it has become so for me!

Lastly, Do any of you have street teams, or beta readers, or even just a newsletter that me or my followers can sign up to be apart of for upcoming releases?

I wish I had a street team!  In fact, Trisha Leaver and Lori Goldstein are queens of the street teams, and I very much want to set one up for my next novel coming out next spring, called A CRIMINAL MAGIC.  But more can be found on the novel here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23447887-a-criminal-magic, and on my website, www.NewWriteCity.com. And if anyone's interested in being a street team reader for it, please contact me!
Thanks so much to Lee for answering my questions, and thank you to you guys for stopping by!

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