September 8, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Kelly Risser

Thanks to a meeting organized by Jo Michaels, I met Kelly Risser poolside at utopYA with a drink in hand. Pretty cool first meeting, I must say! Within minutes, I felt like I’d known her forever. She’s so sweet and uber-friendly.

Today, she’s hanging out here and answering questions. Please welcome Kelly!

Congratulations on publishing two books since utopYA! Both Never Forgotten and Current Impressions are high on my to-be-read list. What inspired these novels?

Kelly: Like many authors, before I started writing, I was an avid reader. While I read all genres, I love fantasy books. The first books I remember loving as a kid were Bunnicula, the vampire bunny; Behind the Attic Wall about living dolls, and the A Wrinkle in Time series. Incidentally, A Wrinkle in Time was the first time I remember staying up into the wee hours of morning because I just couldn’t put the book down. Give me a book with shape shifters, werewolves, vampires, mermaids, aliens…basically, anything not human and odds are that I will love it. I was a fan of these kinds of stories way before Twilight was a twinkle in Stephanie Meyer’s eye. This brings me to my books. I knew I wanted to write the kind of story that I would love to read, so the focus on paranormal came naturally. Considering that I am about a third Irish, Celtic lore intrigues me. My series focuses on lesser known creatures of Scottish/Irish origin, which hopefully will be interesting to readers of this genre!

About Never Forgotten

Those that we love are never forgotten.

How can one day go so very wrong? One minute Meara Quinn is making plans for how she will spend the summer before her senior year and the next she's finding out that her mother's cancer has returned and they are moving away from the only home she's ever known. Now every day is a struggle as Meara is trying to cope with her mother's illness, being forced to move to another country to live with grandparents—whom she thought disowned her mother—and having weird visions of a father who was absent her entire life. Top it all off with one whopping secret that everyone seems bent on keeping from her, and Meara has the perfect ingredients for a major melt down. The only things keeping her from coming unglued are some new friends and Evan, the son of her mother's childhood friend, who seems to know Meara almost better than she knows herself. Together with Evan and her friends, Meara embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets that will not only tell Meara who she is, but what she is.

Kirkus Reviews says, “A heartfelt story that didn’t need the magical sea creatures.” 

About Current Impressions

Are their current impressions enough to keep them safe?

After an emotionally draining year, Meara Quinn is not the same carefree and innocent girl. Her mom is gone. Graduation is over. Taking a leap of faith and temporarily separating from her one love, Evan, Meara joins her father’s world to learn more about who she is. Too bad life is not all starfish and seashells. Meara gains magical abilities, but she's forced to undergo intense training so she knows what to do with them. Her father chooses her aunt and Kieran as her trainers. And Kieran, a powerful male who's not from their clan, has the unnerving ability to infuriate and intrigue Meara at the same time.

While Meara begins her new life, Evan endures with her memory and the knowledge that he will see her in July when his internship begins. Although excited about gaining real world experience, it's the thought of seeing Meara that really drives him. Unfortunately, Evan finds it hard to focus on anything when he's suffering from vivid nightmares and screaming headaches.

When Meara and Evan reunite, everything seems to fall back into place. The summer appears to be perfect. Then two of her father's guards are found dead, and foul play is suspected. The fa├žade melts away. Someone is targeting them, and Meara must discover who it is and why. She turns to Evan to help her, but when he gives her the hot and cold treatment, she's left feeling alone and confused. As the puzzle pieces move into place, will Meara be able to solve the mystery in time to save her clan and her relationship?

Sounds interesting. I can't wait to read them. These novels were published through Clean Teen Publishing. As the mom of a teen who loves to read, I really appreciate their commitment to transparency. Tell me a bit more about the team and what made you want to work with them.

The Clean Teen Publishing Team (UtopYA 2014)
Kelly: Clean Teen Publishing was founded by four amazing women. They are such a pleasure to work with, treating the publisher-author relationship like a partnership. Initially, when I was searching for a publisher, it was their name that first caught my eye. Since Never Forgotten is a story about a young adult, the CTP target audience is spot on. When I read the owners’ bios on the website and saw how they rated their books, I was sold. It’s such a unique concept and approach. As an added bonus, the other authors are very friendly and supportive, too. We celebrate each other’s successes. It’s like one big happy family!

According to your website, you have been known to make greeting cards and homemade magazines. This in addition to writing. What do you love most about the creative process?

Kelly: Honestly, my favorite part of the creative process is when I get to share the finished product.  The creative discovery is fun, but I like to see the reactions from the recipients. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from a reader about how my story affected them. For the same reason, I love to give homemade gifts, because I like to see how much it means to the person who receives it. Creativity is such a huge part of my life. From cake decorating to making my own swag, it’s how I relax and de-stress.
We need to head to UtopYA early next year so you can teach me swag-making! Speaking of UtopYA, what do you think makes it so unique and special?

Kelly: There is so much positive energy at UtopYA. There has to be with so many amazing, creative, talented people in one place at one time. On top of that, everyone is friendly and supportive. It’s a great environment to learn, to network, and to make friends. I also love how active the UtopYA community is on Facebook. It’s a great way to stay in touch throughout the rest of the year.

Time for Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: Ellipsis. I don’t know why…I just love it.
Ocean or Mountains? Ocean, hands down
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Grasshopper
Favorite Dessert: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (sensing a theme? Buy me mint ice cream, I’ll be your friend forever.)
Shower or bath? Bubble bath
Sweet or Sour? Sweet

I look forward to reading your books and hopefully seeing you in Nashville next summer!

More about Kelly from her website: 

Becoming a published author is a lifetime dream come true. As a child, I subjected friends and family to my "KellyMark" greeting cards ("When you care enough to make the very best."), poetry, homemade magazines, and short stories. In high school, my short story, "If Only to Escape" was published in the local paper, and I won a writing contest for my children's story, "Televisella." In college, my creative writing tapered off, but I still managed to write the occasional review for The Marquette University Tribune. Once I graduated, I mixed creative writing with business writing, and I've held positions in Advertising, Marketing, and Instructional Design/eLearning Development.

Today, I am busy writing the next book in Meara's story. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hanging out with my husband and two kids, or playing with our Whoodle puppy.

Drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you!

Find out more: Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.


Author Kelly Risser said...

Tia, thank you for featuring me on your blog. I had so much fun doing this interview. I hope your readers enjoy my answers! :-)

Tia Bach said...

Kelly, So thrilled to have you and to have had the opportunity to meet you in Nashville. Hugs!

Unknown said...

What a fun interview! It was nice to learn more about you Kelly! I can't wait until UtopYA2015!!

Jo Michaels said...

Cray Cray Adorbs! Loved this interview, love Kelly, love Tia! :)

Nicely done, m'lady!