Blog

Author Chat: Kellie M Cox

I am so very excited to have my dear friend and fellow writer Kellie M Cox as a guest here on my blog. I met Kellie in 2018 at a Gold Coast Writers Association meeting, and I have treasured her friendship and our shared love for writing ever since. Kellie has just published her debut novel, Murderous Intent, just in time for Christmas.

Kellie

Kellie Cox is an Australian writer indulging her love of fiction and prose. With qualifications in psychology, she relishes writing about the human condition and the vulnerability of the psyche. A therapist, clinical trainer, creative coach and conservationist, she enjoys a dream life on the beautiful Gold Coast.

Most days Kellie can be found working with artists in the creative industries or writing her novels. When not writing, Kellie will most likely be saturating her social media with photos of her two adorable pups.

 

Books already released:

MURDEROUS INTENT

Where to find you:

www.kelliemcox.com

What got you interested in writing?

I have always been an avid reader, so I guess the progression to writing came naturally. My first book, THE LIST started life as a therapeutic tool. I had for several nights had a dream that someone implanted a shark tracking device in my right shoulder. To get the dream out of my thoughts, I started writing it down and that turned into a 70,000 word fiction story.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in 2015 when I wrote THE LIST which was followed by book 2 from that storyline, THE REEF.

Do you have any goals/projects in the pipeline?

I would love for MURDEROUS INTENT to be made into a movie. It was created with a screen adaptation in mind, a small interwoven cast of characters and gorgeous beachside locations.

In addition, three more fiction books are scheduled for publication in 2020. THE LIST and THE REEF, both romance suspense with a shark conservation twist to it and THE LAST FIRST KISS, a story about soulmates set across the globe. I love this one as I have included many of my favourite travel destinations in it.

What do you like most about writing?

So many things. It is the creation of the characters, their strengths, their flaws and the dynamics between them all. I am often inspired by a setting or location and then create a story to fit into a place in the world that has moved me.

What genre do you write?

I am a multi-genre author. I have written psychological thriller, romance, horror, suspense, poetry, prose, short stories, fantasy, travel blogs, Australiana and non-fiction.

What draws you to this genre?

I like to explore different story lines and challenge myself to see what I can produce. I can tell you what I probably have no skill in writing, that is Western. I can’t see myself writing western and I also think crime would be difficult, but let’s see what happens a few years down the track.

Where do you get your ideas?

Travelling and I am fortunate to meet so many people through my clinical and creative work who inspire me. My friends quite often want to be characters in my books so I sometimes put little bits of them in there.

Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?

I honestly have no answer for you on process. I am not technically trained, so I don’t have a process. Maybe, that is something I should work on. At the moment, I open my laptop and type and I can honestly say I have no idea what line is coming next. The words are just created somewhere between my brain and the fingers that pound the keyboard. I wish I had a more technical answer for you.

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, my son has pitched me a horror story about a single middle aged woman, so socially awkward that she has grown emotionally dependent on her huge German Shepherd dog. As the story goes on, the dog begins to hunt at night and kill for her. Yes, he was inspired by my own life for his story, very tongue in cheek as he pitched it to me. Well, that story has just started and we will see if it goes anywhere.

Also just started a horror story called, THE BOWERBIRD. It is so incredibly scary it is actually fun to write. I was inspired to start this after a night in a beach shack on a dark and quiet island.

Which writers inspire/influence you?

I enjoy the emotional vulnerability of creative souls, so I enjoy reading Hemingway. A Moveable Feast is my favourite. I read it as I wander the streets of Paris, following his journey. I also love Elizabeth Gilbert for her depiction of raw human struggles. I read constantly and it helps with my own writing immensely.

What else about your writing journey should we know?

I am always open to collaborations, so get in touch if you have something in mind that you think we could work on together. Planning a writing retreat in Europe middle of 2020 and would enjoy connecting with writers and authors from around the world.

Excerpt from MURDEROUS INTENT:

I know he is going to kill me.
It is three o’clock on a chilly spring morning. I could walk around the house checking the doors are locked to no avail. He will not be that obvious but he will find a way to enter. I can’t remember the exact details of the nightmare that woke me this day, although the words I heard in my dream tell me everything I need to know. He is close.

He may not be inside the house, he may be just metres away. He is nearby and he won’t stop until my eyes are closed, the last stains of my breath have touched my lips, and my body is limp and exhausted. He will marvel at his handiwork. The fact that he accomplished the unimaginable – that he finally ended my life.

He was close tonight, somehow confirming the exact location of my latest hideaway. He may have been just outside checking entry and exit points. Possibly even inside the house standing over me, watching me rest, his murderous intent the sole reason for my rude awakening from the latest instalment of visions of terror in my dreams.

He is nearby and narrowing in on his target.

I rise from my bed, and splash my face with water to freshen my red eyes, then crawl back onto the mattress, shaking. The warm covers do nothing to stop my body from convulsing as the tears roll down my face. No comfort will hinder the flow now as I realise the enormity of the message sent to me in my slumber.

He will find me. He will not give up. He needs to hurt me to feel complete. He will kill me. The last face I will ever see will be his, and there is no one in the world that can prevent this from happening.

Murderous Intent.jpg

 

MURDEROUS INTENT is now available at www.kelliemcox.com

Blog

Guest Blog: Christine Betts

1930649_24670011908_7981_n

In the lead-up to Christmas I like to make a concentrated effort to promote my fellow creatives and entrepreneurs. I am honoured to introduce to you my good friend and writing comrade, author and businesswoman Christine Betts. Christine and I met about a year ago at the Gold Coast Writer’s Association monthly meeting, and instantly clicked! Ever since, we have endeavoured to support one another’s writing projects in any way possible. Christine is warm in character and a passionate and talented storyteller, and I feel truly blessed and honoured to call her my friend and writing companion.

Christine Betts

Author of Hotel Deja Vu and Paris in a Day

Where to find you: http://www.writerpainter.com @WriterPainter1 on Twitter and @writerpainter on Instagram!

What got you interested in writing?

I was an early reader and it seemed like a logical step. I wrote my first book at 10 although I don’t think it made it to the fridge, let alone the best-sellers list.

How long have you been writing? All my life, but seriously for about 2 years.

Do you have any goals/projects in the pipeline?

So, so many. I have goals coming out my butt to be honest. I’ve had to make my Top 5 list to stay focused. This is done by writing a long list of every project you’d love to tackle, then honing it down to your top 5. You are not allowed to do anything with your creative time that isn’t working towards a goal on this list, preferable number 1 first. I did that this year and have managed to knock #1 and #2 off the list. #3 is getting sorted with Nanowrimo in November with my second draft of my next book although I have also broken my own rules by starting another new project for NaNoWriMo.

What do you like most about writing?

It’s quiet. I like the quiet rhythm of writing and want to stab people who interrupt my writing time. Must remember; stabbing is bad, must use my words.

What genre do you write?

I think you could call it women’s fiction even though that term makes me cringe. You don’t hear about men’s fiction, do you? I write historical and contemporary stories with strong female characters.

What draws you to this genre?

It happened accidentally. If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be writing about Strong, Independent women I would have laughed.

Where do you get your ideas?

I write non-stop and the stories just bubble up. I read a lot, watch a lot of movies and series’. I love stories and art.

Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?

For years I was a commercial artist. We didn’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit we had to get on with it. So now, I just sit and write.

What are you working on at the moment?

My second full-length novel with the working title of The Circle. There are two Strong Female Main Characters and a host of supporting women as well. One MC is a paleoanthropologist in modern day England and the other is a Druid Priestess in 3500BCE.

Which writers inspire/influence you?

This year I have read more Australian authors (Dominic Smith Gail Jones) women authors (Gail Honeyman, Jackie French) and prize-winners (Andrew Sean Greer, Jane Harper). My fave books are Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The last Painting of Sarah De Vos by Dominic Smith, Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes…and so many more.

What else about your writing journey should we know?

Eventually I’d like to write a business book and a parenting book. My husband and I have done a pretty good job of both over the past 20 years so we might be able to share what we’ve learnt with others.

From my novel Hotel Déjà Vu You can read more here

5th Arrondissement, Paris. April 1944

The hunched figure shuffled along the pitch-black laneway; ruined arm pressed against her side. She had lost one shoe and the bare foot throbbed. For a moment, she imagined the bloody trail she was leaving for the police dogs to follow but part of her no longer cared who might come for her. Would tonight be the night they finally put a bullet in her back? At least death would end the pain and her father would no longer need to worry about her. Still, she shuddered at the thought.

The heat was spreading through her body as she stood disoriented in the dark. One of her father’s favourite sayings echoed in her mind; ne paniquez pas, organisez vous. She calmed her breathing…un, deux, trois, quartre…don’t panic, organise…

She stood rigid, listening for any sound, eyes closed – they were useless in the inky blackness. Again, she thought of her father and the last time she had seen him. They had argued of course, they always did, but this time the words were not barked at each other, a smirk playing at their lips, their familiar jousting. War was no time for games. Instead they whispered urgently behind the closed door of his clinic. He had begged her to stay home.

‘You are most certainly being watched, Ana…’ He was tired but there had been an edge of anger in his voice that she had never heard before.

You are putting this whole house at risk…’

She had raged inside, but then calmed herself knowing that dramatics and hysteria would not convince him of anything but her immaturity. Still, she spoke with force, the anger pulling her lips taut across her teeth.

You can find my work by searching Hotel Déjà Vu by Christine Betts on Amazon or by contacting me on my website www.writerpainter.com.

Christinebetts 1.jpg

Blog

Writing Fact As Fiction: Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Parts I & II

Creative Non-Fiction: a term introduced to me by my mentor, fellow author Lee Scott. Finally I had a name for what I had been working on all these years! Up until that day I had been calling my first book a ‘biographical novel’.

The words ‘creative’ and ‘non-fiction’ describe the style. These are stories about real people and events, but unlike a biography or autobiography, are written to read like fictional stories. It is a way of storytelling that creates a safe platform for anybody to tell their story and retain their privacy. As the writer, you also have the ability to be more creative, free of the restrictions of facts.

Creative Non-Fiction is not restricted to novels. The genre, also known as literary nonfiction, includes travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, interviews, and essays.

Asha’s Story: Part Two continues the story of a young woman’s experiences working as an exotic dancer in Brisbane, Australia. Three years after daringly stepping into the world of stripping, Asha has left The Runway, the club that made her an exotic dancer, to make a fresh start at at rival venue Mademoiselle’s. Here she is faced with a whole new set of challenges, including an interstate adventure to Melbourne’s glamorous strip club scene. Asha’s personal and professional lives collide in unexpected ways, in the lead-up to the grande finale of her stripping adventure.

The character of Asha and her experiences are intended to represent the experiences of many dancers, and was also an opportunity for me to include some of the stories and events from the dancers stories I could not fit into Stripping Past & Present.

A Few Tips on Writing Creative Non-Fiction:

Get Your Facts Straight

Even though you are writing a story that is stylised as fiction, the bottom line is is that the story is still based on fact. While you can be more creative with the narrative, you are still responsible for getting the facts straight. For example, you might be writing a story about the Titanic. You might create your own characters, but you will still need to get the dates correct, statistics etc. You could come up against scrutiny otherwise, for which you will be ridiculed.

Disclaimer

Think of the opening of ‘Law & Order’.”The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Although we can tell by watching many episodes that they have been inspired by true events, with minor detail changes slipped in here and there.

Repercussions

In my experience of writing The Wilted Rose, my book was received relatively well by the family and friends of the main character. Some minor complaints were made that the book was too harsh on the Brethren church, however the events recounted in the story were based on the main character’s personal experiences, for which I had full permission to use.

Everybody has a right to tell their side of a story, even if someone else might not agree with their particular angle. However sometimes our best efforts to change detail are not enough. I have heard stories from other authors who, despite doing their absolute best to disguise detail, received complaints from readers whose inspired character had only a minute role and mention in the story. And even when you have the blessing of the person you’re writing about, be sure to maintain good communication with them about the details of the story, so that you are both clear on what will be included.

Be Objective.

When I am writing Creative Nonfiction, I like to think that I am laying out the facts on the table, telling a story from someone’s point of view. If someone else comes along and challenges the idea that I have conveyed in the story, then that is their opinion. Allow the reader to take from the story what they will and form their own opinion without creating an air of bias by putting your own voice and angle.

Language

Good news! Because you are working with a fictional narrative, you have the ability to be more creative with your language! You can veer away from the mundane ho-hum of factual nonfiction, with the ability to make full use of language and storytelling techniques.

Selection of Stories

As mentioned before, Creative Nonfiction is a great way for many people to share their stories, which may go unheard otherwise. However as the author you should still be mindful of which stories you select to use. A memoir about an ordinary person’s first year of college isn’t incredibly interesting. There would want to be some drama, something inspiring perhaps. When writing creative nonfiction, a clearly defined audience is also essential. Who can relate to the material you’re writing about?

What I love about the genre is that it gives the ability for more and more people to share their stories with the world, whether they write them themselves or utilise a professional writer to do so. I certainly hope we start seeing more of these types of stories in circulation.

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two will be available worldwide on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook from July 20.