Friday, March 11, 2011

Author Spotlight Interview with Krisi Keley

Laurie:  Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you and find out a little more about how you write the beautiful prose you are becoming known for.  Let’s start off with the discipline you apply as a writer. When in the day/night do you write?  How long per day?

Krisi:  I’m definitely more of a night person and do a lot of my writing in the wee hours of the morning.  This is not only because I tend to be more awake at those hours, but also because there are a lot less distractions then.  I’ve got eight dogs and they never fail to decide it’s time to go outside or come back in, individually and every hour on the hour or more often, just when I start working on anything!  How long per day I write day varies greatly.  Some days I can’t write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts and I can write for many hours (6-8) at a time.  Other days, I may feel stuck on something and it’s like pulling teeth to get the ideas down the way I want them, so I may wander around doing other things or let pretty much anything distract me until I get back on track.

Laurie:  You mentioned getting stuck at times and not being able to find the exact words to properly convey your thoughts.  What is the hardest challenge you have when writing your books?

Krisi:  Although maybe not the norm these days, the aspects of a story I’ve always liked best, both to read and to write, are dialogue and in-depth character development.  So, for me, action sequences, in the sense of just describing what people are doing physically or events that are taking place around the characters, are the more challenging thing.

I hate to say simply “action” though, because I believe that relationships between people and even thoughts are action.  In fact, in the real world, I’d guess that the larger percentage of “acts” people perform on a daily basis are psychological and sociological, rather than physical.  Most of us aren’t jet-setting around the world or participating in unusual life-altering events.  The most significant things we do every day are think and interact, usually through conversation, with other human beings.   Often times I have the characters’ conversations in my head before I even write anything down and so when I do, it’s frequently blocks of conversation I write, before I add the “action” or descriptions of what’s going on around those conversations and relationships.

Laurie:  So, thinking about how the story is created, do you develop a detailed outline and plan the events and sequences, or do you have only an idea and then let it grow and mature as the story develops?

Krisi:  A bit of both, I’d say.  As I mentioned, I “write” a lot of the story in my head before I even put down any words on paper, so, in that sense, I have the essential story plotted out before I actually begin to write.  The details of the story can be very spur of the moment while I’m writing though.  Also, sometimes sections take on a life of their own as I’m writing.  And oftentimes when I go back for a reread of what I’ve written, there’s just a feeling that the conversation should have gone this other way or the character would have responded to an event differently than first imagined.  The story can change direction a little as the writer gets deeper inside the characters’ heads and hearts, I guess you could say.

Laurie:  How do you describe your writing style?

On the Soul of a VampireKrisi:  I honestly never thought about having a particular writing style before publishing my first book.  I just wrote it as I thought the main character and narrator would tell it.  He has a very distinctive voice and a complex history, and I wanted to let him do the talking, so to speak.  He’s an 800 year old, non-native English speaker who, for obvious reasons, can’t really “hang out” with mortals in any kind of normal way, and so he definitely doesn’t think or speak like a 25 year old from modern America.  Readers, on the other hand, have described my writing in On the Soul of a Vampire as archaic, like it’s from the Romantic Period, lilting, sonorous (thank you, Laurie!), or one of my favorites – a combination of Anne Rice and Shakespeare (thank you to the wonderful author, Lori Pescatore!)…  I very much love language in and of itself and I studied several foreign and classical languages in school, so that probably affects my writing style, as does my love of classical literature.  I love books in which not only the story is beautiful, but the language itself is too – where it has a certain poetry and emotional power simply in the way words are used.  So I’m sure I try to emulate that in my own writing to some degree, even if not always consciously.

Laurie:  I think you hit the nail right on the head and summed up your particular style perfectly. To me it is obvious that you have a great love of language by the way you structure your ideas on paper. It’s such a gift! 

Ok, You mentioned that you currently working on your second book, now. Can you give us a little peek of what we have to look forward to?

Krisi:  Sure!!  Here’s an excerpt from On the Way to the Cross (prequel to On the Soul of a Vampire)

His heart stopped with a final violent beat like an explosion, and his life force seemed to remain there for a moment, uncertain, while I reached out with a part of myself I barely recognized, trying to touch it.  Wanting desperately to make it mine as it merged into that light and so make its knowledge and final acceptance my own.

And then it was gone.  I held his inert body in my arms, a shell now it seemed, that no longer contained the thing I’d so badly wanted of it.  The thing in him I’d loved with a love I’d never even imagined could exist.

He is dead, a meek, numbed voice spoke inside my head.  Dead, dead, dead, and you are the reason.

I lowered his body away from me and rocked forward on my knees, lowering my head to his chest.  I stroked it in the place over his heart, as if my touch could make it beat again.  Then I lifted my head a fraction, staring at his face, still and serene and at peace.  The peace Sebastian should have had, I thought, but he hadn’t, and it did not matter that I’d tried to give it to him through this young man.

  However I might want to justify what I’d done to recognize I’d taken him to death in great pleasure and erased every fear a dying man might hold in his heart, it changed nothing.  He was dead and I was the reason for it and as much as I wished it, I could not bring him back.

I gathered his lifeless form into my arms and I rocked him.  For minutes or hours, I didn’t know.  All I knew was that this was going to be the result with every human being I touched – for eternity, if Lukyos had not lied.

“Oh God, oh please… make it stop,” I whispered once or twice or a hundred times.

My heart constricted so tightly it was excruciating; my breath came in ragged gasps.  Then I leaned forward over the man I’d just murdered, the human being whose very life I’d experienced the greatest pleasure I’d ever known to feed on, and I vomited up the blood I’d not long ago drank with no qualms.  The blood that had tasted so sweet in its promise of fulfilled desire.

“Make it stop!” I screamed, rising to my feet and lifting my arms to the sky in desperate supplication.  “God, my God, strike me down.  Kill me.  Please, kill me now!”

But no bolt of lightning struck me; no fiery death rained down from the sky.  God did not answer in voice or in action, just as He never had before this monstrous desire made me the killer I’d never believed I could be.

I fell to my knees, vomiting again, and as I fell forward, my hand landed on the dagger I’d just taken a life with – an innocent, beautiful life that I had known so intimately it might have been my own.

Screams were torn from me again, but this time there were no words – just terrible sounds that could not convey the horror which provoked them – and I raised the dagger above my head then slammed it down, driving it through my wrist so forcefully, it pierced my arm completely and pinned it to the ground beneath it.

I pulled it back out and, watching the blood gush from it, I wondered dazedly if I’d have enough strength to do with my right hand what I’d just done with my left.

But then someone was rocking me as I’d rocked the young troubadour’s body, clamping my bleeding wrist in his hand.  And as a blessed darkness descended, I heard a soft sob that sounded like “I’m sorry.”

-----------------------end of excerpt---------------------

Laurie:  Wow!! Powerful words to describe a man in hellish torment.  Thank you for sharing that scene. What else can you tell us about your next release?

Krisi:  The excerpt above is from Book II in the trilogy and is really a prequel, rather than a sequel, to On the Soul of a Vampire.  Valéry, the main character and narrator, is in a very bad place in Book I, when he meets Angelina, the young mortal woman who knows everything about him and his past.  On the Way to the Cross lets the reader see how Valéry got to that place.  I thought it was important that readers really see him as a human being, which it can be sometimes hard to do in On the Soul. 

When you meet Valéry in the first book, he’s very bitter, he thinks he can’t allow himself to believe in anything anymore, he’s had to kill to live for 800 years and though he’s watched human beings kill one another without mercy for all those same centuries, he still experiences terrible pain to take a life because he knows life in a much more fundamental way than human beings do.  But because in Book I the reader only gets a glimpse of Valéry’s history through flashbacks, it is very easy to judge him only on his present behavior.

This happens so often in real life – that we can’t see inside the mind and heart of others and so we only judge them on certain given actions or personality flaws we see at that time.  They can appear unlikable or unforgivable because of all we don’t know.  And I really thought that not showing Valéry’s past until the second book would drive home that point from On the Soul more strongly – that though we can judge actions as right or wrong, we should not judge people or souls as good or evil, because we simply cannot know them.  We haven’t walked in that person’s shoes; we don’t know what pain and desperation may have provoked their choices.  So I wanted readers to know Valéry much more intimately – more the way Angelina knows him – before continuing the story where On the Soul leaves off in Book III. 

Book II is also a journey, of sorts, through human history, as seen through the eyes of someone who has a very different perspective on human life and the way human beings so often don’t cherish it the way they should.

Laurie:  Thank you for those thought-provoking insights. Valery is an intellectual and I am sure seeing history through his eyes will be quite an experience. Well, I guess it is about time to wrap this up.  Do you have any parting comments for your readers?

Krisi:  I’d like to thank everyone who has read On the Soul of a Vampire and everyone who might be interested in checking it out.  Both that novel and On the Way to the Cross, which I’m hoping to have ready for release in the next two months, are a bit different in style and perspective than a lot of vampire novels and I would love to hear feedback from readers about that.  All the stories in the trilogy have some pretty complex ideas and most likely will leave readers with questions and, hopefully, strong feelings about certain aspects.  I’d love to hear from readers about those things, to answer questions or just discuss some of those ideas.  I wrote the stories to be entertaining, but they also are definitely ones I hope make people think about things they might not have thought about before and I’m very open to readers contacting me about any of those things.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your wonderful blog, Laurie.  I appreciate it so much and I’m a big fan of yours!  And thank you to all your readers for taking the time to listen to me gab!


Anonymous said...

A truly great interview spot and Krisi's photo is as sweet as she is! I admire the depth and the broad story. I also admire any author that can successfully do 'First Person'. Great excerpt and well written.

N. R. Williams said...

Your writing is brilliant. Thanks for sharing that excerpt. Thank you Laurie for hosting her.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

Krisi Keley said...

Thank you so much, Miss Leanore and Nancy!

Leanore, I've been fortunate enough to read some excerpts of your writing as well, so your compliment means so much to me. Congratulations on your Lipstick and Jazz feature!

Nancy, I'm looking forward to checking out your book. I really appreciate your kind words.

I wish you both all the best and much success with your writing. Thank you so much again for leaving comments and thank you, Laurie, for inviting me to share on your fantastic blog!

Best to all,

DANIELA said...

Hi Laurie
Thanks for the interview with Krisi

Hi Krisi
Great to know you finally decided which one the next book will be… I’ll be glad to read your book and let you know what I think…
Good luck and please let us know when it is done

Hugs to you both
Daniela. :)

Krisi Keley said...

Hi Daniela,

Thank you so much! I'm hoping to have it ready for a May release. I will definitely let you know when I've got a more set date.

Hugs to you too,

Laurie said...

Hi MissLeanore, Nancy and Daniela!! Thanks for your comments and I am so happy you stopped by.