1. When and where do you write?
That’s the trick of it, isn’t it? I steal time throughout the day—first thing in the morning, a few hours midmorning to early afternoon on days I don’t work, late at night after the kids are in bed, really anytime I can squeeze writing in. I protect my writing time like a ninja warrior wielding words instead of swords.
I prefer to write at home at my beautiful maple desk surrounded by books and free from distractions. My ‘real’ life obligations lead me to write during planning periods, in the car, on metal bleachers, or wherever inspiration strikes me.
Inspiration for my books hits me suddenly and violently and usually when I’m sleeping. I write down every thought, every image, and every conversation as soon as possible even if it’s in the middle of the night. These rough notes become the basis for my stories.
A few years ago, I dreamt about attending a high school reunion. I became the main character, Tiffani Watson, but Tiffani wasn’t the ‘real’ me—I realize that thought process might not make sense because I’m the who had the dream, but it’s no different from any first person point of view story. I’m not Katniss Everdeen but I become her during Hunger Games.
After I woke up, I wrote down the loose premise for AND THEN HE and went back to my Young Adult project I was working on. But Tiffani wouldn’t quiet down. She wanted a voice and her own story, but a reunion just didn’t fit into the proper Young Adult age range, 14-18. I toyed with the idea of a homecoming weekend at a private school, but it didn’t feel right. I thought about a few other scenarios, but it still didn’t feel right and at that time, I had no interest in writing an adult book.
Fast forward a year or two, and I’m surfing Twitter, and I discover a new genre called New Adult. The age range of 18-24 fit perfectly into the parameters I had in mind for AND THEN HE, and so AND THEN HE took flight.
3. How long did it take you to write AND THEN HE?
I started AND THEN HE in the spring of 2013, then I rewrote my Young Adult book in the fall of that year before diving back into AND THEN HE for the remainder of 2014. I rewrote and edited AND THEN HE in the spring of 2015. I’d say all in all about two years.
I don’t write much in the summer—I travel with my family, so I spend most of my free-time reading, which is essential to strong writing anyway, so win-win.
4. Tell us a bit about your revision process for AND THEN HE.
After I wrote the first draft of AND THEN HE, I put it in the drawer for two months and worked on something else. When I came back to it, I was fresh and ready to work. I printed out AND THEN HE in a different font with wide margins and read through it. I made notes, examined Big Picture stuff like plot, theme and character arc, then I got to work rewriting the entire document. This revision step takes a lot of time, but it allows me to catch awkward phrasing and other holes I might miss otherwise.
Once I rewrote the draft, I downloaded it on my Kindle and read it again. I also listened to it on a reading app.
Throughout the entire process, my critique group, the Ink Sisters, identified weaknesses in character development, dialogue, scene creation, and grammar mistakes. They’re invaluable to my writing process.
5. How many revisions?
That’s a tough question. The beginning I rewrote many times. I cut, I added, I cut again until I created an opening that pulled the reader into the story. Other sections came naturally and I worked on them very little.
I’m a planner, so much of the character arcs and plots don’t change. I know exactly what I want to happen and when; it’s just a matter of putting it into action.
The short answer: One complete rewrite of entire document, and several shorter rewrites of different scenes.
6. Do you have an agent?
I do not. My Young Adult novel is under review and I am actively seeking representation for that story. I also just finished a nonfiction picture book, that I plan to start querying in the next month or two.
New Adult is a different beast. I didn’t write AND THEN HE for agent review. I wrote it for reader consumption. I wanted to get AND THEN HE into readers hands as soon as possible, and the reviews of AND THEN HE suggest I made the right decision.
7. Was there anything that surprised you about the editorial/publishing process?
There’s a learning curve for sure. I didn’t tag AND THEN HE with the most relevant and appropriate search labels—I’ve fixed that, and hopefully AND THEN HE will come up within the first few pages of several different categories on Amazon.
I also learned that I am my own worst critic. I should have put AND THEN HE up for sale months ago, but now that I’ve done it, I plan to dive in much sooner.
8. From a practical standpoint, how do you keep various versions of a longer manuscript organized?
I’m probably not the best person to answer this question. As I said earlier I am a planner. I’m also very visual, so I visualize scenes and story arcs in my head before I ever put them down on paper.
But that’s not very helpful to most people. Hmm, here’s one, I don’t label my chapters until the end of the writing/revision process—this way I can cut and paste easily without relabeling all the chapters. I also encourage writers to learn about downloading their personal documents to their Kindle or Kindle app —I’m working on a blog post on that very skill.
9. Any additional comments or thoughts?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to answer questions. I love to talk about writing and the writing process. I also love meeting new people.
The best way to help a writer after buying her book, is to rate the book on Amazon and Goodreads. Books sell by word of mouth, and those comments really help. So, come on, let’s be friends!
Where to find AND THEN HE:
Where to rate AND THEN HE after AMAZON:
Where to find Kim:
I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimBriggsWrite/?ref=hl
Let’s Tweet! @KimBriggs_Write
10. Can you give us an excerpt from AND THEN HE? Sure.
AND THEN HE: A New Adult Romantic Thriller
by Kim Briggs
The first sip hits the tangle of nerves in my stomach like a shot of heat lightning. The second wraps its arms around the knot in a loving embrace. By the third, a seductive fuzziness travels down my limbs straight to my fingertips and toes.
“Another?” The hotel bartender asks. His dark brown eyes remind me of my favorite candy bar—savory and irresistible.
I nod, as if the empty wine glass I pushed towards him isn’t enough of an answer.
I throw another ten on the bar. “Yep, my fifth.”
“On the house,” he says, offering me his hand. “Isaac.”
Mine disappears into his large, slightly damp one. “Tiffani.”
“Well, Tiffani, you’re welcome to come back and visit me all night.” He squeezes my hand, not to the point of discomfort but enough to encourage me to take him up on his invitation.
“Tempting,” I smile. A little harmless flirting with the handsome bartender makes me feel less like the lonely left behind girlfriend and more like a woman who deserves to attend her high school reunion.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in reading more, here’s the link:
11. What’s next for you, Kim?
I’m always thinking about my next project. I’m working on a New Adult romantic thriller called AVALANCHE. Then I have two big Young Adult projects lined up. I’m also playing around with some nonfiction picture books, so visit my website to stay up to date on all the latest happenings!
Thanks for reading and stay in touch!