SARA Cafe Welcomes M.R. Kelly

How did you learn about SARA and what made you want to join?

I found out about SARA through my membership with RWA

What sub-genre(s) of romance stories do you write?

Paranormal; BBBW (big beautiful black women); sci-fi; romance

What made you decide to write romance?

I have always wondered how people met (their stories) and what made their love last throughout the turbulence of life. As I got older, I found that I had ideas in my mind of how and what I wanted for my own romance. I started putting these ideas down on paper and soon I was back to imagining how wonderful it would be to share these romances with others.

What do you think is the most misconceived idea readers have about romance writers?

That we all are women of substantial size who do not have romance in their lives and sit around all day dreaming of meeting MisterRight.

What is the best advice you have been given or read about writing?

Write what you feel. Look at your characters as individuals who are based in reality and they will come alive in your imagination.

What writer(s) inspired you to try your hand at writing as well?

Laurann Dohner, C.L. Sholey, Kresley Cole, Stephanie Hudson, Mary Hughes, Christine Freehan, Sherilynn Kenyon, Michelle Pillow, and many others.

What is the best book you’ve ever read about the craft of writing?

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Are you a pantser or are you an outliner?

I am a little of both. I think you have to do an initial outline to ensure you have all of the scenes that are relevant to the story. But, I found that sometimes the story goes counter to what you had written. It’s as if the characters speak to you.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension, etc?

The most difficult part is tension and continuation of the story. Since I am ADD, I am easily distracted and will begin a new story when I haven’t finished the one I am working on.

What has been the biggest surprise and/or frustration you’ve learned in the writing/publishing process?

It is the amount of editing that goes into a book before it is published. I have a personal editor and I still get the manuscript returned for more revisions.

Is there a genre you wish you could write in, but never will? Which one?

I love horror, but as soon as I begin writing I start having nightmares. I have tons of stories from my childhood that would curl hair, but I can’t seem to get past the block.

What would happen if you didn’t write?

I love reading and would continue to enjoy other authors. But inside of me, there would be an emptiness where all of my stories would go to die. I have found something I love and would find a way to write.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you’ve had, and how you learned to write past it.

My hope was to write for Harlequin. I sent in my story that I had sweated over for a year and finally was brave enough to submit it. It was returned rejected. But the problem was not the rejection, it was that they rejected me on a story that was not mine.  They had never read the story. It was then I decided to write not expecting to get accepted and if I did it would be a bonus. Now I write for my fans and myself not for a publisher.

What do you see as your writing goals 5 years from now?

I want to see myself on a best sellers list. Not for the accolades, but to substantiate to myself that I AM that good.

Any other tips or words you’d like to share about writing?

Write like you live… with all of your heart. Know that words can change a life and someone out there may need your words to get through the day.