So you all must know I am psyched to have here today the fun and fabulous Olivia Kelly! Ms. Kelly is the author of the afore-mentioned “The Lady and the Duke”, which is a hot seller on Amazon right now, and has contributed to the bestselling anthology “A Summons from His Grace,” Olivia took time out of her day running after her boys and twittering to answer my questions.
Nancy: I read that you wanted to own a coffee house/hangout When did you first know you wanted to write, and did you picture that coffee house as a writer’s haven?
Olivia: Actually, I wanted to open a joint coffee house and used bookstore. Where I grew up in New England, used bookstores are often in old houses, with double or triple levels, creaky wood floors and fireplaces. I adore the atmosphere of those bookstores. And I have what one of my friends calls “the mommy gene”- I like to feed people! So, with my culinary graduate background, I thought to combine my love of reading and my love of food and drink. It’s still a plan of mine, but will have to wait. I’m too busy writing now to start a venture! Owning your own business is life consuming.Nancy: Why Romance, and Regency Romance, at that?
Olivia: I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I like the feel-good stuff! Reality is so often depressing or scary and uncertain. I love the certainty of a happy ending in a romance novel. Regency, because I love history. I started reading historical romance about four years ago, and became drawn to Regency right away. So when I began to write, it was natural for me to start with Regency. I’ve branched out, but not published anything beyond Regency. Yet.
Nancy: Did you have an inspiration for your writing, and if so who?
Olivia: Oh my gosh, yes. So many writers. The earliest writers that I loved were ones like Anne MaCaffery, Tracey Hickman, Margaret Weis, Adam Douglas, Neil Gaiman and various others. When I moved into reading romance, I was drawn in by Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, Sabrina Jefferies, Lisa Kleypas, Claudia Dain, Stephanie Laurens, and most recently, Darynda Jones.
Nancy: Ahh, so many f my favorites, too. As a mother, I know how hard it is to find time to balance a career with children, especially ones as young as yours. How do you do it, and what tips do you have for mother’s who want to write, but think they can’t?
Olivia: It’s incredibly hard for me to write when my kids are around. The guilt. OH, THE GUILT. I feel like I’m ignoring them. Also, it’s impossible to concentrate, as I have two boys only 22 months apart and they fight over EVERYTHING. But I would say that carving out time for you to write, on a regular basis, is the the most important thing. One of my boys is in school and the other goes to half day preschool twice a week- that’s been huge for me this year. Also, I write at night and my husband takes the boys for chunks of time on the weekend and keeps them occupied. I also recommend, if you can, creating your own writing space. For years, I wrote at the kitchen table. It was okay, but when we cleared out the playroom and turned it into an office instead (okay, MOSTLY), it was awesome! I got to put up an inspiration board and have my own desk, with a china tea pot and an embroidered table runner, just for atmosphere. As you may be able to tell, I think atmosphere is huge. That probably bleeds over a little into my books.
Nancy: I’m just going to put my two cents in here for what it’s worth as a working mother and say…don’t feel guilty about doing something you love. A happy mother makes for happy children and I can attest that after going back to work after my daughter was only 6 months old, and my son was 3 months, they didn’t suffer at all.
Now to the book stuff. Tell us all about your fabulous novella, The Lady and the Duke, which is racing up the Amazon charts as we speak.
Olivia Kelly: Thank you for asking!
Miss Audrey Ellis has failed to catch a wealthy, titled husband in her two London Seasons,and merely wishes to return to her quiet country life, leaving high society behind her for good. But when an unexpected encounter brings the Duke of Halford into her life, she will have to decide if she has the courage to change her prudent, unadventurous plans and reach for something more.
William Langston, the Duke of Halford, wasn’t looking for love. He came to Town to track down his sister’s blackmailer, hoping to head off a scandal in the making. But the Viscount Claremont is more elusive than the duke was prepared for, and leads him on a chase through society’s drawing rooms and balls. Will soon finds himself distracted from his mission by Audrey’s fresh beauty and lack of pretension, something scarce in his rarefied world.
The pair are drawn together despite their differences, but as scandal looms and rumors spread, danger is closer than ever before.
Nancy: Well, I read it, reviewed it and loved it, so go ahead people! If you haven’t already bought it, do so. What’s up next for you?
Olivia: I am currently working on revising my full length Regency romance Bad Intentions, which won the 2012 Heart2Heart contest. I plan to submit it to literary agents next week. Cross your fingers! I also have other manuscripts in progress, and I’m not decided on if I will self-pub those or submit them somewhere to be published. I feel like the publishing world is very open right now, and fluid. I might do a bit of both self-publishing and traditional publishing.
Nancy: How important do you think social media is now for promoting books?
Olivia: Well, it’s been my only real avenue for book promotion as a self-pubber. I put the word out on Twitter and Facebook, and did a few blogs. I think garnered some good reviews, which was helpful, and I hope there has been some word of mouth promo, too. But, it’s hard to tell. I do think that writing a good book is your best promotion as an author. Especially if you have other books out there!
Nancy: A few fun questions:
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you absolutely have to have?
Olivia: Coffee, books and my family!
Nancy: Whats your favorite snack food that you turn to when you are in need?
Olivia: Coke Zero and Pizza Goldfish. Yes, I have the snacking habits of a 5 year old.Nancy: What’s the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero?
Olivia: Taste. HAHA! Coke Zero, all the way, baby.
Buy her book here: