Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!
Today, I’m introducing Kelsey Atkins onto the blog! Kelsey is one of my CP’s, and her feedback on my work has been so helpful! I’m excited to share Kelsey’s story!
#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?
I started to enjoy writing at a very young age. I’ve always kept a journal and even wrote a few short stories when I was in middle school, but I didn’t start seriously writing until I was out of college. Writing was never something I thought about doing until I had a story to write. As soon as that first story planted itself in my brain and demanded to be written, I began my official writing journey and have been at it ever since.
#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?
As cliché as it sounds, I get my best ideas from dreams. Occasionally an idea will randomly pop into my head or develop from something I saw or heard, but the best ideas come from my subconscious.
#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?
My current project is a dystopian novel set in a fantasy world. This is my first dystopian, but I stayed near my comfort zone by adding a fantasy element. I can’t remember where the idea originally came from, but I do remember it started out more as a feeling than an overall idea. I tried to write a different story before I chose to work on this one, but it kept tugging at the back of my mind, begging to be written, so that’s where my focus currently lies.
#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?
My first book was traditionally published and I will continue to seek that route for my future novels. This is such a personal choice for each writer and for me it came down to needing to have someone in the industry believe in my work. I also wanted the support a traditional publisher provides as well as help navigating my way through marketing and book signings. The financial support is a huge bonus too!
#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?
“There are no rules for writing. Find what works for you and stick with it!”
I really struggled to complete my first book because I thought I had to write it linearly from beginning to end. I thought I had to have an outline and do my best to stick to it. When I finally let go of all that, writing came so much easier. It took me five years to write my first book, but after I developed a process that worked for me, it only took me four months to write my second novel and eight weeks to write my third (thanks to Camp Nano and awesome cabin mates).
#6: When are you most creative?
My creativity hits whenever it’s inconvenient such as in the shower or while I’m driving. One of these days I’ll need to invest in a voice recorder and waterproof notepad, but until then I’ll continue jumping out of the shower with soapy hair, pulling over on the side of the road, or trying to convince myself I can remember whatever great idea popped into my mind.
#7: What authors inspire you the most?
Honestly, the authors who inspire me the most are those in the writing community who have yet to be published or have just started their publishing journey. The journey is LONG and hard and exhausting. It would be so much easier to give up after the first ten rejection letters and even easier to give up after the next twenty, thirty, or however many may come. It is so inspiring to see the writers who believe in themselves and their work keep fighting every day to make their dreams a reality. Persevering through the criticism and the let downs is so hard and takes an immeasurable amount of strength. Those who fight the good fight every day inspire me the most!
#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?
I don’t often read new releases so I couldn’t even tell you what’s coming out in the next few months, but I can tell you I am really looking forward to Sarah J. Maas’s new book!
#9: What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m working my way through several beta reads but am also reading Tower of Dawn which is taking me much longer to get through than the other books in the series.
#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?
This question is almost impossible. One of my all-time favorite series is The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but there are several close seconds including A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Tiger’s Curse, and of course Harry Potter!
#11: Favorite childhood book?
The first book I remember really enjoying growing up was The Golden Compass by Philip Paullman. In high school, my favorite series was Harry Potter!
#12: Biggest book pet peeve?
Love triangles are geometric romances from hell! I never have and never will enjoy them. Reading one is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard for me which is funny because several of my favorite books have at least one written into the story somewhere.
#13: What book has made you cry?
I know there are plenty that have made me cry, but the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are The Shack and Where the Red Fern Grows. I try to stay away from books that will make me cry, but it doesn’t take much to elicit an emotion response from me, so I tend to cry at some point in most of the stories I read.
#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?
I’m not a huge snack eater when I’m writing because I don’t like to stop writing to take bites. I do enjoy having coffee or iced tea while writing and I usually reward myself with chocolate or a milkshake after a good writing spree.
#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!
My biggest fear has always been drowning! I don’t have a lot of fears associated with writing because it’s something I truly love and enjoy doing, but I do get nervous when I share my work with others.
#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?
Most of my time is taken up by a rambunctious five-year-old, but when I have some free time to myself, I like to read, listen to music, color, crochet, and play Final Fantasy (my guilty pleasure).
#17: Biggest real-life pet peeve?
Mean people! I can’t stand it when people treat others with anything other than kindness. We all have bad days and rough lives; it doesn’t give anyone the excuse to take it out on someone else. Mean people are especially frustrating in the writing world. I’ve seen far too many unfair negative reviews of books simply because someone was upset about something that had nothing to do with the story.
#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?
Keep doing what you love and never give up! The best part about writing your own story is that it can be anything you want it to be. Take the critiques, listen to advice from those you trust, but never compromise who you are or the heart of your story!
All About Kelsey
Kelsey Atkins is an elementary and middle school teacher who loves to write. Her work with young adults in the classroom inspired her to write the Finding the Light series. Kelsey grew up in a small town in Idaho where she grew to love the outdoors. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, son, and fluffy Samoyed. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, and volunteering at church.