Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Short Q&A With Q. Kelly

        Q. KELLY

1. Why did you start writing?
The first stories I wrote were in elementary school. I was in a self-contained classroom for students who were deaf and hard of hearing. My teacher had similar lesson plans for the kids, but I would be way ahead of the other students. (I made lots of extra work for the teacher!) The teacher would give me assignments such as: “OK, read the book and decide how you would have written your own ending.” That was fun and evolved to a point where a teacher would tell me to read halfway and then write my own second half (without having read the book's second half). I came up with lots of outrageous stuff. That's why (and how) I started writing, and it was a lot of fun.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Yes, of course.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?
No. Most of what jumps out are flaws and room for improvement.

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
My then-girlfriend in college started watching Xena in perhaps the second season. She told me about it, and I started watching with her. Then my girlfriend somehow (I forget how exactly) found fan fiction online. She said most of the stories were awesome and that some were even novel length and novel quality. I checked out her recommendations and got hooked. I saw Xena fan fiction and the community as a natural outlet/audience for my writing.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
I write for a living, and so my muse feels a lot more comfortable these days just up and disappearing. Annoying and frustrating! ;)

6. How do you feel about sequels?
Sometimes they’re great. Sometimes they’re not necessary.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
I am deaf and usually don’t wear hearing aids, so…heh. Sometimes my dog, Chester, barks his head off and startles me. I chat on Facebook often while I write. The socialization helps my writing flow go better. I multi-task well.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
I mainly write lesbian romance. I prefer to read mystery, legal thrillers and science fiction. I love to read stories with anti-heroes.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
Story ideas assail me constantly. I get them from the news, from observing people, from everyday life. Story ideas have never been an issue for me.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
See above

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
There’s already enough advice out there, most of it conflicting. ;) I suppose to read as much as you can, always keep learning, have an open mind and understand the value of criticism.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
It was an awesome show, and I admired the solid friendship between Xena and Gabrielle. Xena also introduced me to an incredible community of lesbians that endures even to today.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
Sorry to say, by the time the show ended, I had stopped watching it. Too many ridiculous contrivances had happened, and I lost interest. So, I never saw the ending.

14. How real are your characters to you?
Usually, they are pretty real. They often live in my mind nonstop while I am working on their stories. After their stories are finished and published, they fade in my mind.

15. Do your characters speak to you?
In a way, yes. But rather than them speaking directly to me, it is more like I “see” them interact with one another in my mind.

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
A little of both.

17. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
Nah. Characters belong in fiction, where people can interpret them as they like. Characters are much more interesting if they remain somewhat remote and inaccessible.

18. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story? 
It would have to be done with my permission, so if a character makes a cameo in another story, obviously I have given permission and am delighted with it.

19. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
Yes, writing Xena fan fic opened up a great community to me. I loved hearing from many readers every day.

20. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?
Nope. But it would be an interesting experience, I am sure.

21. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
The responses I have gotten to “The Old Woman” short story have astounded me. This story seems to touch a chord in many people, regardless of age and whether they are male, female, transgender, gay, bi or straight. The story is about a young white woman who, on a dare, has to ask a much-older black woman on a date. And guess what? The date goes well, and a lot more happens!

22. Do you have to do a lot of rewrites?
It depends on the story.

23. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
Not each and every time, but there are a few stories I have had to put down and get back to months later or years later.

24. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
Ending a story! Because it’s done. ;-)

25. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
I used to be, when I did not write full time and for a living. Now that I can write any old time I want, it’s a rare story that “obsesses” me.

26. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published. 
I’ll list two. Humorist Dave Barry is one of my favorite authors, but I don’t write humor (would love to one day). What his writing DID teach me was to think outside the box and to look at situations from different perspectives. So does “MAD” magazine. Another favorite author of mine is Roald Dahl.

Some so-called “bad” authors have influenced me too—to NOT write like them! And many, many authors have a wonderful grasp of language and words that just flow off the page. Their characters and their words come alive. I read books like I breathe air, which is to say I read A LOT, and so no one author has had time to get his or her tentacles firmly into me!

27. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
Hard to say. Some females are great, while other females are some of the bitchiest, cattiest, most petty people ever. Just like some men are great, while others are not.

28. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
It depends on the story. If you mean do I write scenes in jumbled orders, no, I don’t do that. But if you mean do I work on a story, and only that one story until I am done, not necessarily. Some stories I have to put aside for a while and move on to other projects before I can finish.

29. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
Oh yes. I have to!

30. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
Maybe the god of pizza or the goddess of ice cream! ;)

31. Do you have a pet peeve?
Is the pope Catholic? I have many, many pet peeves. Too many to list.

32. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I don’t think along these lines. The future will happen as it happens.

33. What is your favorite word?
Does not apply

34. What is your least favorite word?
Does not apply

35. What turns you on?
Quirkiness, intelligence, humor, smarts, confidence

36. What turns you off?
Arrogance, know-it-allness

37. What sound or noise do you love?
My dog Chester barking

38. What sound or noise do you hate?
My dog Chester barking

39. What is your favorite curse word?
Filet-a-fuck (as said by Deb on “Dexter”)

40. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I am not sure if this means realistically or as in a fantasy world, so…I’ll just go with “Too many to list.” ;)

41. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Probably none. Any profession is fertile grounds for writing research.

42. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Here’s your grande mocha frappy, nonfat milk, not a lite, no whipped cream!

Here is Q. Kelly's favorite story:
The Old Woman - 18 pages
Jessica is a pretty good best friend, but she goes too far when she dares Rachel to ask an old woman on a date. Rachel has no choice; otherwise Jessica will do the asking, and Rachel has no intention of humiliating the old woman. Turns out maybe Jessica's idea is not so bad. There is a lot more to Ada than her age.

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