Kiernan: For most of my life, I was (and continue to be, I hope) an artist. I used mostly dry media, and participated in art shows around the state of Florida. Even won a few blue ribbons (go me!). But then, in the very early 2000’s, a friend introduced me to something called, “fanfiction.”
It was Lord of the Rings fanfiction, and I adored it. My addiction deepened when I discovered “adult” fanfiction, and went completely out of control when I stumbled on “m/m” fanfiction. Male/Male. Gay sex on the page. Oh. My. God.
I read story after story, and began to question whether or not I could write one. I tried, and began to get so much positive feedback on my little stories that I started to wonder if I might be able to actually pen an original story with characters, and plot, and all that other writerly stuff.
I Googled the genre to see if anyone was actually paying money to publish stories like the ones I wrote. I found Torquere Press, who, at the time, were sponsoring monthly writing contests. I wrote a short story about a gay vampire who flies to a “theme park” and has sex with a gorgeous Prince Charming on one of the attractions. To my shock, I won the contest, and that gave me the courage to try writing something longer. I next wrote a novella called Dark Emeralds (about a man who believes he’s being transformed into a vampire), which Torquere bought and published. That, in turn, gave me the courage to try something longer. The next thing I wrote was Riding Heartbreak Road, and I haven’t looked back since.
Lynn: For being such a versatile writer, from Butt Ninjas in Space to Riding Heartbreak Road, which are vastly different and both awesome reads, where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Kiernan: All over. And I do mean “all over.” Inspiration sometimes comes from the most unexpected places – on a drive, waiting at the airport, pushing a cart through WalMart; even something as ordinary as having a conversation with a friend. In fact, that’s exactly how I got the idea for the BDSM anthology Fifty Gays of Shade. I edited the book and wrote a story for it, and it all came about by having a conversation online complaining about the atrocity Fifty Shades of Grey was, and how I knew a bunch of writers who could write BDSM so much better.
I once got a story idea for a novella while driving to Texas with my husband. We were on Hwy 10, and I saw a teddy bear lashed to the guardrail along the highway. It was weather-worn and so sad looking, that it made a deep impression on me. When we got to Texas, I whipped out my computer and wrote a novella around it.
You just never know when the next idea will hit or where it will come from.
Lynn: For those out who aren’t familiar with your work, what book would you suggest be their first Kiernan Kelly experience? And why?
Kiernan: Oh, Lordy, that’s a tough question. It really depends on the reader’s preference. If they like the paranormal, like the folks attending the Coastal Magic Convention do, then I’d suggest my newest release, The Keeper, which tells the story of a merman and a Fae warrior. Or they could try Seti’s Heart, or my In Their Own Skins trilogy. The former is about an Egyptian king mummified and brought back to life in modern day New York, and the latter is a shapeshifting trilogy in which the characters are just about every sort of shifter I could think of, including a T-Rex shifter.
If the reader wants a tearjerker, go for Riding Heartbreak Road. If they want a lighthearted romp, try Happy World. If they prefer a historical, I have my In Bear Country series, or my pirate novel, Vyper. For those of us who like more realistic characters than the usual six-packed stud muffins, I have Outland, in which the characters are both over 50 and not in the best shape of their lives.
Lynn: Out if all your characters, which one is your favorite? Which one is the most misunderstood?
Kiernan: My favorite are the characters in Outland. They were based on my husband and myself – in fact, I say so in the dedication. I also have a soft spot for Riding Heartbreak Road, since it was my first and continues to be my best seller.
Speaking of which, RHR is also my most, if not exactly misunderstood, then definitely controversial books by far. I won’t post any spoilers here, but suffice it to say, I still get emails, eight years after the book was first published.
Lynn: If you could pick any of your stories to be made into a movie, which one would it be? Who would like to see cast as the leading roles?
Kiernan: I think the In Their Own Skins trilogy would make good movie fodder – there would be lots of special effects and action with all the shifters running around. I would love to see Joe Manganiello (Alcide in True Blood) as my bear-shifter, Dakota, and Jared Leto as my wolf-shifter, Jax.
Lynn: You’re going on a long road trip. Pick three of your characters to go with you. Who’s going and why?
Kiernan: Ooh, another good question! I would take Jake Goodall, my cowboy from Riding Heartbreak Road. He’s adorably goofy in tough cowboy sort of way, and I love his drawl. Second and third picks would be Hank and Beaver from Outland. Their good ol’ boy natures and down-to-earth personalities would make for interesting conversations.
Lynn: What is/was your most humbling experience as an author?
Kiernan: Truthfully, I’m humbled all the time by the knowledge that I get to do what I love each and every day of my life. I understand how tremendously lucky I am in that regard.
That said, I remember one time when I was at a convention and had stepped away from the table for a few moments. My husband called me and told me to hurry back. When I did, I discovered a lovely woman in a wheelchair waiting by my table. She’d come to the convention especially to meet me. That sort of drove home how my writing can impact people’s lives – this woman took the time, money, and effort to fly in from another state just to take a photo with me and have me sign a book. It was extremely humbling.
Lynn: Who are your “go to” authors that you like to read during your downtime?
Kiernan: I do read in the genre, although there are too many authors I admire and enjoy to list here (plus, I don’t want to run the risk of forgetting someone!). Outside the genre, I’m a huge horror fan. I love Stephen King, especially his early works set in and around Derry and Castle Rock. I also enjoy Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, and so many others.
Outside of the horror genre, one of my favorite all time series is the Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel. I’ve read Clan of the Cave Bear so many times I practically have it memorized. Warning: If you haven’t read the book, do NOT watch the movie. It was a travesty.
Lynn: In all of literature, name one book that you wish you could have written? Why?
Kiernan: It’s a tossup between the aforementioned Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (the details of Paleolithic life in this book are absolutely enthralling), and The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn. Llywelyn took the myth of Epona, the Celtic goddess of the horse, and wrote an epic story drenched in the paranormal about her that spanned a continent, and included so many details about life among the Celtic tribes and the Scythian horsemen of the plains that I found it spellbinding.
Lynn: Can you tell us of any new releases or upcoming books you have planned? What are you working on now?
Kiernan: I have several new releases out, mostly collections of shorter works previously published as stand alones, but I also have stories in several anthologies, including Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming, in which all the stories are set in a paranormal rodeo, Designated Bottoms, Butt Babes in Boyland, and the upcoming Butt Riders on the Range. I’m still working on several novels, some of which will hopefully be finished and find homes by the time of this publishing.
Lynn: And last but not least, this will be your third time attending the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida. What are you most looking forward to this time around? Why do you think conventions are so important?
Kiernan: I love Coastal Magic! It’s a smallish convention, intimate, and readers and writers really get time to sit and chat. The panels are amazing (I especially loved the Writer Improv panel and Damon Suede’s Craptastic Theater). The con brings such an eclectic mix of writers, too…I discover new favorites every year. I can’t wait to go again!
Author Bio: Kiernan’s stories of gay romance envelop diverse themes, varying from paranormal, to fantasy, and science fiction to contemporary romance, with thirteen novels currently in print and ebook, and over eighty shorter works available in both mediums. She has published with a variety of houses, including Torquere Press, Starbooks Press, MLR Press, Cleis Press, Renaissance Press, Circlet, Dreamspinner Press, and Loose-Id. Her horror short story release, Cletus, appears in the Coscom Publishing’s book Bits of the Dead.