Friday, July 3, 2015

Interview with author Kali Willows

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
What can I tell you about myself?...Let’s see, I’m married, proud mother of two, counsellor by trade, pumpkin spice latte and tea enthusiast, philosopher and lover of life. I love everything martial arts, dabble with graphics and need to write as much as I need to breathe. I grew up in the big city, and now reside in the rural countryside, so I view myself fortunate to have the best of both worlds. If I make a promise, I go to every imaginable length to keep it and close friends are every bit as much family to me as blood relatives.

Q ~ If you were stuck in a dingy floating in the middle of the ocean, who and what would you want with you and why?
*Taps chin in deliberation* Other than Chris Hemsworth, I would have to say, for optimal survival benefits, MacGyver. He could get out of any situation unscathed! Although, I am fortunate enough to have my very own MacGyver at home, I’d much rather he be keeping my kids safe and far away from a dingy at sea <3

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors in general? How do you think that Canadian authors stand in the grand scheme of things?
I think, in general, people that love to read, view authors as “their drug-of-choice-dealers.” If they get a taste of something they love, once they’re hooked, they come back for more.

As far as where Canadian authors stand in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not ideal. When books sell, it’s the book, series, marketing, and most often the publisher and the author name that contributes to sales and distribution, but ideally, not nationality. Getting to be known in order to get sales is the challenge. Getting known as a Canadian author, well, that’s just another hurdle to jump over altogether.

In the market itself, I find we have a pretty good representation of Canadian talent internationally, although I would love to see more showcased. There are always undiscovered authors with fantastic tales to share hiding in the wings.

Personally, my experience as a Canadian author has sadly been, 1 % of my book sales are from my native county. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely honored I have so many cross-border readers who love my work, but it would be nice to have more Canadian-based readers too.

When it comes to the number of Canadian agents and publishers available to the masses of talent we have blossoming in the ranks, we are far more limited than the US and European markets. Because the digital age has taken us by storm, I personally have found the boundaries of borders are less predominant.

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
There are a number of quotes that resonate with me; Maya Angelou is one of my favorites:

~I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~

The other I adore most, is Bruce Lee;

~Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one. ~

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
I love so many genres, which is why I’m so indecisive. I love romance, and urban fantasy and paranormal; to read, to write and to breathe. However, I find just as much joy in contemporary and many other genres. It’s not the genre per se, but the story itself and how it’s told. The reason I love everything paranormal, is the endless possibilities of story telling it holds. There are no limits in paranormal fiction.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
This may seem like a copout, but I have too many authors I love to narrow it down to just one. Some were my first from young adulthood that stuck with me, because they wrote about milestones I underwent at the time I found their stories. Others, their style of writing draws me in so much, I become engulfed with the plot and characters and can’t get them out of my head. I’ve had the divine pleasure of reading so many incredible works from new to me authors in the world of critique and partnering, which has opened up a new universe of fiction to me!

Q ~ Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Yes! As I mentioned in the last question, the world of critique with author friends, I’ve had the divine pleasure of discovering even more talent with JoAnne Kenrick, Kacey Hammell, Kate Richards, Kayleigh Malcolm, Ann Mayburn, Deena Remiel, Jessica E. Subject, just to name a few.

I’ve also just read two newer books by Dominique Eastwick and have fallen madly in love with the Wiccan Haus series, which is a shared world series. So much, I had to write a story for it myself!

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pen. From as young as I can remember, I’ve always written, be it poetry, songs, stories and journals. Even my day job consists of utilizing my written abilities for reports and clinical assessments of clients. I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t writing in one form or another.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
The best thing that’s happened since I began writing was that I found my voice. I’m a cerebral person by nature, and often get in my own way with too much thinking. I can verbally articulate exceptionally well as a rule, but there is something so complete about penning thoughts and feelings. Turning them into fiction opens a whole new world of cathartic healing.

The worst thing that’s happened, is I experience from time to time, long, painful bouts of writer’s block, which for me, is the equivalent of suffocation.

Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? Who are your biggest supporters?
My biggest influences, is the author community that has embraced me so tight, including my current publisher and their dedicated team of editors. I’ve grown so much with their help over the years. My online support system of fellow authors and readers alike, give me the digital pat on the back or occasional sounding board when I need it most. Many days, as a writer, it’s easy to want to give up in the face of frustration and delay, with my network of authors and readers, my second family, I know I can persevere.

My biggest supporters? My children/my family, without a doubt; they celebrate every single milestone with me as if it’s their own.

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?
Hahaha! Great question and I’ll bet my editors will chuckle too. Although I find, with each story, I have different go-to verbs, depending on the characters, my current verbs I stick to are:

Rasp, lick, cup, palm, kiss and gasp.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release Romancing the Author?

My latest release is another novella with Decadent Publishing for their 1Night Stand line, called Romancing the Author. It was a special submission call for the first annual Romancing the Capital Author-Reader event in Ottawa that happened in April. It’s a steamy little number about an NFL star, a romance author and second chances with missed love. What starts out as an online flirtation between former high school pals quickly spirals into a blossoming romance, tinged with unattainable circumstances, suspense and obstacles they aren’t sure they can concur.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
I’ve written stories in all types of settings, but I tend to be drawn to big towns. I’m not entirely sure why, aside from the fact that the majority of my work tends to take place in modern day, urban fantasy. It just fits better with the big city, however, I’ve also written about exotic destinations like Savannah, Georgia, Niagara Falls, a Spanish Castle, a volcano, Main-underwater hotel, Thailand and more. I like variety and try to keep it interesting.

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Ideally, I would love to say, “I’m a disciplined, goal oriented, prolific author who can easily plot and outline entire stories then whip them into completion….” (That’s a trait I admire about many of my author friends.)

As I have discovered over time, that is not how my brain works. I tend to be a “by the seat of my pants” writer, who jots notes down when a flash of a whim hits me, or makes voice recordings of ideas when it hits me and even send emails to myself if I’m out and about and can’t get to my laptop! Inspiration for me, is sporadic, unexpected and sadly can’t be prompted before it’s ready to shine.

When I do get powerful visions of a great story, it floods my brain and I have to pour it onto the computer screen as fast as it comes in, before it’s lost forever. There are times, mind you, the scene, the interaction I’m inspired by is so profound, and it plays like a skipping record in my head until I write it out.

Consistency is definitely not one of my strong suits in writing. But when the moment strikes, when I do write, it’s fast, furious and I’m often stunned when I review my work, wondering, “Who wrote this?”

Q ~ Of the works you’ve written, which is your favourite? Is there also a character that holds a special place in your heart?
Every one of my stories and characters holds something special in my heart. For me, it’s the equivalent of asking a mother to name her favorite child. You may have twenty of them, but you love them all equally for different reasons.

The ones that resonated with me the longest would be my Double Dragon’s Blood family. There are four stories, all part of the 1Night Stand line. They are connected by a unique Chinese mythology I concocted about astrology and year of the dragon, along with some riveting genetic abnormalities. Out of the four, my favourite was Dragon’s Breath. Kaida, the heroine is a spunky little dare devil, and the hero is tall, brooding, Irishman travelling under a dark curse. He’s sexy as hell, and puts his life on the line for the woman he’s loved from afar for years.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I do! I’ve just completed a shifter ménage for a shared world line with my publisher, and waiting to hear back on whether they like it or not. Currently, I’m completing another story, for a second paranormal line. It’s a spicy ménage with paranormal beings on a remote island; also a unique and captivating shared world series my publisher has just taken on. I will announce more details once I get word back on my submissions! I do have a full length sci-fi that’s been on hold for some time I need to get back to and finish, but as I mentioned in an earlier question, I’m neither disciplined, nor organized and led by inspiration.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Write first and edit later. Sometimes we get so caught up on technical issues, content, research and grammar that we can lose the momentum to get the story told. One harsh lesson for me as of late, is turn off the television! It distracts from the creative mindset, and suffocates the imagination!

Be prepared for harsh criticism. It sucks, but it comes with the territory when we put ourselves out there. Our stories are our babies, and it hurts to have it torn down or disparaged, but it’s unavoidable. There will always be a division of opinion, because nothing will appeal to everyone at the same time. Avoid responding publically to negative feedback. It fuels condemnation. Everyone is entitled to an opinion; some express it better than others.

And lastly, write what you’re inspires to write, not for trends. Write what you know, what you feel. Readers can tell the difference. If they can’t feel, or imagine that they see, smell, hear, taste and touch what you’re writing, you can’t possibly draw them in to your world. Forcing a story to fit a demand doesn’t allow it to come from the heart. Stories that move people to laughter and tears are the most memorable and compelling.

Thank you for having me here today, Jonel, it was a pleasure answering your thought provoking questions.

Happy reading,


About the author:

Born and raised in Toronto, Kali now resides in the exquisite eastern Ontario countryside where she enjoys the serenity of nature. When she isn't busy being the married mother of two, certified trainer or counsellor extraordinaire, she shadows worlds of paranormal passion & intrigue.

Kali strives to create emotional, compelling stories and characters you can't help but love, hate and cheer for. Captivated by her love of dragons, gargoyles and everything paranormal, she pens these delightful creatures into epic tales of romance and adventure and often infuses her passions of martial arts, music and ironic twists even she didn't foresee.

A good cup of tea with the crackling fire gets her creative juices flowing in the wee hours of the night, when the house is quiet and she can type away to her heart's desire. Learn more at:

You can visit Kali at:

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