Hello friends! Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Rosalyn Kelly! Rosalyn grew up in the magical New Forest in the south of England and has lived around the country as well as in the Middle East and traveled all over the world.She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career.
After ten years of telling the stories of international brands and businesses she decided the time had come to tell her own. Her debut novel MELOKAI was written in 2016 after quitting her job, going travelling for four months and then writing solidly for the following four.
The inspiration for her epic fantasy trilogy came when she was trekking in the mountains of Nepal’s stunning Annapurna Sanctuary. When she’s not putting her heart and soul into book two of the In The Heart of The Mountains trilogy, she daydreams about where to travel to next, paints with acrylic, reads voraciously and writes book reviews on her blog.
I started writing my debut novel, Melokai, when I returned to the UK from four months travelling after leaving my job in Dubai. My plan was to stay with my parents until I found another job in Singapore, Hong Kong or Sydney. One of the last places I visited on my travels was Nepal and I trekked to the Annapurna mountain base camp. This took eleven days and I spent a lot of time daydreaming whilst walking and immersing myself in the nature and culture. An idea formed and it snowballed into a trilogy.When I got home in May 2016, I HAD to get it out of my head and onto paper. Melokai was published in October 2017 and I’m still living in the UK, writing. I always dreamed of being an author. I read Stephen King’s On Writing years ago and was so inspired by it, whilst my communications job meant I wrote or edited other people’s writing every day. But I didn’t have an idea, or perhaps the time to fully imagine one, until I got to Nepal.
I’m a planner. I always have been! I don’t start writing anything until I have worked out the plot, thought about the characters, brainstormed what will be in each chapter. As I write, new ideas pop up and I incorporate them into my work, or when I edit I might think ‘this scene would be better if it was set here and not here’ so I will rewrite it, and occasionally a character might be completely overhauled, but I always start with a framework.
There are two pieces of advice I heard and that I think about with every piece of writing. Firstly, trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right to you, whether that is word choice, grammar, a plot twist, the ending etc., then it probably isn’t right. You often know deep down if something is not working, and rather than ignore that feeling, embrace it, hone in and fix what is bothering you. The second, which relates to the first, is to ask yourself, ‘Am I proud of this?’. Often the answer, especially with early drafts, is Yes and No.First, boost your confidence and identify what you are proud of – there will be more than you think. Then, tackle–no–drill down until you can work out why. Perhaps the opening is not as strong as you want it to be, or you don’t like the title. Pinpoint specifically what you’re not proud of and change it. In my opinion, this is not the same as perfectionism, which can paralyze you with fear and stop you writing. This method helps me to improve my writing. I can feel proud of a piece of work although I know it’s not perfect.
I wrote a short story for a competition which focused on an event from my childhood. I embellished it a little, of course, but remembering my grandparents, the smell of their old car, and what my Grandma used to sing to us as children was emotional, to the point I was sobbing at my laptop. Soon, though, I was smiling. I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed writing down the memory and the nostalgia that came with it. I write mostly fantasy, so although some of it is based on experiences, most of it comes from imagination and I had not felt such a flood of emotions up until that point.
I’m forever coming up with ideas for stories and I note them all down. Whether or not I’ll pursue them is if they make my heart flutter and make me say ‘ooooh that’s good!’. When I have that reaction to an idea then I know it’s one I should progress. The deciding factor, though, is time, so I pick the project that excites me and that I should be writing (for example book two of my trilogy!) and crack on.