There are some people who I meet that make laugh, think, and strive to be even better—this is Sally Kilpatrick. Her observations are spot—and her writing? Brilliant! So it is my great pleasure to have her on my blog today.
Welcome Sally! So glad you can be here!
MVF: What genre do you write?
SK: I write southern fiction, at least that’s my favorite description because it covers so much ground. I could tell you there’s a little romance and a hint of inspirational, but really the book is about, ahem, eccentric people so. . . . southern fiction!
MVF: And—you do a phenomenal job! (Seriously you have to read this book)
MVF: Tell us about your book (Blurb)
SK: First, the official blurb *clears throat*
From debut author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet
Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…
Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuse to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…
Now the unofficial short version: fallen from grace piano player falls for a minister and has to create a church choir out of barflies. Hilarity ensues. (You should know that I end all of my blurbs with “hilarity ensues”—even when it doesn’t.)
MVF: I highly recommend this book!
MVF: What was the hardest thing about writing this book, the easiest?
SK: The easiest thing about this book was actually writing it because it’s the first book I ever plotted. Once I’d finished plotting, it was smooth sailing. The hardest part of this one was writing the story as I wanted it to be even though I knew it wouldn’t be an easy sell.
MVF: I think this was very brave—and inspiring.
MVF: Since you are new on my blog-- I want to ask a bit about how you became a writer and your process.
MVF: When did you start writing seriously? Why?
SK: I started writing seriously immediately after graduating from college, at least that’s when I started writing with the express intent of publication. I loved to write and didn’t think I knew enough about life to write a “serious” novel so I was going to write a romance novel because. . . how hard could that be? Very, as it turns out. I still don’t have the voice for romance. Finally, I decided to take the Field of Dreams approach: I wrote the story begging to be written and then I queried, trusting that the right agent and editor would eventually come along.
MVF: I so identify with this. What I started out to write—was not where I am ending up. So glad that everything *did* fall into place for you.
MVF: How do you write? Pantser? Plotter? Mix?
SK: I started as a pantser. Now I’m about 85% plotter. The other 15% is where I pants the first part of the novel and all the little things that catch me by surprise. After I’ve written the first 50 pages at least 3 times, then I can mostly follow a plot and finish the first draft.
MVF: *Nods* I can see this.
MVF: When is the best time for you to write?
SK: In a perfect world, I think I would write from 7pm until midnight. A “perfect” world would, however, be a lonely world without a family, so my best writing is as soon as I get the kids on the bus. To complicate matters further, there’s always something going on, so I have to write when I can. I set a weekly goal and go from there.
MVF: Amazing how life is *determined* to cause chaos.
MVF: Did this book write fast? or take some time?
SK: This book wrote incredibly fast, faster and easier than anything else I’ve ever written. I wrote the first draft in about three months. Kinda sprung forth like Athena from the head of Zeus.
MVF: That’s fabulous!
MVF: Let’s hear more about you--
MVF: Name three books you love
SK: Only three? Wow. Hmmm. Two books stand out as ones that made me think, “Hey! Maybe I can write whatever kind of story I want to write, too!” Those are the unlikely pair of gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson and Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts. I’m not even sure those are my favorites by each author, but they were both seminal in my development as a writer. Another book that affected me deeply is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I can’t even tell you all the ways that book has affected me. There’s something about the blending of the vernacular with the literary that is simply magical. Add that strong female protagonist, and I was hooked.
MVF: I love the names of these books—I’m noting them.
MVF: Name three movies you love
SK: Again, just three? Um. I have watched Clue about a million times. I consider the first Pirates of the Caribbean and the first Avengers to be among the most perfect adventure movies ever. I also have a thing for the animation, especially Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Frog.
MVF: Oooh! Avengers—I’m with you! And I love Beauty and the Beast….
MVF: Favorite beverage
SK: Coffee in the am and a nice red blend wine in the pm. Water? Always.
MVF: Coffee. YES!
MVF: What advice would you give a new writer?
SK: Step one: Cut a hole in a box…no, wait, wrong advice. First, finish the book. You can’t fix what you haven’t finished.
Step two: Find good critique partners and get feedback. Let the manuscript breathe and then redraft until the story’s smooth.
Step three: Focus on the things you can control, like how many words/pages you write each day. Don’t make goals out of things you can’t control, e.g. I’ll be published by the time I’m 30.
MVF: I like these—very clear, and to the point (especially cutting a hole in a box, hehe)
Thank you so much for being here Sally—you are wonderful!
SK: Thanks, M.V, for having me on the blog! I really appreciate it. I’ll pick one lucky commenter to receive a $5 Starbucks certificate. Comment early and comment often. I’ll answer almost any question—I just can’t guarantee it’ll be the right answer.
Unable to decide between literature and writing, Sally Kilpatrick received a B.A. in both from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After eight years of teaching Spanish (because that’s what you do with an English major), she earned her MAPW from Kennesaw State University. She has since sold three books to Kensington. The first of these, The Happy Hour Choir is out. . . now! She serves as President of Georgia Romance Writers and lives with her husband/trusty manservant, two precocious kids, and two mischievous cats in Marietta, GA. You can often find her at www.sallykilpatrick.com or on Twitter under the handle @SuperWriterMom.
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