I'm excited to welcome another awesome author to the blog today to find out more about their writing and their journey to publication.
Please meet Kellie Doherty!
Let's get this started!
Who are you and what do you write?
My name is Kellie Doherty. I’m an author currently living in Eagle River, Alaska, and I write adult science fiction and fantasy with queer main characters and a romantic bent. I also dabble in short story writing and some poetry, too!
Misti Eildelmann is a Vagari—a race whose innate crafting ability is connected to the creatures of the world. She’s also a Moon Knight. Misti is fighting a banished one when he slips a pendant around her neck that saps her strength. The pendant is dangerous. Deadly even. It harnesses crafting in a way not seen before, so she sets off to find help. Old and new friends join her on this quest, including her longtime crush Dylori Clyofis and a villager named Arias Silverstone. The journey is risky—filled with frightening suncreatures, evil worshippers, and twisted betrayal. Misti is thankful to have friends on this path into the scorching light, but something much bigger is waiting for them in the sunshine. Her pendant is just a piece of puzzle.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
My writing journey started when I was young and obsessed with Digimon and Pokemon, so much so that I started writing fanfiction about it. I loved the shows and games so much that I wanted to be a part of their adventures. Writing fanfiction was the way I accomplished that. I also wrote fanfic about Sailor Moon, Teen Titans, and some other equally nerdy cartoons. Fanfiction was my first foray into the writing world and where I learned the basics of how to write a story. After a few fanfic years, I felt comfortable in my writing skills and creativity that I wanted to pen my own worlds instead of playing in someone else’s. I wrote mostly short stories back then and dabbled quite a bit in poetry, though long-form novels have since captured my heart.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
Adventurous, to say the least, though a rollercoaster might be more accurate. I wrote my first science fiction book when I was in college—a novel adapted from a short story I had written—and sent it out to many different publishers and agents. None took, so I kept revising and reworking it, sending it to my critique group to make it stronger, and eventually moving on to write, revise, and critique the second book. One of my close friends had been accepted by this indie publisher called Desert Palm Press—whom I knew from my freelance editing career—and encouraged me to submit. It wasn’t until my first year of grad school did I actually get the courage to do it. I had been working toward a master’s in book publishing at the time and was learning all about the publishing world from a perspective different than the writing/author side. (Fascinating, by the way, and I hope to break into that world, too! It would be amazing to get a full-time job at a publishing house.) Anyway, I finally took a chance and submitted my science fiction book. About a month or so later, I had an email waiting for me that Lee, the publisher there, really liked my work! Finding Hekate came out in 2016 and its sequel Losing Hold came out in 2017. Together they’re now known as the Cicatrix Duology. After that duology, I wanted to break away from sci-fi and dive into fantasy. I’ve since written Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties—which came out in March of this year from Desert Palm Press—and I’m currently working on book two. This new adventure is going to be a five-book fantasy series, with each of the first four books having a different main character and the fifth book bringing them all together. Kind of like a Marvel universe style!
Mia Foley is running away from the attack that changed her life. She’s captain of a new spaceship when the Acedians find her and try blasting her peaceful crew from the black. She must sever her bonds in order to run, again. But she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, and they have much closer fears than the Acedian hunters. Mia’s time is running out. She’s becoming one of them.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hardest part of my experience thus far was probably the waiting period between getting Sunkissed Feathers to my editor for a final review and the book being actually being published. The pub date got pushed back for multiple reasons (life happens, right?) and it was both a nerve-wracking and thrilling time. The most enjoyable part is probably the writing aspect of it. It may be cliché for a writer to say they love writing, but honestly, I do! I get to create fascinating worlds and new races, cool tech and spaceships, fantastical creatures and magic. And then, I get to throw all the characters into the mix and explore deeper meanings, themes, and relationships. I go on adventure with my characters, and it’s just…fun! Plus, the writing community is awesome; I’m so happy to be part of it. (And honestly, if you don’t love writing, maybe consider putting your creative energies elsewhere. This is a hard gig!)
Would you go back and change anything?
I wouldn’t change anything substantial in my writing world since I’m here today because of the choices I’ve made and I like where I am in my writing. But if I could give my past self advice, I would tell myself to calm the eff down about everything. To not be so nervous about taking a chance. To trust the decisions and to really appreciate where I was at back then. But actually change anything? Never.
In the sequel to Finding Hekate, after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
Five years from now I’d like to have my fantasy series completed. It’s a tight turnaround time, five books in as many years, but I’m really striving for it. I will, of course, take more time if the stories need it. After I’m done with that series, I’ll move onto my next writing project. I have a couple of stories competing for my attention right now and I’ll probably have more in the coming years, so it’ll be interesting to see which one I decide to pursue. I also hope to grow my readership and fanbase, build some more connections with fellow authors, and create more of a creative community. I’d like to find some more panels and conferences, retreats and festivals to go to in the coming years, too. I have a personal goal to no longer be nervous when speaking in public, but I’m not quite there yet. Doing more panels will only make me more comfortable. (Or so I hope!) On a non-writing front, I hope to get a full-time job at a publishing house. But really, in five to ten years from now, I’ll still be writing like I am now. I’ll have more experiences to draw from and more wisdom to tap into, of course, but I’ll still be the same nerdy fangirl I am today.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Join a local writing or critique group! Forming bonds with other writers in your community is key to surviving in this career path. You’ll learn a lot from each other and grow as writers. Plus, it’s fun to routinely meet up and write, chat about the publishing journey, and gain insight into your work and others by critiquing it.
And finally, the important stuff...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Mayo
Night or Day? - Night
Inside or Outside? - Inside
Dogs or Cats? - Cats
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter
Ebook or Paperback? - Paperback
Walk or Drive? - Walk
Sun or Rain? - Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Keyboard (but I still carry around a notebook/pen wherever I go)
Comedy or Drama? - Comedy
Chips or Chocolate? - Chocolate
Thanks for joining me today, Kellie, and good luck with your writing!
Kellie Doherty is an author from Eagle River, Alaska, who writes science fiction and fantasy. Living in Alaska gave her an appreciation for nature, a hankering for a good cup of tea, and a passion for all things below zero. During those dark winter nights, she kept herself busy by writing stories and creating characters. When she noticed a lack of queer characters in science fiction and fantasy stories, she decided to create her own. Her first sci-fi book Finding Hekate was published by Desert Palm Press in April 2016, and the sequel Losing Hold was published in April 2017. She's currently working on a five-book fantasy series, and the first book Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties launched on March 27, 2019. You can find out more on her website: kelliedoherty.com
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