Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Marie Force, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than 40 contemporary romance novels was recently in Toronto and spent an evening with Kobo, Harlequin and an intimate group of lucky fans to celebrate Marie.

Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life, interviewed Marie in front of the group. In the conversation, Mark and Marie discuss:

  • How Gansett Island, a fictional island is based on Marie’s favourite real island, Block Island, is a spot that Marie goes to regularly
  • The next Gansett Island book (Celebration After Dark - coming December 1st) which will feature Big Mack and Linda
  • The READER WEEKEND summer retreat that Marie runs for her fans, (limited to 300 people) which is co-ordinated and plann by Julie, Marie's Executive Assistant
  • How Marie has been with a Harlequin imprint (Carina Press) since 2010 when Fatal Affair was launched and the recent deal for books 10 through 13 which is, so far, the biggest deal of her career
  • A reveal that Sam is not going to get pregnant any time soon in the Fatal series (because of how significantly that might change everything in the series)
  • How new ideas are constantly flowing through Marie’s mind and the amount of time she ends up spending thinking about fictional people in her life
  • The six people that Marie employs full time
  • The fact that Gansett Island is Marie’s favourite series and how Sam from the Fatal series is her favourite character to write.
  • The manner by which Marie embraces both traditional publishing and self-publishing and how she enjoys the collaboration of working with publishers
  • How self-publishing allows her to do things such as bring out three books in three weeks (something that is a rare feat when it comes to traditional publishing)
  • The reality of the punishing writing schedule (writing 8 or 9 books in a year) that Marie keeps in order to meet the demands of the publishing that she does
  • How the first books from the Fatal series sat on the shelf for a full year before Carina Press came along, wanting to do something different about the way that romance was presented to readers

 

Marie also answers questions from her fans about:

  • If Skip might ever recover from his paralysis
  • Whether or not she will write until Scotty becomes an adult
  • Her most memorable fan interaction
  • Whether or not fans will see more of Shelby and Avery
  • The hardest part of writing romance
  • The best ways to keep informed about Marie’s new works and the new Marie Force app that is available to keep fans informed and connected
  • Whether or not she plots out books ahead of time
  • Where she writes most often and whether or not she writes longhand or via a computer
  • If Doctor Harry Flynn might ever have a love interest
  • Her influences for writing

 

After the interview, Mark goes over a few tips for those about to embark upon NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), conjuring up a few tips derived from articles on the Kobo Writing Life blog by Kevin J. Anderson and Chris Mandeville.

 

Direct download: KWL_EP043_MarieForce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59am PST

Kelley Armstrong, New York Times Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong is interviewed by Kobo’s Nora Parker about the hot serialized summer release CITY OF THE LOST.

In the discussion, Nora and Kelley discuss:

 

  • How Kelley has always enjoyed the serialized format and how the project came about at the request of her Canadian publisher
  • The changes required to the finished manuscript in order to optimize it for the serialized format (including the fun “previously on” snippets that Kelley has always enjoyed that are like the one minute clips you get on a serialized television program)
  • How Kelley credits her agent for the underlying idea behind CITY OF THE LOST with the comment “enough people in the US go missing each y
    ear to populate a small town”
  • Kelley’s preference for setting and how if she CAN logistically set something in Canada, she will. (ie, in the setting of this novel in the Yukon rather than Alaska)
  • Building a character like Casey Duncan who is both sympathetic and complex by using such an intriguing opening line “I killed a man.”
  • The emphasis on the different forms of female relationships in this novel rather than just a simple BFF type friendship and how that made the book more interesting to read
  • How CITY OF THE LOST began as a NaNoWriMo project about 3 years earlier and the various re-writes Kelley engaged in to get the novel to its final state
  • How Kelley LOVES writing and has become accustomed to write every single day, even when she is on vacation
  • The “Secrets” YA project and Kelley’s continued experimentation with form, including novels, short stories, novellas, graphic novels
  • The manner by which characters and their background come to Kelley as she is building characters and their back-story
  • How writing characters who are not similar to Kelley has become easier over the years (and, for example, how Elena, the hero of her first novel, was similar to Kelley in many ways) and the original fears of whether or not she could get the POV correct
  • How Kelley uses the writing of short stories between novels as a pallet cleanser for getting into a different character’s perspective
  • Her love of research and how it can be something Kelley gets willingly lost within

The interview is followed by a commentary discussion between Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre who interviews Director of Merchandising, Nathan Maharaj regarding the huge success of CITY OF THE LOST. Nathan breaks down the various elements that made it such a hit and the two talk about:

  • What Nathan does at Kobo and the responsibility of the global merchandising team
  • How Penguin Random House Canada approached Kobo with the idea for promoting a new serialized Kelley Armstrong novel and why the pitch was appealing to the merchandising team (Six parts published in six consecutive weeks from a key name Canadian author)
  • The permanent low price of Volume 1 at 99 cents as “on ramp pricing” and a way to get as many people into the series funnel and the remainder of the volumes (5 through 6 at $2.99)
  • How the cover design’s strong visual coherence established an extremely strong branding
  • The importance of metadata in setting up a series, including the “series drawer” on Kobo’s item page and the automated guidance that allows Kobo to help readers move along to the next book in a series
  • How, prior to the launch of this series, the entire series was produced to completion and ready to go and set up for pre-order, so once it was launched all of the calls to action to keep readers going through the series were all in place
  • Stephen King’s unfinished serialized “The Plant” which he released in 2000 via six blog installments
  • How, if you consider CITY OF THE LOST as a single volume in terms of sales, it sits among one of the most bestselling titles on Kobo in Canada this year
  • How the branding on this project down-played the “brand” of Kelley Armstrong and played up the branding of the series itself, so as not to confuse Kelley’s existing fans and to entice completely new and unique fans

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the hugely popular "City of the Lost" series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets. You can find out more about her on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Direct download: KWL_EP042_KelleyArmstrong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42am PST

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