Stealing Time by KJ Waters is the type of book that really does have something for everyone. I can count KJ as one of my earliest Twitter friends and also know I can rely on her infectious enthusiasm and alluring beach-themed social media pics to brighten my day. To date, her novel is the longest one I’ve copy edited. Mathias, one of the main characters, speaks with a German accent. Luckily, my background in linguistics and German made for a perfect fit. Part of my editing process involved devising a key to standardize the accent in the current book and others that will follow.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
Stealing Time is a time travel thriller set during Hurricane Charlie hitting Florida in 2004. Ronnie Andrews seeks safety from the storm in her boyfriend’s weather lab. During the peak of the hurricane, Ronnie inexplicably is sent back to 1752 London where she is faced with dangerous accusations of being a witch and a life and death struggle to return home.
Her best friend Stephanie McKay invites Nick over to her house where they are caught out in the raging hurricane and risk losing everything.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
I began my writing career as a creative outlet after I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I loved my job as the director of marketing for a national health care company, but it made more sense for me to be there for my children. I finally had time in my life to pursue my own interests. Reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series was my main inspiration for writing Stealing Time. It was such a multi-layered story full of rich details about the past, I was taken with the idea to create something with hurricanes and time travel that would encompass interesting characters and locations.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
The passions that drive my life other than writing are my kids, clear warm waters, and great friends. I love to travel and have been to about 70% of the states and done a little traveling to Europe and Bermuda and would love to do more, when time and money allow.
I used to spend my summers as a lifeguard and swim instructor and now spend time by my own pool when I’m not traveling during the summer. I’ve also spent a few years playing underwater hockey and was even voted MVP one year. Man do I miss that!
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
My favorite author is Diana Gabaldon and if I had to pick my favorite of her books it would be Outlander, the first book in the series. Her stories are so full of humor, history, great character development, and drama. It is this book and her series that inspired me to write Stealing Time.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
My blog is called Blondie in the Water . I started the blog as therapy to deal with living in Dirtville, a dry and dusty place, after growing up on the East Coast where I was always near a decent body of water.
In the blog I have relived my fondest water memories and added a few from my various vacations from Bermuda, Yellowstone, Maine, to Discovery Cove in Orlando and many more. This January I started an author spotlight segment, Blondie’s Books From Friends (BFF) with my author friends, and I occasionally add info on my books and other projects.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
My first draft is getting the storyline and pacing down. Then I rewrite several times to add layers of personality, subplots, and make sure the background elements are in there, like the cat in the room consistently, or whatever. When that step is completed I reread and make notes to make sure all continuity is solid, keeping small details the same throughout and fix typos and what not.
Then I send it to my beta readers to see how it all fits together. At this stage of Stealing Time I had a lot of changes to make in the story, more details in the 18th century England that were not correct. When I have everything the way I want it I send it along to my editor, who happens to be Jeri, who did a fantastic job.
I try to write a little every day and on Thursday mornings I spend several hours working on the draft. I haven’t participated in a critique group, mainly because I feel I’m more productive alone, and have been happy with the end result.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I am self-published. I paid for an editor for the English historical bits and also for a professional edit of the draft. The formatting, book covers, and promotion I’ve done all myself, with a bit of help on a few advertising sites, but on the whole it has been all my efforts. I run a custom book cover service, so I’m lucky there that I only have to spend time on it (Blondiebooks.com).
I chose self-publishing because I’ve heard of a lot of authors who have gone with smaller publishers were very dissatisfied with their lack of marketing and distribution help. I would be glad to work with a bigger publisher if they would get my book in more markets and help promotions, until then I don’t see a reason to give publishers money for what I can do myself, such as the layout, covers, and social media buzz.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
My best marketing advice for author and book marketing is to engage readers, don’t just push your product out there. You are selling your personality, charm, and wit. If you just post your book links you will be ignored. You need to build a reader base and connect with them on a personal level.
I am doing a Facebook party (May 29) and a Rafflecopter contest that ends May 30. I’ll let you know the results. The most helpful things I’ve found are to do interviews like this, and to also do local book signings with a buildup of radio, TV, and print interviews.
Most of my marketing and promotions are on Facebook (KJ Waters) and twitter (@kamajowa). They are very different outlets where I get more engagement on Facebook, and more sales on Twitter.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
My second book is in process, Stolen Time, and is the next book in the Stealing Time trilogy. I hope to have it out spring 2016. Book three will follow after that.
In June, I’m also starting a podcast for indie authors, called Blondie and the Brit with Suzanne Kelman, another indie author. We will talk about social media and book marketing tips and strategies, conduct author interviews, and discuss what we’ve found helpful and not so helpful in the indie market.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
My novel, Stealing Time, parallels my life in an interesting way in that I moved to Florida and three days later Hurricane Charley hit central Florida, the first storm in 60 years to be hurricane strength while crossing Florida. This is the setting for Stealing Time.
You can connect with KJ Waters and her social media sites via her blog.
Is there anything else you would like to know about KJ?
Permission must be granted by KJ Waters to use the images in this post.
Great interview, Jeri and KJ! KJ, your novel sounds so interesting! One of my occasional fantasies is wondering what would happen if I was suddenly thrown back in time. My biggest fear, of course, is being considered a witch 🙂 I really like the idea of using Hurricane Charley as a device. I live in Florida and was here during those back-to-back years of multiple hurricanes. Fortunately, I’m in Tallahassee so all we got was a lot of rain. Still, it was frightening and enough to set the imagination going wild. I wish you the best with your series!
Marie Ann, so nice to connect with you here on Jeri’s blog. It sounds like my book was made for you! I hope you get a chance to read it and please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear how you made out with Hurricane Charley. Was quite a summer and fall there in Florida that year. I’m wondering if you got hit hard by Ivan, as we missed most of that in the Orlando area.
I’d love for you to join me in my join facebook party this Friday May 29th at 6PM EST, here is the link. I’m giving away Stealing Time (20 ebooks) and a lot of other authors are giving away books as well. Please join at the link below if you’re available and interested. The link is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/762648337188014/
Great interview. KJ Waters is an interesting person. Underwater hockey? I can’t picture it.
Ha! Thanks so much Donna. That is what I said when I heard about it. Picture mask, snorkel and fins small wooden curved stick and glove on one hand, and the puck on the bottom of the pool. It is played in a 9-foot pool so you will have to hold your breath as you dive and deal with the puck.
Great to connect with you Donna, hope you have a great weekend!
Author interviews are great learning experiences as they reveal the true travails of crossing the real bridges of being an author! All the fun melts at the altar of book promotions, which is quite subtly suggested here. Love your candid answers KJ and the sincere efforts that you have poured into your novel. I appreciate how a stay home mom could venture into her dream world and emerge with flying colors!
I wish you great success! Thanks Jeri for promoting Indie authors.
Thank you so much Balroop! Yes it has been a great journey and very rewarding to show my children that you can follow your dreams if you work hard enough at it.
Hope you have a great day!
I love these author interviews, Jeri. Getting to know an author gives great insight into their writing, in my opinion. I can certainly relate to the hurricanes in Florida having lived there 10 years and endured 5 of them. I wish you much success with your books KJ!
Jacqueline, thank you for your encouragement and thank you Jeri for interviewing me here on your site.
Wow, I guess you were there in 2004 with all of the storms and then beyond. It was a crazy summer. Hope you didn’t sustain much damage!
It is refreshing to hear from the author herself. Usually book reviews are carried out by a third party.
Reading your blog encourages me to continue writing my journal.
Coincidence! I’ve just started reading Outlander. Great interview. 🙂
Andrea, how funny that you just started the Outlander. Hope you liked it as much as I did. Appreciate the support!
Hi dear Jeri.
I much enjoyed the interview. Particularly the author’s insights as to the drafting and/or editing process…
On a synchronic juxtaposed aspect… Isn’t it neat that among her passions KJ mentions clear warm waters and that on the other hand her blog is called Blondie in the Water [inserting wink 😉 ] Well… that is what I’d call Coherence!~
Thanks for sharing… It is always nice to know about Indie Authors out there!.
Happy week and best wishes, Jeri. Aquileana 😀
Aquileana, very astute! Yes I write about my passion on the blog. Very nice to have you reading the interview and leaving a comment. Great to see you again. 😀
Great interview! Thanks for asking her the writers advise question. I love to hear writer’s opinion about writing. =)
Jeri, I really enjoy these author interviews and KJ sounds like an interesting one. The idea of taking the nightmare of a hurricane and turning it into the basis for a novel takes a creative mind. I have always liked time travel stories – not too sure about the witch part though.
The underwater hockey was rather a neat little aside. Enjoyed reading that although I must say I’ve never heard of it.
Jeri, thanks. KJ, I wish you great success with your book.
Lenie, thank you for your support and kind words. Hope you check out the book if it so inspires you. The witch part is more telling of the times than any actual witches in the novel. If you were modern acting they would have thought you to be pretty strange.
Interesting interview, Jeri. Love the new genre travel thriller. Innovative way of branding a book (maybe not in the US?:-)
Thanks for commenting Catarina! Great to connect with you on here.
This sounds like such an interesting story. I’m always intrigued by characters with an accent in books, because I think it would be incredibly hard to write the words consistently, and in a way that people can understand them and “hear” the accent.
It was difficult but Jeri did a great job of keeping everything consistent and not overdone. I did a lot of pairing down with the Scottish accent of Steph. Was too distracting so there is a fine balance of the two.
Sounds like a great premise for a novel, and I really enjoyed you talking about not only plotting the story but also the pacing. Thanks for the marketing tips, and I look forward to the podcast series.
A.K. thank you so much for stopping by and reading this and commenting. I think we can all learn a lot about writing from each other. It’s why Jeri’s blog is so helpful, to see what other people are doing in their work. We all have different ways of working.
Great interview with KJ. Two things that have always intrigued me, either in movies or books…time travel and witchcraft. This sounds right up my alley. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I like KJ’s advice on marketing and publicity. Very helpful.
Thank you so much Susan! I hope you enjoy the book. It is very well reviewed on Amazon. Please connect with me on the social media sites so we can continue to share information.
I thought the marketing tips were interesting. Raises the point that you are marketing yourself as much as, if not more than, your book. Wonder if that is an outgrowth of social media or if it was always that way?
Ken, I think that is a bigger outgrowth of social media. Traditional marketing is generally about the products and what benefits they provide to you. In our new realm of social media it is really about selling yourself, at least as an author or public figure. Look at all the ridiculousness about the Kardashians and their nonsense on social media. They connect with people on a personal level to help promote their shows and other (ofen questionable) projects.
KJ, I admire you for self-publishing and you are not afraid to plunge in and do the marketing and relationship-building. Do your sales mainly come through social media and is Amazon a successful source of sales? I’m just wondering what the best outlets are for self-publishers and can you actually make living writing self-published books. It’s a tough road, I know.
Jeannette, my sales are about half social media and half personal connections in my ‘real life’ through contacts and book signings. It is a constant effort and at times overwhelming to keep up with everything. But I enjoy the social aspect and if there is an opportunity to have a bigger publisher take some of that constant work off my hands I’d definitely give that a whirl.
I am not at the point where I can say I’m making a living as a writer, my first book just came out in December, but I hope with several books out I will have a more established sales mechanism.
Excellent review and I love the images. It’s always so interesting learning how other people write and what their motivations and passions are. The book sounds fascinating so I’ll definitely take a closer look!
Thank you Marquita, great to connect with you and I hope you get a chance to read the book. It has been really well received with all 5 star reviews. Appreciate you commenting and connecting on here!
Great interview Jeri! Hey – is that a Harley Davidson KJ? Oh boy stories from that time of my life.
This …dissatisfied with their lack of marketing and distribution help … so true about small publishers. Live, learn and move forward though.
Patricia, thanks for your comments. I believe this was a Honda bike and Id love to hear your stories! I’ve been approached by several small publishers but I’ve heard so many issues from author friends I have not been interested in engaging with them.
Yes live and learn and hopefully a bigger publisher will take notice.
I really enjoy these interviews with self published authors. Gives me a lot of ideas and a lot of inspiration. I may need to steal some time of my own but at least the mind is churning and eventually something will come of it.
Tim, thanks for your comments. I”m glad you’ll steal some time for writing. It is very rewarding! Stay inspired!
Blondie and the Brit sounds fun…I absolutely love the foto, your expression and posture seem to say a lot about the woman behind the stories. Thanks for the tips.
Thanks Gerald! The event was a huge success with over 100 people attending. Glad you like the pic, was a hoot to shoot it!
Nice interview, Jeri and K.J. You book sounds interesting. I’ve read some books that use an accent, but not through the whole book. That must have been tricky to have a main character with a German accent. I live in Germany, so I’m definitely putting this on my TBR. Congratulations and good luck with your book!
Denise, Thanks so much Denice! I look forward to hearing what you think about the book. Jeri was a huge help on getting the accent right. Was a lot of work though. So glad for your support and encouragement!
Love the interview, Jeri. Neat sounding book. I’m always on my guard agains inexplicable time travel. I’ve never heard of underwater hockey but it sounds interesting.
Beth, thanks so much for your comments. Great to connect here with you! Hope you check out the book and follow me on my social media so we can connect further.
**You need to build a reader base and connect with them on a personal level**
Great line. Fabulous advice.
Thanks Inner Chick! It’s really important in our social world now! Great to connect!
I loved hearing the description of the story and then getting a peek at the book cover. The book cover does such a great job at hinting to all the major plot points in such an intriguing way. I think I would totally buy the book for that. I love when a real life event sets free in the imagination to produce a story..
Thank you Erica! So glad you like the cover. It was a lot of fun to put my imagination into the book and to the cover. Glad it is well received! I think every author uses their life to add to their writing.
hi jeri; thanks for introducing us to kj. with interview posts its all about picking the right guests. she is obviously a qualified candidate who has a lot to share. I wish her all the best with podcast as us self published authors can all use more help promoting them and getting the results we hoped for when we started writing. thanks again, max
Thank you so much Maxwell, I’m very honored to be on Jeri’s blog. She is quite a savvy blogger and I was tickled when she asked me to be on. Thanks for your well wishes on the podcast! Our first interview will be in July and I’ve asked the national best selling author Darynda Jones to launch our first one. I’ll share with Jeri and she can help share that when it’s out. I will also be interviewing Jeri on her vast knowledge on editing and writing.
Your cover is stunning, KJ. And what a setting, whew!
Great interview Jeri Walker, after reading the last post and knowing the story could connect with KJ Walters more easily. Will be soon reading the books!