Celia Kennedy is both an author and blogger, and has hosted some of my favorite blog tours. This time she is in the spotlight for her novel, Venus Rising. Enjoy this interview with Celia Kennedy.
Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American Army base. Her parents' penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window, sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between time, the most fascinating to her.
The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a degree, not anywhere as important.
Mark Twain said, "Write what you know." When combining this concept with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend's close friend) thinking of what to write about isn't challenging; there just needs to be more hours in the day.
Celia published Charlotte's Restrained, The Accidental Stalkerin December of 2012 and Venus Rising in August of 2013. Look for Kathleen's Undressed, The Accidental Enigma, a companion novel to Charlotte's Restrained, to be published in November 2014.
Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.
Where are you from?
Oh that’s a tricky one! My father was in the US Army when I was born in Wurzburg Germany. By the time he retired when I was thirteen we’d live in three countries and five states in the US.
Since 1987 I have lived in Redmond, Washington. I moved here when I took a job at Microsoft. (At the time there were only 2000 employees worldwide and I was the third software tester, testing ALL the international versions.)
When did you start writing?
Mrs. Copeland’s class, 5th grade, 1975! How’s that for knowing the exact moment? We were studying creative writing and I fell head over heels in love with writing. I’m still quite proud of the fact that my classmates would vote to have my weekly installments of my book, GaLinda in Space, read aloud!
What was the first book you wrote, and what did you learn from that experience?
I attended the University of Washington and studied Landscape Architecture. I had to write a paper for a Paleobotany class. I chose the Ginkgo biloba. It is a beautiful tree and has been in existence since pre-Jurassic (200+million years ago) – before the dinosaurs!! Not a book you say?? Well, it was a couple hundred pages and was bound and is held in collections at UW!
What did I learn from that experience? How to do research and that I love research. It allows the writer to truly understand the physical and emotional qualities of a space and with it comes the ability to transport the reader.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on Kathleen’s Undressed, Book 2, The Accidental Enigma (working title).
We meet Kathleen in Charlotte’s Restrained, she is one of Charlotte’s friends from graduate school in Oxford England. I realized after published Charlotte’s Restrained that Kathleen was a very aloof character and I wondered why. This gave me all kinds of ideas on how to bring the gang back together, but around Kathleen’s life, which really is a mystery to them.
Kathleen’s Undressed takes place in Paris, and we join her story as Fall Fashion Week begins. The first part of the book is all about location, fashion, food, and being French! We travel to Rome, England, Denmark and Seattle (I thought it would be fun to add in my stomping grounds).
Can you share a bit of your current work with us?
From Kathleen’s Undressed
Having barely sat down, a waiter stopped by with a coffee for Kathleen and then disappeared. Relaxing back into her chair, she twiddled with a loose strand of hair, hoping to emit a relaxed aura. She could tell no one was buying it when Yvette leaned forward, her arms folded across each other and asked, “Well Cherie, why are we here? Have you met your Prince?”
The waiter intervened again, handing out menus, and then quickly left. “Not to be a complete pain in the ass, but what is it that you like about this place? The ambiance is great, the service is mediocre and the food is barely tolerable.” Kathleen spoke quietly in English, from behind her menu.
“We come here because all the tourists come here, and it is amusing to watch them. They are the ones that lack imagination, not us. A guidebook tells them to come, so they do.” Yvette answered with a smile yet retaliated by blowing a cloud of smoke in Kathleen’s face.
Coughing and sputtering, Kathleen replied, “Says the woman who wants to go to Florida! Alright, speaking of where to go, after I left you last night, I decided to walk along the canal, and I ran into Keanu, the man from the restaurant. The one I let get away since I am cold blooded. He wasn’t as put off as you were because I have a date! We are meeting for coffee tomorrow morning. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!” Leaning forward she punctuated the big reveal with a poke of her finger into the stream of smoke that floated heavenwards from the ashtray.
“I thought you were a lesbian! Mon Dieu, those ridiculous tourists are trying to order pancakes. What is this about a pipe?” Yvette stated.
“What, a lesbian? Why would you think that?” Kathleen sputtered. “Pancakes, really?” She looked over her shoulder trying to decide whether or not to help.
Mid thought Yvette answered, “Well, you insist on doing all this carpentry work yourself. You never date. So, I just assumed you weren’t ready to tell us. I really thought it was a princess you were after.” Anais’s head bobbed up and down while Yvette spoke.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
I learned the hard way that having a strong presence on social media before I had a book ready was important. I think this is important whether you choose to be an Indie Author or go with a publisher. When your well-crafted, edited, proofread, beta-read manuscript is finally ready to roll out the door, you need to have a support system in place. I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last year meeting wonderful authors, readers, bloggers, editors, and finally feel like I have resources that I can reach out to without hesitation! Definitely do that first, or at least during.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
I have yet to meet an author, whether they’ve sold millions or a handful or books, who doesn’t feel absolute joy at the knowledge that someone has read their work and enjoyed it. It’s an absolute thrill to know that you have transported and entertained someone.
Honestly, I’d hug every one of them and probably cry if we ever laid eyes on each other, it means that much. In case readers wonder, authors are very approachable.
What are you working on next?
I have three novellas and two novels already started. A handful of years ago I began a book called Moonbow, set in Kentucky, and I really want to get back to it. (Incidentally, I put it on the back burner when I decided to begin working on my social media presence and participating in read/review groups – that’s how important it is to make contacts!)
While Charlotte’s Restrained and Kathleen’s Undressed (two of the four books in The Accidental Series) are comedies with a little romance thrown in, Venus Rising and Moonbow are more serious in nature – books about self-discovery and moving on with life.
One of the beautiful things about being an Indie Author is that you can write across many genres.
Is there anything else that the world should know about Celia Kennedy?
Tons! But is any of it interesting? My mother tells me I live under a lucky star, and she’s probably right. I’ve stumbled my way into jobs that others would give their first born for. I’ve travelled extensively (multiple trips for multiple months) on absolutely no money and survived. I met my husband via my fiancé and married him three months after we started dating. We’ve been married 19 years. I never thought I’d have children and now I have two of the coolest people on the planet call me mom.
Oh, I inherited my British mother’s sense of humor and timing, so I’m a bit cruel!
Not all things have been easy or perfect though, and if you want to find out about that, you should read my blog, www.WomanReinventsSelf.blogspot.com.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Barcelona, Spain! Frightening how quickly that answer came to me. Any major metropolitan city that has a beach when people strip down at lunchtime for a dip in the sea and a siesta is alright by me.
As a student studying abroad, at the age of 29, I spent a few weeks in Barcelona, hot on the trail of Gaudi (architect), Picasso, Dali, Hemmingway… At the end of hot and dusty days I would head to the Ramblas and have a beer the size of my head, and absorb the energy. City, beach, tapas and beer, the perfect combo!
If you could choose a super power, what would that be?
My favorite super hero is Aqua Man, my son assures me that Aqua Man is super lame, but I love him. He can swim really well, breath underwater, talk to marine animals, and his hair always looks great! In the late 1970’s there was a TV show called, Man From Atlantis, starring Patrick Duffy – basically Aqua Man!! I have loved Patrick Duffy since (and recently learned he lived in Seattle.
But the question is, what super power would I have? I want to be funny when I answer, but honestly, if I can have one, it would be to save children from suffering neglect, abuse, or illness. I have a long history with these issues, so, my answer can’t be light.
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